Big Wizdumz from the Big Director

If the trailers are any indication, James Cameron’s new movie, “Avatar,” will be the most visually spectacular cinematic experience since the Lord of the Rings films. Immersive. Awe-inspiring. Tremendous.

Alas, the trailers also tell us most of the movie’s plot, and from what I can glean, it’s basically Ewoks versus The Empire, this time on a $500M budget.

Uhhh…. Yah. OK. As has already been suggested, the entire film basically looks like, “Dances With Wolves… In Space.”

Ergo, beautiful, environmentally-friendly, ‘wise’ primitives versus the big, dumb, evil, destroying, colonizer, military people.

(sigh) Do we really need another Hollywood lecture-movie, in this regard? I feel as if most of my adult life I have been bombarded with such movies, to the point where I just want to put my hands up and say, “Okay, I fucking get it, jeez, will you stop the preaching?”

If “Avatar” is allegory — and from what I’ve seen of Cameron’s own comments, it is — then it’s just the same old romanticization of the Noble Savage, as has been happening since shortly after the first Euros set foot on North American soil. And I don’t know about anyone else, but I am kinda tired of that.

Personally, I think what happened to the Native Americans is a genuine and grotesque tragedy. But that doesn’t mean I also feel the need to gloss over what the Native Americans really were. And the word ‘savage,’ while not politically correct, is an apt descriptor for tribes that enslaved and decimated other tribes, as a matter of routine, or in the case of the Aztecs, regularly cut the hearts out of innocent young people in horrific religious ritual.

Will “Avatar” deign to show us the darker side of the Na’vi? Or will the Na’vi be just the Ba’ku — of Star Trek fame — in blue CGI makeup? Ergo, smart and perfect and all-knowing in a very tell-tale Southern California Liberal kind of way?

I will probably see the movie. When it comes to pay-per-view.

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5 thoughts on “Big Wizdumz from the Big Director

  1. Um. Brad. Seriously, this is the same director who wrote Aliens. There’s your military are awesome saviours piece. Are you complaining about that??

    Sometimes people don’t have hidden PC agendas, and instead, just want to make good movies.

  2. “Aliens” is anti-military, too, as is “The Abyss.”

    Both of those are very good movies and I enjoy them a lot.

    But the military — in both films — is shown as being knuckle-headed, counter-productive and buffoonish, if not outright maleovolent. Both officers in both films are completely incompetent, if not psychotic.

    I don’t need “Avatar” to be a rah-rah piece for the military. That’s not what gets me. What gets me is that “Avatar,” so far as I can tell from the too-much-information trailer, is a rah-rah piece for the Native Amer-AHHeemmm, I mean, Ba’ku-Ahhhh, I mean, Na’vi.

    Na’vi = Beautiful Perfect Ones.

    Humans = nasty evil little militaristic trolls.

    Yep. “Dances With Wolves… On Another Planet.”

    There is no doubting Cameron’s skill as a director. There is some doubting if he’s reached a bit too far with this allegory.

  3. I totally agree about being done with the whole Noble Savage thing.

    That being said, I’ll give Cameron the benefit of the doubt. He’s earned at least that much with me.

    Who knows, sometimes the best stories start with a tired trope. I can’t know there’s not a twist on it in there without seeing the movie (though I admit, the preview sure makes it seem like the same old straight forward plot…)

  4. I hope very much that there is a twist! The trailers make the plot look entirely tired and uninteresting. Yes, it’s got an amazing wrapper, but this is an old, old story which has been done before.

    What would make the movie truly interesting — to me — would be if Cameron showed different tribes or factions of the Na’vi fighting, vying for control of territory, forming alliances against one another, trying to win the support — technological and military — of the humans, etc.

    If Cameron can give the Na’vi true complexity of that sort, he’ll win me over as having made an honest movie, even if the Marines are still the nominal bad guys.

    If the Na’vi are portrayed as homegenously noble and lovely and perfect, it’s basically just “Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron” on a big budget with better animation.

  5. A friend from another forum informs me that AVATAR is suspiciously similar to the old animated movie FERNGULLY.

    I found this on YouTube:

    Never saw FERNGULLY, but wow, talk about 1-to-1 comparisons!

    (he he he he)

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