I started to do movie reviews, but I immediately ran into a very serious problem. I would actually have to sit through two and a half hours of the utter garbage and propaganda that today’s Hollywood shamelessly belches out. To remedy that issue, I just stopped doing movie reviews and spared myself the aggravation.
Avatar, however, was surrounded by enough hoopla and hype to get me out of my lair and into a movie theater chair – will I ever learn?
The legendary James Cameron wrote and directed the movie and this is certainly a classic James Cameron movie in all the good ways and, unfortunately, in a few bad ones, as well.
The good first. The story is a larger than life epic struggle of good (Cameron’s far left nut job version of it) versus bad. The special effects, concepts, and execution, especially in 3D, are truly mesmerizing. Well, that’s pretty much it for the good. The pace of the movie is not bad, but this is no “Terminator Salvation”. There are too many spots where it actually drags – I found myself yawning. And there are quite a few scenes that can be justified only as political propaganda.
The acting is competent, as one would expect from an all-star cast headed by Sam Worthington as Jake Sully. Worthington was cast in Terminator Salvation because they were looking for someone with the acting chops to stand up to Christian Bale. They got way more than they bargained for (read my review of that performance here). That his performance in this movie is two dimensional is attributed more to the writing and the directing than to anything that Worthington might or might not have done. All the characters, including that of Zoe Saldana (she does most of her acting from a squat position) as Worthington’s ten foot tall blue skinned, long-tailed paramour, along with Sigourney Weaver as the good scientist and Stephen Lang as the evil Colonel are dry, stereotypical, and, appropriately enough, cartoonish.
This movie is about political propaganda and racism delivered via stunning (and very very expensive) special effects. There is no room for character development. If anything, Stephen Lang falls far short of the intended target as an old war horse commander of a “mercenary” outfit. Lang just lacks the inner authority to pull it off and no amount of make-up scars or flexing of biceps will endow him with that.
(Skip the blue type if you don’t want to spoil it. ) Evil, white humans go to a far away planet to mine “unobtanium”. That’s the stuff from which Maserati spare parts are made. On that planet live these blue-skinned, eternally fit and skinny humanoid creatures, the Navi or the ‘Na’vi, or whatever. Anywho, these Navi commune with the planet, the trees, and other creatures via the tips of their tails.
To better communicate with these Navi creatures, the evil white humans create these bodies that look like the Navi, but are controlled by the brain waves of certain humans after whom they are modeled.
Jake Sully is one such human and is sent in to figure out what makes the aborigines tick. He does just that. So much so that he becomes enamored of that lifestyle and of a certain female Navi, Neytiri, played by Zoe Saldana. When the evil white mercenaries come to knock down the tree that these Navi call home and mine some more unobtanium, Jake Sully switches sides, joins the spear-chuckers, and helps to defeat the evil, mostly white, mercenaries.
As you figured by now, the bad guys are the machine-dependent whites, while the good guys are the mother earth loving blue people – oh yeah the earth goddess is the supreme being in Cameron’s emasculated mind. We see only one minority soldier as a member of the mercenary army – and not until very close to the end of the movie. I bet that those late scenes were added at because it was getting too obvious that Cameron desperately wishes he wasn’t white. So they added a scene with a handful of minority bad guys. I also bet that this scene won’t be shown in certain parts of the world. The sole mercenary pilot who is a minority (and a woman) also switches sides at the end to fight the evil whites. Isn’t it funny how Hollywood often uses minorities when they want to portray military men and women in heroic circumstances, but use whites in lead roles when engaged in their usual military bashing?
The ecoholic message is also overwhelming. You know the drill – living off the land = good, machines = bad. I wonder if it’s lost on anyone that this message is being brought to you by the best high-tech special effects and software that money can buy. One really funny (though not intentionally) line in the movie comes after Jake Sully hunts and kills an animal. First note that it’s OK to do that because he used a bow instead of a firearm and second he advises the dead beast that “I see you, brother”. That makes it all better. Not to mention the fact that he was no longer a white Marine with a gun, but a noble blue creature – you real-tree clad redneck hunter you.
Don’t for a second doubt my analysis of the level of racism present in this movie. In fact, at the end Cameron has the evil white colonel ask the heroic Jake Sully, “How does it feel to betray your own race?” Now, Sully has, if anything, betrayed humanity, homo sapiens, as a whole so the proper wording would be “how does it feel to betray your own species,” but you see that wouldn’t jive with Cameron’s self-loathing and his loathing of whites.
Should you go see this movie? Well, the special effects in 3D are pretty good. Heck, Hollywood even fooled me into dishing out the $12. Kinda like they fooled the country into voting for Obama. So, I guess you can see it like I did and marvel at the cartoons, but that’s about it.