This chapter analyzes James Cameron's most recent narrative fiction feature film, Avatar (2009). The film represents a range of broader cultural appropriations, being seen variously as eco-destruction allegory, genocide allegory, post-colonial drama, and perhaps even an expression of the digitally connected world of virtual realities and the Internet. The film's promotion explicitly presented Cameron as ‘The Visionary Director’, marshalling hardware and software resources alongside an expansive crew. The film's combination of the performance capture process used for filming the character interactions, and the story's focus on real and fake ‘identities’ are underpinned by a fascinating sense of the virtual. Avatar represents the evolution of cinema from photography in its fusion of forms and technologies to render characters and settings.
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