A Writer’s Take on Avatar
Jen and I saw the movie Avatar on Saturday, thanks to some free tickets we got through my employer.
I’ve heard a lot about the movie, both positive and negative. The positive remarks praised the special effects, the action, the gripping storyline. The negative denounced its apparent (some would say obvious) anti-capitalism, anti-military, tree-hugging, socialistic slant. The capitalist in the movie was a money-hungry, soulless, idiot who cared not one iota about the lives he was destroying. The military personnel were mindless, muscle freaks with a thirst for blood and revenge and a license to kill. The scientists, however, were portrayed as the kind, caring few that wanted to do the right thing. The natives were one with the flora and fauna of their environment, drew their strength from it, and prayed to a tree.
Propaganda? I don’t know. I don’t know what James Cameron’s motives were but I think propaganda is a stretch.
It’s good storytelling is what it is.
Look, people, relax with the propaganda stuff, okay? The whole story, while gripping, is a tried and true plot that has been played out on the big screen and in real life too.
Star Wars had its power-hungry empire (led by Darth Vader), its brutal military (think stormtroopers), and its nature-worshipping natives (those cute little Ewoks).
Our own American history has a bit of this (what the movie reminded me of the most). When the white man moved west it was for money, after all, the railroads had to be built, expansion was necessary. The military wiped out village after village of the native inhabitants, who worshipped the spirits of nature. Sound familiar?
Yes, Cameron’s depiction is a bit extreme but remember, it is Hollywood, and it wouldn’t be a box office hit if it wasn’t a little over the top.
All in all, we both enjoyed the movie for what it was, a good story told in a new and bold way with special effects that have never been done before. As for the story elements? It won’t be the last time we see this plot, I guarantee it.