The Idea of Orientalism Portrayed in James Cameron's Avatar

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The Idea of Orientalism Portrayed in James Cameron’s Avatar

In brief, this study discusses about the representation of orientalism idea which is portrayed in the film Avatar. The film tells about the conflict between human and native people in Planet Pandora, where human exploits the land and oppresses the native. This study explores in what way the idea of orientalism is represented and how both narrative and non-narrative aspects of the film helped in delivering that representation.
Indeed, to explore the focus of analysis, the study will be completed by applying orientalism criticism proposed by Edward Said. Thereby, this research will be a qualitative research where the data is taken from the film Avatar, library
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Besides all the awards and the technology this movie has presented, the clear depiction of Orientalism idea in this movie becomes the main reason Avatar is chosen to be the subject of this study. The plot of this movie tells about the exploitation done by human towards Planet Pandora, the place in which the valuable mineral can be obtained. In that place, human has to face and overcome the struggle of the native called Na’vi who opposes the land exploitation. Human scientists invent the avatar program which enables human to drive their avatar body, a genetically-bred human-Na’vi hybrid, and therefore human can freely observes and persuades the native to surrender their land. Here, the idea of Orientalism clearly depicted in the way human represents the native as primitive and uncivilized and how human tries to educate and build the native in the way human believes to be the best way.
There are several critics towards Avatar which states that this movie contains racist themes in which the white hero once again saving the primitive natives. The editor in chief sci-fi magazines Jesse Washington writes that Avatar reminds her of Pocahontas story which also tells about how the main white characters realize that they are complicit in a system which is destroying aliens or people of color, and then go beyond assimilation and become leaders of the people they once oppressed.

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