Avatar (film)/Headscratchers/Navi

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A Note for Tropers: For the sake of keeping this page halfway concise, please read other people's posts before adding your own. We only need the one post about wiping out the Na'vi, people. Thank you.

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Na'vi Language.

  • While the Na'vi language is unique and a neat attribute to add in the movie, it appears to be the same language all over the planet. In a montage, Jake and Neytiri travel to various tribes and they don't seem to change their language or even dialect. If the Na'vi are supposed to be based on Native Americans, then the writers should know that there can be over a dozen different languages depending on the tribe existing in an area no bigger than New England. That goes for culture and religion too. In the movie, the only difference between the tribes is their main mode of transportation. They all worship Eywa and they all speak Na'vi. What the movie is saying is that all aboriginal peoples are the same.
    • No. What the movie is saying is, "The Na'vi all speak the same language." Probably because Eywa is a tangible being that directly influences their lives. I don't recall anyone in the movie saying that all aboriginal people everywhere are exactly the same.
      "Based on," does not mean "we really do think that all of [insert people] act exactly like this." I'm honestly getting tired of this formula of, "Movie simplified this detail, therefore movie says that ALL PEOPLE LIKE THIS ARE STUPID/BAD/THE SAME SO IT SUCKS."
      I mean, good fucking Christ people. I know it's a radical thought but sometimes, sometimes, a movie isn't meant to be taken as an Author Tract. I know, hard to believe! But trust me, sometimes, the writers aren't evil racist bigots!
  • Because of the neural network. All life on Pandora is connected and can access shared memories. If humans had always had the internet all throughout the development of civilisation, then they would all most likely speak the same language the world over too.

How come an alien culture, on an ENTIRE DIFFERENT PLANET, has all the same facial cues and ways of expressing emotion as humans.

The Na'vi seem to have all the same body language for an alien species. They smile, cry tears, frown, and furrow their brows, all meaning the exact same thing as they do for humans, despite the fact that an alien species with an entire different evolutionary track would likely have developed different kinds of non-verbal communication. What the hell, Cameron?

Corey S. Powell: How much does science fiction need to be derived from the real world in order to ring true?

Cameron: If you're outlandish all the time, you've got no place to hang your hat. People have to feel connections to things that they recognize, even down to the design of the Navi[sic]. There's no plausible justification-unless you go to some really arcane explanation-for the Navi[sic] to look that human. It's just that science fiction is not made for a galactic audience. It's made by human beings for human beings.

(Interview from Discover magazine, December 2010, pg. 33)

  • Hi there, welcome to science fiction.
  • It's a form of Translation Convention, more for the benefit of the audience than it is a statement of how reality ought to be.
  • The same reason the Navi are hot humanoid cat people and Jake is a white dude: So the theater audience can relate to the characters. The audience can't have the same emotional response in scenes such as the destruction of hometree if the Navi are jumping up and down high fiving each other and smiling because thats how they evolved to show grief.
    • District 9 managed to connect the audience with a pretty alien-looking physiognomy. Sure, it made some concessions to human emotional response, but at least it tried a lot harder than Avatar did.
    • Yeah, but you weren't expected to believe a human would fall in love with the creatures in District 9. Sure, I'll bet there's someone who'd wanna bone a prawn, but that wouldn't fly so easily in a mainstream flick.
      • There was that interspecies prostitution...
    • People almost certainly did. Not as many people as maybe otherwise, certainly, but you're acting like any attraction is purely physical, probably out of imamturity.
      • I said the audience wasn't expected to—i.e., that wasn't the goal of the makers of the film, while James Cameron had the Na'vi redesigned until he was sure that people would want to hit that. I didn't say that nobody did, nor did I say that any attraction had to be "purely physical." What I said was that it would be harder to get away with a human falling in love with an ugly alien in a movie expected to make mainstream money, whether it's realistic or not.
        Also, simply bad form to go accusing people of "immaturity" based on one line on a website that you misinterpreted. And if you are going to do so, at least spell the word right.
  • We don't know for sure how many alien species and cultures humans have encountered by the time the movie is set. If there are hundreds of extraterrestrial civilizations out there, then it's possible that the others are significantly more alien, and the Avatar Program was instituted in this specific case because the Navi happen to be so much more human-like than others, making integration of avatars into their social circle feasible. On a world where any researcher who slipped up and smiled at someone is going to get their avatar lynched for a mortal insult, they wouldn't risk trying such a thing.
    • It's a stretch but not as much as it may seem. People tend to anthropomorphize everything; some will tell you their dog winks or smiles or whatever, after all. And surprisingly enough non-humans in the real world do have some equivalent to human emotional responses - some have demonstrated responses to being tickled for instance.
      • The author said why. He kept modifying the navi till every member of the cast admitted they would tap them. He wanted sex appeal.
  • They were sufficiently different, particularly in the way they moved (Jake excepted, obviously). Particularly since the acting is FAR better than any other non-human species.

The Na'Vi only have one brain jack where as every other large animal analogue have two. Same for limbs. And these things, which serve any other purpose the plot calls for aren't used for reproduction. Really, movie? Did the MPAA think two jellyfish ponytails schlurping together would be too R rated?

  • They might be. But one presumes that James Cameron knew that he would already be branded a huge perv for the blue catpeople, and didn't want to make extra material for crass jokes.
  • I think they have only one on the grounds that they would be exceedingly similar to twi-leks from Star Wars thus only one. As to why it is not used for sex, which I was excepting actually would probably be the MPAA or they just could not agree on how it would work.
  • I can't be certain, but didn't Neytiri's mom have at least two braids tucked into her bead shirt, Unohana-style? Having two of those things would certainly help in the "communing with Eywa" department; maybe losing one uplink and one pair of limbs was a "trade-off" for becoming a sapient humanoid.
    • If you look carefully they are separate at the top but meet as one below her neck.
      • The established theory is that this is just a different style and the queue itself is only contained within one.
  • Animals other than Na'Vi do have two jacks, but only left one is used to "hook up". Even in the scene where Jake and Naitiri ride Leonopterix together, Jake is "driving" and Naitiri takes a back seat. Maybe right jack is simply not functional?
  • Didn't you see their "hair" in a ponytail? They clearly have two jacks and tie them together. Maybe they only use the right (on the animals) like right-handeness. They only need one pilot for animals anyway
  • According to Avatar Movie Zone and an interview they somehow managed to snag, those 'ponytails' (which is actually a nerve cluster or some crap like that) are involved in consummating marriage but not necessarily a part of sex itself. It's apparently an 'intimacy' thing.
    • this trooper assumed they were part of the external sex organs of all pandoran fauna because everything seems to have them, and there is not a whole lot of evolutionary benifit for wild animals having an organ that is only useful for being domesticated easily. also the whole, "once you've bonded to someone/thing it is forever and always" thing. and jake being told in the beginning not to play with his braid lest he "go blind".
    • Information is here.
      • That was a throwaway joke. Na'vi have genitals similar to humans, tsaheylu is not reproduction, but a connection of nervous systems with the ability to share thoughts, senses and memories, kind of like Mindlink Mates. It's all in intention, if two Na'vi did make tsaheylu without feelings for each other than platonic thoughts would be all they would experience from the others.
  • My brother wondered what would happen if two if an animal's jacks would link up? would its head explode or something? And what if two Na'vi linked their brain-links with each other? Some parts of this wiki imply that that's used as some variant of sex.
    • Not sex. Sex works similarly to humans. On the other hand, it does allow for excellent opportunities such as being able to feel everything your lover does simultaneously...

Isn't it strange that the very planet-synchronizing, tree-listening natives were caught completely off-guard and unaware by a gigantic bulldozer that couldn't have possibly gotten to it's destination in less than one day?

The movie heavily emphasizes their awareness, heightened senses, and detection abilities.

  • Well, those bulldozers were moving all over the place anyway, and though the Na'vi didn't like it, they didn't have the means to prevent them all the time. It presumably took some time for them to realize that they were coming straight for the Home Tree with no intention of stopping.
    • I agree with the original complaint. Quaritch tells Jake he has 3 months because "that's when the dozers get there". Presumably this means the bulldozers have been on a straight arrow course, cutting through everything between the base and hometree for the last 3 months. We see Tsu'Tey going out on a hunting mission (during Jake's Training Montage), as well as everyone flying around on banshees. Really they should be able to put two and two together and at least ask Jake and Grace if they knew what was going on. Alternatively they could have just air-dropped them in, but given how large they are, and how many of them there are, this seems a little unlikely.
      • It's more likely that Quaritch wasn't speaking literally when he said "that's when the dozers get there." He probably meant more along the lines of, "That's when we're going in, one way or the other," than "They're heading there right now and it's going to take three months to arrive."
  • I think that the buldozers were given a new course towards the end by Quaritch who wanted things to go to open war. Basically, he changed them to go through the tree of souls instead of how they were going to force things to a head.
    • This is stated as much in the collector's edition.
  • Hell's Gate is set up within two hundred klicks of Hometree (as dialogue implies). We can assume that that particular node for the planetary consciousness is within fifty kilometers of Hometree, and is probably closer to Hell's Gate, than Hometree itself, as the dozers got there first without anyone knowing about them. Assuming the dozers move at fifteen kilometers per hour (conservative estimate) if they'd set out from Hell's Gate and went straight there they could have gotten there inside of ten hours. Instead, we can probably assume they got there faster, as we know the dozers regularly move outside that particular area around Hell's Gate.

Why do all the Na'vi look so similar?

Is it just me or do all the Na'vi look like clones of each other with slight variation in height, facial features and gender. If they are so remarkably humanoid, one would assume that they would have similar variations like humans. For example, shouldn't skin colour of the Na'vi vary; say, from very light blue to very dark blue?. Why are they all the same build: very tall and very lean? Everyone looks like blue, 10 foot tall runway models. It would be reasonable to assume that some Na'vi would be bigger and others smaller, with variation in musculature and body composition as well as hair colour and texture.

  • Welcome to a genetically insular, tribal society. For the most part, a tribal society that lives in a single location and has a small (if healthy, but still small) gene pool and has very similar upbringings will have roughly similar body types, coloration, and shapes. You don't see an immense amount of physical variation in a species until you have a lot of genetic interbreeding between peoples from different areas of the world, and the same holds true when you've got very little division of labor among the society. The Na'vi simply reflect something that also held true in human history for a long, long time. When your gene pool is limited and everyone does the same work with no specialization, everyone starts looking the same.
  • Added on to these points, you have to factor in Culture glasses. It's entirely possible they do have more variations than we perceive, it's just that we haven't grown up with it. Many travelers will attest and have attested in the past that "all natives look alike" just because they aren't used to how they look. The big differences between you and them overshadow the littler differences between them and them. "Slight variations" to you may seem painfully obvious to them.
    • On an unrelated note, I am both amused and curious about how one can have a "slight variation in gender." :p
      • One chromosome?
    • I think they mean that Na'Vi of both genders share similar, slender body shapes that don't exhibit as great an amount of sexual dimorphism as do humans.
        • Truth in Television then as humans have an extreme amount of sexual dimorphism compared to many other animals.
      • With reason: since both sexes do pretty much the same stuff, they have to have similar builds in order to survive doing it.
  • Really? I found them to be exceptionally diverse, especailly for being CGI creations, which typically fall prey to Only 6 Faces. Despite their bodies, which all share the same lithe, arboreal physique, their faces were as varied as humans—in fact, I found that some of them were even UGLY, with unflattering facial shapes or strange noses that WERE NOT "perfectly sculpted" examples of a flawless, superb face.
  • There's certainly plenty of variation between them. They all have a similar body-structure certainly, result of going through more or less identical training and lifestyle, that bears some strong similarity to African Masai-tribals (spelling?), but in faces the only things that they really have in common are the flat noses and yellow eyes. And even in bodies there are more slender and more muscled types, as well as a large variety of heights ranging at least a foot to both directions from the average 9'.
  • You're basically talking about one tribe, the Omatikaya. If we bring in the gathered tribes, then you're talking about Na'vi of a region, not Na'vi from all over the entire Earth-sized moon. This is tantamount to gathering up a bunch of Native Americans back in the days when humans were also genetically and geographically separated societies. Why do all Chinese have similar features? Why do all Irish have similar features?
    • Except not all Irish or Chinese have similar features. Less than 20% of Irish are red-headed and there's considerable variation among us, since we've been hit so often by the Vikings and other conquering groups. Same thing with the Chinese- they only look the same to Westerners because the Westerners in question didn't grow up in a society like that. Added to that, even in groups that are fairly isolated, there's still going to be considerable genetic variation. You aren't going to look that much like your neighbor Bob, even if he is a cousin and part of the same ethnic group. The bigger question is how, in a tribal environment that's fairly hostile, do the Na'vi manage to not end up with the considerably shorter lifespans, greater risk of injury, multilation and starvation that similar hunter-gatherer groups on Earth have to face? Hunter gatherers don't rake in the same average calories as farmers do, and that seriously hurts their chances in bad years.
    • Because the Na'vi are better adapted to their environment without having to change it. They have never CAUSED problems such as a shortage of food, and as for injuries, you can see from minor injuries Jake receives over the course of the film such as the cut on his arm or the minor injuries he and Neytiri receive during the battle that their healing rate is as good as if not better than some of the fastest humans.

Their goddess is a bitch

Couldn't she have sent the reinforcements, I don't know, before all the Na'vi got totally slaughtered?

