I just got back from seeing James Cameron’s Avatar. Apart from blowing me away in just about every way possible, there was a very clear hero’s journey that I will hopefully write down upon my next viewing. One of the clearest heroic aspects was one of choice though.
Zeno Franco explained to me that the heroic act comes from an internal recognition of something being wrong. When we see something that disagrees with our moral compass we come to a choice: do nothing, do bad, or do good. The hero, clearly, chooses to do good. This act combined with accepted risk or sacrifice is what makes a hero.
Jake Sully finds himself presented with such a situation.
I don’t think I’m giving anything away that wasn’t already in the trailers, but if you’re adverse to spoilers, don’t read any more.
The destruction of the Na’vi homeland clashes with Jake’s idea of wrong and right. As soon as he realizes this, Jake must make a decision. Do nothing, do bad, or do good. He could stand by as many of the Avatar staff do, he could provide the intelligence the military is asking him for, or he could protect the native people. Choosing the first two options would not have resulted in a movie. The third choice showed us a hero and gave us a story worth telling.