An unworthy Deacon, named for the brother of God: James, striving to "work out his salvation with fear and trembling" within the Tradition (paradosis) of the Eastern Orthodox Faith. It is a strange and marvelous journey, and I am accompanied by the fourfold fruit of my fecundity. My wife, the Matushka or Diaconissa Sophia, is my beloved partner in the pursuit of Theosis, and she ranks me in every way.
I'd heard that James Cameron's decade-in-the-making movie "Avatar" is an exotic fantasy principally geared to stimulate the jolly-glands of persons with a decidedly left-leaning persuasion. And yep, that's pretty much true. Good night, what a waste of time this film is...it's about as realistic as floating mountains, which in fact, the film ironically includes. Yes, it's "Dances with Wolves" but on some powerful progressive amphetamines. Cameron's not even shy about perpetuating the myth LIE of the noble savage...he's downright blatant and quite over-the-top with the liberal utopia of the Na'vi people. And seriously, when they whoop and hollar, I'm fairly certain he just ripped some audio from "Dances with Wolves." Sure, I can imagine that humanoids who evolved on another planet would sound exactly like Native Americans on earth...and then when speaking English, they would equally strangely have an African-sounding accent. The Na'vi are the perfect "in harmony with nature" people...and they live in a glow in the dark utopia where it would seem everything harbors some degree of bioluminescence. While visually appealing...it's patently absurd and is clearly being used as a tool to show just how beautiful it all is in comparison with the evil, money hungry, corporate humans....sigh...how stereotypical. Seriously, Mr. Cameron, "Unobtainium?" How can you get away with that!
The movie is trumpeted as being in 3-D, but its characters and plot are completely one dimensional. There was a time when we'd complain about one dimensional characters, but Cameron appears to be totally getting away with astonishing one dimensional stereotypes all over the place. The Na'vi are PERFECT, the military and corporate types are evil (the former just want to kill Na'vi while the latter just want money at all costs), and the scientists can read the situation precisely...and gosh darn it they mean well - we even get the obligatory scientist vs. military/corporate showdown. You'd have to be brain dead not to see where this film is headed and were it not for its visual appeal I seriously would have walked out on it.
It's so simplistic, I'm quite sure my 13 year old could see the shallowness of it all...but I suspect if the plotline measures up to your Chomsky flavored interpretation of Earth's history then you'll love it. Maybe that's how it is seeing good reviews? At least "Dances with Wolves" at least showed Native American tribes fighting one another...though I've always wondered how the Pawnees feel about being the "bad" tribe in that film. The Sioux get to be the noble savages! NO FAIR!
Look, can we please have some reality? I don't think anyone doubts that the wiping out of Native American tribes is lamentable...but in the grand history of life it is not an unusual thing done solely by Europeans. People have displaced others for as long as people have lived on earth, and if they haven't displaced people, they have certainly displaced "pristine" (i.e. "peopleless") environments - which I think would also be deemed as lamentable by the environmental folk. Yes, once North America was invaded by "native" Americans. So there is nothing unusual about this behavior, what IS unusual is that we look back and feel bad about it. In fact we make movies to remind us of how bad we are..."Avatar" is perhaps an example. And please can we dispense with the "perfection" of native peoples? It's so trite, really. Cameron's movie is, ultimately, naive, simplistic, overly idealistic, and preachy and were it's message not so agreeable to most people and its effects so amazing, it would be an utter flop.
Addendum: I had meant to also mention one more intriguing part of the film, which is in regards to the Na'Vi's pantheistic religion. Not unusual for Hollywood for sure, but the funny part that struck me is how the well-meaning scientists "prove" that the Na'Vi religion has a scientific basis: the whole of Pandora (the world they live on) is literally interconnected and the Na'Vi can tap into that "network" (aka consciousness)...blah blah blah.
Avatar is everything that James says it is. But then it is Hollywood, after all. The movie industry and truth are somewhat mutually exclusive, and regrettably the same is true for much of what is presented to us by those whose first priority is to make a buck. That said, it's sometimes fun to watch...