Please help protect the Amazon! Brazil to pass a new law

I hate to come back to my blog after an absence with bad or worrisome news however, here I am with some. I’ve made it no secret on this blog that I am a supporter of leaving the Amazon rainforest and the people within it alone. And after the fairly recent election of a new president in Brazil, who claimed that he was going to fight to undo the things the previous president set in place that were harmful to the indigenous peoples of Brazil, I had hope, however small it was.

But it is not to be. It seems like the Brazilian government is almost identical to ours here in the U.S. The president is pretty much just a figurehead while all the other people around him from the different voting parties pull the strings. That is pretty much what is happening as Brazilian congress (who is overwhelmingly right-wing) is trying to pass a new law that will pretty much strip the environmental ministry of their right to defend and protect the Amazon. It will also strip the laws already in place that offer the Amazon rainforest protections from further destruction and theft of the land. And get this: people from within President Silva’s own party helped vote to pass this through.

If this new law goes into effect, it will most definitely be a genocide of epic proportions as the indigenous peoples who still reside in the rainforest will be evicted for land and economic development, or murdered if they choose to stay and fight for their ancestral land. It’s all so absolutely heartbreaking. There have been many protests, and Brazilian police are responding with violence.

As someone who is not Brazilian nor do I live in Brazil, the most I can do is spread the word and sign petitions. If you would like to fight for the Amazon and help lend your voice (even if only digitally) to speaking out against the trauma constantly being inflicted on the Amazon and the indigenous people who still live there, please look at the petitions that I have linked below and sign your name.

With everything going on all over the world and all the many distractions we have in our society, it is easy to turn a blind eye to things like this. I don’t wish to claim that certain things are more important than others because I know that what is important to one person, won’t be for another. But if you are reading this, I hope you take a moment to truly click through the links I have provided to read up on what is going on with the Amazon and sign the petitions.

Thank you for reading ~

Petitions you can still sign:

Global call for the urgent prevention of genocide of the indigenous peoples of Brazil

https://www.change.org/p/the-global-petition-to-protect-the-amazon (old petition that still needs more signatures)

Bill they are trying to pass (This page is in Portuguese, but please use an online translator so you can understand):

https://www.camara.leg.br/propostas-legislativas/345311

Links to articles:

https://www.opendemocracy.net/en/democraciaabierta/brazil-lula-environmental-indigenous-agenda/

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2023/may/25/brazil-congress-environment-indigenous-ministry-powers

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2023/may/31/brazil-law-indigenous-lands-congress

Na’vi Funerals & Expressing Grief

Today while browsing through an Avatar forum, I came across the topic of death and grief on Pandora. While the person who originally started the topic just wanted to open up a conversation about death in general and how we shouldn’t fear it, I had my own thoughts about death and grief and how it was shown to us in the film. I decided to also post my thoughts here, because I think it’s an interesting topic, specifically as it pertains to world building and the overall culture of the Na’vi, as well as how the cultures might differ among the clans.

In response to the person’s curiosity about Neytiri’s funeral attire, this was my response:

“I was also curious about Neytiri’s attire during Neteyam’s send off, as well as the solid stripe going down Jake’s face and the black/darkly colored bands that were on his arms. I am mostly curious about what Na’vi practices are when it comes to the death of a blood family member in comparison to the death of a clan member, because in the first film, we briefly saw a send off of an Omaticaya clan member, however no one was in funeral/grieving attire. They came in their everyday attire and placed their seeds of the sacred tree on the member as a way to say farewell so that the member’s spirit can go on to become one within Eywa.

I wonder if the attire for Neteyam’s funeral is what Omaticaya wear when a direct family member dies, or if this was the funeral practices of the Metkayina. Because I also noticed that Tanowari’s and Ronal’s clothing were also different for Neteyam’s send off. They did say in the movie that the Sully’s were Metkayina now, so I wonder if this was just Metkayina attire for funerals.

I also noticed that Neytiri was wearing Neteyam’s necklace for the funeral as well.

It’s all very interesting to think about and I have not seen anything yet in the official canon about the funeral styles of the different Na’vi clans. I am interested in it because the funeral for the Omaticaya in the first film felt much lighter, especially with Jake narrating that the Omaticaya believe that all energy is borrowed and that in the end, all energy must be returned. Granted, I understand the horrific circumstances that Neteyam died under, so his death is a lot heavier and I imagine that no Na’vi, no matter what their spiritual beliefs are, wants to experience the death of a loved one, especially the death of a child. I imagine that dying of old age vs. dying due to murder and war are very different in terms of energy being returned to Eywa. However, I like the idea that death is not the end, no matter how you die. Your soul goes on, back into Eywa where there is freedom, peace, and no pain.”

Even though we did not see a funeral for Neytiri’s father in the first film, I imagine that it would have held the same heaviness as Neteyam’s, and I can’t picture a funeral like we saw in the first film happening for Olo’eyktan’s funeral. It definitely wouldn’t be as light and accepting. Not only because he was the clan leader, but because of the circumstances he died under. His death was absolutely brutal. And the fact that he died in Neytiri’s arms makes it that much heavier.

I feel sad that Olo’eyktan could not get a proper burial with the Omaticaya sending him off. But in my imagination, I like to think maybe they did, in the best way they knew how, after they made it to safety while congregating under the large tree; the scene where Jake showed up with the toruk.

I also wonder if Neytiri has a bead and a song on her songcord for her father. I would have liked to hear what song she created for him. I’d like to hear Mo’at’s song for him too, if she has one.

