As I write this, James Cameron is probably rolling in the pile of money that he earned from his latest blockbuster, Avatar, but I can assure you that his lucre is filthy. That's right, Avatar is actually FernGully: The Last Rainforest wearing a trench coat made of CGI. Parts of the plots are so identical that one can't help but think that Cameron subconsciously stole liberally from FernGully when he wrote Avatar.
To our immediate surprise, both animated films take place in an enchanted rain forest populated by a mysterious race of people whose lives center around a magical tree. In FernGully, the tree is a giant baobab tree and the inhabitants are fairies, as opposed to the Hometree and the Na'vi alien race we see in Avatar. The main characters, the bumbling American jocks Zac (FernGully) and Jake (Avatar) wind up befriending a girl from the native tribe despite working for corporations whose aim is to destroy the native people's homes so that they can continue collecting valuable natural resources. The natural resource is lumber in Zac's case, and unobtanium (clever!) in Jake's case. Eventually, our heroes have to stand up against massive bulldozers sent by their employers to destroy the rain forest, firmly allying themselves with their new native friends. In FernGully, this unholy operation is led by a fat cigar smoking executive stolen from a bad episode of Captain Planet, while in Avatar the mission is run by a slim money hungry executive and a fantasy version of Dick Cheney clad as a buff military sergeant (or something).
The comparisons don't stop there, of course. We are introduced to Hexxus, who personifies pollution in FernGully in much the same way Eywa personifies mother nature in Avatar - they are conscious entities. As the corporate forces evil point their tools of destruction at the native's magical tree, our heroes finally tell the natives that they knew this would happen all along and that the human race is bent on destroying the natural world. It's just what we do, you know. This doesn't stop the destruction of the two magical trees. Predictably, the natives cry and howl. No one is all that happy with heroes at this point, and understandably so.
After this, the plots do differ some. However, in the end, the characters of FernGully imprison the evil personification of pollution, mirroring (if you keep in mind that although mirrors copy what reflects on them, they actually display them in reverse, which I admit is an unscientific explanation) how the good personification of mother nature, Eywa, defeats the greedy, warlike corporate power of the human's mining program in Avatar. Zac decides to commit the rest of his life to saving rain forests while Jake permanently joins the natives whose lifestyle he worked so hard to preserve.
So, the moral is, James Cameron is a FRAUD hiding behind a curtain of CGI, the Wizard of his own Emerald City. Tell your friends. Not that most of them thought that Avatar had a good plot anyway, but, well....
Oh yeah, does anybody know why it doesn't ever fucking rain on the Na'vi's planet, which appears to be a giant rain forest?