As commenter Town Mouse pointed out in a recent post, however pretty Meryl Streep’s kitchen garden is in It’s Complicated, it surely does not compare to the exceptionally beautiful imaginary landscape in the Christmas blockbuster Avatar.
I saw Avatar as nature intended, in a mall between Christmas and New Year’s with three kids who’d been out of school a full week and were growing bored with their leisure. We were all transported by the movie–me by otherworldly fungi that shrink to the touch, natives who swim in phosphorescent water filled with giant waterlilies, phosphorescent plants that light the night, and trees dangling organic fiber optic lines that connect the natives to the spirit world. Not to mention the loads of vibrant purple everywhere, just as in any well-designed garden.
We know Avatar director James Cameron understands how to make a
really fun Hollywood movie. We know he loves powerful women, having
apparently married a bunch of them and making the fearless babe with
muscled arms a regular feature in his films. But is he also a guy with
a feeling for plants?
The official trailer will only give you the smallest taste of how beautiful this CGI world is:
A New Yorker profile of Cameron suggests that this landscape was inspired by undersea landscapes: Cameron loves to scuba dive.
If Jim Cameron isn’t really plant obsessed, he at least listens to people like mycologist Paul Stamets. At one point in the movie, Sigourney Weaver excitedly describes the amazing communications network running between all the trees on the alien planet and says their connections outnumber the connections in the human brain.
Here is Stamets in his weird and wonderful book Mycelium Running: How Mushrooms Can Help Save the World on the subject of mycelia, the underground network of fungal threads whose fruiting bodies are mushrooms:
I believe that mycelium is the neurological network of nature. Interlacing mosaics of mycelium infuse habitats with information-sharing membranes. These membranes are aware, react to change, and collectively have the long-term health of the host environment in mind.
Stamets believes we may someday be able to communicate with these all-touching, all-knowing mycelia, the same way that the aliens in Avatar connect with the life force of their planet through a sacred tree.
Anyway, an action movie with a strong feeling for nature. How unlikely is that?