Death can be heavy and traumatic, and grief can feel like the end of the world. But I love how the Na’vi always have a way to be near their ancestors with the Tree of Voices. It makes me wish we had something like it here on earth. Same with the Black Panther films and how they can speak to their ancestors on the ancestral plane. When it comes to my own ancestors, I, for one, would love to be able to see my great grandfather again. Many people never meet their great grand parents, but I was fortunate enough to actually grow up with mine 💜

Neytiri’s Songcord – Neytiriyä Waytelem

lie si oe neteyamur
nawma sa’nokur mìfa oeyä
atanti ngal molunge
mipa tìreyti, mipa ‘itanti

lawnol a mì te’lan, lawnol a mì te’lan

ngaru irayo seiyi ayoe, tonìri tìreyä
ngaru irayo seiyi ayoe, srrìri tìreyä

ma Eywa, ma Eywa

zola’u nìprrte’ ma kiri
ngati oel munge soaiane
lie si oe atanur
pähem parul, tì’ongokx ahuta

lawnol a mì te’lan, lawnol a mì te’lan

ngaru irayo seiyi ayoe, tonìri tìreyä
ngaru irayo seiyi ayoe, srrìri tìreyä

ma Eywa, ma Eywa

May the waters bring you life. May Eywa be with you always ~

Sustainable Business Shoutout! – Rainforest Chica

Hello everyone! This post is going to be fairly brief. I just wanted to come shout out a small business that I have come across that helps indigenous families and local communities in the Brazilian Amazon.

Things in Brazil have been very scary lately. And as an American, it is horrifying to see what happened here with our election back in 2020, also happening in the same exact way in Brazil with their citizens storming capital buildings. Seeing it play out almost exactly the way it happened here is so heartbreaking and I can’t help but feel a little helpless. We live in strange and dangerous times and I will continue to pray for the safety of myself, my family, and the citizens around me. I do the same for the people of Brazil as well.

Although I am just one singular person, I still try to do things that can help, such as having this blog to get the word out, or supporting people, groups, and businesses who work closely with (or within) the actual communities I am trying to support. In this case, that business is a small online shop called Rainforest Chica.

Rainforest Chica is a business that sells butters and oils from the Brazilian Amazon rainforest in order to support the local and indigenous populations. She and her suppliers only work with non-timber forest products and are completely against the deforestation of the Amazon. Please read her company’s ‘About’ section below.

Rainforest Chica also has a Youtube channel where she uploads occasionally to show where she is getting her products from and ways to use them to better your skin and hair health. If you have a few minutes, please watch the video below about why she chooses wild harvested products and chooses to work with small indigenous farmers instead of huge corporations.

I really appreciate businesses like this and I hope she can continue to remain sustainable and helping local communities. As someone who is still learning how to make my own products, I am doing my best to find businesses like Rainforest Chica so that my money brings relief to the people that need it and aids in the preservation of the earth, instead of having my money go to huge conglomerates that destroy everything and make false alternatives for high prices just to turn a profit.

If you are reading this, I hope you can check out Rainforest Chica and possibly find something you might want to buy or at least spread the word about this sustainable business. Thanks for reading!

~ Na’vi Dreamer 💙 🌎

Movie Review – Avatar: The Way of Water

*Please know that this review will contain mild spoilers for the film*

Hello everyone and welcome or welcome back to my blog. It’s been a while since I’ve seen the movie and I needed these days to process my feelings and get my thoughts together. I think I’m ready now to give my personal review of this film. But before I get started, I will give the warning that this blog post is going to be very long.

Summary

Avatar: The Way of Water follows the journey of the Sullys as a family unit. In this film, we are introduced to the Sully family with a brief recap of what has been taking place over the past decade, and we meet each of the Sully children. The Omaticaya have found a new place to live since the first film and have adapted to using the more violent weapons that they have been taking from the RDA each time the RDA comes to try and kill and colonize. As a clan, they stop the RDA from inflicting further damage on Pandora and take the weapons to use for when they come up against the RDA again.

The Omaticaya have built a type of militaristic base in a high cliff where they store the weapons and RDA equipment. Jake is putting his military background to good use and seems to be doing a decent job at keeping the Omaticaya safe. But of course, this does not last, and the RDA bring in the big weapons that the Omaticaya can’t win against, and just like before, the clan has to move again.

Once Quaritch’s conscious is restored into the body of an Avatar, as well as many other RDA troops whose human bodies died, he goes on the hunt for Jake Sully with only one goal: Kill him. He gives a Pandora speech to his new troops that is almost identical to his speech in the first film, and they are soon on their way.

After a scary run in with these new Avatars, the Sully children almost get taken by Quaritch and these new RDA people. Jake and Neytiri come to save them, and it is at this point that Jake sees that Quaritch is alive again and that his family is no longer safe in the forest. So, he gives up his title as Olo’eyktan, passing the title and position to another clan member, and he and his family leave the Omaticaya clan for good, seeking refuge in the reef with the Metkayina clan. This is where the movie truly begins and the TWOW story finally starts.

Characters

Jake Sully & Neytiri – Although Jake and Neytiri are important characters and very vital to the overall story of TWOW, it felt like they were secondary characters – especially Neytiri. This might have been on purpose since the franchise as a whole seems to be turning into a family saga of sorts that will follow the Sully family for many generations.

It was interesting to see Jake and Neytiri step into the role of parenthood and all the struggles that parenthood entails, in addition to running for their lives. I do think that their lives were made significantly harder due to the number of kids they had. 3 biological kids, 1 adopted, and 1 sorta kinda adopted, for a total of 5 kids to look after. In terms of safety, that’s just too many and we see throughout the entire movie just how dangerous this is.

