The video of the trailer for Disney’s Pocahontas (1995) is combined with audio from Avatar (2009). It demonstrates how these films have common environmental discourses and genre conventions.
Avatar demonstrates how symbolic resources circulate in the global media ecosystem in complex and contradictory ways. On the surface, Avatar is a typical product of the culture industry. Its production, marketing, product tie-ins, and normal hype that accompanies blockbuster films point to it being just another Hollywood spectacle appropriating social anxieties for profit. In particular, the film was criticized as a simplistic New Age fantasy that demeans and stereotypes indigenous cultures. Yet audiences reacted profoundly to the movie. The film visualizes a war of opposing knowledge systems: one based on the commodification of natural resources versus a sophisticated ecoculture struggling against colonial forces of extraction and destruction.