  • She's not on their side per se. As Neytiri said, she only protects the balance of life. The wildlife only acted when the Tree of Souls was in immediate danger.
    • And when the balance did start getting too messed up (huge bunch of Na'vi are dead, etc.), Eywa intervenes.
    • Yeah...but Jake warned her that they were all probably going to get killed off if she didn't help out...
      • It's possible that she only intervened when enough Na'Vi were killed to justify "correcting the balance of life" by killing an equal number of humans. There are a lot more Na'Vi on Pandora than humans, so she waited until the body count was high enough to where she could mow down the majority of the ground troops; she wasn't being a bitch, just sticking to her principles.
        • You're discussing it like it is a conscious act. It's not mind control, people.
        • "Correcting the balance of life" only counts if Eywa considered the humans to be valid parts of the ecosystem. Humans are not "natural" on Pandora, so they would be more viewed as an infection; thus, an immune reaction should have begun long before. Let's just be honest: It wouldn't have been as dramatic if Eywa had stepped in sooner. A Curb Stomp Battle against the humans might not have offered enough sympathy for the protagonists. Theory of Narrative Causality in action.
          • Technically, correcting a balance can be seen as how the humans were endangering everything else too.
      • Probably less to do with "correcting the balance of life" than with simple logistics: A. it takes time to gather that many of the different species in one place, and in position to actually act (note that's why Quaritch is attacking, he doesn't want to give the Na'vi any more time to consolidate their forces), and B. if the big beasties had charged sooner, they would have trampled the Na'vi along with the humans. You don't send the tanks to roll over the opposition when your own infantry are still in the way.
      • It's very unlikely that the number of the Na'vi in question qualify as protecting the balance - there's likely to be at least a couple of million of Na'vi across the planet, judging at least from the Colonel's estimate of how quickly the horde could be growing, and only a couple of thousands actually participated in the battle. It's far more likely that Eywa only reacted to the danger on the Tree of Souls, which is rare, if not unique, and difficult to replace.
  • Lets not forget that we're talking about an entity comprised of the collective bio-connections of an entire moon worth of plants. Applying a human mind set and logic to such a being really doesn't make sense, who knows how Eywa's thoughts work or what kind of priorites she sets.
  • Or, and this is getting into realEpileptic Tree territory, the planet-wide mind thing isn't one entity, but several, who had to discuss it Entmoot-style.
    • At the very least, as a planet-wide mind that comprises every living thing and every living thing's ancestors, Eywa probably needed some Ent-like time to completely think out the situation and decide what to do about it. And she also probably wanted to wait and see exactly what happened first, if the humans were really as big a threat as Jake said, or if things might work themselves out some other way.
  • These justifications are fairly weak, the obvious reason is that it's more dramatic in the animals come to the rescue rather than fight from the start.
    • Well think of it on macro level. You're a person. Do you worry about every little bit of bacteria or virus or whatever that you come in contact with? Nope. For the most part, your antibodies and other automated self-defense mechanisms work just fine. It's only when you actually get severely sick and start taking meds, start doing proactive things to prevent disease do you get involved. Same thing - up until Q's forces posed a real and serious threat to an important 'organ' (or whatever), she had no reason to act.
  • Simply, Eywa is a True Neutral alien Hive Mind, and acts like that with the creatures of the ecosystem it leads.
  • You're assuming that Eywa gives a damn about the Na'vi. Eywa is not on their side, and she doesn't care about any one given species, regardless of sentience (hence why wild animals are permitted to attack the Na'vi). Therefore, she wouldn't have intervened until it was absolutely clear that she needed to. A bunch of Na'vi died in the process, but that is of little concern to her.
  • I'd like to expand on what the third poster said. For starters, that poster said: Jake warned her that they were all probably going to get killed off if she didn't help out.

I think that's a key point, right there. Consider in the battle, when Ney'tiri sees the hammer-head-things and starts screaming into her throat-mic how "Eywa has heard you!". While that, could, of course, be the misinterpretation of a follower of a generally-silent deity, I think it's more reasonable that, whether by accident or otherwise, she was right. As others have said, here and in the film itself, Eywa didn't favor anyone or anything—including the Na'vi. They weren't her special little blue monkeys, any more than the hammer-heads were her special big armored things.

It also seems reasonable that Eywa simply didn't "know" (as much as that term might be applicable to Eywa) the humans even existed. Yes, their methods were destructive—but less destructive than most natural disasters you could name. They were mining a comparably small fraction of the moon in somewhat controlled methods, much smaller in scale than the damage done by something like a roaring forest fire that turned miles and miles into cinder, or a monsoon that buried everything it didn't move. So, again, I think it's reasonable that Eywa effectively didn't even notice the humans were there.

Then Eywa got a "look" into human culture, through Jake. We know that their wiggly-bits mean they can exchange information; just how much, when, whatever and so forth, all of that may be up for debate. However, we know that, at whatever level, information is exchanged. Further, we know Eywa is a consciousness (if of a sort) that covers and, perhaps, combines the entire moon and its inhabitants (at least intermittently). Assuming Ney'tiri was spot-on when she said that Eywa cared only for the balance of things, that peek into Jake's head could all too easily have shown Eywa that the humans were going to disrupt—perhaps even eradicate—that balance. Whether because that very information was on the forefront of Jake's mind, or the connection was that "deep" and pervasive, it seems reasonable that Eywa understood just how much of a threat the humans really were. then you add in how much time it must have taken to, as someone else put it, marshal and co-ordinate the resources at Eywa's disposal, and I believe we come to a very reasonable explanation for why it took so long for Eywa to "fight back".

'Course,we all know it's primarily Rule of Cool, but still, heh.

Do the Na'vi ever eat?

The only time I recall seeing a Na'vi eat was Jake's avatar taking a bite of that juicy fruit as he's just entered the body. Maybe I just missed it?

    • When Neytiri first brings Jake to the clan, she takes him up to a campfire thing to sit with the others. While he's busy stepping on people's tails and bumbling after her, there's a couple of very clear shots of them chewing on something.
      • Made even more obvious in the collector's edition. The background material has numerous references to the Na'vi eating. The truth is that showing characters sitting there eating is not very efficient for time, the same reason characters are not shown using the toilet or looking for things when going out.
    • There's also the scene where Jake is learning how to hunt. Considering the Na'vi's respect for life, they must have been hunting for food.

What's with Neytiri's arranged marriage?

I get it, Pocahon- I mean, Neytiri wants to marry the outsider instead of the guy her parents picked out for her. But the Na'vi culture doesn't seem like the type to force women into loveless marriages for the sake of politics - particularly as Na'vi mate for life. So you'd think Neytiri would have some feelings for the guy, wouldn't you? But no, she doesn't seem sorry in the slightest for breaking off the engagement, and I got the feeling she couldn't give two hoots for him.

  • But the Na'vi culture doesn't seem like the type to force women into loveless marriages for the sake of politics - particularly as Na'vi mate for life. Arranged marriages do not work that way. Human societies dealt with arranged marriages for many thousands of years, all the way back into tribal times. Why should we believe the Na'vi are any different? And "mating for life" does not mean that arranged marriages do not happen. Catholic Europe had arranged marriages for fifteen hundred plus years that were very much "till death do us part."
    • Riiiiiiiiiiiiiight.
    • By pointing out that Na'vi mate for life, what I was getting at was that Na'vi couples seem to have some sort of extra-special bond beyond that of human marriages, being space elves able to mind-link with each other and all. Would Ney'tiri's parents force her into that if she really didn't care for Tsu'tsey?
      • When two Na'vi do a neural bond, it's Eywa that instigates the feelings that comes from the bond. It's possible for Eywa, when she sees the couple having a difficult/unhappy future, to cause not-so-good feelings to arise from a bond. I don't know what happens after a 'bad' bond, but it's probable that the couple part ways. Anyways, Neytiri's mother likely contacted Eywa under this matter to some degree already.

My problem wasn't so much with the fact that it was an arranged marriage. I just think that, seeing as she has known for some time that she's going to marry this guy and rule side-by-side with him, she ought to have some affection for him, even if it's not exactly love. I think that exploring that would have been an interesting expansion of her character, though I suppose at 3 hours they have quite enough material as it is.

      • Also, just look at Neytiri's parents. Spiritual leader + tribal leader seems to be a theme in their culture; when Jake is given a rundown on important people in the Ometicaya tribe, Neytiri is mentioned to be the furute SL and Tsu'tsey is the future TL.
  • They clearly aren't on bad terms with each other. They just have very different personalities. As far as I could tell, neither of them was very excited about the expected union between them; even Tsu'tey's attack on Jake didn't seem so much like jealous rage, as disgust over the idea that "a demon in a false body" would mate a true Na'vi. Also, it doesn't seem that either of them are being forced into anything, just told that it would be convenient due to their respective roles in the tribe.
  • Again, lack of understanding of background. It states it can take years for a Na'vi to find a mate with mutual feelings. Just because Jake chose someone doesn't mean that, for example, Peyral or Ninat couldn't choose someone... Background states that when two Na'vi first make tsaheylu, if the experience was not positive then they will not remain mated. One theory states that Neytiri wanted Jake to mate with her which was why she took him to the tree of voices that night and brought the subject up then.

So, let me summarize the conversation as the bulldozers are approaching.

"Hi, I'm the guy who came here as a moron, was marked as special by your god, and proceeded to become an upstanding citizen."
"Yes, yes, we know. What's up?"
"Well, see, the reason I originally came out here, as any idiot who gave the matter two seconds' thought could have guessed because this is the main thing humans have expressed interest in doing since we got here, was to try to work out how we can get you all to leave peacefully. Now my boss has given up and decided to just destroy your crap until you run. They're gonna be here soon. You have to get away."
"Oh, no!"
"Yeah, it's a pretty dire situation."
"No, not that! That you originally turned up because you wanted to find out stuff about us, rather than because you inexplicably loved our culture that you didn't know anything about whatsoever which was apparently what we had assumed! Let's all hate you for that and completely ignore your warning on the assumption that the reason you are telling the truth about why you're here is that you're a dirty lying liar."

Yeah, good job there, every single Na'vi. You didn't even have the "Big Bad reveals the identity of The Mole, so his confession of Becoming the Mask comes off as more trickery" excuse that normally accompanies this type of plot.

  • I don't know about you, but I think that Eytukan only had Grace and Jake bound just because Jake made Neytiri upset, and that she was now incapable of taking the position of Tsahik.
    • The Na'vi thought that the "dreamwalkers" were a different, "nicer" group of humans than the ones with mecha and flying machines. He basically flat-out told them that he was sent to spy on them, not to learn their ways. That would be an equivalent of a German being sent to the Soviet Union before WWII, studying their culture and gaining trust and respect among the Party, and then saying, "You know, I've actually been a Nazi spy all along, but listen to me! I'm on your side! The Nazis are going to attack you on June 22, in those locations! Move your troops to-- aaargh why is no one listening to me!!"
      • Because in that situation, yes, those being spied on have a right to be angry and suspicious. But they'd still have to be stupid to totally disregard his warnings, especially since said German was taking a great risk by telling them he was a spy. Even if they held their positions in case he was trying to trick them, they should at least plan ahead just in case he was right.
  • For that matter, the Na'vi supposedly took him in for the purpose of learning about warrior dreamwalkers/humans. It was sufficiently obvious, even to Jake (who couldn't even speak the language), that he reported the fact back at the base. So why be so upset or surprised about him doing the same? For that matter, why didn't they at any point try to go through with this entirely reasonable plan, and learn something about humanity?
    • In my opinion, Na'vi never gave a crap about "dreamwalkers", so it was just Jake saying "Hey guys whose chief's daughter I banged, there is a blah blah mines blah blah bulldozers blah blah and I'm a liar. Plus, my people just destroyed one of your sacred place, but it's totally not my fault that I never told you in the three months I spent here."
    • It's funny how you say they "ignored" his warning, when they moved out the whole tribe and prepared to repel the attack. Yes, they underestimated the humans' firepower but you can't say they turned the blind eye to the warning itself.

"They want nothing we can offer them" my ass. Bring in the drugs.

Sorry if I'm cynical, but alcohol, drugs and free food always worked. You don't have to mass subvert entire villages at a time, just a few members. On a statistical basis, there must be a couple of Na'vi every village that you can turn in addicted, happy friends. Then it's a matter of time before envy and curiosity brings the mass to feed on your palm. The minor, restless proud resistance? Savages, that refuse to be reasonable as their more sensible folks. They can be dealed with rockets with a contenute moral backdraft.

  • My father, that is possibly more cynical and knows lot more history, adds "sugar" to the list of innocent, simple culture breakers. Just give lots of sugar for free, and wait. You would be amazed to see how well it works.
  • So, give them the firewater, paleface?
  • They already have their own equivalent of alchoholic beverages. The chances are that humans can't provide them with anything they'd consider better, especially considering that most Earthlings eat nothing but algae in their Crapsack World, and unlike American Indians the Na'vi already have a resistance against mind-altering substances.
    • My "firewater" point was sarcasm.
  • "Bring in the drugs"? There's a rite of passage a Na'vi goes through where they basically get a (really) bad trip through some poisons and tries to seek out their spirit animal within their visions while throwing up and groaning in pain. After that, I think all Na'vi would avoid mind-altering substances.
  • Besides, what guarantee is there that our drugs would work on hydrogen-sulphide-breathing aliens?
    • The Na'vi breathe oxygen, just like humans. They just are immune to the trace gases that make the atmosphere poisonous to humans. But the point is valid - most Na'vi foodstuffs are poisonous to humans. The same is likely to be true vice versa, and also apply to mind-altering substances.
      • They just spent God knows how much on creating a viable life-form from a mixture of DNA and the local DNA analogue. Compared to that, making a compound that triggers the Na'vi reward center would be easy.
        • Because getting a good portion of an alien civilization hooked on space-crack would go over so well with the folks back home.
          • Easy solution there: don't tell the folks back home you're doing it. Even if some intrepid reporter gets the feeling something hinky's going on, it's going to take him at least 12 years to get to the planet, find proof, and come back.
  • My first thought wasn't drugs, but rather "sky-walking." For all the natural wonder Pandora has, you gotta figure there must be a few Na'vi who have gotten a little bored with riding banshees and the like and think, "Whoah! You guys can fly up above the clouds and to other worlds!? What do I have to do to get to do that?"
  • I agree with the first guy, because surely there are no problems with interplanetary substance use.
  • Given that Eywe does give them everything they might want (even free mind uploads!), they really don't want anything. Could it happen? Maybe. But considering how unforgiving the world and the na'vi are, it's not likely to go over well in the long run. And, as in the real world, it's also not going to be a complete conversion...
  • There is some level of communication going on between tribes and they're not idiots. It might work for the first tribe but when word gets out that X tribe is mindless idiots thanks to humans peddling things, the na'vi are going to respond like any society with a heavy dependency on fit individuals. They're going to get angry, and they're going to isolate any idiot who makes themselves useless by sucking up crap.
  • All this is irrelevant as the Na'vi HAVE alcohol (stronger than any human drinks...), as well as certain plants which can get them high. Either way, the Na'vi are not as stupid as most people would like to think.
    • I just read that article. The stuff is deadly in large quantities, and they use it as a face paint. This is proof that they're not as stupid as people would like to think? Oh sure, they're careful not to use large quantities, which sounds to me like the equivalent of "I'm only a recreational user." We used to use lead-based paint. Then we linked it to all those mysterious poisonings and deaths, and stopped using it. We didn't say "Well, we'd better be careful not to use too much of this stuff," we stopped using it.

We do have stuff we can offer them- not just drugs/alcohol

This was the biggest thing that got on my nerves. Towards the beginning of the movie, it's mentioned that the RDA provided education, medicine, and language classes to the Na'vi, who told them to eff off after a while. Here's the thing: the Na'vi live in a hunter-gatherer society. Even with their freaky goddess, they're still going to run into the same problems that any hunter-gatherer society runs into here on Earth. Namely, diseases, starvation, and mutilation are going to be fairly common. Having a goddess 'keeping the balance' isn't going to spare them from any of that, since those are natural population checks that kick in when species get too large for their environment. Some things to consider are:

  • Starvation: they're a hunting society. Here on earth, most hunter gatherers earn a lot less calories on average by hunting- they might score a bonanza once in a while, but they're also a lot more likely to lose than they are to consistenly keep getting big game. This is one of the reasons why farming societies tend to be much larger and more stable- their food supply isn't nearly as risky as Dad having an off day out in the bush. Since Eywa isn't that keen on protecting them from losses, and hunting is implied to be pretty risky and not that rewarding (their tribes are fairly small), we should see more evidence of this. Humans can make Avatars that are able to survive in that climate- how hard is it for us to help augment their food supplies during a crisis in exchange for Unobtanium trade? Belief generally ends up losing out during a massive food crisis.

