Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Some Thoughts On Avatar

HEY! I'm back here for a little post I just put together. I decided to post this here, because it does voice a political opinion of mine, so I figure a personal blog post would be a little better. HOWEVER, please go over to DVDSnapshot for my real work. Thanks, and enjoy!!!

In the current world of cinema, the new trend amongst film goers and/or critics is to simply justify a film as good, simply by following the idea that if you “shut off your brain,” the otherwise pointless, often big budget film is something worth your time.

However, when it comes to Avatar, the box office monster of the past couple of weeks, is both big budget actioner, as well as thought provoking conversation piece.

That said, not all political and religious thoughts are the most sane examples of cinematic criticsism.

First, the ludicrous.

Big Hollywood has released a little piece discussing the film in terms that believe that “the bad guys in the movie are the U.S. Marines:

The glee with which the American Marines participate in this massacre is appalling and does not show the true feelings and concerns of the real United States Military. James Cameron should apologize to the American Military and should make a statement that he does not truly feel this way about them. He should also apologize to the American public for painting our young men and women that defend this country as cold-blooded killers.

The reason that I feel as though this piece is quite ludicrous, is that the main thesis of the piece is off. Avatar posits the idea that these characters, ex-Marines, are hired by a private group/company, to simply force the natives of Pandora out of their homes, to attain monetary gains. Far more Blackwater than Marines, the film is at it’s most blatantly obvious, a poorly timed blast against the past presidential administration.

However, there is one bit of analysis that I think comes off loud and clear.

Via The AV Club:

The movie’s most seditious act is to evoke the specter of September 11, only with the terms reversed…Cameron’s willingness to question the sacred trauma of 9/11 is audacious, and his ability to do so in a $300 million tentpole movie is nothing short of shocking. If Avatar has a claim to revolution, that is where it lies.

This could not be more true.

Personally, the tone of the scene that I believe the excerpt was written about, is so starkly different from the rest of the film, and the shot and scene structure is a different take than throughout the film. It’s far more handheld, and the shots simply linger on the devastation caused by the films villains, the closest thing the film has to Blackwater soldiers, a.k.a. justified terrorists.

The idea of terrorism in this film isn’t a far fetched concept either. At it’s core, terrorism is the systematic use of terror, especially as a means of coercion. Avatar’s main story follows a group of natives, who are forced to leave their native land, simply for the monetary gains of a group of privatized soldiers. Unsurprisingly, right-wing bloggers have had a bit of a field day with this idea.

Via The Movie Guide:

For hundreds of years, the pagan, communist ideas expressed in this movie circulated among a threadbare group of outcasts with dirty fingernails and greasy hair, who shared their obtuse, occult ideas amongst themselves with manic, alienated glee. Now James Cameron has made these insane views the major bulwark of a very spectacular movie, but the spectacle does not make the views any more coherent, rational, or uplifting.

Sure, the views are not uplifting, as they are distinctly anti-capitalistic, but to call them communist and pagan ideas are just as irrational and antagonistic as the concepts themselves. What makes them not uplifting isn’t the ideas themselves, it’s that we all, no matter political viewpoint, know that this both happens, and is true at it’s very core. We have seen people be slaughtered or forced to leave a general area for nothing more than dollar gains, and calling the film “anti-human” as The Movie Guide does is just as irrational as Cameron putting these quite obvious and poignant concepts in his film.

Then the guide goes truly off the deep end, saying the film has an “abhorrent New Age, pagan, anti-capitalist worldview that promotes goddess worship and the destruction of the human race.”

Well, we all aren’t sane when it comes to big budget action films that actually have a meaning. I'm as left wing as anyone can be, so I agree with much, actually all of what Cameron was saying here, but as left as I am, I'm equally open to legit critiques and questions that the film raises, or could be raised in discussion of the film. I just have yet to see a rational take from someone against the films main thesis, that capitalism is the root of evil.

Maybe it's just because it's true.

Go see something good!

1 comment:

  1. The Movie Guide is absolutely horrid to read when it comes to films of the nature of Avatar. It's barely criticism, but rather bland idol worship (I think they give their comments from a top 5 God slogans website). I tried to read the AV Club review but they couldn't go left for right, they tried to have their opinion every way.,0,4550777.column?track=rss - this article is an interesting read on Avatar and religion if you're looking for one.


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