1T03 week 10:
Why was Avatar so popular?
• Its popularity is a sign of its cultural significance
• Answering this question can give us insight into our times
• Visually stunning
• Hype – took 10 years to make
• Director – James Cameron
• Ground breaking technology
• Reversal of roles with the aliens
• Humans identify with underdogs
• Star-crossed lovers
• With whom are we encouraged to identify? How?
• Identify with Jake as a handicap who can’t use his legs
• Jake is an average character
• Use of first person shot is important
o Avatar – the idea of existing in a new body
• Why might the experience be appealing?
• He can use his legs again as an avatar • More relatable character
• Jake is our everyman
• Represents a person who is overcoming the limitations of a human being
• Appealing to our culture
• Avatar gives him freedom
Hollywood & Escapism
Escapism is a dismissive term but it is worth thinking about
Why do people want to escape?
What is the impct of escape?
Escapist art is often seen as a means to preserve the status quo
Avatar is a metaphor for movie going – people go to the movies to escape from their daily lives,
just as Jake does in his avatar sarcophagus
Avatar convinces us to face problems in our own world, but also to find a means to escape our
“ASon of the Omaticaya”
What are we experiencing vicariously through our avatar protagonist?
Connection to a society where we belong/are accepted
Asense of place
Connection to the natural environment Connection with the tree – ancestors
Why is this appealing to us?
The sense of connection is the most appealing
This is the reasoning for the popularity of the film
Offers something contrary to the standard way of thinking in which money is themain concern of
Community & Individualism
We live in a highly individualistic society
Personal freedom valued
Focus on individual problems vs. societal problems
BUT … if were free, why do we all want to escape?
The bonds of community can hold great appeal
Is this part ofAvatar’s popularity?
Nature vs. Technology
Both a separation and connection between nature & technology in this film
Humans value technology, natives value nature
However, Jake is able to connect with nature through advanced technology
We live in a highly mediated world
Fragmented, sedentary experience
Potential for depersonalization In Avatar, Pandora is made extremely attractive
Suggests the appeal of living in tune with nature
Is this part ofAvatars popularity
Avatar’s Utopian World
This film is a seductive fantasy of our time
Take up causes of contemporary uncertainty and resolves them within its “possible world”
What is the socio-political effect of this fantasy?
Diminished likelihood of social c