Medicine and disease: there's clearly a need for medicine, since RDA wouldn't have bothered with that campaign if everything was as rosy in Na'vi society as it's made out to be. They live in a hunter-gatherer society and probably trade with other tribes- diseases are still going to be pretty likely. Infant mortality is probably pretty high too. If push comes to shove, why are the Na'vi so reluctant to trade for medicine, or even accept medical help? They've got limits with their own healing, and Eywa doesn't seem to be that caring, if she got 'keeping the balance' to consider. Above all, living in a massive rainforest is not necessarily going to be nice. I mean, look at jared Diamond's work on hunting societies in New Guinea and other places. It's not the environmental fantasy everyone thinks it is, and it's rough adapting to it. The Na'vi shouldn't have been as reluctant to accept some of the aid that the RDA tried to use to strike up friendly relations. Why are they so reluctant to accept medicine that we give them?

  • As far as canonical material states, the three animals Na'vi primarily hunt are hexapede, tapirus, and sturmbeest. The former 2 have been described as absurdly easy prey for every other predator on the planet and the only thing keeping the species alive is a high birth rate. In some scenes, you can actually see tapirii wandering into Hometree, just waiting to be snatched up and turned into tonight's dinner. I seriously doubt the Na'vi are in any danger of a food crisis.

The 'campaign' was born out of PR; everything would have seriously been easier for the RDA if there weren't any masses of protesters back on Earth complaining about every single morally reprehensible action they do six light-years away. Despite the huge amounts of money the RDA's PR department likely had to throw around, they still did a half-assed job (evidenced by Selfridge's "roads" comment and how moronic the Avatar program is in hindsight - you want uncanny-valley human/alien hybrids talking to you?). That being said, there's no real reason why the Na'vi must have medical problems; Eywa's probably close enough to omniscience that she can 'keep the balance' and 'provide for the Na'vi' at the same time, and the Na'vi probably has several millenia of adapting under their belt already. After all, 'Keeping the balance' involves Eywa maintaining the appropriate population of Na'vi on the moon anyways.

    • Yes, but maintaining the balance doesn't mean the Na'vi magically keep a low birth rate with all the massive amounts of game they're getting. Look at any species that does well in an environment- they have highs and lows in population numbers that on average balance out. However, they still have periods where there are massive die off to compensate for increasing highs. That's how 'balancing nature' works in real life. Their environment is still hostile to them, even with a relatively benevolent goddess (who really didn't do that much to stop the humans when they arrived). We should be seeing that balance go both ways, not just them living in a happy, hippy comune or something- so diseases are should be fairly probable, or at least a high mortality rate. Also, that doesn't explain why the RDA focused on medical issues in the first place- they could have done other PR- but focused on medicine and education. That does imply that Na'vi biology has been studied enough by people to have an idea of some of the issues they face, and that those problems are probably pretty severe.
    • The Na'vi are sentient beings. They would understand the dangers of both stretching themselves too thin and placing too much of a burden on their ability to provide.

Several problems with those:

-Food: Perhaps, but with a population of perhaps a few million, it is a sustainable number, unlike current human populations.

-Disease: No, the Na'vi are not overpopulated enough to suffer pandemics, and weak individuals are less likely to survive anyway. Why do people assume 'medicine' means 'drugs' as opposed to 'medical technology'? It is stated that the Na'vi rarely if ever are actually sick and this is indeed a point of interest to the RDA's researchers - 'medicine' was more from the perspective of studying them.

-Roads is the most facepalm-inducing yet. Seen their ikran recently? Fast, easy, sustainable, fun transport. Even pa'li (or indeed, the Na'vi themselves) can travel through the forest unmatched by any human assisted or unassisted.

    • Metal knives and arrowheads, jewelry, rope, cloth, pots, pans, cooking utensils. All things good for trade that the Na'vi might like. and sure, they may have their native equivalents, but utility and durability are compelling reasons to upgrade.
      • Not necessarily - especially not when they know someone is trying to buy them off with them.
      • Stuff for rocks is a decent trade, even if one side has no care for the other, most of canada/north america was explored that way, just substitute 'rocks' for 'beaver'
        • Not when it involves destruction of someone's home.
      • Metal knives and arrowheads, jewelry, rope, cloth, pots, pans, and cooking utensils aren't a suitable replacement for the home of the clan for generations, the link to their God, and their home. Would you trade in your home for a new set of steak knives?
    • It's also possible that Eywa would slap down the Na'vi if they got far enough ahead. If the Na'vi began to subdue their world the way that humans subdued theirs, thereby tipping the balance of life, it's possible that Eywa would interpret the Na'vi as a threat and send massive hordes of animals after their cities like they did to the humans.

Jake Soo Li

Jake introduces himself to the Na'vi as Jake Sully, so why do they all call him Jake Soo Li?

  • They have this thing called an accent...
  • Yeah, it's generally like that with any person who's first language isn't English.
  • What I (not the original troper) don't get is why they don't call him Jake Sa'li. I figured religious reasons, at first, but they never followed up on it. They'd have to have been following the external shape of his mouth instead of the sound, since they had heard it, and they should have only gone to Soo-li if they'd read "Sully" first, without hearing it.
    • People with different native languages have different pronunciations. This troper has never met an English-speaker who could pronounce his name correctly, no matter how many times he repeats it.
  • As it is, the Na'vi make an effort considering that they don't even have a 'J' sound in their own language (the closest is 'ts'), and for the lack of distinction between his name and surname, Na'vi family names are prefixed with 'te-, and Neytiri, who is easily exposed to the most human culture through teaching Jake, refers to him as Jake.

So, are they marsupials or what?

James Cameron stated that the Na'vi aren't placental mammals. So why do they have belly buttons? Is it so they won't look weird in loincloths?

  • Cameron said they weren't placental animals, not placental mammals. On a biological standpoint, the Na'vi aren't even supposed to have tits. Rule of Sexy at play here.
    • Still fails to explain why they have navels, since the purpose of a navel is to connect to a placenta.
    • A naval could connect to an external yolk sac, if they're egg-layers.
      • I just got mindfucked by this statement's imagery. Anyways, the book tie-in says Na'vi reproduction is similar to mammals, sans the placenta. So who knows.
  • An off hand remark in an interview (initial designs for the Na'vi were more reptilian), also contradicted by the deleted scene at the end of the film where Neytiri is pregnant, by their mammalian reproduction, and even by the presence of a navel. Or if you really wanted to try to reconcile the two, they could be Ovoviviparous (giving birth to live offspring and with internal fertilisation, but with no placenta).

Why are the Mindlinks so under developed?

Picture this: You have a the ability to connect with plants and animals to the point of sharing minds, and for the animals, if you can do it, they become your loyal follower. Other than the fact that if this happened on Earth we would be running into what can only be described as Pokemon For Real, it just seems that the Na'vi did absolutely nothing to experiment how to use their own bodies for the betterment of their society. Or at least, not to its full potential. If all humans had to do to quell an african elephant would be to jump on its back when its not looking, it can be guaranteed the sheer amount of stupid, daring, and possibly smart people trying it. In short, it just bugs me that the mind links are treated as something much more limited than it seems to be.

  • The Na'vi don't think like humans. They already live in perfect communion with the rest of their moon, all its life, and the accumulated knowledge and experience of their ancestors. They don't want anything more than that, which is also why they didn't want anything humans could offer them. There's no "betterment" of their society to be done, it's already at perfect equilibrium. What else is there for them to do? Turn the animals into weapons and wage war against each other? Use them to tear down the forests and build cities? If the Na'vi acted like that, Pandora wouldn't be any different than Earth.
    • If other tropers on the main page are correct, then books that were released that give additional info on Pandora and the Na'vi reveal they did in fact have wars with neighboring tribes, but that it has died down as of late. Sounds like a necessity that would create a new tactic or strategy to me. Also, considering that they uses horse and flying creatures as their transportation, it's not like the idea never occurred to them.
      • Okay, I tried to answer sensibly and without snark, but I see that's not going to work, so let me put it more simply. What part of "planetary hive mind" do you not get? The Na'vi are AT ONE with the rest of the planet. They don't think like humans, and, being part of a sentient natural order that they worship, they don't feel the need to impose their will on it. Asking "why don't they exploit their environment like we do ours" is missing the point of the movie on a whole new level.
        • I'm not saying they would exploit the environment. They ride the horse creatures, but that isn't 'exploiting'. They ride the flying creatures but that isn't 'exploiting'. They connect with the plants but that isn't 'exploiting'. I'm not necessarily saying they would immediately think 'We should connect with the rhino creatures so we can kill everything!', I was just using that as an example. And I don't think they are hive minded. That would imply they are all brainless creatures who work to live and die for the queen and will do what she says at a moments notice. They worship the tree goddess lady, but to imply that makes it a hive mind...is...well...basically like saying that being religious makes you hive minded. Also, there are multiple different tribes, so that implies some diversity, however small, and like I said before, apparently they did used to have disagreements and squabbles amongst each other. That's getting off topic though. I'm not asking why they don't exploit the environment like we do. I'm asking why haven't tried to become one (so to speak) with creatures other than two or three? It's not like it's taboo. The female protagonist's father rode the dangerous flying one, but who is to say that all creatures are as hostile as the dangerous flying one?
          • Oh, sorry about that - I totally misinterpreted what you were asking. While the Na'vi aren "hive minded" in the same sense as the Borg, I think there's a low-level empathic communion with their environment, such that Eywa tells them when they're pushing its limits, or taking it in a direction that's harmful (and is why Neytiri was upset about killing the predators to rescue Jake - it was a disruption to the equilibrium, but necessary to save him). I'd chalk the lack of large-scale changes to their society to that effect: they've gotten as far as they can without skewing the balance, and in return, the environment's co-evolved to suit them as perfectly as they suit it. As for why they don't use more than one or two beasts, it might be that they do, but only two are involved in a warrior/hunter's rite of passage. Or it could be that there's some level of neural compatibility involved, and while everything can link into Eywa via the trees, linking directly into each other is harder and only a few animals are compatible enough with the Na'vi for it to work.
            • Ah okey, that does make sense. I guess my main issue is more of a plot device issue than a plot issue. I don't have an issue with the Na'vi and how they are currently handling their lifestyles, I have an issue with how James Cameron handled the USB!braids. They Wasted a Perfectly Good Plot and what else have you. Of course, complaining about that for anymore than I have would just be unnecessary and I'm pretty sure it would contradict the purpose if It Just Bugs Me.
              • Who is to say that the dragon or horse riding isn't a recent development? Or at least a development of at most a few hundred years old? Also I think people are really overestimating the connection with Eywa. People regularly hook up to the planet to talk to their dead ancestors. Every time Neytiri now connects to Eywa she will hear the doggies complain about their death.
              • It's not like viperwolves are sentient. Anyway, Neytiri states that there have only been five Toruk Makto since the time of the first songs, which definitely implies a generations-old tradition, not to mention that Na'vi society is older than human society.

Villainous Na'vi

  • Selfridge and gigantic machinery aside, are the Na'vi villains for disallowing humans to mine unobtainium, which, allowing for FTL travel, is important to human progress?
    • No more than Humans would be if the situation were reversed and the Na'Vi were the invaders who wanted to get at some precious mineral beneath the largest human village, expecting the humans to completely uproot themselves for the sake of Na'Vi advancement.
      • Don't know about you, but if aliens came down to Earth, said they needed to mine the ground beneath my house for something that they absolutely need and I never even knew existed, and then, in return, they'll give me all this hyper-advanced alien technology, I'd take it. I can find a new house. Remember, the humans didn't want to kill the Na'Vi, at first. It was only after the Na'Vi refused that the humans resorted to more unsympathetic methods.
      • ... Except that, whether by bad script or not (YES I KNOW IT'S EXPLAINED SLIGHTLY BETTER IN THE SCRIPT), the Na'vi and humans apparently had a huge communication failure or somehow offended them at the school (Grace says the Na'vi learned all they needed to know about the dastardly humens in the script (but even then, the incident is different - Neytiri's sister and her buddies vandalized a truck, tried to hide in the school, and got shot by pissed off Marines, but in the final cut, it just seems like "lol Na'vi didn't want to share".) Sounds like someone could have asked nicely.
    • Actually... in fact, this brings up a whole new can of worms. Selfridge could have asked for a temporary move while they carefully extracted the unobtainium (I remember someone someone claimed that the root system was probably too entangled for discreet mining). Hell, since that's ridiculous (yes, ask a tradition-minded native group that's been living there for thousands of years to leave for a bit so they can get some worthless metal [to the Na'vi] under your house), they could have just asked nicely so they could do it with little intrusion. But of course, Selfridge is a Strawman.
        • Who says they didn't ask, and the Na'vi said "no", leading to the Avatar program and all the other measures we never see?
      • Also by bad script, FTL travel's important for a "dying" planet. Moar resources and stuff (no, it's not just shitty pollution policies, some of it was nuclear war/terrorism).
    • You clearly have absolutely no idea what you are talking about, at all. THERE IS NO FTL TRAVEL. Unobtainium is used for power distribution systems and maglev networks as well as containment of the antimatter reaction in an ISV's engine.
  • Something that bears consideration: The Na'vi express regret whenever they are forced to kill an animal connected to Eywa, but feel no such regret when they kill humans, at least not visibly. What we could be looking at is an entire species that is force-fed empathy for all living things native to Pandora through something like sensory feedback, not because of a deep spiritual/philosophical understanding. The Kill'Em All attitude towards humans would make a bit more sense in that context; they would be the first species the Na'vi encountered that they weren't forced to empathize with. If they discovered the "thrill of the kill" without the sensory drawbacks, some if not all of them would become bloodthirsty, drunk on the pleasure without personal pain. They would be tragic villains, but villains nonetheless.
    • ...except that that attitude was developed after the humans committed widespread destruction and murder.
    • That's...one way to interpret it. But since the Na'vi already have a more obvious reason to attack all humans without remorse (ie. defending their home/planet/forest), it doesn't require that much consideration. The RDA weren't willing to compromise themselves, so any 'negotiations' would have failed.
      • Exactly. The Na'vi were initially fine with humans until they started destroying and murdering - after that, they weren't so happy.
      • The Na'Vi were never okay with the humans. That's the reason why the humans needed to create the Avatars. The Na'Vi do not want to deal with anything that doesn't look like them. Does This Remind You of Anything??
        • 100% Wrong. Please actually do the research before making ill-informed comments.
  • Okay, I'm not sure where people get the idea that the side which doesn't want their home turned into an open-pit mine are unreasonable, but here's how it seems to have gone:

1. Humans arrive and discover unobtainum. The Na'vi accept their presence for a sufficient period of time for them to establish a defensible base. Due to the difficulties of transport, we're talking years of at least tolerance.
2. At some point, the humans decide to try talking the Na'vi into leaving their homes. The Na'vi are understandably reluctant, because, well, it's their home. Even ignoring the emotional connection they have with it, sufficiently large trees with accessible banshee nests can't be easy to come by.
3. The RDA figures they'll have better luck if they look like Na'vi. I dunno how accurate that theory is, but they try it anyway.
4. The school is opened up, and relations are okay, but the Na'vi still don't want to leave their homes while the RDA doesn't want to deal with the incredible costs associated with less destructive forms of mining, which would be considerable.
5. An unspecified (at least in the movie) incident occurs. The Na'vi become pissed off and throw the Avatars out and start raiding the mining convoys. Presumably the RDA decided to strip-mine somewhere the Na'vi care about. Also, apparently the scientists didn't get much personal respect from the Na'vi, the details of which are unclear but apparently involved refusing to believe something because it conflicted with preconceived notions.
6. The movie opens.

