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Avatar sends wake-up call to world

By Channel 4 News

Updated on 11 December 2009

The film's director, James Cameron, hails the message of his film Avatar as a lesson for humankind to stop damaging the environment.

Director Cameron and US actress Weaver

The Titanic director, whose new 3D blockbuster is set in the future on an alien planet which mankind is pillaging for natural resources, told how he hoped we can learn to change our ways.

Cameron said: "I see it as a broader metaphor, not so intensely politicised as some would make it, but rather that's how we treat the natural world as well.

"There's a sense of entitlement - 'We're here, we're big, we've got the guns, we've got the technology, we've got the brains, we therefore are entitled to every damn thing on this planet.

"That's not how it works and we're going to find out the hard way if we don't wise up and start seeking a life that's in balance with the natural cycles of life on earth."

The world of Avatar was conceived by Cameron 15 years ago and has been in production for more than four-and-a-half years, with its ground-breaking technology making it the most expensive film ever made.

The movie stars Sam Worthington, Sigourney Weaver and Zoe Saldana as alien creatures and is filmed using a virtual camera and computer-generated animation.

The story sees the indigenous species of the planet harmonise with nature to fight back against the invading humans.

But Cameron insists he does not see technology as the enemy. He said: "The film espouses this love-hate relationship with technology.

Certainly, we use technology to tell the story, which is a celebration of nature and that is an irony in itself.

"But it's not that technology is bad, it's not that technological civilisation is bad - we need to take control of our technological process. We're not going to be able to just rip our clothes off and just run back into the wilderness.

"First of all, there's not a lot of it left; secondly, that's not going to work for eight billion people, so we're going to have to think our way out of this and we're going to have to do it using technology and science. But we're also going to have be very human about it and get in touch with our emotions and our understanding of each other."

The 55-year-old Canadian director also told how he was influenced by the history of America being invaded and taken from its indigenous people.

He said: "It's a way of connecting a thread through history. I take that thread further back to the 16th and 17th centuries and to how the Europeans pretty much took over South and Central America and displaced and marginalised the indigenous peoples there.

"There's just this long, wonderful history of the human race written in blood going back as far as we can remember, where we have this tendency to just take what we want without asking."

Cameron confessed he was "relieved" to have finally finished Avatar, but already has plans for a second and third instalment.

Avatar opens in UK cinemas on 18 December.

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