Now I should start by saying that when I saw Avatar last week, I liked it just fine. I fear that it will turn into another Gladiator or A Beautiful Mind for me (both starring Russell Crowe. interesting.) where I thought it was perfectly okay, and then people start raving about it like it's the best thing ever and an Oscar favorite and the overkill will make me start hating it. It's got some things going for it, it's beautifully rendered, but the STORY is... well, it's basically the plot of FernGully; The Last Rainforest. Do you remember FernGully? It was a kids movie when I was little. So a long long time ago. I don't think I went to see it as a kid. Perhaps my parents found it too preachy in its eco-friendly message. I certainly knew about FernGully though. The basic plot is that this company is cutting down the rain forest and the indigenous tree fairies fight back and in the process one of the human workers gets turned into a fairy-sized dude, who winds up helping the fairies stop the loggers and an evil forest spirit from destroying their home tree. Sound vaguely like a current blockbuster movie you've heard about?
I wasn't thinking about Ferngully going into Avatar, but the similarities become so striking that by the time the armored tank in Avatar rolls up in front of the Na'vi's Home Tree intent on it's destruction, I found myself leaning forward in my chair, brow furrowed and thinking, "Hey, wait a minute. I've seen this before."
Many others on the Internets have also noted this similarity but my favorite evidence can be found in this mash up of the trailer for Avatar using images from Ferngully. It's not that Avatar borrows solely from FernGully (there's some Pocahontas and Dances With Wolves in there too, apparently. Also? Sigourney Weaver talks to this character named Parker using dialogue that I swear's right out of Alien) but it lifts from the FernGully story more egregiously than others. Take a look-see for yourself.