    • That's about it, except the original idea for the avatars was to have them doing the mining as they survive far better than humans, as well as any contact with the Na'vi, but proved too expensive and impractical. What happened beforehand was when they destroyed somewhere important, so Sylwanin destroys one of their bulldozers, so the marines go and murder some Na'vi children. After that, the Na'vi avoided contact with any humans. 'Refusing to believe' something doesn't come into it - they understand the nature of the network better than anyone else - the Na'vi do have a partial understanding but not of the process at the biochemical level. At first, there was no problem, it was only human actions that created it.

What the hell do the Na'vi do all day?

  • I'll quote the New Yorker's review here: "What have we got to offer them--lite beer and bluejeans?" Jake asks. Well, actually, life among the Na'vi, for all its physical glories, looks a little dull. True, there's no reality TV or fast food, but there's no tennis or Raymond Chandler or Ella Fitzgerald, either. It's true. All we see them do is hunt, train, and worship. If Cameron was basing them on Native Americans, then he failed pretty hard to convey their sprawling culture. As far as we can tell there's no art, no dancing, no sports, no architecture or literature or comedy or fashion or liberalism (in the philosophical sense, though they don't seem to have politics either). I'm just sayin': I liked the movie, but I'd be bored to tears after a weekend on Pandora.
    • All There in the Manual: The book tie-in mentions social/ritual dances, art through textiles/pottery, songs, and whatnot. Hunting was probably enough physical exertion to classify as 'sport'. There wouldn't be architecture, literature, or fashion because...they don't have 'buildings', no written language (all history is passed on by songs only), and wear almost nothing besides a necklace, a few arm/leg bands, and a loincloth.
      • Wait, hold on. Waaaaay up there on this page, where someone suggested trading actual culture (not the moronic and disparaging "lite beer and blue jeans" comment) with the Na'vi, other Tropers shot that down as a dumb idea (see the "Why didn't they try any real alternatives in getting the Unobtainium?" item.) But if the book says that Na'vi have social/ritual dances, textile and pottery art, and lyric poetry, then surely they can appreciate culture at some level. Even in the movie, they wear decorations, they adorn themselves with war paint, and have ritualistic singing. I'm sorry, but if they reject trading art and culture with Earth (especially craftsmanship and music, which they engage in) then they're just being horrendously ethnocentric, if not outright xenophobic. And there's no way they couldn't benefit from a written language through which they could preserve their culture. And yet Tropers said up there that the Na'vi don't need any of this. So, if the Na'vi truly think that they don't need cultural exchange because they don't have anything to learn from anyone else in the universe, and refuse trade on that basis, well...
      • Problem is that the RDA never based their thoughts on a cultural exchange. And can you really say "Here's a painting. Can you move your home now?" as a point of negotiation? And this header was based on the apparent lack of culture the Na'vi had, not whether or not the RDA decided to trade art and culture with them. You're getting off-topic, dude.
        • Yeah, sorry about the off-topic. Just as a final note, though, any kind of reasonable cultural exchange would involve constant trade over a lengthy period of time, at least enough so the Na'vi could understand (and, hopefully, sympathize) with the humans' need for the mineral, and not just throwing some art at them and telling them to move out. But I'm getting off-topic again.
    • They can GO FLYING WHENEVER THEY WANT. How is that boring?
      • When you've grown up with going flying whenever you want, it tends to be a bit boring after awhile.
        • Neytiri would disagree. Just watch her again, even when escaping from Toruk, she can laugh :)
      • You don't see Lance Armstrong get bored of cycling after several years. If you truly enjoy something, you never get bored of it.
    • Why do they need a written language to preserve their culture? They have TreeCP/IP to do it with. No need to write it down when you can just upload it, or plug into a tree to ask Grandma about her recipe for fermented direhorse milk.
      • They don't have writing. They have not only the network, but there are many songs which contain stories of their history and culture... You know, like humans used to do?
        • Songs tend to get written down. That's what sheet music is.
          • ...which humans managed without for thousands of years.
    • Also note that there have been a few human cultures that have survived and thrived with no written language. Some have even established renown empires. So while a written language may be beneficial, a lack of it may not be as bad as it would seem.

Another minor point, but about the Spirit Tree...

  • I noticed that Neytiri referred to the Tree of Souls as the Tree. But after it gets destroyed, they use another Spirit Tree to communicate with the ancestors and for ceremonies and shit. The Tree of Souls is supposed to be "Sacred Ground", but after the humans trash it, they find another one and then call that one "sacred ground". Do they happen to have multiple Spirit Trees? What about for the ones who live in the Plains where there isn't a tree in sight?
    • The tree that was bulldozed was the Tree of Voices. The ultra-sacred tree that the humans tried to bomb was the Tree of Souls. Different things.
    • Kind of like a terminal versus the mainframe itself. The Tree of Souls was a lot bigger than the Tree of Bom-Chicka-Wow-Wow.
      • Not totally true. The Tree of Voices spans a larger area than the Tree of Souls, mostly because the Tree of Voices is actually a cluster of trees with the same characteristics rather than just one giant tree.
    • Lexically not-too-farfetched, actually. The biggest or most important/pertinent of something often receives the simplest moniker in common parlance. Example: lots of us in West Michigan colloquially refer to Lake Michigan as "the Lake," or "the Big Lake" even though many of us have to pass by a handful of other (often substantial) lakes to reach it from our homes, and despite the fact that we aren't terribly far from the other Great Lakes (including the much larger Superior).

Na'vi evolution.

Why are the Na'vi and the wildlife so huge? On Earth, forest-dwelling animals trend towards smaller, more compact designs to move through the woods more easily. And how do the trees manage to grow so incredibly huge without overexerting themselves?

  • Lower gravity. It's that simple.
    • Um, not really. Lower gravity would make all of those massive hulking monstrosities completely unsuited for the environment. They'd need huge amounts of food to support all that muscle-mass and bone density, making smaller more lightly built creatures more suited to the environment. Big, thick, tough brutes would be more suited on a HIGH gravity world, where falling down would have serious consequences and those big muscles and sturdy bones would actually be useful. Pandoran biology is fail.
    • Same reason as the dinosaurs, one supposes. Without a giant asteroid, rather than small mammal getting bigger, they may be in a giant thingies getting smaller phase.
  • Going on with this, why do the Na'vi only have four arms? Everything else on this planet seems to have six appendages, like the dragon-birds and the jaguar-things. If the Na'vi are closely related to these other species to link with them, then they should have a similar evolutionary ancestor, thus, the Na'vi should have six arms.
    • This has been discussed already. The prolemuris are the Na'vi predecessors in evolution, and they have two arms that split off into four forearms.
    • Actually "dragon-birds" (if you mean ikrans) have FOUR limbs. Only Toruk had six.
      • No, they have six too. Two feet, and four wings.
      • Not true. They technically don't have feet and just use the bony extensions in their wings to 'stand' while they're on the ground. So their four limbs are all wings. Most obvious in this picture.

Maximum Range of an Avatar

So, has it been stated anywhere what exactly the maximum distance an Avatar can be from one of those beds is? I mean, we know Jake must have covered a lot of ground during the Gondor Calls for Aid scene, but how far exactly can those beds transmit? I take it it's safe to assume they can't work from orbit, though.

  • Nope, never mentioned. Somewhat of a moot point anyways.

So, no one's mentioned that the Na'vi sort of mind-rape their animals into submission.

That is just something that hasn't been mentioned. We have gotten this far without that being an issue. Okay. Yes, I realize that the tentacles aren't technically used for sex, much as it's implied. And that it is possible to put a positive, or at least neutral construction on the way the Na'vi subdue and bond with their flying mounts. But what I saw in that theater was them wrestling with the animals, then jamming their USBraids, their most sensitive appendage—it's a link directly into their mind, for God's sake—into the animal's. And all I was thinking was, "Wow, so they mind-rape their animals." I can't be the only one who saw that.

  • And your point being...what? I don't see anything to discuss here that would merit this subject being in the Just Bugs Me page for Avatar (as compared to stuff like "Why didn't the RDA kill all the Na'vi?). The Na'vi mind-rape banshees as one of their rites of passage. Weird, but there's nothing to go on from that for discussion.
  • You weren't the only one, but I think there's a larger issue of cultural relativism. There are several cultures on Earth that ritually scar themselves, and they think nothing's wrong with that. Most Westerners tend to be horrified at what we see as self-mutilation. As far as the Na'vi are concerned, ain't nothing wrong with the tentacle thing.
    • Yeah, see, there is a big difference there. If you ritually scar yourself that's your choice, you understand the consequences of your actions, and know what is going on. This would be more like raping a baboon as a right of passage. The animal has no idea what's going on until it has been mind-raped. I'm not debating that there is cultural relativism at work, I'm just saying it's not a valid comparison to talk about things people do to themselves when we're discussing the violation of another living thing.
  • Maybe it doesn't fit exactly. I guess my complaint isn't so much "Why didn't the RDA...?" as it is "Why don't modern audiences seem to care about this?" or "How did this end up in a fictional society which was crafted to be almost dizzyingly ideal?" Although I could also ask, "Why doesn't Jake find anything repulsive/horrifying about this?"
    • Yeah, that last question was probably better. In that case, it's likely because Jake's been exposed to the culture a lot more than other humans (most likely off-camera), so he would have been 'used' to it.
    • Besides, we don't really know that it's Mind Rape. We don't see the mental experience itself, and the telepathic bond might not be "obey my will, you filthy beast!" so much as "see, I don't mean any harm, now can I be your rider?", something Jake has the benefit of knowing from experiencing it firsthand. And it doesn't seem much different morally than horse trainers breaking a wild steed on Earth, something the whole banshee rite was probably meant to parallel.
  • This baffles me. You know, we humans routinely perform More Than Mind Control-style Mind Rape on our pets and children. In the latter case, it's called "upbringing", in the former we say we train them. The catpeople just have a plug for it.
    • Heck, the Na'vi don't have any domesticated animals. They might be just as appalled by how humans hamstring whole species of livestock by breeding them for docility, tastiness, and so forth.
    • Wow you have just insulted every parent and pet owner simultaneously. The big thing is there was a deleted sex scene between the two lovebirds and they combined head nerve things during the sex. This was a deleted scene though so they probably knew it was a bad idea and gave horrific implications.
  • This again? It's a connection of nervous systems that allows shared thoughts and senses. I completely fail to see how that has ANYTHING to do with sex, especially since Na'vi reproduce the 'traditional' way, albeit with tsaheylu to enhance the experience.
    • Becuase in many cases like Mass Effect they had the same concept used as a form of sex and whenever you have something only a couple does it imediatly brings up sex metaphors.

Humans have red blood, therefore humans are pinkish.

Na'vi have red blood... and yet are very blue. Am I missing something?

  • Um... Lots of humans aren't pinkish. Skin color has to do with melanin production, not blood color.
    • Any human who is hypovolaemic stops being pinkish and goes a sort of paler more yellowy ashen colour. Blood does affect skin colour. If the Na'vi had blue skin and red blood, they would appear purpleish.
      • Only if Na'vi skin is no more opaque than that of humans. A frog can be green, even though its blood is red, simply by having higher concentrations of green pigment in the tissues overlying its blood vessels.
  • Human blood is not naturally red. It is blue. It only becomes red when exposed to oxygen, either through the lungs or by removal from the body. By your logic, humans should be as blue as the Na'vi.
    • You Fail Biology Forever. Blood is never blue. Oxygenated blood is bright red, dexoygenated blood is dark red. You can test this by dissecting an animal, as I have- veins are red, everything is red even inside the body. Diagrams show dexoygenated blood as blue due to tradition. Veins on your skin look blue because your skin reflects blue and your blood reflects red. The skin reflects some blue, and the blood reflects some red, in a roughly 5:3 ratio. You can confirm this on your own body. The skin is actually red, as there's more red light than blue, but our brains look for differences, and emphasize the blue aspect- it still looks red if you look closely.
  • The far bigger and more ovious issue is not what colour the Na'Vi blood is, but why their species would evolve blue skin in what is essentially a predominantly green environment.
    • Yeah, and why would those guys on Earth evolve pink skin when their species evolved in what is essentially a brown and green environment?
      • *facepalm* You do realize that: A. human's original coloration was dark brown, B. by the time "white" was even a skin color, humans had figured out methods of artificial camouflage, and C. the majority of humanity's prey and predators had vision restricted to black and white. The color of humans is more or less very much a moot point in terms of hiding, especially when any idiot can learn how to make a blind with some sticks and grasses. Pandora's animal life appear to be very aware of color (note the use of Bioluminescence by just about everything) and nearly anything with eyes would be able to pick out a blue smurf in a green jungle, especially when that smurf is ten feet high. Prey animals are, in reality, ridiculously hard to sneak up on due to sensitivity to movement, sound, smells, and anything remotely unusual. Tall things suck at hiding. Things that are colored vastly different suck at hiding. Things that live in groups suck at hiding (they tend to smell badly and might alert the prey through communication meant for other hunters). Humans have to compensate for all of these things, but it seems that even though the Navi are taller, bluer, and just as smelly, they hunt with ease and barely have to work at it. Hell, half the animal life are at their beck and call. The Navi shouldn't be very good hunters in any way, shape, or form. At best, they'd be average hunters. I'd would like to say that their blue skin would make them very good nocturnal hunters (since blue and green pretty much equal black at low light levels), but then again everything glows in the fucking dark on Pandora, so never mind.
      • The Na'vi hunt three different kinds of animals for meat/skins: hexapede (which has been described as cannon fodder for every other predator on the planet), tapirus (noted as the 'perfect prey', so stupid that the Na'vi just capture and kill the ones that just wander into Hometree), and sturmbeest annually (as shown in the special edition release of the movie). Viperwolves and other carnivores at high trophic levels are generally avoided, due to personal safety and/or uselessness as a resource. You can say the Na'vi have hunting at 'easy mode', but they still move around very quietly (demonstrated multiple times) and have excellent aim in archery. So it all depends on your point of view.
        • Not to mention that Pandora is not pure green and that greens and blues actually blend relatively well. Either way, the intention WAS for the plants to be more of a mixture of blue and green, but it reduced familiarity for humans and would have lead to 'lol not real' from the Hate Dumb. As for skin colour, they have red blood but a blue pigment in their skin in the same way that humans have varying shades of pink or brown with dark red blood (yes, it is dark red when not exposed to air).

