by Elizah Leigh
Categories: Film/TV
Tags: , .

With the 82nd Annual Academy Awards just around the corner, all of the major critics are pretty confident that Avatar – the reigning champion of Hollywood history (as well as the top international release of all time) will end up running away with at least a good chunk of the gold. Nominated in nine categories, the James Cameron written and directed spectacle focuses on the story of a paraplegic marine named Jake Sully who is enlisted to gather intel on the planet Pandora in exchange for spinal surgery that will restore his mobility. What begins as a self-involved mission ends up morphing into an epic battle to protect the Na’vi people and their natural world from full-tilt corporate greed.

Cameron recently offered insight into the environmental message at the heart of his blockbuster film during a candid discussion with former New York Times film critic and current host of Santa Monica’s The Treatment, Elvis Mitchell. The Natutral Resources Defense Council-hosted event – which can be heard in its entirety today via KCRW’s website — offers juicy tidbits for Avatar fans as well as die-hard nature lovers.

The equally praised and maligned film was designed to trigger a deep emotional response among viewers, ideally inciting them to take more of an active role in protecting our planet. Asked to dial down his blatant call to environmental activism a few notches by nervous 20th Century Fox executives, Cameron said that he didn’t want to change a thing since it was intended to be a movie with a message. Troubled by the reality of climate change, he expressed the necessity of humanity to temper the eco-challenges as a united force.

Among the filmmaker’s more notable comments, he states:

“Avatar asks us all to be warriors for the earth, this beautiful, fragile, miracle of a planet that we have right here is our land…not ours to own, but ours to defend and protect.”

“I wanted to have these messages of opening our eyes and changing our perceptions.”

“When you see the Na’vi people being pushed out of the way as if they’re insignificant, you feel an emotional reaction, that sense of moral outrage is exactly what we need to feel about what’s happening right now on our own planet right here.”

“I think that there’s something about that mix of feeling a sense of connectedness followed by a sense of moral outrage followed by a sense of hope…that there is hope…that is exactly the right kind of fertile emotional soil to actually produce some type of activism, whether it’s just at a personal level or whether people feel that they want to get involved at an organizational level or whether it’s just a heightened political awareness.”

“I don’t think the people that run corporations are evil; I think that the way corporations do business as these kind of super organisms…having undue influence over governments…and spending billions of dollars in lobbying to get governments to do things that are against the good of their general population, I think that’s wrong and it’s happening in this country and all over the world.”

Enjoy part one and two of James Cameron’s actual discussion below:

Via Natural Resources Defense Council