Other Worlds in Film – Avatar and Pandora

The detailed realisation of Pandora, its geography, flora and fauna by James Cameron and his creative team for the film “Avatar” is a good example of the detailed imagination and background hard science that goes into the creation of an imaginary “other world”.  For some this detail and level of potential immersion in the film or its associated media and games is very appealing.

Ai'tswayon and Ikran Ai'tsyal

Ai’tswayon and his Ikran Ai’tsyal (Na’vi language for Ai fly and Ai wing) – See  http://atate.org/ai/navi/

Introduction to Pandora Youtube Clip – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GBGDmin_38E

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4 Responses to Other Worlds in Film – Avatar and Pandora

  1. Jeremy Keith Knox says:

    Hi Austin,

    I was fascinated by the Avatar clip here, and thought that this description of ‘Pandora’ was a really interesting way to think about ‘digital spaces’, thanks. The world of Pandora seems to be described in distinctly humanist and romanticist terms, and I wondered how this relates to perceptions of, or desires for, ‘good, or ‘ideal’ virtual spaces.

    I was rather amazed at the whole description of the ‘bio-luminescent qualities’, that ‘set the night aglow’, and this seemed to frame Avatars sense of ‘nature’ in terms of very human-centric, aesthetic qualities. Do these coloured lights serve no other purpose than the entertainment of those creatures who happen to have suitable optical faculties? Perhaps the full film explains more. The whole sense of ‘nature’ portrayed here is truly riveting, and the notions of ‘nervous systems’ and ‘symbiotic relationships’ seemed to suggest notions of harmony, equilibrium, and homoeostasis that I thought were rather old fashioned in ecology studies. So, I wonder, does this view of idealised nature filter through into attitudes and desires for virtual spaces? Do ‘we’ think that digital spaces are capable of providing harmonious, ideal environments, where such things as conflict, selfishness and dissent are absent? A fascinating topic Austin, and you have inspired me to look up further critical writing on Avatar, thanks!

  2. Austin Tate says:

    Oh no Jeremy… the bio luminescence is MUCH more important in the ecology and even the mythology of Pandora than that. See the scenes where the humans are transfered by the power of the community and Ewya(the spirit of Pandora) to a live Na’vi form. I have participated in such a ceremony… and it take immense effort.


  3. Jen Ross says:

    I’m reading John Barnes’ collection “Apostrophes and Apocalypses”, and am in the middle of an essay called “How to Build a Future”, which explains the author’s process of statistically modelling various aspects of a science fictional future world. The detail and the method is fascinating.

  4. bat says:

    The social media feeds for James Cameron’s Avatar came live again on 4th February 2015 to start to introduce the new films…

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