Quantifiable Goddess

I'm not a very religious person, but I just couldn't get over this. "Why shouldn't we destroy this very important religious symbol?" "Because their God is real, and we can prove it with Science!" Hey writers: using science to explain and justify the supernatural is a really bad idea. Remember midichlorians? This is like that, except worse, because it has real-world implications. The quantifiable deity is a bitch-slap to every existing religion (including the religion of indiginous societies) because it establishes a standard with which they can't compete. It says that we should only care about a people's spiritual beliefs if they can be empirically proven. No need to apologize to the bushmen about clearing away their rainforest, since it isn't actually the generous, compassionate God that they think it is. And no need to apologize for flushing the Quuran down the toilet, either, since Allah doesn't really exist.

    • More accurately, if some phenomenon can be verified using the scientific method it is by its very nature not supernatural. The Navi's "god" is not a god, it is a half-assed internet with mind uploads. Both of which the humans in this setting already have, so they have no reason to save the tree fort. And if your god is so weak that mortals can kill it then does it really deserve your worship? Real supernatural enites may or may not exist, but at least you can't nuke them as far as we know.
  • Saying science and religion are mutually irrelevant is a pretty gross caricature. Ultimately, both are in it for the same thing: the quest for truth. Furthermore, both sides can assist each other in their quests. Two examples include using science to verify/falsify religious claims (Greek myth of Atlas/intelligent design of the universe, although the latter is being debated on its verified status) and religion can solve metaphysical problems that science may run into ("Why does the universe exist in the first place?"). And if you're complaining about how the Na'vi belief in Eywa effectively destroys the truth of all other religious...note that this is a MOVIE. It's SCIENCE FICTION.
    • Eh, not quite. Science is the search for truth; religion is a declaration of truth by fiat. He or she is correct in their assessment that anything quantifiable by science is, by definition, not supernatural.
    • You seem to be misunderstanding me. I'm not saying there's anything wrong with making a movie that has both science and the supernatural in it: it's what makes The Secret of NIMH a masterpiece. I'm also not saying that it destroys other religions; I'm saying that it's bullshit that the movie uses the quantifiability of their Goddess as a reason why they shouldn't attack it, instead of focusing on the more important fact that it's their Goddess.
    • Isn't it made pretty explicit that Selfridge And Quatrich simply don't care about that? Besides, Grace is a scientist.
    • Selfridge makes the reasonable point that you can't throw a stick on Pandora without it landing on the Legendary Tree Stump of Ultimate Sacredness. If they really were going to avoid touching anything the Na'vi consider sacred then they pretty much have to leave the planet forever, but the fact that Eywa is real gives a valid reason to consider the Tree of Souls as more important than some random object that is arbitrarily declared sacred. Also, I don't agree with your assertion that because the Na'vi view the tree as a goddess everyone else has to as well - Hindus consider cows to be sacred, I respect their right to do so, but I'm not going to stop eating hamburgers as a result. To say I have to treat cows as sacred out of respect for Hindus makes no more sense than saying that Hindus need to treat cows as just another animal out of respect for atheists.
      • That's what I was saying.
  • Knowing that the Na'vi's God exists as a physical entity that can be interacted with is quite an important thing to know considering that they were planning to attack it. "You shouldn't attack because you will deeply offend the spiritual beliefs of the tribe" is a very different thing from "You shouldn't attack because their God will eat you". They no longer cared about pissing off the tribe, so telling them that the attack would be far more serious than they thought was the next best option.
    • Remember that Grace is the one talking here, not a Na'vi. If you were going to demolish a church, which of these arguments would you listen to if you are not religious.
      1. This is a place of God, and you shouldn't destroy it because we believe that God exists.
      2. There is a giant server room that serves as the hub of the Internet, and destroying the church would destroy the server room.
      I think that the second argument would be get your attention more. The Na'vi, not Grace, believe that it is a connection to their God, which it is. Just because Grace thinks that she understands why it works doesn't make it any less amazing.
      • Technically, it's a sentient organism and not a supernatural being.
      • Agreed. Just because Eywa is powerful does not make her a god. And, you know, even if one assumes that Eywa is literally a god, it doesn't change how things that are quantifiable and observable carry more weight than things that aren't quantifiable or are unfalsible. For example, horses versus dragons.

The Na'vi are morons.

Primitive does not mean stupid, but apparently nobody told the writers. Why else would the Na'vi let Jake see and learn everything about their culture, despite him openly admitting that he was a soldier for the human army (keeping in mind that the humans and Na'vi have been killing eachother in small skirmishes for years by now)? There is no way that the concept of "enemy" could possibly be that foreign to them. Even stone-age cultures understand such concepts as assasins, double-crossers and military intelligence (which can be as simple as knowing when your enemy is going out to hunt, leaving their village weak to attack). I just keep thinking how much better this movie could have been if the Na'vi occasionally outsmarted the humans, but alas, they were just as stupid as the RDA assumed them to be.

  • Note what Jake said when he was first brought into the clan: "I was a marine - a soldier..." As far as the Na'vi knew, the Avatars were there for the purpose of obtaining information (generally in the field of biology and whatnot), and Jake was just learning what Grace and the other avatar drivers knew about their culture for years or even decades. The Na'vi knew the Avatars weren't bad people, it was just the actual skin-and-bones militant humans that were more interested in shooting anything that moved than finding out the feeding habits of a direhorse.
    • It's also worth noting the line Neytiri's mother, the shaman, says as she welcomes Jake into the tribe: "Learn well, Jake Sully, and we will see if your insanity can be cured". They're trying to make Jake understand their point of view and win him, and other humans through him, over to their cause. Judging by the way things unfold, that turned out to be a pretty good plan.
      • That's a damn-risky tactic, and the far-more likely outcome is that he would betray their trust, and use everything they taught him against them. Which he did. He wound up regretting it, but they should have seen that coming. See below:
  • Except that they trusted Jake more than the other researchers, as soon as he said that he was a soldier. The only other soldiers they've ever seen are the ones they've been fighting small-scale guerilla war with for years. There is bound to be some sort of body count by this point; there should be some form of resentment, mistrust and even hostility as soon as he says that he was a soldier. Instead, they lead him to the Hometree (which if I remember right, no researcher had been allowed to visit before), and let him see and learn things about them that none of the scientists had ever seen or learned before. Again, stone-age societies are perfectly capable of understanding deceipt and betrayal, and should have known what damage the humans could have done with the information that they were making Jake privvy to, especially since he had a clearer connection to the human military (a clearly-defined enemy) than any of the other avatars.
    • On the other hand, stone-age societies showing more respect to "warriors" (even enemy warriors) than they do to noncombatants is entirely appropriate to genre, if not real-life sociology.
    • Also, the survivalist guide mentions that wars between clans have died down as of late, because there's nothing to fight over (resources, religious differences, living space, etc.) The Na'vi aren't combatant towards their own species as much as one might think, so concepts such as previously mentioned may not/will not be as well grasped. Also, more complex concepts (such as The Mole) will completely fly over the top of their heads because each clan is so close together in their relationships that an outsider attempting to infiltrate wouldn't even get the chance to start, because of clan issues.
  • It's worth noting why Neytiri brought Jake into the clan in the first place: there was a sign from Eywa. Not just any sign, but a blatanly obvious one with a profound meaning. Those woodsprites landing on Jake en masse was Eywa's way of saying "Hey, you guys, this 'idiot' right here? He's gonna be your messiah. And you, Neytiri: you're gonna fall for him." Although it seemed that Neytiri didn't really mention the sign to her mother or anyone else, it's likely she actually mentioned the sign later on off-camera. And from that, they made the conclusion of "If Eywa thinks this moron is important...we don't really have a choice. Let's teach him."
  • The Na'vi were intelligent enough to try a new approach. Instead of learning about the humans, they did what SHOULD have been done from day one: teach the humans about them. It worked.

The Na'vi are racist, and yet are portrayed as Purity sues.

  • The Na'vi don't seem to like to communicate with anything which isn't like them. We never see any human-in-human form contact with them. ALL humans in this movie are portrayed as bad unless they are on the Na'vi side or BECOME them. Yes, the humans did start to rip open the ground but the Na'vi never consider why they are doing that, what the "sky people" are even called, whether there could be any other way of mining with harming the enviroment ect. They don't want to learn about the human ways besides thier languages for convience, whilst the humans scientists do. Some of the humans might be calling them [[[Does This Remind You of Anything?]] "blue monkeys"]] but at least some of them know about their culture, their goddess, how they respect nature. Neytriri tells him when they first meets he is like a baby and an idiot, just because, like most humans, he does not know how to live in the wild. Why? Because, like most Na'vi, (discounting the more accepting Na'vi children,) she did not care for human ways. So why is this portrayed in such a good light?
    • They learned a lot about the humans, they just didn't need to any more when the marines started trying to kill them.
  • You answered your own question with the "rip open the ground" part. If an alien species came out of nowhere and started destroying all of the US (which would be equivalent to the destruction of the forests to the Na'vi) for no apparent reason, would you pause and think "Huh...I wonder why they would do that..." or do your utmost do stop those aliens from eventually screwing the entire planet over? The Na'vi wanted nothing the humans had to offer, and the mining was only seen as further destruction for something so meaningless to them (and there's no such thing as mining without environmental impact), so the Na'vi had the proper grounds to consider the humans as the enemy and fight back.
    • Exactly. considering the situation, the Na'vi showed a lot of restraint. Far more than the majority of humans would do in an equivalent situation.
    • Except we are shown that RDA tries to communicate and explain the situation. They set up Avatar program -> Na'vi refuse to listen. They don't use their superior firepower to force Na'vi to run(untill they have no options) -> Na'vi keep harasing them. Heck, humans clearly show that they prefer agreement with Na'vi than full-scale military conflict. If Na'vi would, like, listen. "Hey, you have this very precious rocks in your soil. We need it to fix our planet. Can you help us?" "Fuck off, sky people". Yeah, Na'vi are real saints.
      • They have every right to refuse to give in to the humans. If someone found an oil well under your house, and wanted to drill it, but did not offer you anything in return, you'd see it very differently, I think. Also, I fail to see how a maglev transport system (the primary use for unobtainium other than the IS Vs themselves) 'fixes the planet'. Makes money, yes, nothing more.
      • RDA's unobtanium mining was for profit, not for 'fixing the planet'. The RDA were the aggressors and had all proper grounds to be marked as the enemy by the Na'vi. And you're asking the Na'vi to mutilate their own culture and lifestyle to help a previously unknown species dig up a rock.
      • It has been pointed that Earth is a Crapsack world and that they are trying to fix it. Unobtainium makes it possible, since it's properties allow use of several advanced technologies. And my point still stands, RDA asked Na'vi to help them, even set up the Avatar program. Na'vi still attack them. Humans try to use diplomacy. Military gets pissed off because its members get killed by Na'vi attacks. So when diplomacy fails, military is given green light. Of course, military here means private security force. Na'vi refuse to listen to compromise. Let's be frank, aliens come and start digging on Earth. They create clones to communicate with humans, offer tech, food etc. and make it clear they need that stuff. Are we going to just say "evil" and fight them?
        • It's a superconductor, not fucking oxygen. The Na'vi have EVERY SINGLE RIGHT to tell the humans to get off their home. The Na'vi have only retaliated, and didn't even kill marines until they attacked first (the games are not canon). If the situation happened on Earth, then I would say YES, humans would fight them, especially if the aliens blew up New York.
      • So "more convenient interstellar travel" and "trans-continental rapid transit systems" is supposed to help humanity solve the problems of overpopulation, food shortages, water poisoning, nuclear terrorism, and more. Unobtanium is only used for the purposes I stated in quotes. Your point doesn't stand because Earth is a crapsack world, but Unobtanium isn't the solution to fixing it. The RDA has a little side-project that collects scientific data and finds applications for Pandora's flora/fauna on Earth (cures to mass River Blindness, etc.), which the scientific division (and thus the Avatar program) is dealing with. Hey, you see all of the science faculty heavily against the mining and attacks on the Na'vi, so they're obviously the good guys. Problem is that the majority of the staff are in it for mining. The Na'vi were resisting the mining efforts primarily - without them, it would have been perfectly fine with twenty or so Avatars collecting scientific info and actually help fix Earth's problems.
      • The problem here is not that the Na'vi didn't have good reasons to turn down the humans, but that those reasons were not stated very well in the movie. For example, I don't recall why the school was shut down, if it was the Na'vi's fault or a company decision. Not to mention that the Na'vi ARE a primitive society, and I'm sorry but being primitive is NOT a good thing, we were primitive once and developed civilization because it was MORE fair for sentient beings that just being part of an uncaring ecology where you're just another predator/prey (notice how no one points this out in the movie.) That they arrogantly consider humans inferior (remember that crack about Jake being "insane"?) without anyone even wondering if maybe they could learn something * from us* only makes part of the audience (the one that isn't buying the whole "they are superior to us because they commune with nature" deal) dislike them. Also, note that there's not a single unlikable Na'vi character in the movie- even Neytiri's mate turns out to be sympathetic in the end- while there are several uncaring or even openly villainous human characters. The whole thing is SO unfairly tipped in the aliens' favor it's truly Anvilicious. Oh, and the movie only states that the Unobtainum is valuable, not WHY- it leaves people wondering if maybe it IS somehow important to our "dying world"- that needed at least a line of dialog to clear up. Again, poor writing.
      • The quality of society isn't gauged by how much technology they have, but rather how society has solved issues like segregation, equal rights/benefits among all beings, and whatnot. Humans have multiple societal problems (as stated previously) while the Na'vi...don't. Therefore, Na'vi society is completely superior to human society. It's that simple. And if you're complaining about a wish-fulfilling fantasy being too tipped towards one side... This movie was designed to appeal to literally everyone (except to people with a similar mindset to yours) that it had' to tilt towards the "Good guys win, bad guys lose" theme. Avatar isn't The Dark Knight. Trust me, in terms of being anvillicious and having bad scripts, there are plenty of other movies that are exponentially worse (in this case, "John Q" and pretty much every rom-com ever made since 2000, respectively). Finally, just FYI, the school was closed after Neytiri's sister (Sylwanin) torched a bulldozer with some other warriors, tried to hide in the school, and were shot by RDA soldiers. Unobtainium is a room-temperature superconductor with obvious technological applications, and thus, would cost a ton. The Na'vi didn't need to learn anything from the humans because their society was superior to theirs - communing with nature had nothing to do with it.
    • There's lots of simple human technologies that could help the navi. A host of minor technologies could reduce deaths and injuries from falling, wild animals. Ipods are always fun, and it would be a way for any navi to relive their culture any time. Cameras, so you can show people what wonderous sites you saw in the forest. Without having tentacle sex. Mobile phones, to talk to other navi. Watches and navigation devices, to help coordinate forest actions and hunts. Games to allow children to safely learn about nature. Blankets, clothes, gems, lots of cheap stuff that lets you look pretty. The internet, to research topics of interest, and watch porn.
    • Seriously, you're only providing pros to tech that could be beneficial to the Na'vi while ignoring all the stuff the Na'vi already have that replaces its usage. Take a closer look: The Na'vi already have a system of calls and yells while they fly on their banshees that replaces normal speech, designed for quick communication and to sound clear despite all the deafening wind. Communication devices are useless. "Wonderous sights in the forest"? Just find a friend and take him to the same damn spot you were at. Hunts are already well-organized likely due to a prior briefing (the best possible example seen in the sturmbeest hunt included in Avatar SE) and the Na'vi already have excellent tracking skills, so watches/compasses are useless. "Looking pretty" is already provided by all the hand-made anklets/bracelets/necklaces/etc. the Na'vi already have. Blankets are redundant due to the high ambient temperatures. The children have their own games and the 'danger' is part of their training (and it's rare for someone to die from a fall unless it's off the floating mountains). And the internet...hell, sex is obviously sacred to the Na'vi, so porn would be unthinkable.
      • Can a Na'vi talk to another on the other side of the planet? Do they have a method for recording history in a method they can mass produce? Lastly, what methods do they have to treat the illnesses the humans have brought with them? There are things to be gained for the Na'Vi, and they actually have a real world value.
        • Talk directly, no, but there are shared memories. Mass production isn't needed - there are not billions of people on Pandora (and history IS recorded, anyway, through both songs and stories and memories). As for disease (AGAIN), that just shows that you have no understanding of life on Pandora. Firstly, the two species are biochemically incompatible, and secondly, their immune systems and symbiosis with other organisms makes disease of any form very rare (as well as not living in ways that seem almost intended to create pandemics like humans do). As I have said multiple times before, Selfridge's comment there means 'medical experiments' not 'medicines' - there is nothing the Na'vi can gain from either, just the humans.
  • Wait, wait, wait. Lets ignore the whole business of trading for a minute and consider the situation.

