Ok, so when we first viewed the Avatar trailer last summer, like most nerds, we thought: “Hmm, that looks a lot like ‘Dancing with Aliens of Ferngully.'” Now that the movie has been released and kicks ass, we think it’s okay to note just a few of the “homages” James Cameron packed into his 160-minute flick.
Michelle Rodriguez is great as pilot Trudy Chacon, but who could forget the seminal Latina bad-ass Lt. Vasquez from Aliens?
Parker Selfridge (Giovanni Ribisi) makes some really crappy decisions on Pandora, but nothing compares to the suicidal corporate connivances of Paul Reiser’s Yuppie creep Carter Burke in Aliens.
Col. Quaritch may think he’s a bad-ass in his mech, but he can barely stop a naked Navi princess. On the other hand, Ripley takes on the Queen Alien bitch with a mech forklift and lives to tell the tale.
Friendly CG Faces
Hey, it’s been 20 years since The Abyss was released, but the smiling Pseudopod with Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio‘s face was every bit as groundbreaking an effect then as the Navi are today.
Headstrong, Lovelorn Princesses
Cameron doesn’t only borrow from himself in Avatar, he also riffs from nearly every popular culture representation of native Americans. And just like with Pocahontas and John Smith, we wonder if the girls might have spared their tribes a whole lot of grief if they had just let their fathers scalp the intruders in the first act.
Disfigured Bad Guys
There’s a whole “Circle of Life” vibe running through Pandora and that just drives evil guys with scars nuts!
We could go on and point out more similarities with Little Big Man, Dancing with Wolves and Last of the Mohicans, but you get the idea.
One film that Avatar reminded us we need to add to our DVD library is Ferngully: The Last Rainforest. This great independent animated feature was released in 1992 and is definitely worth another look. After all, it clearly inspired the biggest cinematic breakthrough of all time, right?