It was interesting to see Neytiri take on the role of a mother. In the first film she was very much a warrior in her own right. She was harsh, stubborn, fierce, and mostly showed tough love. However, she loved deeply – both her partner, Jake, and her people. In TWOW, we see a softer side of Neytiri. This softness does not completely overshadow the Neytiri we grew to know in the first film, however, the overall toughness seemed to be hidden away for the majority of the film. We don’t get to see Neytiri in all of her glory until the very end of the film and I found this disappointing. However, Zoe Saldana’s performance during this climax scene was absolutely amazing! I felt her rage. I felt her hurt. I felt her passion to protect yet hatred enough to get revenge, and it brought tears to my eyes.

Seeing Jake as a father was interesting. In a way, I still see him as the bumbling idiot that had no idea how to survive on Pandora and ran into everything headfirst and dealt with the consequences later. As in no thoughts, head empty, let’s just see what happens. And even though Jake was this way in the first film, he did always try his very best. He gave everything 100% effort no matter how stupid his actions were.

In this film, even though he does still have some of these same qualities, we see that he thinks more before acting. He has become completely strategic and has come to rely on what he knows that can keep people safe, and that just so happens to be rooted in his military training. I think this was a necessary development for his character since the franchise seems to now be moving toward being a family saga. The contrast in still seeing Jake Sully as a Pandoran newbie vs. a skilled Na’vi leader and protector of an entire clan and family is still hard for me to process, personally. Maybe if we could have gotten more time to see Jake living on Pandora as a Na’vi and as an actual clan leader, the shift into this new era of his character would have been easier to digest. But what can we do when it’s been over a decade between films? Oh well.

Netayam – The first-born Sully child and the oldest of the kids. He’s a teenager who does his best to look after his siblings but very clearly has a soft spot for his younger brother and often allows him to get them in trouble. For the most part, he is mature and has a good head on his shoulders and wants to live up to the image of his dad who has become a bit of a living legend. His father is the Toruk Makto, the Olo’eyktan, and has helped lead the Omaticaya to victory on numerous occasions against the RDA (such as when the RDA raids Pandora and the Omaticaya stop them, like we see in the beginning of the film). Netayam sees he has big shoes to fill, and he tries his best to be perfect.

Lo’ak – The second born son. Lo’ak is stubborn, disobedient, and so much like Jake that Jake just has no idea what to do with him. Lo’ak is constantly getting into trouble because he also wants to be like his dad, but he also wants his dad to be proud of him. Lo’ak is eager to be a warrior and often finds himself in trouble because he never thinks before he acts. And since he’s so pushy and stubborn, he often drags his siblings and new friends into his shenanigans.

Lo’ak was pretty much the main character of this film and therefore the best character in the movie because he had the most story and character development. I would not be surprised if the next film follows him even more.

Kiri – Kiri is the eldest (adopted) daughter and the most different. We find out pretty early on that she was born from Grace’s Avatar body, however, it is not explained how this was able to happen. Kiri is around the age of 14 or 15 and she feels a lot closer to nature and her environment more than she does people. She also has a very unique connection to Eywa and Grace Augustine. She can feel Grace inside her just as much as she can feel Eywa and we soon learn that Kiri has abilities that so far no other Na’vi has.

Throughout the film, Kiri very much seems like a fictional version of Jesus. She is “weird” and different from other Na’vi her age. Not just because her mother was human and she was born from her mother’s Avatar body, but also because of her abilities that are very much along the lines of “performing miracles” like how Jesus did in the bible. Kiri seems to be a spiritual offspring of sorts, conceived by Eywa through Grace. Which again, is very reminiscent of Jesus who was conceived by God through Mary while Joseph/Jake are just kind of hanging around for the ride.

I have no idea where Kiri’s story is going to go or what we are going to find out about her, but I am hoping she gets more story and character development in the next movie because in this one, her story seemed to fall by the wayside. There is a moment in the film where Kiri connects with the Metkayina’s tree of souls under water where she meets Grace face to face (since Grace was buried with Na’vi ancestors in the first film). Right after Kiri asks why she is so different, Grace gets snatched away due to connection issues with Kiri (no spoilers for this as this was quite intense and you need to see why the connection was lost for yourself) and we never get an answer. This mystery around Kiri’s existence remains for the entirety of the movie.

Spider – The human child on Pandora. We find out early on that Spider is the son of Quaritch and it was assumed that Spider was going to be shipped back to earth after the events in the first film. However, babies can’t be placed in cryo-sleep in order to space travel, so he stayed on base at Hell’s Gate on Pandora. He is pretty much a third son to the Sully family as Jake has taken a liking to him and the kids see him as another family member as well. Neytiri is the only one in the family that does not have loving feelings for him.

Spider and Kiri have a closer relationship and I think it is because they are both so different than everyone else. Kiri is different due to all the things I just explained above, while Spider is different because he is the first human ever born on Pandora and feels like Pandora is his home even though he cannot breathe Pandoran air. He feels more at home among the Na’vi, yet he is not Na’vi himself and wants to be.

Tuktirey – The youngest daughter in the Sully family. I believe she is only around the age of 6, so we don’t actually get a lot of her character, developmentally. In my opinion, she seemed to only be there as a plot device. She was just there to be cute and then to also serve as tension when she is placed in danger.

The Metkayina clan and royal family – This is the new clan we get to know in this film, and please note that I am only using the word “royal” as a description to separate the clan leaders and their family from the rest of the Metkayina. I understand that the term “royal” is a western view of hierarchy when understanding indigenous leadership.

So, we meet the Metkayina pretty much the same way Jake met the Omaticaya in the first movie. I really enjoyed getting to see this new clan and I loved how some of the visual and cultural aspects were inspired by the Maori people of New Zealand/Aotearoa. I will admit, I wanted to see more of Maori culture in the film because I have loved learning about the Maori ever since I met a Kiwi for the first time back in 2018 who loved sharing things about New Zealand culture. But I had to keep reminding myself that this is a fictional film and the cultures we see inside it are only inspired by. Not true representations.