First, the humans arrive looking for Unobtanium, and discover the Na'vi. The RDA tries to negotiate, and the Na'vi refuse. Furthermore, it is implied that the Na'vi are running raids on humans without provocation and without attempts at negotiation.

As time passes, the Na'vi still launch attacks on humans without ever bothering to figure out what the are doing. The RDA develops avatars.

Jake is sent in, but doesn't bother with much "diplomacy", despite that being one of the prime reasons he went sent in the first place. The Na'vi basically say "No matter what you have to offer, we won't leave our home", which is understandable, but the negotiations effectively end there.

The military forces, having spent ages losing troops to raids, give up and attack. Now, the military is at fault for attacking so early, but they were justified in a sense.

So the Na'vi were acting outrageously xenophobic, and exhibited no curiosity as to the intentions of strange aliens with giant machines landing on their planet, attacking them rather than negotiating, and refusing to consider things from the humans' point of view.

On the topic of if it was aliens landing on Earth, I have to say the comparisons aren't being made correctly. If the movie was inverted in some way, it would be like this: a technologically advanced alien species lands in an uninhabited area and sets up a camp there. They don't vapourize New York, they don't kill everyone they see, they exhibit little hostility besides starting a mining operation (or cutting down the rainforest, or whatever you want as an analogy). Rather than attempting to open contact and figure out what these aliens want, we send Marines out to ambush and murder them. After several years of killing these aliens without trying to figure out who they are, they create human-alien hybrids to attempt to negotiate. They say they require some magical resource located in an important area on Earth (say, under some of our major cities) to power their futuristic technology. They are very willing to negotiate and work with us to figure out a way to extract the resources with minimal damage, not to mention that they will give us some form of benefit (say, futuristic alien technology) in return. We then proceed to refuse without considering the matter, and follow it up by belittling their culture without bothering to understand it, or the circumstances that led to its creation (like how the Na'vi don't bother to consider that humans don't have the benefit of being a part of a giant biological computer, and just assume that humans are evil because they are different). After more and more skirmishes, the aliens get tired of our refusal to work things out and flatten a sizable city (say, Chicago). A crazy alien in charge of their military is then able to persuade the rest of them to go after a very important city (Tokyo, NYC, whatever) precisely BECAUSE we are refusing to negotiate. After we somehow defeat the aliens and drive them off of Earth, we celebrate even though we barely bothered to figure out their motivations, and we assume that beating one alien force is the same as driving them out forever.

Look, if it was portrayed in the same fashion the other way around (the perceived and assumed superiority of the Na'vi notwithstanding), it would be pretty clear that we were acting like xenophobic, racist idiots. It would resemble "The Day The Earth Stood Still" more than anything else.

In the end, the Na'vi act in a way similar to, ironically enough, European imperialists by refusing to consider other cultures worthy of any respect or dignity.

  • Unfortunately for you, it's all completely wrong and verging on Fan Hater Wank. Here's the real version of events:
    1. Humans arrive on Pandora, make first contact with the Na'vi. The Na'vi are unsure on what is happening or who they are. the RDA did not know about unobtainium until later.
    2. Initial contact between humans and Na'vi was peaceful, there is an exchage of information between the two cultures.
    3. The RDA start mining unobtainium. The Na'vi show relative restraint at first, only retaliating when areas that are extremely important to them are destroyed.
    4. the Na'vi and humans go with very little contact between them. the Na'vi did not attack any humans after the marines attacked Grace's school.
    5. The events of Avatar (Avatars were developed SIGNIFICANTLY before your mention of them, the original idea was arounfd the time of the discovery of unobtainium).
    The Na'vi gave the humans far more chances than they should and there wre only a few occasions where they fight them. The developemt of avatars was in no way related to nonexistent 'attacks'.
    With your Earth example, it would be this: A technologically advanced race lands, destroys a lightly populated (but NOT deserted - remember that all the forest is part of a lifeform) area and builds a base there. There is initially some contact between them - at first, even relatively peaceful and friendly - they learn each other's language and some of the other's culture and way of living, but the aliens then destroy a small city, for something that is known by humans to exist but is considered relatively worthless (say, silica) and generally not given much thought. For some reason, the native species (humans) do not immediately commit to a counterattack to try and drive them off (yet) but wait and see what happens. Later, another small city is destroyed - this time, one group (in your analogy, perhaps a single army group) counterattacks, causing the aliens to go and kill random humans as retaliation. Then, the aliens destroy New York/Tokyo/London/Beijing/whatever - in other words, a large, significiant city, in doing so killing many humans and leaving millions more homeless (yes, millions, it's the same proportion with overall population), which finally causes a reaction and they get driven off, but not before they attempt to wipe out all life on Earth for good.
    The truth is, nobody would ever have negotiated - in your invasion of Earth example, that would be "OK, you can destroy half our cities". Something tells me people wouldn't stand for that. As it is, the Na'vi showed extreme restraint in dealing with the humans.
    The Na'vi understood human motivations they are (obviously enough) just alien to them. The Na'vi understand wehat humans did to Earth and don't want that to happen to Pandora. They don't care about unobtainium since it has no use, but they don't see why they should lose their world because other peol;le want it. Neither are they xenophobic - the Na'vi truly care about some humans such as Grace - she showed them that not all humans are the RDA.
    ** Except THIS WAS NOT explicitly stated in the film. So far as we can tell from viewing the movie, the RDA is, at worst, exploiting Na'vi resources (up until attacking, at any rate). We are informed that the RDA is willing to negotiate, are given examples, Jake begins avatar-dom, and we are informed that the Na'vi are raiding and attacking whatever humans they see. When do we see the Na'vi exchanging anything with humans? Do we ever see Na'vi diplomatic parties, negotiations, or any attempts besides mere attacks? No.
    Furthermore, you shouldn't make things up. The RDA establishes Hell's Gate, which could be construed as ONE attack. After this? I saw no evidence of them expanding beyond that. On the other hand, it is made abundantly clear that the Na'vi hold humans in contempt. Yes, they value Grace; Grace had an Avatar, a Na'vi-human hybrid. How often is the viewer shown them giving a damn about a regular human?
    • When were we ever "informed that the Na'vi are raiding and attacking whatever humans they see"? Oh wait, that's right, we weren't.
      Last time I checked, something was not inadmissible because it was All There in the Manual, as MUCH of the background is.
      You shouldn't make things up EITHER. Hell's Gate is one, the mine nearby is another, and they are NOT the only areas that have been destroyed, just the main human habitation. Ironically, as I said before, far more restraint than humans - I ask you again - if an alien species arrived and blew up New York, what do you think humans would do?
      As for Grace and avatars, look at how ready Neytiri was to kill Jake, that would give you an idea. Also, sorry to remind you of this, but look a the events - the Na'vi have no problem when they see Grace's (or Jake's) human body - they also meet Trudy, Norm and Max, the later two of who are allowed to stay (and Trudy would have if she hadn't died). The Na'vi have an extreme bad experience of humans with the marines, but most Hate Dumb are Fantastic Racists and forget that the Na'vi are AS intelligent as humans if not more so, and do not judge ALL humans by the marines and Selfridge.
      • A note about "the manual"—as said quite a few times elsewhere in these Avatar-related headscratchers pages, just because it's in the manual doesn't make the initial complaint irrelevant. What matters, what really counts, is what's in the film. Making a viewer do homework to understand a poorly-written plot point is not only ludicrous, but it still doesn't make the original plot-point any better-written. Also as stated elsewhere, supplemental material should only expand on a movie, it shouldn't explain it.
      • It does merely expand upon it. There is no difference compared to the fluff in other scifi or non-scifi universes. Gives a bit of context, but by no means required to see what's going on. Perhaps a 'reviewer, not that you are one, should concentrate on the actual quality and not on how accessible it was to people without the intelligence/inclination to find context first.
    • You're forgetting: the RDA is (in Na'vi eyes) destroying the most sacred thing in their lives - the forest (and by extension, Eywa herself). All the statements you posted is nullified by that single fact. The Na'vi have every single justification for their stance.
    • So, humans violate something they had no way of understanding ahead of time, and to understand what they are violating they have to be there (and, by extension, they have to violate it in the first place, as they have to make a base to even live on Pandora). That reminds me uncannily of the Kadeshi in Homeworld, and they definitely weren't portrayed in a positive way.
    • Exactly - plus, the fact that it is their world, their home. The humans are guests at most and invaders at worst, if they want to be on Pandora, they should respect the way the Na'vi want them to do things.
    • But so far as the viewer can tell, the humans were not told of this ahead of time, and as said above, could only have discovered their crime after the fact.
    • Doesn't change the fact that first contact was a long time before the RDA started sending marines to shoot them.
    • When you notice the natives going "OMFG WHAT ARE YOU DOING?!?!" when you uproot a tree, I think it's a good idea to stop and listen to them for at least several seconds instead of ignoring their cries and continue like nothing happened. The RDA cronies had zero intention of halting their mining project for the sake of 'peace', and any negotiations were all half-assed since they weren't willing to compromise themselves (10 years of Grace's work and trust is ruined by a few dumb grunts and several gunshots). The RDA is not one willing to stop the destruction after their discovery, and thus the Na'vi fought back to save what was so precious to them.
  • PS. just out of interest, why do Fan Haters refer to Pandora as a planet? I am genuinely curious about this.
    • More of an issue with how people think about space; I personally make the mistake sometimes as well, so it isn't limited to any group. We usually think "planet" when there are (sentient) life-forms on said chunk of rock, rather than "moon" or "asteroid". Additionally, Pandora was never really mentioned as a moon of Polyphemus in the movie, even though it's obvious every time there's a shot of the sky.

No one ever remarks on how uncannily similar the Na'vi are to humans.

Humans land on a very otherwise alien planet...To find it has a race of pretty, huminoid, Rubber Forehead Aliens on it who seem to have a mish-mash of "tribal" earth cultures. Why do none of the scientists remark on how much the Na'vi are like humans? They wear clothes. They have feminine and masculine genders. They have same-ish emotions and way of convaying them. Why does no one lampshape this or have a throwaway line about congerant evolution? They could have easily been starfish aliens like the other wildlife.

  • All There in the Manual: They do mention it, at first discovery. And it's suggested that the RDA mining operation has been going on for several years now - enough that Grace has a near-full understanding of their culture and the RDA are raking massive profits for maybe decades, so mentioning "OMFG the Na'vi look like us!" constantly for twenty years gets pretty redundant.

Where did the Na'vi get all those guns?

  • During the final battle almost all the Na'vi are using guns, but where did they come from? My friend said they got them from Jake but there's no way he could have gotten enough to arm even a 10th of the natives.
    • Only Jake and Norm use guns, and all the Na'vi use their typical bows and arrows. It's entirely possible that there was a small cache of weaponry in their outpost or the science crew at Hell's Gate smuggled them out for them to use.
      • Are you sure? I could have sworn that most of them were using guns.
        • You weren't watching properly then. Jake and Norm have machine guns and Jake has some grenades and that is it.
      • Yes, I'm sure. Prime examples in the movie would be the beginning of the direhorse charge and the banshee horde divebomb. They're ALL holding their bows.

Na'avi hairstyles

Braided hair is a way people choose to consciously style their hair, as hair does not naturally grow into braids. All Na'avi have a braid to keep their tentacle-plugs in. So, where are their tentacles when their hair is unbraided? Just...hanging down loosely?

  • The hair around the neural queue stays braided regardless of situation, even if the normal not-wrapped-around-the-queue hair is not (example). Unbraiding the hair around the queue would probably reveal a long tail-like string of skin (covering the nervous system) with the 'tentacles' at the end.
    • So, they braided their hair around the "head-tail" because they realized it would look a lot more...sightly than a string of skin hanging off the back of their head?
      • For protection of the queue because it is extremely important to them.
    • They braided their hair for neatness (both normal and around the queue). Not the best idea to be running around the forest with shoulder length hair (even the men) flying all around your head and getting it incredibly messy.
    • I don't think it's a braid per se. It's more like a tentacle that happens to have hair on it. Notice how every Na'vi has it that specific style, despite the assortment of style you see. Also, on the other Pandoran animals, they all have their connectors in a tentacle. So, it seems like the Na'vi braid is more like a hairy tentacle than a braid, and as such, can't be unbraided.
    • I'm somewhat doubting that, because it would mean all Na'vi children would be born with meter-long hair already coiled around their neural queues. It's more likely that they just let a certain section of hair on their head to never be cut, and just use that to wrap it around the queue.
      • The tentacle would grow with them obviously. Children wouldn't be born with a meter long har-tentacle, they'd be born with whatever length is proportional to their size.

