NC: Understanding the Hero's Journey - James Cameron's Avatar.
Avatar is a brilliant film, a cg
masterpiece and one of my personal favourite films. In terms of the hero’s
journey it starts with its ‘’Ordinary World’’.
Jake, the main protagonist in this story, he is a paraplegic marine who is sent
to a deadly alien world set way in the future. It is here he takes on his
brother’s role as an avatar driver, his call
to adventure, and he spends the first few days on this new planet being prepared
to go out with his new avatar body. Proceeding this, his refusal of the call, does not actually come from Jake himself. But
is actually put on his mentor Grace. Grace is the scientist in charge of the
avatar program. She thinks it’s a terrible idea to allow a ‘’trigger happy
marine’’ into the legs of an alien species. But reluctantly she has no choice
as the military and the operation itself are supporting her operation. With
this it brings us to ‘’Supernatural Aid’’
where Grace accepts her Mentorship of Jake and becomes the aid that he needed.
Teaching him the new world amongst the Na’vi.
Whilst on his first outing in the
avatar body, Jake is separated from the group, this is his crossing the threshold. It is these series of events that lead to
the bulk of the story – which is about 3 hours of film footage.
Belly of the whale, this segment is when he is being hunted by animals
and is forced to revert to survival instincts, making a torch and trying to
stay alive. Neytiri rescues him and begins his Road of the trials, teaching him the ways of her people, how to
hunt, catch, ride and fly. Neytiri tells Jake about her people’s deity, the goddess
of the world. Ewya. However Meeting the
Goddess refers to how Jake and Neytiri’s feelings grow stronger and he is
torn between his duties as a human and his new life as a Na’vi. This motivate
Jake and follows ‘’if you are one of us, help us’’ complex and hi becomes fully
integrated into the tribe.
it happens in the beginning, Quaritch offers Jake the chance to rotate home and
get his legs back if he follows his command and not Grace, however this would
mean he would have to betray his new people, Neytiri is now his Woman as Temptress and as the film goes
on we see him follow the Na’vi way rather than his human roots.
Tragically, the film brings upon us the
Death of a Mentor where Grace is
wounded as they try and escape the main compound after being restricted from
talking with the Na’vi anymore. Although there is no real father figure is
this, Attonment with the Father can
be linked to Jakes final understanding of the Na’vi people and their connection
to the world around them and to Ewya their mother. He prays to Ewya for help in
the upcoming battle between the Na’vi and the humans.
One of my favourite parts of the film
arrives when Jake captures the Toruk Makto, the Apotheosis, in doing this it has elevated his position to a god
like status with the Na’vi and they fully trust him. The Ultimate Boom proceeds with Jake leading the Na’vi into battle,
rallying them to fight against the human invasion. It is here that he practically
forgets his human life and becomes full integrated with the Na’vi people. As
the battle progresses and looks at a loss. Brining the Rescue from without in the form of Ewya, answering Jakes prayers,
and saves the Na’vi from total annihilation. The Magic Flight is upon him and his decisions in battle, being almost
killed by Quaritch bring another aspect of Rescue
from without when Neytiri comes to save him.
Jake then makes the decision to Cross of the return threshold and go
from being human to asking Ewya to make his avatar body is only body bringing
his Freedom to Live to light, when
he opens his eyes he starts a new life, reborn. From here he then becomes the Master of two worlds forcing the ‘’bad’’
humans to return to earth and allowing the good humans to stay.