Ronal and Tanuwari are the leaders of the Metkayina clan, and they have three children with one on the way. Two teenage sons and a teenage daughter. And as with the Sully children in this film, the royal children also get way more screen time than their parents. I don’t have much else to say about them besides kids will be kids, and there is a very obvious potential romantic connection between Lo’ak and Tanuwari’s daughter, Tsireya. It’s not one I care to see, but whatever.

Actors

I think overall, all the actors did a great job with their characters to tell the story that needed to be told; even the characters we are not supposed to like. I think the Na’vi Dreamer Best Actor Award goes to Britain Dalton who played Lo’ak – he seemed the most real to me in presenting a coming-of-age story, Zoe Saldaña who played Neytiri (Seriously! Her final battle scene is truly one to experience), and Stephen Lang who plays Colonel Quaritch. Anyone who can make me hate a character this much definitely deserves an award. The Na’vi Dreamer Best Actor Runner Up Award goes to Kate Winslet who played Ronal. I really liked her as Tsahìk of the Metkayina and wished we could have seen more of her. She is tough and strong-willed just like Neytiri, and we see a few times throughout the film how they clash yet still come together because they are ultimately fighting for the same thing.

Actors I did not particularly care for were Jack Champion who played Spider and Bailey Bass who played Tsireya. I know I am a minority in saying so because so many Avatar fans love them and there has been a lot of hype lately surrounding Bailey Bass as an up-and-coming actress, but this is just my opinion. Jack Champion did not give the emotions I felt were necessary in the situations he was in which made me not feel as strongly for his scenes. And I personally am just not a fan of Bailey Bass as an actor, even in other things I have seen her in. When I watch interviews of these two actors, I feel the same. There is something about the both of them that I find off putting personality wise. They just don’t do it for me. Oh well.

Something I find the new actors of this film struggled with, is trying to speak with a Na’vi accent. Everyone sounded completely different and no one’s accent was consistent. Most times, there was no accent at all. I try not to hold this against anyone too strongly since the main cast was just a bunch of kids under the age of 20 during filming, but it’s still something I noticed heavily.

I also found myself wishing that more Na’vi language was used because there was significantly less used in this film in comparison to the previous one. Absolutely everyone spoke English and the English used was so modern and of today that it would often take me out of the immersion once they started using terms like “yo” and “bro”. Even with a sky person as a father, I found this hard to swallow that Na’vi children would speak like this when the only person from Earth they’ve been around is their father, Jake. Not to mention, the first film took place in the year 2154 which means the second film is over a decade after that. I’m pretty sure people from Earth are no longer using the terms “yo” and “bro” that far in the future. Had they started using other modern slang like “cap” and “lit” I probably would have walked out the theater.

I also questioned why the Na’vi weren’t speaking Na’vi to each other and why they relied on English. My brother, who I saw the film with, told me his point of view which was that to us it is English for the sake of understanding the film, but to them, it was supposed to be Na’vi and this transition into Na’vi sounding like English happened when at the beginning of the movie when Jake Sully was narrating and said that he no longer hears the difference between the two languages anymore. Na’vi comes just as naturally to him as English does. And as he said this, his two kids that were arguing, we hear them speaking Na’vi but then switch to English. However, I did not get this transition at all if that’s what it was supposed to be. I still felt like there needed to be more Na’vi language in the film and at least some consistency in the accents.

Plot/Story

The main plot itself was very basic and “one note”. And that was: Quaritch is trying to kill Jake Sully. Jake Sully is trying to protect his family. That’s it. However, all the nuance comes in once we start to explore what it takes to keep family safe, specifically kids; what it means to live through a war and have that war follow you wherever you go; how it feels to never have a true sense of safety and to bring that safety insecurity to other people around you. And also, what it is like to grow up with this as your constant backdrop of life. It’s tough. It’s scary. And one cannot stay a child for long in situations like this.

Things got a little convoluted and strange when three other plot points were introduced but then never truly explored. At first, we think that Quaritch has been revived to finish what he started and kill Jake Sully so they can finish the original plan: Get the unobtanium. But then we are introduced to a woman in charge of a new group of RDA who seems to be trying to colonize Pandora because Earth is on its last leg and humans won’t survive much longer on it. So, her job is to “remove the hostile party” who is preventing them from colonizing, which is the Na’vi.

But then! We meet some other people who are only on Pandora for hunting. They are hunting and killing the tulkuns just so they can extract some whale blubber that stops aging and sells for 80 million dollars a kilo or something else outrageous. Why they are going hunting for whale serum when the earth is dying, I’ll never understand. Anti-aging whale serum is not what’s going to save the earth.

And lastly, Kiri’s story. It’s a sub plot that never gets fully realized and left me feeling disappointed. We know that Kiri is essentially Grace’s daughter. But how was she born? How was Grace’s avatar impregnated? Why can Kiri feel Grace and Eywa inside her? How does she have the abilities that she has? Who is she and why is she so different? All of these questions are posed, but absolutely none of them get answered.

All of these forgotten plot points left a lot of questions to be answered.

(L-R): Neytiri and Jake Sully in 20th Century Studios’ AVATAR: THE WAY OF WATER. Photo courtesy of 20th Century Studios. © 2022 20th Century Studios. All Rights Reserved.