If the na'avi weren't hot cat-people...

Would Jake really care what happened to them? If he didn't want to boink one of them would he want to save them? Would he save a race of (to him) hideous pig people with customs he didn't understand? Would he fall in love with a hideous pig person if she was lovely and clever? Or would he think she was disgusting? What if they couldn't communicate with humans, had different expressions and emotions? Would he have wanted to save them then? Isn't James Cameron saying "as long as you are hot, humanoid and noble we'll save you?" I mean where's the difficulty in relating to this race? They're gorgeous, tall skinny cat people with a romantic relation to nature, they ride cool dragons and some even SPEAK ENGLISH! Come on...

  • Here's the thing: if the Na'vi were 'ugly pig people', the environment which they evolved to adapt/created for (depending on your view of Eywa and whatnot) would also be different, since they're operating at an optimum level of society and are extremely advanced biologically (due to evolution/intelligent design). And there seems to be a correlation between the unobtanium and various forms of plant life (Hometree, etc.), so if the entire biosphere of Pandora was different, the unobtanium might not even be there (or exist as a different form that doesn't have superconducting traits). Changing one thing in the movie universe may result in a lot of other unexpected differences, considering the chain of relations.
    • While that's not an answer, I'll bite: James Cameron crafted this movie with several messages in mind. He also created the world of the movie itself. Therefore, he's responsible for deliberately using beautiful, pure Mary Sues to transmit his messages. He could have easily created the world of Pandora with a bunch of "ugly pig people," but then Jake (and the audience) would have found it difficult to sympathize with them. So no, the point doesn't wash, and his Aesop comes off as Broken because it was delivered through the Power of Lust.
  • Also, if the Na'vi were different enough aesthetically to the humans, the Avatar program would have been inconceivable. And thus, Jake would probably be stuck on Earth. Because science may be able to create a body with three legs and two heads, but you'd never be able to operate said body.
  • Well, considering how another movie that came out that same year showed that the audience can also sympathize with weird-looking bug people....
    • That's exactly it. District 9 managed to make us sympathize with, and root for, aliens whose physiology was so different from ours and so repulsive to human eyes that they were called "prawns" and corralled off in a dirt-poor slum. And we sympathized them after we were shown how they were (almost all of them) unintelligent, violent, uncoordinated, and vicious... but their plight was real and translatable to the audience's sensibilities. The Na'vi, on the other hand, were scientifically designed to be physically beautiful, their culture was meant to be culturally ideal and superior to humans', and the main lead and point-of-view character went and fell in love with one because of all these traits. Wikus didn't need to fall in love with Christopher Johnson or Junior to essentially sacrifice himself for their survival at the end of the movie, despite hating him and all his kind for what happened to him.
  • The moral of the movie is "don't hate others because their cultures/beliefs are different then yours", however this does not seem to be what goes on in the movie. The Na'vi are very obviously based on Native American and African tribes, and they seem to ignore the fact that native tribes were just as brutal to each other as the humans were. It is also shown in the beginning of the film that they kill unarmed diplomats for simply not being like them. not only that, but the only "good" humans in this movie are the ones who want to abandon their cultures, families, and loved ones to become Na'vi, because apparently their culture is superior. Does anyone else see a Broken Aesop here?
    • Um, that's not the 'moral' of this movie. This movie has strong themes (anti-imperialism, pro-environment, pro-science [with proper management], etc), which looks like morals if you squint. Not sure where you got the 'killing unarmed diplomats' thing, since none of the avatars (designated to be 'diplomats') were destroyed. Also, the Na'vi may have roots from North American and African tribes, but they certainly aren't one, so the whole "the tribes were brutal and violent, so the Na'vi are supposed to be too" statement doesn't fly. Go check out the "What's up with the Broken Aesop?" entry on this page.
      • The Na'vi wanted to kill Jake the moment they saw him. And when Jake tried to negotiate a relocated, the Na'vi tied up Jake and Grace, and almost slit their throats.
      • Now that's just taking things out of context. Jake got a massive Death Glare from everyone, but no one actually wanted to kill him, given the commands from the clan leader and Neytiri's supposed 'sign' she received from Eywa. And Jake's near-execution was after the revelation of his status as a mole, so they have a right to be pissed. Not to mention the fact that he just broke Neytiri's heart RIGHT IN FRONT OF THE FATHER. Not a good idea even if you're human. The Na'vi had a right to be angry, just like any other group of people would be in the same situation. Their status of being derivated from indigenous tribes had nothing to do with it.
      • Neytiri's 'sign' from Eywa was given seconds before she was about to shoot Jake with an arrow. If she had received no sign, she would've killed Jake (well, his avatar) for doing nothing more than walking around. And no one actually wanted to kill him? Tsutey wanted to kill him the moment he laid eyes on him, even before Jake stole his girlfriend.
      • When you've got someone you can classify as a 'scout' from an enemy faction you've been warring over for years, and have the near-perfect opportunity to kill him/her, I'm pretty sure you'd take the shot too. Your points on why the Na'vi wanted Jake dead is independent of their status of being an indigenous tribe, which renders your argument invalid.
        • There is a world of difference between a scout and a diplomat. Especially one that another civilization specifically created because they wanted to talk to you and learn about you.
      • Wait, up there you said that "none of the avatars (designated to be 'diplomats') were destroyed" and down here you're arguing that she was justified in trying to kill a scout from an enemy faction. Other tropers said the Na'vi "thought that the 'dreamwalkers' were a different, 'nicer' group of humans." So which one is it? Also keep in mind that Neytiri herself attended Grace's school, and KNOWS that not all humans/dreamwalkers are bad, but she wanted to kill THIS ONE on sight just because... what? He was making a mess and attracting attention to himself? The jungle would've gotten him eventually anyway. But as seen there, and in numerous other points in the movie, the Na'vi respond to disagreement, disobedience, or naivete with violence immediately and as their first option, even amongst themselves. Or maybe Neytiri and Tsutey are just assholes and not representative of their whole culture?
      • Both. The relationship between avatars and the Na'vi used to be somewhat rosy, until an incident that resulted in Grace's school being shut down (read: shot up by RDA grunts) and the death of Neytiri's sister (guess how pissed SHE would have been). Afterwards, human-Na'vi relations pretty much went to hell. Prior to the movie's events, the avatars wouldn't have been conversing with the Na'vi directly or indirectly, rather they would be doing biological field work on plant/animal life. Norm, an anthropologist, was brought in to possibly alleviate the situation and gain Na'vi trust again.
      • I'm so glad that all this information was in the movie. It just helps the movie flow much better when you actually know character motivations. James Cameron is so cool for doing that, other directors would've just focused on the pretty scenes and put all that in All There in the Manual info. But not James Cameron.
      • I think it's already been outlined in this page: every single piece of supplementary material was designed for Epileptic Tree thinkers. The movie itself could stand on its own already: only motivation for getting unobtanium was that it was worth a lot, the Hallelujah Mountains floated because of something about a magnetic field, Selfridge stated "relations with the indigenous are only getting worse" which suggests that at some point, humans weren't shoot-on-sight for the Na'vi, etc.
      • It's not as if the movie wouldn't have HUGELY benefited from having this supplementary material already integrated.
      • It also would've been 17 hours long and 75% exposition.

People calling the Na'vi "catpeople"

  • This is something that's bugged me for a while since after seeing the movie and looking it up everywhere. Maybe it's just me and my seeing things from different angles, but I never got any distinctly feline impressions from looking at the Na'vi (though don't get me wrong, I understand where people could, and I'm certainly not saying that people have to adopt my view). Sure, they have dark colored noses, tails, and ears slightly higher on the head, but to me they just looked like modded humans. I guess the main reason it bugs me is because now people will brand you as a furry for liking the movie when the characters have skin and hair and not fur/scales/feathers. That and they're aliens, not specifically anthropomorphic animals. (I also hold a xeno =/= furry mindset, too, but to each his own.) No need to start a war about this either, just putting it out there that it bugs me.
    • It's because some people need an easy outlet for their Hate Dumb. Granted, the Na'vi do look more similar to cats than any other animal, so the comparison was made.
    • It hast probably more to do with the anime, not the furry fandom. Kemonomimi, or rather their subtype Nekomimi (aka catgirls), are just that: Humans with cat-ears and tails. So, what do you call a species consisting of catgirls of both genders? (By the way, thanks for that "Eww, people will think I was a furry", really nice of you. Not starting a war or anything, just putting it out there because it bugs me)

Na'vi Cultural Stasis

So the Na'vi are ultimately right and the humans are wrong. So explain this to me: why are the Na'vi the least intellecutally curious race imaginable? I mean really, they have this world all around them, where they can plug themselves into any organism and control it. And they're not interested in the slightest about how any of it works. They don't do any form of science or even the rudimentary invention. They got bows & arrow, and figured that that was good enough and basically stopped caring. They investigate nothing and don't care about anything unless it comes around to kill them. And we're supposed to like this kind of society? One of the reasons I hated that Grace died was that she didn't get the chance to teach these backwards morons the wonders of the Scientific Method, so they could actually learn stuff about the world around them. But no, unlike the actual Native Americans or other indegigenous humans that the Na'vi are supposed to be stands-ins for, the Na'vi are content with what they have and don't care about improving on it at all. This is the society we're supposed to like? One that's trapped in stasis forever?

