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5 Movies like Avatar: A Return Trip to Pandora

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Thanasis Karavasilis itcherAvatar sounds all too familiar: a clash between the indigenous Na’vi and the humans who have traveled light-years to mine their planet’s precious minerals. A Cameronian extravaganza we have seen before. ~ Thanasis Karavasilis

Similar To Avatar- But Not In the Way You Imagine

It’s been five years since James Cameron introduced us to Pandora. The very first 3D film to hit the theaters, this several-decades-in-the-dreaming exploration of the invisible world of the spirit was created to push the boundaries of conventional filmmaking. The result? A film that is both glorious and goofy.

I decided to take another trip to the awkwardly familiar, but pleasingly exotic, alien world just to be reminded of something that’s been talked about for quite some time: Avatar is too heavily based on the white savior cliché.

That being said, it’s not such a bad thing if you consider the number of great movies like Avatar which share the theme.

‘Pocahontas’ (Mike Gabriel – Eric Goldberg, 1995)

Capt. John Smith is the leader of a group of English settlers in the New World. Their mission is simple: plunder the riches for Queen and Country. His acquaintance with the daughter of the native tribe’s leader will change the way he thinks about colonization, nature, and love.

With stars such as Mel Gibson, Linda Hunt, and Christian Bale lending their voices to the characters of this memorable animation, Pocahontas managed to become a Disney Princess and elevate her motion picture to a Disney classic.

Pocahontas is a delicate work of art with a very important moral message.

When Pocahontas runs with the images of war superimposed behind her and sings, “HOW LOUD BEAT THE DRUMS OF WAR!”, you will know why this movie is so much like Avatar.

‘Dances with Wolves’ (Kevin Costner, 1990)

Lt. John Dunbar is one of these characters that require one of the highest seats in the pantheon of fictional characters. Exiled to a remote western Civil War outpost, he befriends both wolves and Indians, making him something of an outcast in the military.

If you’re looking for movies similar to Avatar, this is one you should see at once. A masterful epic, and for good reason: ‘Dances with Wolves’ is a film with a wolf named “Two-socks” – and you can never go wrong if you have a wolf with that name.

A man raised in western culture befriends and earns the respect of a tribe of native people, shedding his ways to embrace his newfound epiphany. Bullseye.

‘John Carter’ (Andrew Stanton, 2012)

John Carter is a veteran of the American Civil War who’s trying to live a normal life. The army, in need of his services, tries to enlist him against his will.

During his escape, events unfold beyond his control, leading to him finding himself on an alien planet where he befriends a native tribe in war.

Yeah, I know. Sounds familiar. But do not be fooled. Based on A Princess of Mars, the first book in the Barsoom series of novels by Edgar Rice Burroughs, the interplanetary adventures of John Carter may wear the same clothes but it does so in a new, fresh, and interesting way.

A man from earth and his quest on an alien planet. A sci-fi epic with a similar theme to Avatar. A little too similar but that’s the charm of it.


If You like Avatar You Will Like…

Avatar, besides its themes and moral aspects, is a sci-fi epic that will be remembered as a classic in the years to come. Especially if Cameron decides to grace us with the sequels he promised.

Nevertheless, it is a sci-fi movie and the following films do have the same aesthetic. If you’re a fan of Avatar, chances are, you’ll enjoy these as well.

‘The Matrix’ (The Wachowski Brothers, 1999)

Thomas A. Anderson is living two separate lives. He has a normal day job as a programmer, but behind the scenes, he’s a notorious hacker known only as Neo. Questioning the truth of his reality, he learns from a group of mysterious rebels about the true nature of his world – The Matrix – and his pivotal role in the war against their oppressors.

Interesting and challenging, The Matrix will make you question the truth of our world as well.

Watch The Matrix and then we will have the chance say “Mrrrrr Aaaaandersoooon” together. It’s fun! Trust me.

A sci-fi epic on its own, The Matrix shares the theme of the connection to avatars between two different worlds.

‘Titanic’ (James Cameron, 1997)

A seventeen-year-old British girl of noble origins is expected to be married to a rich claimant in order to stabilize her family’s harsh economic situation. On their way to America on board the ill-fated R.M.S Titanic, she falls in love with a kind but poor artist who changes her perception on what truly matters in life.

Well, there are lot of “changing perceptions” in these films. And that is precisely what makes them so great. James Cameron directed some of the most influential sci-fi films of the past few decades, such as The Terminator and the Alien franchise. He is a filmmaker who embraces cinema as an art – and what an art piece Titanic (find more great similar films here) is.

Avatar and Titanic share a similar romance story while delivering the same WOW factor we are used to expecting from Cameron’s films.


Time to Save yet Another World

I’m sure that I’m missing a lot of other films like Avatar. Strange new worlds, far far away (hint hint) are waiting to be discovered!

Do you have any films you’d like to add to the list?

This is definitely not a complete list, so what are you waiting for?


Hey there! I′m Thanasis, a writer and lover of stories who was educated to be a teacher of English. I spend my time between worlds and inside pages; written or otherwise. I roam the endless void called The Internet in a constant quest to discover pieces of great storytelling in every artistic medium imaginable.
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