Locations/Scenery

Was there ever any question that exploring a new area of Pandora would be absolutely stunning? If so, there shouldn’t have been because James Cameron did not disappoint! Seeing the marine side of Pandora was dreamlike, much like exploring the forest was in the first film. I really enjoy the overindulgence that James Cameron takes with showing viewers this new world. It allows us as viewers to take everything in and experience the newness at the same time as the characters who are also experiencing these things for the first time.

I personally have a love-hate relationship with water. I think water and marine life is amazing and beautiful. I love going to the beach and one of my most memorable moments at the beach was when I took a trip to Clear Water in Florida, bought some goggles, and went swimming in a more secluded area of the beach. I was able to swim among seaweed with small schools of fish, sea stars, sand crabs that burrowed away once I got too close, and I’ve even picked up a sea jelly before. However, I also have a fear of water. Storms absolutely frighten me, and I would never in a million years choose to live near a body of water, nor do I have any desire to ever go on a cruise. Being in the middle of an ocean with no land in sight is not my idea of a good time. That would bring me nothing but anxiety.

Seeing the underwater world of Pandora renewed my love for marine life and made me strongly want to go back to Clear Water to take another swim with the fish. I loved getting to see the Tulkuns and Ilus and the sea jelly that resembled a butterfly that helped Na’vi breath under water. I also loved the marine version of the tree of souls. It looked like a cross between a sea anemone and a palm tree which was really cool.

I also loved the differences in physical appearance of the Na’vi clans. The Metkayina have wider and flatter tales and arms to help them swim. They also have skin that is more teal in color and their stipes look different than the Omaticaya’s stripes. The clothing is also more aquatic and made from items of the sea or the nearby sea forest. The Metkayina also tattoo their bodies which is something the Omaticaya do not do. I would have loved to learn what the tattoos mean to the Metkayina, but I suppose knowing that would not have progressed the plot further. Hopefully we get another book of canon that can explain more about the Metkayina.

Music

The movie opens with a new song that we viewers have never heard before. It is the voice of Neytiri, and it is beautiful, and melancholic, and filled with spiritual longing. Almost like a prayer; it held a lot of weight to it. I was happy initially, because I thought that finally, we were getting to see the musical side of the Omaticaya who are supposed to be the clan of weaving and music according to canon from the Avatar book ‘An Activists Survival Guide’.

By the end of the film, we find out that this song is a funeral song, and suddenly the song feels even heavier than it did at the beginning of the movie. I won’t share who died for the sake of anyone reading this who has not yet seen the movie. But my eyes teared up watching and while listening to this song. Who knew Zoe Saldaña had such a beautiful singing voice that can evoke so much emotion.

As for the rest of the music in the film, a lot of it was recycled music from the first film which was both nostalgic yet disappointing at the same time. Don’t get me wrong, I love the Avatar music from the first film, I was just hoping for new stuff throughout the entirety of this new movie. I found a lot of the music and sound effects to be very dramatic and initially over the top for the scenes that we were getting. But as the movie progressed and things started to get more tense, the music and sounds were much more fitting. I hope the soundtrack will be released so that I can give more attention to the music alone and have a better idea of how I feel about it.

James Cameron seems to like having “a big song number” or a theme song for his films. In Titanic he had the song ‘My Heart Will Go On’ sung by Celine Dion. In Avatar he had the song, ‘I See You’ sung by Leona Lewis. For The Way of Water he has ‘Nothing Is Lost’ sung by The Weeknd. I will be honest…I am NOT a fan of The Weeknd and never have been. His voice is just not my cup of tea. So, needless to say, I don’t particularly care for this movie’s theme song.

My favorite song of the film was the funeral song which sounded much like a cross between a prayer and a lullaby.

(L-R): Ronal (Kate Winslet), Tonowari (Cliff Curtis), and the Metkayina clan in 20th Century Studios’ AVATAR: THE WAY OF WATER. Photo courtesy of 20th Century Studios. © 2022 20th Century Studios. All Rights Reserved.

Overall thoughts and rating

Overall, I am happy that we finally got this movie. It’s been a long 13 years and thank you, Mother Eywa, that we do not have to wait another 13 before the next one comes out. This movie had lots of callbacks to the first film (sometimes it was a bit ham-fisted and in your face) but did not rely on them. This truly was a film that focused on family with the main focus being on the children. This wasn’t entirely my favorite thing, as mentioned before, because…well, as a young adult myself, I don’t care to watch films that center around children. There were some moments where I kind of rolled my eyes at certain happenings because the “kids were being kids”, for lack of a better description, and it was kind of annoying.

I have no idea where the story can go next as there were many loose ends left by the end of the movie. One of the things I hated (even though I knew it would happen) was that Quaritch survives, yet again. Like I said, I knew he would because it has already been shared across the internet by James Cameron himself that Quaritch will be in all 5 freakin films. My irritation grows with how he survived. I have never wanted a fictional character dead so badly in my entire life. I have ZERO desire to see a redemption arc for him. I have ZERO desire to see him grow a heart and remain Na’vi forever. And I have ZERO desire to see him change his mind about what he has been doing just to become “a family man”. No. No. And no. We don’t know what his overall arc will be; we can only speculate. But I will not be satisfied with anything but his death. That’s harsh. But I don’t care. He deserves any and all grisly endings that come his way.

Another thing I did not like was at the very end, when Jake is giving his little speech and he hugs Spider and says, “a son for a son”. Um…no???? This rubbed me alllll types of wrong ways and I think this line was in poor judgement and taste. If you’ve seen the film, then you know exactly what I’m talking about. In the scene where Neytiri said it, it made sense in the midst of her rage, taking on the meaning “an eye for an eye”. But in the scene where Jake said it, it was absolutely not okay, and very much felt like he was being quick to replace who he and his family had just lost. I hated it. He could have given his speech about family without including that line. I blame James Cameron and the writers for that. Bad choice.

