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Copy of Avatar post colonial analysis

From "dusk to stars" by http://prezi.com/user/hu5r_m8kp33s/

Mirela Kucinic

on 2 October 2013

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Transcript of Copy of Avatar post colonial analysis

Main Characters
Jake Sully
An ex-marine who is newly inducted into the Avatar programme.
He is the protagonist of the story.
Initially, he works with a colonialist approach.
But as the film progresses, he learns the ways of the people of Pandora and begins to identify himself as one of them.
Eventually, he leads the Pandoran people against the Humans.
Colonel Miles Quaritch
He is the head of the mining operation’s security.
Quaritch can be seen as an archetype of a coloniser.
He has a strong distaste towards the people of Pandora, which is evident in his actions and his language.
He resorts to violent methods to displace the tribes, instead of peaceful negotiation.
Dr. Grace Augustine
She is the head of the Avatar programme, and Sully’s mentor. She is seen to be sympathetic towards the people of Pandora.
Parker Selfridge
He is the corporate administrator of the mining operation.
He is highly capitalistic in his approach towards Pandora.
He shares similar qualities as Quaritch.
However, he is seen to be a little hesitant when it comes to following certain orders by the colonel that involve the eradication of the Pandoran tribes.
Most of the movie takes place in the forests of Pandora.
The forest is shown to be highly exotic.
The plants are highly captivating, while the wildlife is highly dangerous.
The inhabitants of Pandora resemble certain African tribes.
They have certain similar physical features such as large noses and lips and braided hair.
Many of their cultural practices also resemble actual practices of certain real tribes.
Parts of the soundtrack of the movie also reinforce this.
One could almost assume that the tribal African setting served as the basis for the colonised indigenous setting seen in the movie.
Colonial Elements in the Narrative
- The inhabitants of Earth have colonised Pandora for purely capitalistic reasons.
They have settled in Pandora to mine a metal called Unobtainium, a very precious metal that is found in certain inhabited parts of Pandora.
- After their arrival in Pandora, they attempt to teach the Pandoran tribes how to speak English.
Here, an unequal power relation is established.
The colonisers here do not even attempt to adjust to ways of the indigenous tribes.
Instead, they try to change the people of these tribes to suit their needs. In doing so, they exert their superiority over them.
- After this plan fails, they attempt to learn more about the ways of the indigenous people.
They send Jake Sully to do this. However, this is done with an ulterior motive, i.e. to achieve their capitalistic goals.
- The colonisers do not care about the lives of the inhabitants.
As seen later in the film, they attempt to displace one of the tribes from their area without any regard for their lives or the trees that they consider sacred.
- In attempting to displace these tribes, the colonisers do not hesitate to eradicate them, regardless of the presence of women and children. Anyone who resisted them was an obstacle meant to be destroyed. This parallels certain events of colonisation in our own reality.
- Some of the colonisers (particularly Colonel Miles Quaritch) talk about Pandora as an enemy capable of bringing great harm to people.
Binary opposites
Earth (west)
- It has been seen that the native land or the moon Pandora has been represented as the East. On the other hand, the Earth is represented as the West if we analyze the movie in a postcolonial perspective.
- Several reasons may justify the above statement made such as the portrayal of the native land to be under-developed. Additionally, the west looks at themselves as technologically advanced. In the same way, when the Earth is represented as ‘West’ it automatically takes the position of being advanced not just in terms of technology but in other aspects as well.

Firstly, it is important to notice that a variety of technology has been used by humans who visited Pandora. The list of technology used are-
- AMP Suit Knife
- ATV Grinder
-Aerospatiale SA-2 Samson
-Ammunition Dispenser Pod
-Amplified Mobility Platform
-Assault Rifle
-Bucket Wheel Excavator
-Bush Boss FD-3
On the other hand, it has been observed that the natives only use bows and arrows throughout the movie. This again highlights the backwardness as well as inferiority of the natives.

- In most of the battles between the natives and the humans portrayed in the movie, it was seen that the humans won in most parts.
- Few humans were killed. On the other hand, a number of native creatures were killed in order to defend the human. (this is seen in 37:05)

- The binary power relations talks about the other as being strange, exotic and mystical. The same has been applied to the creatures depicted in the movie.
- For instance, the sturmbeest has a massive buffalo-like head, six legs and indigo and orange coloring. Its skull features a single large bony hornlike extrusion above the eyes. Extrusions are reddish or orange, with striped slashes of blue. The average sturmbeest weighs about 2,000 pounds. (907 kg)

Post Colonial Analysis
Instances of post colonial representations
- indigenous, local culture being destroyed by greedy business interests that use high-tech military force in order to gain access to a valuable natural resource- the main purpose of colonization was to send wealth back to the mother country.
- the protagonist of Avatar is a white male who is sent to subdue a far-away people, then come to identify with those people after he falls in love with one of them.
- eventually some how assumes a leadership role-which is a typical colonial fantasy as can be seen through various literatures and other forms throughout history.
- one of the most challenging problems was how to unite people under the banner of a nation or form pan-national or pan-ethnic movement.
- Avatar simplifies this problem in a troubling way by allowing the white, male character to do the uniting after he tames the giant flying Toruk.
- in Orientalism, Said criticizes most on the way the west perceive the east.
- the west always thinks highly of itself, while the east is considered lower and savage.
- the west stands proudly for its modern thinking, civilized culture, and of course a long list of technology inventory.
- the world may change rapidly but the east persistently keep its cultural inheritance more valuable than west offers of technology
- the process of relating to the colonizers can be describe in phases

Mimicry : Jack "adopted" himself as an Avatar in order to get a link with another Avatar on Pandora.
- then he adapts himself to the new environment and the Na'vi culture. He is taught a Na'vi language.
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