  • Technological progress does not equal societal progress. That's been elaborated several times in this page already. What they have already works, so there isn't really any need to keep going on. You don't try to keep on climbing upwards when you're at the summit of Mount Everest. Viewers "like" this society because it's achieved a lot of things that human society hasn't (no poverty, equal rights, no overpopulation/overconsumption of resources, etc.), and thus technology doesn't mean jack. The Na'vi have already shown zero interest in all the 'cool toys' the humans keep presenting to them, so new tech obviously isn't a big point in their culture. Why they are like that is a question to ask James Cameron himself.
    • It's not specifically technology, but science. They don't want to know anything. They aren't interested in mathematics or philosophy. They aren't interested in biology or medicine. "No poverty," "equal rights," and "no overpopulation/overconsumption of resources" in a hunter-gatherer society is a given; if the Na'vi were living in an actual civilization, then it might have some standing. Humans had those too in our hunter-gatherer days. We abandoned that kind of life for the fruits of civilization and knowledge. To the point where today we have a good idea about how the universe works, how life works, medical cures that extend life expectancy, most of our children actually survive childhood, etc. Today, right now, human beings are capable of surviving a potentially ecocidal asteroid collision. Human society has achieved so much that the minor achievements of the Na'vi are nothing by comparison. In Avatar, even on their "dying world," human beings will continue to live and survive, long after the Na'vi and all life on their little speck of rock has died and been forgotten.
    • You're not listening. The viewers like this society for the same reasons that you hate it. Also, the 'life expectancy' of a civilization isn't a really big point for most people - they'd rather exist in a utopia that lasts for a million years instead of a bleak Crapsack World for a quadrillion. If you want to start arguing whether or not the entirety of the viewers are morons, start it on the discussion page for Film/Avatar. This point is subjective, so we can't continue. And like I said, only James Cameron can give an answer to "why aren't the Na'vi curious?"
      • The viewers like this society because they (like Jake) are only shown one side of the coin. What they don't see is the short life expectancy, high rate of violent death, infant mortality, and women dieing in child birth. It is easy to avoid over population when almost everyone dies by age 30.
      • Word of God states that the average Na'vi lifespan is 90+ years.
        • Then it is official, the world building has descended to 5th grade fanfic levels and that bugs me.
        • Of course, there's no real reason why don't the Na'vi don't have an extended lifespan compared to humans; there's too many unknown factors surrounding Na'vi society/lifestyles that could affect their lifespan (which may or may not be covered by a soon-to-be-released book called "The Science of Avatar", how convenient). But still, complaining about a fictional utopia for the fact that it's a fictional utopia doesn't really make sense.
        • I didn't say the thing about 5th grade fanfic, but I certainly understand it and agree with it. The reason I complain about a fictional utopia is because it's there solely because the plot needs to be. The Na'vi are perfect because if they weren't, the plot simply would not work. The humans would have made a deal with them and the conflict would be minimized. The story simply could not otherwise take place. That's lazy writing: rather than rewrite the story so that it could work with different, more complex, circumstances, they take the easy way out: Mary Suetopia.
    • You can be imperfect without being an antagonist. Jake is, quite simply, an idiot, for a large proportion of the film and yet only an antagonist for maybe the first 45 min or so, and only in specific scenes of that. The truth is that it works and that is always going to annoy people who like incomprehensible 'True Art' arthouse crap, and the level of oversimplification and factual errors made in some of these arguments border on Insane Troll Logic ("humans aren't adapted to Pandora, so the Na'vi wouldn't be either" springs to mind). If they were as perfect as you've managed to convince yourself can be claimed as an argument against it, they'd never have had a problem with humans in the first place. If Quaritch decided to stop being a murderous arse immediately on seeing them, or if they got rid of every human on Pandora without effort or loss, then yes, THAT would be laughable, but that never happens.
  • Now that you mention it, it really doesn't make a lot of sense for the Navi to be so technologically and scientifically incurious. Even without the toxic-to-humans atmosphere, the world of Pandora is explicitly stated to be a VERY dangerous place. We know most adult Navi spend their days hunting and gathering in the jungles and we have to assume that many Navi end up dying in the process. It would be highly implausible (even ridiculous) to assume otherwise. Given that, you would think that at the very least the Navi would have been extremely impressed with the human's vastly superior military technology. I don't care how much your culture encourages respect for the environment and blahblah. Guns are much better for hunting and defending your home from wild beasts than a bow and arrow could ever be. And when it comes to feeding yourself and protecting the lives of you and your family, respect for the environment takes a backseat. It would have made much more sense if some Navi were shown to be working with the humans in exchange for advanced weapons, medicine, etc. just like there were some Native Americans who worked with/for Europeans in exchange for guns and such.
    • Not really. As evidenced by Neytiri's attitude (since she's the representative of her tribe/race to both Jake and the audience, and we're meant to extrapolate their values from hers) the Na'vi would view human weaponry as too noisy and wasteful, and probably offensive to their spiritual beliefs due to its impersonal approach ("overkill" comes to mind.) By the same token, they probably view deaths due to animal attack, hunting accidents, or even natural deaths as "the will of Eywa." Perhaps "when it comes to feeding and protecting, respect for the environment takes a backseat" is an inherently human attitude, or even an attitude belonging to our modern society, but who's to say the Na'vi have the same set of values? As for their intellectual and cultural stagnation, though, it bothers the hell out of me too that they're so utterly close-minded and ethnocentric, but when the movie itself answers such queries as "Why aren't they interested in cultural trade? Wouldn't they benefit from exchange with other tribes? Wouldn't they want to preserve their history? Don't they want to know how their world works or how to improve it? Don't they care what exists beyond their world?" with a clear-cut "They have the Eywa network for all that, and they need nothing more," then, well, there's really not much of anything any other culture in the universe can offer to this insufferable Mary Suetopia, is there?
      • "As evidenced by Neytiri's attitude (since she's the representative of her tribe/race to both Jake and the audience, and we're meant to extrapolate their values from hers) the Na'vi would view human weaponry as too noisy and wasteful, and probably offensive to their spiritual beliefs due to its impersonal approach ("overkill" comes to mind.)" I suppose that's exactly the problem. Neytiri's attitude is held up as representative of all the Navi. Even the ones living hundreds of miles away. Apparently we're supposed to assume that the entire Navi culture is completely monolithic and invariable. That all Navi, without exception, believe exactly the same things and think exactly the same way. Even the tribes that live miles away from Neytiri's tribe hold exactly the same beliefs as she does about humans. That's an awfully big assumption. One that I simply cannot accept. It utterly shatters my willingness to suspend my disbelief.
        • You can think of "perfect communion with the environment" as their "hat." It's evident, even without Neytiri's presence, how many (if not all) Na'vi obey the same rules and practice the same traditions. For instance, the movie itself shows how even distant tribes give greater value to feats of physical conquest than to wisdom, knowledge, or spiritual awareness. The Toruk Makto is the greatest and most obvious example, but even in Neytiri's tribe the chieftains were chosen among accomplished hunters and warriors, and the clan leaders shown in the "rallying the forces" collage were just as warlike. (Which itself raises the question: if there were warriors, who did this perfect society go to war with before humanity arrived? Why is it that the only "rites of passage" we're shown involve, again, physical conquest of oneself or others?) Given the instant contact they can achieve via the planetary network, complete (or near-complete) cultural homogeneity is very possible, especially when you consider that mankind became so varied and culturally diverse because, aside from their needs stemming from the different environments they developed in, there was no easy method of exchange between communities.
          • They used to go to war with each other. The riders of the Toruk unite the tribes, everything's dandy for a while, then fighting starts again.
  • You're not factoring in religion. All Na'vi can be assumed to be very devout believers in Eywa (otherwise, such aggressive attacks/counterattacks against human forces wouldn't have happened), and like any zealots (rational or not), their religion takes precedence over everything else in their lives. The Na'vi may have been interesteed in human military technology for the first few periods of arrival, until the humans started clear-cutting and bulldozing everything in their path and seriously pissed off the Omaticaya. The Na'vi were incurious because in their minds, Eywa was all they needed, and in a way, that's true.
    • I understand the religious aspect. But that's part of the point: for whatever reason, they are intellectually incurious and culturally dead-ended. But they don't get any of the negative consequences of such a state. The only time it will come up for them is when their star dies and everything on their world dies with it. While humankind still roams the galaxy, because they actually decided to do something.
  • This is a factor that made me irritated with the Na'vi- for all the claims of a "dangerous world", they are spoon-fed their entire existance. A human needs food, he spends generations breeding and cross-pollenating animals and plants, respectively, to develop a crop/livestock that is usable as a reliable source of food; if a Na'vi needs food, he spears the prey twenty feet away and grabs the fruit off a tree for a garnish. A human needs transportation, he spends money and resources buying/building, and in some cases, developing, a car or plane to do so, having to use difficult-to-find resources that required ingenuity to obtain. A navi can just hop on the back of a native animal and plug it in- not spending years training and breeding them, or taking care of them, just hop on and let it go when you're done. A human is sick, he developes chemistry and biology to create medicine and surgury to heal and recover. the Na'vi just are "super-hardy". A human wants to record his life so his grandson can know of his life, and wants to write a history book so future generations can avoid repeating the mistakes of the past; He develops written language and art, leaving behind the Mona Lisa, or Paradise Lost, as a legacy. if a Na'vi wants to know about times of antiquity, he sticks his braid on a tree and downloads grandpappy's memories. There is no cultural advancement because there is no necessity, they don't need anything, work is comprised of "go over there, kill the stupid animal, make it into loinclothes and meat." They see the human mining as sensless attacks agains Eyuwa because they have never had to develop mining or any other form of industry. Worse yet, I keep hearing paralles between Home Tree and New York or other cities- a city is developed over hundreds of years, built from the ground up into something the builders and the great-grandchildren of the builders can look upon as something to be proud of as an accomplishment. If one was destroyed, that means the livelihood and homes of thousands or even millions of people is gone. For the Na'vi, the destruction of Home Tree means they have to grab their bow and a spare loincloth and move to a different huge tree, or dare I say it, several smaller trees.
    • Apples to oranges. Humans need all that extra stuff because there are so goddamn many of us. It used to be that we hunted, gathered, and lived much like the Na'vi do. If there wasn't seven godsdamn billion humans crowding the world, industrialized farming and stuff wouldn't be necessary.
    • I mean they don't have to do any work other than shooting the stupid animals that wander into the home tree. They don't have to train or breed their horses, they just hop on, take control, release it when you're do e and repeat whenever you need a horse. Food is easy to find, the only skill you will ever need is using that bow.
    • Yeah, just 'using a bow'...the Na'vi don't have a necessity for tracking abilities, stealthy movement, swimming, extremely fluid control of their bodies (one misstep, you're taking a thousand-foot fall off a flying mountain), crafting any sort of tool that might be necessary for survival, ability to avoid predators the size of a Cessna, being able to recognize what plants are safe to eat and which ones explode (seriously), etc. Only Tapirii wander into Hometree, and those things are proportionally as big as a medium-sized dog. Even with several of those, it's still not enough to feed 200+ people.
    • the Na'vi's super-elfy Mary Sue-ness allows those skills to come naturally, and the edible fruits seem to be common enough for Jake to land face-first in a pile when he falls off a horse.
    • And with that circular reasoning, you've sealed the deal on the legitimacy of your stance...in that it isn't.
      • Fair enough. So where in the movie are we shown that their hunter-gatherer life is hard? Where in the movie do we see the Na'vi doing stuff to make hunting easier, to improve their overall lot in life, to more effectively stave off starvation, etc? These are all reasons why humanity invented civilization and dropped hunter/gatherer as soon as possible. The best you can say is that the Na'vi culturally don't want to improve any of it, which is the problem we're talking about: they can get away with having it, while still having all of the effects of culture (long life expectancy, little evidence for disease, etc).
  • Furthermore, when agriculture was developed there weren't so many of us. Agriculture offers a far more stable way of life, and far more people being fed. I personally would not object to the Na'vi if they were not presented as being perfection, despite a number of flaws in their thinking. Many native cultures are fairly idealised today, but not one of them was ever completely devoid of flaws. I am not claiming that human actions on their planet were justified, but this seems more a case of Black and Black Morality than what Cameron may have intended.

The way the Na'vi lifestyle is presented seems dishonest.

The Na'vi we see hunt for a living. They go toe-to-toe with dangerous animals, armed with bows, clubs, and bone knives. This is not a low-risk activity. Yet, to my knowledge, we are never shown an injured Na'vi until the humies start being mean. Now I know we don't get to peer in every nook and cranny of the Hometree, but we do get a long, broad look at Na'vi culture that's clearly meant to be representative. It's hardly plausible that the Na'vi have some kind of super-gecko healing powers, nor that they kill their wounded, because our viewpoint character would freak out over either. This matter is crucial to the Na'vis' relationship with nature, the core of the entire film. I'm cool with utopias, but there are better ways to design them than by erasing innate downsides with the power of their superiority. So: Na'vi amputees, yes, no, in the sequel?

  • The Na'vi are naturally hardy. Jake, who isn't really a Na'vi, survives hitting the ground at quite a speed without even so much a bruise (let alone a broken rib a human would have gotten; carbon-fiber trumps calcium when it comes to bones). Also, they've developed their advanced techniques of tracking/hunting over several millenia, but their general rule is that when there's a high-level carnivore within the vicinity, you get the hell away now. Fauna like Thanators and Viperwolves are never on their "hunt" list, it's only the weaker herbivores (hexapde, tapirus) that are constantly targeted for food. With those that in mind, Na'vi casualties or fatalities won't be exactly common as compared to a human hunter-gatherer society from millenia ago. Supplementary material do suggest illnesses stemming from plants/insects (and respective Na'vi treatments), complications during rites of passages (wrestling a banshee/going on an acid trip to find your 'spirit animal'), and injuries while playing a certain type of drum while intoxicated by the Na'vi version of alcoholic beverages.
    • I had a reply ready, detailing how the Na'vi can perfectly well suffer fewer hunting casualties than humans, but having none turns their life from the idyllic to the Edenic. Then I realized that at most, it would make people who liked the movie feel bad. Yay. I got the info I was looking for - that there are no hurt Na'vi in the film - so thanks. I'm going to go watch the climax of the 1964 film Zulu until I feel better about the noble freaking savages. Let me know if there are physically imperfect Na'vi in the movie after all.
    • I said "casualties/fatalities aren't as common in comparison", not "there is absolutely zero chance of injury/death while hunting". Don't try to get false justification by twisting my words. The sturmbeest hunt proved to be dangerous if you were bucked off your mount and had to dodge an entire friggin' stampede of 20-ton monsters. Thanators and Great Leonopteryx's regularly prey on Na'vi, just that their success rate in actually killing and consuming one isn't exactly high (Jake and Neytiri got away by a fluke). And on that "imperfect" comment...look at the kids that approach Grace when she re-enters the clan. Two of them look...less than OK.
      • Aw, man. Now you're angry at me because you think I did that and I'm angry at you for accusing me of that. That's not a tangle we can just work around and discuss other stuff, and it's not getting resolved over an anonymous, asynchronous, improvised web page communication method.

The Kiss

So when Jake and Ney'Tiri 'choose' each other, it's a bit narmy, but fine. Alien courtship can be a little weird. Then they kiss. Exactly the same interaction as we have here on earth. Exactly down to the body language. Which is fine for him, it's what he would expect to do. But she goes along with it like it was perfectly natural. Not even all cultures on Earth kiss to show romantic affection. What are the odds that a largely Western cultural invention would evolve identically on another planet?

  • The same reason why the Na'vi look so aesthetically similar to humans.
    • Or, in the script, it's shown that Jake introduced that to Neytiri. Look at the scene at the tree of souls before the battle when they press their faces against each other's, THAT is a less human interaction.
      • Not really. It just looked like a Headbutt of Love to me.
        • Which is not exactly easy with humans (it has to be foreheads only due to the pointy noses), while for the Na'vi, they can place their whole faces almost together, while it would make significantly more sense with the Na'vi (and it is done at a time when Jake is more Na'vi than he was before), and it is something that is neither common for humans nor amazingly practical with the features. Also, the Na'vi DO have other specific gestures, such as when Neytiri curls her tail around Jake's legs...

Explaining to Eywa

The Mighty Whitey page says that one of the reasons Jake counts as one is that he was the only Na'vi who managed to get Eywa to help. I don't recall any other Na'vi going to Eywa and trying to explain. Also, Eywa had just presumably gotten Grace's knowledge about humanity, and Jake was the only Na'vi who could really comprehend and explain the situation to her. That's not because he's white, that's just plain logic, right?

  • Yeah, pretty much. Alternatively, most of his 'advantages' compared to the Na'vi stemmed from the fact that he was human (and thus had a different paradigm on the same situations) and Na'vi; race had nothing to do with it.
      • Of course, nobody can state WHAT prompted the intervention, whether or not it would have occurred without that scene.
      • Beg to differ: If his being human and his cultural background (a.k.a., a logic-dominant, objective-truth recognizing, innate-rights-oriented culture typically known as "Western") were the source of his advantages, then it is Mighty Whitey all the way. And in storytelling, if you show a prayer and then a fulfillment thereof in a very unprecedented fashion, it's reasonable to assume causation.
        • Yet he was not the first Na'vi to look from another perspective this is how other Toruk Makto would have too. Implying the Na'vi do not understand the nature of Eywa and the neural network is patently false.

Na'vi Strength

Why are the Na'vi so damn strong? I can understand their sturdyness being handwaved by their fancy bones, but they live in a low gravity environment, they should be much weaker than they are. The humans are used to and adapted to a much higher gravity environment, as such, an average strenght human should be able to toss a Na'vi around like a ragdoll.

  • You've either watched too much DBZ, or you're vastly overestimating the difference in gravity between the two planets.
    • Op here, and maybe i am overestimating them, but doesn't Pandora have about half earth's gravity? Also, DBZ comment came much earlier than I anticipated.
    • Pandora's gravity is 0.8G. But air density is 1.2 of Earth's, so flying animals don't really have it much easier. Also, the Na'vi will have much more musculature than humans (even if it's proportional) due to their size, so the whole "Na'vi flinging humans around" only goes one way.
    • Actually, air density being higher would make it easier for flying creatures. They wouldn't require hollow bones, presumably. The Na'vi size difference makes sense... but they're what, nine feet tall? And they just toss people around like crazy despite presumably reduced muscle density. It feels off. They just have superpowers, because the Na'vi are better. Always.
    • Probably shouldn't have said "easier" then. Flying animals don't need as much strength for flight, but top speeds and terminal velocity will be lower. And it would help if you could back up your claim with some conclusive knowledge of biology before just dismissing the whole thing. Hell, there's actually a section on this page that goes really in-depth to Na'vi physiology.
    • Air density does make flight easier since there is more lift, although it requires stronger muscles to achieve higher speeds. For the Na'vi themselves, people ignore the fact that some species ARE proportionally stronger than others. On Earth, for a human to match an ant's proportional strength, they would need to lift over 5 times their body weight.
      • Right answer, wrong reason. Humans are weak per unit body mass, even as megafauna goes—your average chimpanzee is much stronger than your average human, despite being lighter—but the feats of proportional strength that insects get up to are entirely due to inverse-square proportionality issues. Scale an ant up to human size and it wouldn't be able to do anything very impressive, even ignoring the scale issues regarding respiration and motor control.
        • Ultimately, though, THEY'RE ALIENS. They don't have to be explainable by human science.
          • They are aliens, not eldritch abominations. They would still be governed by the same laws of physics as humans. That said the Navi's strength is one of the few things about them that didn't bother me.
            • So 4 times a human's strength is not feasible? Or TWO times a human's strength (roughly) if you go by proportion, being nearly twice the height.