We have a whole year to wait for the third film and I am as curious as I ever have been. What is Kiri’s connection to Eywa?

How was Grace’s avatar impregnated with her when there was no conscious or life inside the avatar? Who’s the father if there is one?

Is Kiri the Pandoran version of Jesus? Is she a seed of Eywa?

What story will be conjured up for the humans next as the reason why they are colonizing Pandora? In the first film, they were searching for Unobtanium. In this film it was colonization to actually live on Pandora since Earth is dying but then changed halfway through the film to be hunting for Pandoran whale blubber that stops aging completely.

What humans and Avatars survived the battle? Because it sure didn’t look like any survived besides Spider and Quaritch, and the good sky people who have completely defected over to Pandora who also hardly had any screen time at all. I mean, come on, Norm was on screen for what, 3 minutes?

Will Lo’ak be the main character of the next film? Because he truly was the main character of this one.

I guess I just have to wait and see. Anyway. I think I’ve rambled on for long enough now. Overall, even though I liked the film, I do not feel as strongly for it as I do the first one. I still recommend watching it if you have not seen it yet. Thanks for reading if you made it this far. I hope you liked the film if you saw it already. And if you feel so inclined to share your thoughts, leave a comment below!

The Way of Water Countdown: T-8 days

I’ve been gone for a while. I needed to take a step away from all the Avatar fandom groups that I used to frequent. The reason being is that one day, a couple months ago, I was spoiled for a major plot point of the new film. I wasn’t searching for spoilers (because why on earth would I?), but one day while scrolling through my Instagram stories, I came across someone who reposted something that was shared at a huge event for movie directors and producers. At this event, James Cameron was sharing some spoilers amongst his fellow directors and producers. Someone that was there posted about it. Someone else reposted it, and it eventually found it’s way to my story feed since I am a part of online Avatar fan groups and follow Avatar hashtags.

I’m sincerely hoping that it was a bluff on the original poster’s part and that I can be surprised once I see the film, but only time will tell. I have no idea why people post spoilers of any kind, let alone spoilers for huge films such as Avatar, and do it without warning! So, I took a step away and I will continue to do so until after the movie. I haven’t even seen any of the new trailers. I’ve only seen the teaser and some photos before stepping back from the online fandom space.

I don’t really have much to say other than release day is getting nearer and nearer and I just wanted to come on here and say that I’ve purchased my tickets. I’m taking my brother with me. I’ll be at an IMAX theater with great seats and I’m happy that I’ll get to see this movie in theaters. I never got to see the first film in theaters and when it was re-released in theaters back in September, it was only in theaters for a week where I live, and since I was in a period of a rather dramatic job transition during that time, I once again did not get to see it in theaters. But not this time!

I’m seeing it in theaters and I’m even seeing it a day early! I have no idea how I was able to get early viewing tickets, but I did. I’m truly hoping for the best and to be amazed. I’ve kept it no secret that I have concerns and worries about this film due to certain things taking place, characters that still exist, and new characters that I don’t really care about or want to follow. I also don’t want any annoying teen romance that it looks like we’ll be getting.

Oh well. After 13 years, the movie has finally been made and will be in theaters. Let’s see if I’m still a fan after this lol. I truly hope I am not disappointed.

My Issue With Missionaries & Forced Religion

Ever since I was a little girl, something that has always made me uncomfortable is the idea of missionaries. I grew up in church and had extremely religious and strict parents. My parents are still extremely religious, a bit less strict, however, I no longer go to church myself. As an adult, I have finally realized that what is being taught in church does not align with my own personal beliefs so therefore have chosen not to attend any more.

As a little girl, I could never put into words why missionaries made me so uncomfortable. I could never articulate what it was I didn’t like about them. All I knew was that I didn’t understand why they felt the need to travel all over the world to poor countries or communities in need just to tell people about Jesus and their religion. Especially when there were so many people in their own country who actually were looking for religion, and wanting to attend church and grow in their religious faith. Why fly all over the globe to such remote places to “preach the gospel”? It never made any sense to me.

As an adult, I see it for what it is now: Predatory behavior; preying on the weak. Missionaries will twist reality in any kind of way just so they can say they are doing a good thing. But there is absolutely nothing good about holding food or medicine over the heads of people who need those things greatly. To only offer medicine, food, clothing, and housing only if the people in need accept the Christian faith is predatory. That is preying on vulnerable people to benefit the self and the religion. These are nothing but recruitment tactics. And the fact that people either can’t see that or refuse to believe it is nothing but being blinded by one’s own beliefs.

The world has a multitude of beliefs, a multitude of religions. Why on earth would Christianity be “the one true religion”? Why in all the cosmos would Christianity be the only way to reach God? It’s come to a point now where I don’t even like saying the word ‘God’ because the word is so tightly bonded to the Christian faith and all its many denominations. If you say ‘God’, people automatically think you are religious. I find myself saying “The Creator” more and I feel less heavy when I say it.

I guess I am growing in my own spirituality more apart from organized religion. Religion feels like a straight jacket, preventing me from truly being myself and expressing myself the way I’ve always wanted to. And since my own parents are so deep in the Christian religion, I’ve always felt like I could never be who I wanted to be around them either, for fear of their judgement, disapproval, and scolding. And these fears were not unfounded; they were experienced.

