Journal of English Teaching through Movies and Media 2010;11(2):97-116.
Published online December 30, 2010.
Avatar from the perspective of Hollywood genre movie development
Sung sik Suh
할리우드 장르영화의 진화 관점에서 본 영화 아바타
James Cameron's sci-fi movie Avatar (2009) was a big hit. Some people consider it owes its success to a new 3D technique, which revolutionized film viewing. But when we consider film history in general, a newly introduced innovation does not always guarantee success. Thus we can safely say that the new technical innovation in Avatar is not the crucial element in its success but a secondary one. When it comes to its narrative, it is not so new. The plot is simple: humans in the future want to colonize the planet called Pandora where the humanoid indigenous population lives. Conflict is inevitable because the native Navi tribe wants to protect their territory and keep their way of life. However, as we watch this film, we come to realize that this is not a simple sci-fi movie. Though apparently the genre is sci-fi, it has another underlying genre, which is the western. The movie Avatar has many elements that are associated with westerns: conflict between good and evil, contrast between machine and nature, and conflict between colonizer and colonized are some of them. I think that the fusion of these two different genres, namely sci-fi and western, is an important element of the success of Avatar. Without this fusion, the movie Avatar could not have been a success. Hollywood is constantly developing new methods to give a sense of newness to theatergoers and to guarantee the success of movies.
Key Words: SF Movie;Western Genre;Native Indian;Avatar;Dances with Wolves;stereotype;manifest destiny;American exceptionalism
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