Tags: Avatar | James Cameron | Dances with Wolves | 3-D

A Review of 'Avatar'

Friday, 18 Dec 2009 11:03 AM

By James Hirsen

Get ready.

Coming to our culture is the most expensive, most publicized, most technologically advanced movie of our time.

The film is made by one of the most talented people in Hollywood.

I’m referring to the highly anticipated 3-D extravaganza “Avatar.”

Now there is a problem with releasing a movie during the pre-Oscar season if a filmmaker wants to get in on nominations for awards.

The content must appeal to the left-leaning critics and liberal voters who award the Golden Globes and the members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

So what did James Cameron put in his “Avatar” script? Lots of capitalist-bashing, anti-military sentiments, and environmental propaganda permeate the movie's scenes.

It’s the costliest film of all time, with a $300 million production budget and another $200 million estimated for advertising. But its storyline is a veritable deja vu.

Kevin Costner won an Oscar for a movie titled “Dances with Wolves.” Costner may want to have his lawyers look into a copyright claim over the plot of “Avatar.”

Cameron’s plot is so reminiscent of Costner’s Native American flick, people around town have been referring to the movie as “Dances with Smurfs.”

Both plots deal with a soldier who is sent on a mission to wage war on indigenous people only to discover that the natives are so noble that he can no longer fulfill his military duty.

Eventually the protagonist soldier joins with his former enemy and becomes part of their noble tribe, leaving his old way of life behind and learning to appreciate moral superiority.

Both films also served up an underlying insipid environmental message.

The basic story of "Avatar" is as follows with a spoiler warning:

The year is 2154, the Earth’s environmental resources are almost used up. (Yet this setting is more optimistic than Al Gore’s Malthusian predictions, the world is still here.)

The government looks to the distant moon of Pandora for a mineral that will solve the earth’s energy problems, the mineral is named Unobtainium, (I kid you not.)

Evil corporate types want to strip mine Pandora, but the natives of the planet, the gentle Na’vi, stand in the way. Of course we evil humans seek to make war on the noble Na’vi.

Because the air on Pandora is toxic to humans, the government has developed the Avatar Program to create clone-like avatars from both Na’vi and human DNA that let a human transfer his consciousness into a 10-foot native blue body and explore the planet.

Jake Sully, a paraplegic Marine corporal, becomes an Avatar and goes to Pandora ostensibly to infiltrate the Na’vi and seek intelligence so we can attack them.

But after Jake becomes a Na’vi avatar he gets in trouble in the treacherous Pandoran forest only to be rescued by a beautiful (10-foot-tall) Pandoran woman who, by the way, speaks perfect English.

Of course our hero falls in love with the Pandoran woman and learns all about her very noble and decent culture. So, of course, he pleads with the Earth dwellers to work out a peaceful deal with the Na’vi. But an evil colonel won’t settle for anything less than all-out war.

The hero must then choose which side he will fight with, the imperialistic human warmongers or the peaceful noble in touch with nature Na’vi.

He of course chooses the indigenous people and participates in enough battle scenes for Cameron to show off his 3-D special-effects catalog.

The filmmaker here spent so much that Hollywood is holding its collective breath wondering if “Avatar” will go boom or bust.

Fox, for its part, had spread the risk by bringing in two other investors who are paying for about two-thirds of the production costs.

With all the technological innovations in this film, one would be inclined to want to take a peek at it just for the effects. Too bad that as a condition of seeing the flick, audiences will have to put up with undisguised propaganda and cliche-ridden plot lines.

James Hirsen, J.D., M.A. in media psychology, is a New York Times best-selling author, commentator, media analyst and law professor. He is the co-founder and Chief Legal Counsel for InternationalEsq.com, a legal think tank and educational institute for the study of law in the media. Visit: Newsmax TV Hollywood:


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