Avatar and Romanticism
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This assignment will look at Romanticism and how this is conveyed and depicted in James Camerons Avatar (2009). The essay will also be looking at Escapism, the war of Manmade versus nature and its relevance to the Cold War. Sources includes Jesse Bryant Wilders Defining Romanticism in the Arts, Christopher and Mark Rothkos The Artists Reality: Philosophies of Art, Michael Mariens Future Survey Annual 1991: Volume 10, William Woodsworths poem, Ode: Intimations of Immortality and lastly Robert Genters Modernism: Art, Culture, and Politics in Cold War America .
Romanticism and how it is seen in Avatar The idea of being close to nature, ie It (romanticism) means being a staunch individualist, believing in the rights of other individuals, and expressing deep, intense, and often uplifting emotions like Beethoven (whose Fifth Symphony marked the beginning of the Romantic era in music). Often it means having a deep, spiritual relationship with nature. "Nature never did betray the heart that loved her," wrote the British Romantic poet William Wordsworth in Tintern Abbey (Wilder, Unknown)The idea of Escapism and how it is depicted in Avatar It is impossible to see how man can continue to live and not make some sort of working relationship with his environment One can even go further and point to the fact that man is incapable of a single act which is not the result of the effect of environment upon his personality. (Rothko, 2006: 111) The war between Manmade machines versus natural resources The techno sphere has become sufficiently large and intense to alter the natural process that Govern the ecosphere. In turn the altered ecosphere threatens to flood our cities, dry up our farms, contaminate our foods and water, and poison our bodies; the human attack on the ecosphere has instigated and ecological counter attack. (Marien, 1991: 55) How the war can be understood through Woodsworths poem Uphold us, cherish, and have power to make Our noisy years seem moments in the being Of the eternal Silence: truths that wake, To perish never: Which neither listlessness, nor mad Endeavour, Nor Man nor Boy, Nor all that is at enmity with joy, Can utterly abolish or destroy!
(Woodsworth, 1849: 343)
How the Cold war can be seen as a refelction to the Human versus Nature war We live in an age of transition, an age of overlap, in which the old modern of yesterday no longer acts effectively but still provides means of expression, standards of expectations and tools of ordering. (Genter, 2010: 28)
Romanticism: An art and literature movement originating in Europe around the 18th century Characterized by the interests of nature, emotional expressions and imagination. Movement was seen as a reaction against the Age of Enlightenment. Mostly used in arts, music and literature.
Zoe SaldanaNeytiri (Navi)
James Cameron, Director Avatar (2009) for the making of the film and its influences
Sam Worthington- Jake Sully (Human Navi hybrid)
Stephen LangColonel Miles Quaritch
Portrayals between mechanical vs. nature and status of valuing things
Wanderer Above the Sea of Fog by Caspar David Friedrich (unknown)
The Voyage of Life by Thomas Cole (1842)
World of Pandora (left) Jake Sully and his Navi avatar behind him (below)
Avatar (2009) Film poster
The use of romanticism in the film is a mere reflection of the modern worlds society where nature is at risk of being dominated by machinery. The fact that Pandoras inhabitants are more closely respected to nature going as far as to worship it. The idea of having a different world can be suggested as another way of escaping from reality and into the fantasy as well as losing something and regaining them and becoming a different identity. The fight between Navi and humans over resources is symbolically referenced to the nature versus manmade war. The manmade versus nature war seen in the film is quite similar to The Cold War where it is a war against different countries, therefore in Avatar, it is war of species.
Cultural Context: Cole, T (1842) The Voyage of Life (online): http://www.wikipaintings.org/en/thomas-cole/the-voyage-of-lifeyouth-1842-1 Key Individuals: Lopez, M (2011) James Cameron confirms Avatar 2 and 3 (online): http://blogamole.tr3s.com/2011/01/27/james-cameron-confirms-avatar-2-and-3/ Noholidaynolife (2010) In the world of Avatar filming (online): http://www.noholidaynolife.com/2010/04/15/inthe-world-of-avatar-filming/ Enormousrat (2009) Avatar Pandora Xbox (online): http://gaming.wikia.com/wiki/File:Avatar_Pandora_Xbox_360.jpg Historical Examples- Romanticism Cole, T (1842) The Voyage of Life (online): http://www.wikipaintings.org/en/thomas-cole/the-voyage-of-lifeyouth-1842-1 Burgess, D (2006) Wanderer Above the Sea of Fog (online): http://www.newworldencyclopedia.org/entry/Romanticism Contemporary Examples: Uknown (2009) Avatar (2009) (online): http://www.impawards.com/2009/avatar.html Donna (2009) AvatarAmazing! (online): http://movieblogbydonna.com/?paged=2 Olson, J (2009) Movie Review: James Camerons Avatar (online): http://fanboyz.net/2009/12/21/movie-reviewjames-camerons-avatar/
Bryant Wilder, J (unknown) Defining Romanticism in the Arts (online): http://www.dummies.com/how-to/content/defining-romanticism-in-thearts.html Rothko, C and M (2006) The Artists Reality: Philosophies of Art (unknown, Yale University Press) (online): http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=YE1rbTSeGt8C&printsec=frontcover&sourc e=gbs_ge_summary_r&cad=0#v=onepage&q&f=false Marien, M (1991) Future Survey Annual 1991: Volume 10 (USA, Transaction Publishers) (online): http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=JqmPCj8NXaoC&printsec=frontcover#v=on epage&q&f=false Woodsworth, W (1849) Ode: Intimations of Immortality (London, Edward Moxon) (online): http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=l11OAAAAYAAJ&printsec=frontcover#v=on epage&q&f=false Genter, R (2010) Late Modernism: Art, Culture, and Politics in Cold War America (USA, University of Pennsylvania Press) (online): http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=9bVBj0uM7y0C&printsec=frontcover&dq=g enter+2010+cold+war&hl=en&sa=X&ei=J5WUTbxNOGc0QX82JSIAg&ved=0CDEQ6AEwAA#v=onepage&q=genter%202010%20 cold%20war&f=false