I rolled in the New Year like most people — in a gummy movie theatre watching Avatar. Caveat: go no further if you’re worried about spoiling the plot (for a film that, like it or not, stands mostly on its technological innovations).
I don’t want to seem like some Cameronophile. I found Avatar too long, for one (and, unlike Daniel Pauly, would never see it twice). It has the typical man vs. technology and man vs. nature themes of futuristic sci-fi. It did have some very cool marine influences (e.g. Christmas tree worms, anemones, comb jellies, hammerheads). But there was one very special thing about Avatar: on Pandora, when Western civilization and its mining machines rolled in to take over, all the animals were capable of teaming up with the blue feline na vi natives to stop invasion.
The thing about conservation is that most of the time (okay, all the time) you feel like you are on the losing team. But imagine if all the wildlife out there could pitch in and fight for a ban on high seas trawling, more marine protected areas, or a goal of 350ppm? That would be awesome. A winning team it would be. Unfortunately, Earth doesn’t have the same infrastructure as Pandora…
Still, it’s a nice dream, which is what movies do best. At a price tag of nearly $500 million, Avatar was also an expensive dream. But everyone deserves to dream.