The basic plot of Avatar is that the human consumption of non-renewable energy has driven humans to invade the planet Pandora, which is rich in an easily-obtained energy source. Easy, that is, if you have no respect for the natives– which they don’t.
Standing on the human military’s warship, observing the destruction after one of the early battle scences, the general overseeing the invasion says, “Good work, boys, first round’s on me tonight.”
The humans place spies amongst the tribal (blue colored) people of Pandora, and the spies learn their culture and deceive them. They take on the appearance of the locals as much as possible, and they learn their language. The locals trust them, even after they realize they have been betrayed.
The humans spying on the natives realize that they have a conflict of interest, and each human spy deals with it in a different way. In the end, the spies redeem themselves– so that’s where we lose the obvious parallel to the variety of ways humans currently extract energy from natural resources..
Unconventional shale gas development is eerily close to Avatar’s storyline. In the movie, the human invading military serves to represent the corporate perpetrators of environmental rampage that James Cameron wanted to point out is going on here and now… and that was back in 2009.
Cameron never redeems the invaders. Instead, like in all good movies, the good guys call on their community to help them– plus, the planet Pandora itself fights back!–and the bad guys are defeated and forced to leave!
Too bad that bit humans say about art imitating life only goes so far. I’m afraid James Cameron wasn’t precient. The real story of corporate exploitation doesn’t have a happy ending. Too bad there’s no redeemed champion. Too bad the bears, mountain lions, and eagles don’t come to the rescue.
It’s just sticks versus tanks…