Thursday, January 7, 2010

Avatar and Public Diplomacy: Follow-up

"I have a trilogy-scaled arc of story right now, but I haven't really put any serious work into writing a script."

--Avatar Director James Cameron, regarding sequels to his blockbuster film

Encouraged by numerous Huffington Post readers' comments to my piece "Avatar and Public Diplomacy," below are my plot suggestions -- of course, meant not to be taken too seriously -- for the planned Avatar sequels.

But first, consider the tempest-in-a-teapot controversy surrounding Avatar. It's been attacked for being slick propaganda reflecting a Canadian-born movie director's leftist anti-Americanism, ecological extremism, and "we love the natives/ hate Western civilization" romanticism (see my Public Diplomacy Review for some of these articles). But let's not forget the article suggesting that Cameron is in fact a secret conservative.

OK, here we go: Sequel 2 (antithesis) to Avatar: Return of the Native

The Na'vi blue people, true to their "primitive" tailed nature, want to take revenge on the humans. They've quickly mastered the technology the humans left behind on Pandora, in the same way "non-Western" people can handle, say, computers, without atavistic "hang-ups" of previous outdated technologies/ways of thinking. The Na'vi decide, with now-Na'vi Jake Sully's full agreement, to send his "human" avatar down to earth to destroy the humans -- such is their bitterness about how humans treated them.

So off goes Avatar-Sully to a minor formerly green/blue planet not far from a dying sun, on a spaceship built by the Na'vi from the abandoned "humans'" base on Pandora. Sully-the-human avatar reaches earth (no one can recognize him, as he reaches the planet hundreds of years after the humans' Pandora expedition took place).

Ex-mother Earth, Goa, is the very opposite of what Sully found on Pandora. No lush Garden of Eden, no mountains with waterfalls floating in the air, but a desert-like total post-fossil-fuel apocalypse. No available energy, practically no nature in all its glory, is left on Earth.

And, to make matters worse, the humans are engaged in a life-and-death struggle with Zombies,

creatures that appeared during the early years of the 21st century, when the United States of America began its steady decline.

Sully, as an ex-human but now a Na'vi (but not quite; his human genes are still there; he still thinks, parochial that he is, that being "human" is being "American"), feels sorry for the humans, and especially his coutrymen.

After his spaceship lands in Detroit, Michigan (unnoticed, of course, by US "intelligence" agencies), Sully hooks up with the family of an unemployed man (on a wheelchair, as Sully was when he first went to Pandora as a human) who worked for GM but was paralyzed due to an accident on the assembly line.

After much doubt Sully-the-human-avatar decides that he cannot wreak vengeance on the earth's inhabitants. He feels that the mineral the evil human corporation he worked for as a human sought in Pandora -- unobtainium -- could help the earth survive.

He's all set to go back to Pandora to plead for dying earth's case (give 'em some free unobtainium!), but first he must fight off Zombies (as he tries to get into his spaceship) who realize he could be dangerous to them because of his "sympathy" for humans.

Will Sully make it back to Pandora? Will Earthpersons-PandoraNav'i unite? (And how will Sully and his Na'vi princess spouse deal with tails as an ethnic "Na'vi-human" factor?)

Part 3 (synthesis) Coming up ...

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