Now, when it comes to spotting the subtext in movies, it can often be tricky to know whether or not what you're seeing is actually what the creative team intended, or simply what you want to see. Lord of the Rings, for instance, can be read as...well, as pretty much anything you can possibly imagine. It's been seen as pro-war, anti-war, racist, anti-racist, and pretty much everything in between.
Indeed, it often seems that all of the major cultural milestones of the past few decades have so many interpretations that it's almost impossible to know what they're actually about.
Avatar, though, is different. It's a pretty fundamentally clear-cut critique of imperialist military policies, and a strong, emotive defense of native peoples and their rights, right?
Well, maybe. Y'see...
This Avatar Fan Theory Might Just Change EVERYTHING
Well, remember how, after Jake Sully - in his super-sciencey Na'vi clone avatar - finds himself falling in love with the Na'vi princess Neytiri, the pair end up connecting their minds to that Tree of Voices?
Well, on the surface, that seemed like an earnest illustration of Jake's realization that the whole of Pandora (read, Earth) was connected, and that its natural balance has to be protected (read, our planet's natural balance has to be protected).
What, though, if that was the exact opposite of what the scene was trying to say?
That's the argument put forward by intrepid Redditor scottmale24, who has suggested that, in actual fact:
The Tree of Voices Brainwashes Jake
Yup, that's right. The logic goes a little something like this...
Before connecting to the Tree of Voices, Jake was - though falling in love with Neytiri - very much still a marine, and generally complaining about the Na'vi's peaceable ways.
After the Tree of Voices, however, he's suddenly a super-chill and passionate environmentalist.
Which, scottmale24 argues, suggests that rather than persuading Jake of the superiority of its position, the Tree of Voices - essentially an outlet of the spiritual neural network connecting the entire planet - simply alters his mind in order to bring him on its side.
Which, if it's true, means that...
Avatar Might Have Been Putting Forward a Very Different Message to the One We Thought It Was
Specifically, rather than being a scathing liberal critique of neo-conservative military action and right wing dogma, it would be a scathing critique of...pretty much everyone.
The dastardly military types would still be dastardly, but the 'heroic' planet and its eco-warriors would suddenly become equally villainous brain-washers, and the everyman Jake Sully (who we're supposed to identify with) would be a mindless drone just following orders.
Which, seeing as James Cameron also made Aliens and the Terminator movies, is...actually kind of an interesting thought.
Nicely played scottmale24. Nicely played...
What do you think, though?