In my opinion, a lot of Christianity is rooted in nothing but fear. Fear and deprivation of what is considered “worldly”, which would be any and everything that isn’t perfect Christianity. Anything “bad” and you’re going to Hell. Any mistakes and you’re going to Hell. Heck, even Adam and Eve and the rest of humanity were punished for the rest of eternity for the very first mistake they ever made in their lives. And to me, this is why so many Christians fear death. They fear they weren’t Christian enough, weren’t holy enough, didn’t repent enough, that they simply couldn’t be perfect enough. And for that, they think they are going to burn in Hell. Christianity is an ultimatum. Believe and accept Christ or burn for eternity in Hell. And to that I say, no! No more!

It’s still very hard for me because this realization is something that has only just come to me within the past year and a half. I stopped attending church regularly in college simply because I was so far from home however, I still joined my school’s gospel choir while I was attending because it was the closest thing to church and church was almost all I knew.

When I graduated, I stopped attending church all together because I did not like the church my family attended and I was tired of being dragged to every service at every church my mother wanted to be a part of. Then some dark and scandalous things started happening within the church and with leaders of the church that made me step away completely. However, I was still calling myself a Christian and telling myself that one day I will go back to church even though I honestly had no desire to.

Then my realization hit that, wow, I actually don’t even believe this stuff…what the heck am I doing? Why am I forcing myself? But even saying that I didn’t believe it automatically sent my mind reeling into thoughts of fear of what if I go to Hell now? Even now, I often catch myself thinking about what if I’m going to Hell, what if I’m making a mistake by admitting that I don’t believe the teachings of the church and that I don’t agree with a lot that is in the bible?

And that, my friends, is what is called programming. I’m still in the process of learning how to stop. It’s hard because I was born into Christianity so it’s been a part of my life from birth until only a year ago which is when I finally moved out on my own. I am no longer under the roof of religious parents. I no longer have the invisible weight of Christianity being thrown in my face every five seconds by family members. I’m no longer constantly being preached at. And now that I have my own space and can explore my own beliefs and spirituality, I now feel the most myself than I have ever felt before.

I think what happened to me is what happens when these missionaries go to these countries, visit these remote communities and feed them their faith mixed with lies while dangling help over the heads of the communities that need it most. Stripping people of the beliefs of their culture, their language, their practices, and telling them that what they do is bad and wrong is just modern-day colonialism. Colonize the mind and you can get whatever you want from people because people will do anything in the name of God and for organized religion. I just can’t help but feel that missionary work is sinister and the people involved are so far gone, in so deep that they can’t see that what they are doing is wrong.

If the bible preaches goodness and giving a helping hand to people in need, why not just offer help with no strings attached? Why must there be an ultimatum? Why go to communities who feel they have no choice but to say yes so they can get necessary medicine to save the life of a child or family member? It’s like dangling a carrot in the face of a horse and it’s disgusting behavior.

I know that this entire post has been nothing but a rant, but what started my rant in the first place are the videos linked below. Faith and spirituality and my departure from organized religion has been weighing on me fairly heavily for the past few months. After seeing this video, it brought a lot of my feelings to the forefront and this rant is the result of it all.

I am glad that the indigenous communities are starting to push back against religious invaders. I’m glad that they are seeing just how wrong and predatory it all really is. Just as Christians would not want anyone else to come to them and tell them that their faith and beliefs are wrong, why do they do this to others? Just as they would not want anyone to march into their churches and tell them that the God they worship is not “the true God”, why do they march into other people’s communities and do it to others? I just don’t get it, and a part of me despises them for it.

I was born into the indoctrination of Christianity and this past year has been mentally difficult trying to deprogram my mind from it. Being a Christian was never a choice for me. My own father has said that “as a child, my religion is your religion. You’re not going to tell me what you do and don’t believe. My God is your God as long as you live under my roof. If you try and tell me that you don’t believe it, then you can get out. When you become an adult and out from under my roof, then you can go do whatever you want and believe whatever you want.” These were actual words that left my father’s lips and I while I didn’t like them when I first heard them, actually typing them out and reading them makes me realize just how harsh and terrible those words were. But I sat and listened, and said nothing.

Well guess what, dad. That’s exactly what I’m doing. I’m doing what I want, and that’s moving away from Christian indoctrination.

Behaving that way and saying those things to your own daughter is really baffling to me. Threatening to take away a home to live in, food to eat, and financial stability if I don’t believe in the same god as you is no different than the work of the missionaries who only offer food, medicine, and clean water to indigenous communities if they agree to believe and abide by the Christian faith. It’s honestly just…evil. I didn’t want to use that word, but I can think of no other.

It’s hard for me because it’s been a part of my life for so long that I feel like I’m engaging in slander, or that I’ll get struck down or something. I’m glad that some of these indigenous communities have each other to lean on in their own process of refusing to accept Christianity. And it’s not just in the Amazon where this is taking place. Even countries in Africa, more and more communities are refusing the Christian faith and returning to the spirituality and beliefs of their ancestors and the videos are making waves online. And to that I say, good for them. Stay strong, and don’t let the colonizers have your mind.

Environmental Conservation is Self-Preservation: Here’s Why

I was watching a documentary today (at the time of writing this) about how Brazil is trying to fight against their current president’s policies regarding the Amazon rainforest. One of the things that stood out to me was when the narrator said that Bolsonaro and miners are choosing to destroy the rainforest with the sole intent to get rid of indigenous protections as a way of putting self-preservation above environmental conservation. And I had to stop the video after hearing this.

Not only was I feeling upset at an image that quickly showed on the screen of a large explosion with lots of fire in the Amazon, but I was also upset because I can’t believe people like Bolsonaro and the countless miners exist with this mindset. I don’t understand how they can’t see that environmental conservation actually is self-preservation.

What is more self-preserving than protecting the Earth so that we as humans can forever have a planet to live on?? What is more self-preserving than making sure we have a place to call home? And what is more self-preserving than making sure a planet is left for our future generations?

