02 January 2010

Nature in Avatar: the movie

Holy moley, did you guys catch Avatar yet? Unless you've been living under a rock, you must have heard of James Cameron's latest movie release, Avatar, a film that is set to revolutionize the industry in terms of visual effects, as well as telling a story with a good message but not in a lame way at all.

But back to holey moley -- if you watch Avatar, the world of Pandora, a distant planet rich in biodiversity will surely take your breath away. And if you are as excitable as I am, the lush forests and quirky animals would have reminded you of so many organisms we see in real life right here in our world. So just how much of actual nature was "ripped off" in the making of this movie? :p

Phronid worms must have been the inspiration for the retracting, orange, rhino-sized things that Jake was fooling around with right before encountering the big scary charging animals.

Every shot of the waters in the streams that snake through the forests of Pandora shows the bottoms spotted with anemone-like creatures, just like the frilly anemones we find so often on our reefs.

Neytiri falls from a great height, only to be cushioned at regular intervals by leaves that look just like giant heliconias, a plant commonly grown in gardens around Singapore.

As Jake and Neteri sprint across the forest floor, bioluminescent mushroom-like things resemble the zoanthids often encountered on our shores, also found living in colonies.

Speaking of bioluminescence (= natural glow-in-the-dark phenomena), we've got glowing mushrooms in Singapore too!

Image from Talfryn.net

It may come as a surprise to most to know that the tremendous amount of bioluminescence shown in the film is not entirely fiction. There are 71 known species of glow-in-the-dark fungi and you can find some in Singapore too. In fact, I've heard of many Singaporeans who've made it a hobby to seek out these mushrooms on a regular basis.

Of course, central to the movie was the natives' equivalent of mother nature, Eywa, represented by an actual tree that looks like a radioactive willow. Don't her seeds look and move just like jellyfish?

I'm pretty sure there's many more parallels I've forgotten. What else reminded you of real life plants and animals?

See also this post on World of Avatar: in real life from Mongabay.com news by Jeremy Hance.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Eywa's seeds reminds me of the medusae of Obelia. I am hard pressed to be able to see anything unique in that movie!


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