Pokemon Avatar

After watching Avatar with Dexian, the first thing that we discussed was not the 3D technology or the performance capture, but about Pokemon’s influence on the film.

Avatar might be hyper-realistic with super-enhanced CG and all that, but there was a definite moment in the film where I expected Sam Worthington to yell out “Pikachu, I choose you!”

Avatar's Toruk

Sully chooses his PokeToruk

Warning: Spoilers ahead!

So in Avatar, there’s an extended sequence where the Na’vi explain that all warriors have to tame one of those Ikran banshee flying things, and these things supposedly choose you just as much as you choose them. Not only that, but you’re supposed to bond for life! As in forever, like a marriage. However, since this is Hollywood, marriages don’t last long.

Not too long after the hero Sully tames a banshee and celebrates their union with a 3D-enhanced flight around the skies of Pandora, a plot point develops where Sully uses his banshee to tame a giant super-banshee named the Toruk – which then makes him the ultimate bad-ass and symbolic hero of all the Na’vi.

He’s effectively trading up then, isn’t he? But he’s also exploiting his banshee to do so. It’s like pimping your wife out for money so you can afford to buy a BMW for some young floozy.

It’s like pimping your wife out for money so you can afford to buy a BMW for some young floozy.

And where does this all come from? Pokemon. The Pokemon games have been teaching this concept of “trading up” to kids for years!

I mean, in Pokemon you tame a bunch of little critters to help you fight bigger critters. The moment they take down a big creature, you keep that big creature as your new flagship Pokemon, and ditch the poor little critters that stuck by you while you were just a noob Pokemon Trainer. From that moment, they will be nothing to you, except for an entry in your Pokedex.

Pokemon trainers have been ditching Bulbasaur for Mewtwo since 1996!

The worst part for me is at the last bit of the movie, when Sully decides he doesn’t want a big-assed Toruk to fly around in anymore (probably because it’s a bitch-and-a-half to feed that thing, not to mention the parking issues). So he releases the Toruk back to the wild, and what happens? The poor dejected banshee that missed out on all the glory and excitement of the final battle crawls out of its nest and goes back to Sully. Talk about Battered Banshee Syndrome!

You know, it’s just really different from trading in your old car for a new one. Cars are machines, and don’t really have feelings or emotional attachments.

These banshees are highly intelligent, and probably emotional creatures. They bond for life, and to just toss them aside like that is pretty harsh.A simple apology is not going to suffice, and come to think of it, “You’re not going to like this” is not even an apology to begin with! One with nature indeed!

So now, Avatar will continue what Pokemon started all those years ago: a tradition of neglecting your pets in favor of newer and cooler ones. If those banshees weren’t computer-generated, PETA would have a field day with this movie.


About Drew

I love videogames, movies, my wife and my dog (in no particular order). View all posts by Drew

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