If you’re alive and breathing, chances are you’ve heard of James Cameron’s Avatar. It’s the highest grossing movie of all time, as well as a brilliant use of 3D and CGI. Also, its plotline is so unoriginal that it manages to rip off Dances with Wolves, Pocahontas, and Fern Gully all at the same time. But there’s one film everyone leaves off the list of mimicked movies, one film that cries out for justice: The Christmas Gift, starring John Denver.
Think about it…
In Avatar, Jake Sully is hired by a corporation to infiltrate a small community of blue cat people to get them to move away so that the company can mine their land for Unobtanium. In The Christmas Gift, John Denver’s character, George Billings, is told by the company he works for to infiltrate a small community of townspeople in Colorado to get them to move away so that the corporation can develop the local real estate. Both men are mourning a loss; Jake’s brother and George’s wife are both dead. The blue cat people have an unshakeable belief in their goddess, Eywa, while the townspeople have an almost religious belief in Santa Claus.
Both main characters use a great deal of deception to enter the community and gain their trust. Both find the people more endearing than they expected, and both fall in love with a local woman. Therefore, both men change their minds and decide not to betray the people, but before they can come clean and start their new lives, their secrets are revealed by the corporation. Everyone, including the love interests, loses their trust in the main characters. But the men decide to fight for their worlds and protect the people they’ve come to love. John Denver takes care of his mess with just a speech about Christmas while Jake Sully needs an army backing him up, but the end result is the same. The big, bad corporations are thrown out, and the people can continue with their lives as they are.
Whenever I think of Avatar, I never think of Fern Gully or any of those other movies. My mind immediately goes to “It ripped off that John Denver Christmas movie.” I guess I just like how ironic it is and how it really proves how unoriginal this plot is. Writers beware; if your story sounds like this, there’s about a million other stories that have done the same thing.
Avatar is owned by 20th Century Fox.