I watched Avatar 3D on 1st January and loved it. Sure, the storyline was fairly predictable but that’s not what I wanted to watch it for. Also, forget the racial angle too, which several people have pointed out to me (see this tweet by Naadir). Sure you can always play the race card when you have different species / races involved but that wasn’t my main focus.
My main focus was the strong pro-environmental message, for I have always been much more of an environmentalist than someone being obsessed by race (no doubt this will come as a surprise to many readers, but this blog was started to talk about identity, not whatever passes through my head). That aside, what I also loved about it was the strong anti-war message.
Avatar could be crudely based on the European invasion (and massacre) of native Americans. The natives are pagans who worship the world around them while the new arrivals simply want resources. I’m reading Guns, Germs & Steel at the moment so that also came to mind (civilisations wiping each out over centuries for whatever reason). The natives can’t survive for long – especially if they’ve only got bows and arrows and flying dragons. They need some serious AK47s. That is how civilisation has developed.
But Avatar also had parallels with Iraq. The invasion was termed ‘shock and awe’, the humans were a mercenary force (Blackwater) and the resource could be equated with Iraqi oil. Naturally, and predictably, US Conservatives are slating the film, to no effect. The people have spoken with their wallets.
Avatar has a subtle message, which is why I like it even more. You can’t push pro-environment and anti-war crap down people’s throats in the form of Greenpeace or StWC leaflets. You make a beautiful film that people internalise those sentiments without even realising it.
But it also struck me that people’s emotions are generally quite left-wing. The biggest films like these are invariably about protecting stuff. I doubt anyone could make a successful film where killing polar bears and kittens, and frying the planet is seen as good. Hollywood isn’t left-wing because it wants to be, it is also that way because most people (and their hearts) are and that is where the money is.
Update: Sarah says she liked the fact I didn’t mention Jack Sully’s disability once in the review. But actually, I think that could also have been an issue. In real life Jack Sully can’t run like his Avatar.
As soon as he gets into the new world he’s running like mad because he can exercise those legs again. So in fact, while I don’t mention it – I can imagine a lot of writers out there annoyed at the portrayal that Jack Sully felt incomplete without his legs and preferred his dream-world for that reason.
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Filed in: Environmentalism,Terrorism