It’s baffling to me. Utterly baffling.

“Sky people cannot learn; you do not see.”

– Neytiri

Self-preservation should not be about instant gratification. I’m sure almost everyone has heard of the saying, “there are no shortcuts to success.” This mindset can be applied to our livelihoods. Deforesting the Amazon in order to build more cities, more businesses, and grow economically will only bring temporary satisfaction and temporary preservation. Because what happens when we can’t grow our own food anymore? What happens when there is no more green? What happens when everywhere is filled with so much gas, pollution, smog, and yellow dust we can’t go anywhere without masks on? At that point, who needs corona virus when we can create our own virus-free future where wearing masks is still permanent due to the toxic environment?

The Avatar film really had it right. The opening scene on the extended edition DVD truly showed what our future can look like when all the green is gone. Not a single blade of grass in sight. Not a single tree. No flowers, no flying animals, no fauna anywhere.

The scifi movies try to make it cool showing that in the future we can press a button and a full meal will be steaming hot waiting for us in less than 3 seconds. Maybe it’s cool for a film. But it’s not cool for real life. I mean, how awful do you feel after eating food that is pumped with steroids, preservatives, and a bunch of fillers? Why on earth would I want a bunch of fake food at the press of a button when I can grow it myself, make it taste good, and it be good for me?

“…the world we come from. There’s no green there. They killed their mother, and their gonna do the same here.”

– Jake Sully

And they truly have already started. They, meaning the people in power. The people that call all the shots and run the countries of the world. Everyone wants to be prosperous and own big conglomerates, have the most money, and use the most up-to-date technology. But technology is killing the Earth, conglomerates are shady and are selling poor quality items for insane prices, and you can’t eat money.

So, what now?

Sometimes I feel like I’m just shouting into the void.


If you’re interested in watching the documentary I was viewing, I will link it below.

Dear Crayola…

So, today I did something that I never thought I would do. For the first time, I wrote a letter to a business questioning their environmental practices. Well…saying it like that makes it sound a bit more confrontational than it really was, when really I was just asking for some clarification and transparency.

Recently, I have been using Crayola colored pencils again since I have gotten back into art. Crayola is a brand that I have been using off and on since childhood. I went to the Crayola website to see if I could order products straight from them but was quickly lured away by my own excitement when I saw their page on their sustainability efforts.

As a newbie conservationist, I have been taking small steps toward my environmental and wildlife advocacy. I have been searching online how I can be more active with this. So seeing that Crayola was also taking steps to be more “green”, I got excited. They even shared on their website how their colored pencils are “reforested colored pencils” and that they “are produced with wood from well-managed forests to help preserve resources”.

But then I turned over the two packs of colored pencils that I have to see where they were made, and lo and behold….they were made in Brazil.

Now, I didn’t want to immediately jump to any conclusions, however my mind immediately began to think of how the Amazon is constantly being destroyed due to illegal logging, illegal burning, and large foreign businesses employing these illegal loggers. All for the sake of getting wood, oil, and other resources that they think they need for their businesses at a cheap price.

So instead of getting angry about it, I decided to see if I can write to them. Fortunately, they have a contact page. I typed up my letter and sent it to them before I got off work and now, it’s just a waiting game to see if I get a response.

I do truly believe that the people behind Crayola want to do good things for the Earth. If they didn’t, they wouldn’t bother investing in solar power for their manufacturing needs. They wouldn’t have a recycling program that converts plastic into energy (if that actually even works). And they wouldn’t share all of their up-cycled craft ideas.

On the back of the colored pencil boxes it says that the pencils are made with planted trees in order to preserve the natural forests. But trees takes actual years to grow, and it takes decades for trees to reach their full maturity. A huge conglomerate like Crayola produces so much material, I fail to see how they can make their pencils solely from trees they are planting themselves or solely from tree farms they might do business with.

In my letter I asked what they specifically mean when they say their colored pencils are made from “well-managed forests” and where exactly do they get their wood from in order to make these pencils as well as all the cardboard boxes most of their craft materials come in. Again, I just want some clarity and transparency.

If I get a response, I will update and post about it here. I am hoping for good information because I actually like Crayola products. However, if they cannot be transparent about their materials or if it comes out that they are procuring their materials in a harmful way, then I cannot in good conscious continue to support the business and purchase their materials.

Fingers crossed!

*EDIT* 5/30/2022 – So, it has been 2 weeks and I have heard nothing back from Crayola. I guess I didn’t really expect to hear anything back, really. Even though the website says they will reply within two business days. And even though I didn’t expect to get a response, I’m still disappointed.

Avatar: The Way of Water trailer reaction

OOHHH MYYY GOOOSSHH, YA’LL!

I finally got to see the trailer for Avatar: The Way of Water and it’s sooo good! And when I tell you I almost burst into tears at the conflict shots, I really did get teary eyed. Particularly at the brief scene of Spider drawing his arrow and his ferocity when doing so.

I am so ready for this film. I was super skeptical, even as a long time fan, that I just would not be amazed and that absolutely nothing could top the first film. Well this trailer has me so pumped and ready to see this movie. I’m ready to be astounded. I’m ready for a beautiful story. And I’m ready to ugly cry lol!

I will admit that when I saw the avatar that was supposed to be Quaritch, I had an instant attitude though. I still stand firm in my opinion that he needs to still be dead. I hate that he is still the villain in this second movie, and I’m completely beside myself with annoyance that he will still be the villain in the rest of the films.

Anyway. I’ve watched the trailer three times already and I can’t stop staring at how absolutely beautiful everything is. I am soooo excited to be exploring more of Pandora.

I love it I love it I love it 💙🤍💜