Avatar Review: Toby’s Battle Plan to Save Pandora (Spoilz)


Spoiler Alert!

Yes, the 2009 film “Avatar”, directed by James Cameron is essentially “Dances With Wolves” in space. Yes, it did end with a climactic battle in which the military industrial complex of the future is defeated by an individual who is simultaneously noble savage and American whitey. Yes, I would still recommend that anyone with $10.50 go see it in 3D at their next convenience.

I struggled with the main plot dilemma in the film. The idea of a bulldozer the size of a cruise ship belies a deep misunderstanding of the level of development required to get to the nearest star. If we transcend interstellar travel and make genetics our plaything but still need certain kinds of rocks more than others so bad we will kill for them, I’m going to be pissed and confused.

Before I subject you to my improved battle plan to save Pandora I have to say that the method of warfare used by the humans on Pandora similarly belies misunderstanding of military technology not only in the future, but today. Manned military aircraft are not going to be a prominent feature in the near future. If there is a mining facility on another planet in our future it is unlikely that it will have more than a handful of human staff of any kind.

The part of the movie that really made me sad was the senseless loss of so many of the beautiful Omaticaya people and wildlife due to poor strategy. The heart of my review of the film is my improved battle plan. Super nerd mode GO!

At the outset, Jake Sully knows that a huge, waddling spacecraft is being flown in as a bomber to destroy the soul tree. He can assume, in the technological mishmash future in which he lives, that it will be escorted by many waddling aircraft piloted by real live human beings.

The Na’vi ground attack was senseless from the get go. They should have been committed to protecting the populace. The cavalry charge nature of their attack was not only inconsistent with their nature and environment, it was completely ill-advised for facing infantry with repeating rifles.

It is implied that Trudy has committed herself to betraying the humans before the battle by the paint on her futuristic helicopter. She has the only air-to-air explosives on the entire Na’vi side of the conflict. These should have been put to better use than her daring but senseless “up yours” attack on the command ship thing. With the inherent cloaking of the Flux Vortex aiding her she should have made a surprise run on the shuttle taking out one or more of its engines. If she was still going after that, she should have committed whatever she had to the engines of the command ship thing, and then left the scene. She would have been infinitely more effective with the tools at her disposal. With the loss of their main objective and their command, the remaining airborne and ground troops would be easy pickings.

It was a poor idea for the Omaticaya to attack the futuristic helicopters directly. We see several times during the battle that the loss of either of their very vulnerable ducted fans puts them down with extreme prejudice. I think the Omaticaya airborne would have been well served to encourage their flying mounts to drop large stones or even logs into these fans from above. If Trudy had failed to stop either of her targets, this tactic could be employed on them as well.

If Jake Sully could somehow have received my recommendations, I think Tsu’Tey, Trudy, and many Omaticaya would still be with us today.

4 Responses to “Avatar Review: Toby’s Battle Plan to Save Pandora (Spoilz)”

  1. Nathan Colgate Says:

    I thought Neytiri could have been based on your wife:

  2. Nathan Colgate Says:

    • toby Says:

      There is definitely a resemblance. Maureen has huge eyes and a high forehead. However, in person, her face is much less round than Neytiri’s. You are probably the third or fourth person who has mentioned this though.

  3. Danny Dyer Says:


    Moe told me to go and read your blog/review of Avatar…the last thing I expected to read was a newly re-strategized (is that a word?) battle plan for both the humans and the na’vi. I was pleasantly surprised. You truly have the heart of a compassionately nerdy diplomatist…which is the best kind to have.

    Great insights!

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