finally shows how to attack the US military and make money.
Crucially, it's not directly about the current war.
It's set in the future, on a distant planet with aliens.
And it's the old (cliché)
story of evil western rational scientific technological humans
(in this case, the US)
versus simple peaceful illiterate mystical superstitious
earth-loving natives (in this case, the aliens).
Cameron admits this is meant to be an allegory
for his stupid left-wing ideas about the current war:
"This movie reflects that we are living through war.
There are boots on the ground, troops who I personally believe were
sent there under false pretenses, so I hope this will be part of opening our eyes."
Cameron denies it is anti-military.
He claims that because the hero is a Marine, it is not anti-Marine.
But the hero is the hero because he rebels against the other Marines.
As John Nolte replies:
"Let us assume that even though 99% of the Marines ... in "Avatar" are ready, willing, and all-too eager to commit genocide against innocent beings, that Cameron chose to make the hero of his film a Marine as a tribute to the Marines."
Cameron says it is anti-war.
On the use of Iraq War language by the bad guys:
"I probably shouldn't have put in the direct references to the language used with the Iraq war, the 'shock and awe' line, because it takes you too much there.
But what I really was saying was, 'Listen to what your leaders are saying. Open your eyes. And understand what the run-up to war is like, so the next time it happens, you can question it.'"
Cameron talks about an extra scene
called "the drums of war",
"which he hopes will clarify why the humans choose to wipe out the Na'vi. He compared it to America's decision to invade Iraq. "We had to provoke Saddam to do something stupid, and it's like that with the humans invading Pandora," he said. "I felt when I was writing it that the Na'vi had to counter-react and do something that is called an atrocity that gave [humans] the moral right to go in and destroy and displace them."
It is very sad that a magical, mystical,
anti-science, anti-reason, anti-civilization,
allegory is now the
highest-grossing film of all time.
Do anti-war films now sell?
Jonah Goldberg, 5 Feb 2010, says Avatar was such a unique spectacle that it may not prove that anti-war films in general now sell.
In response to the idea that it sold because of the politics, he says:
"I'm sure Goldstein's right. No doubt James Cameron could have made Avatar for $300 million less and still made a fortune. After all, audiences didn't need the 3-D digital magic, explosions, giant aliens, or spectacular backdrops. All they wanted was an extended lecture about the evils of corporate America and the cruelty of the military, and some gassy pantheistic blather about the need to get back to nature. Why, Cameron could have simply recorded a poetry jam at Barbra Streisand's house and still put out the highest-grossing film ever."
John Nolte on the box office success, 5 Jan 2010:
"James Cameron might have finally figured out a way to further leftist causes on film and make a profit while doing so. Rather than become another victim of the 100% failure rate enjoyed by pretentious, melodramatic, preachy, adult dramas designed to trash our military and undermine America - they now know they have to make pretentious, melodramatic, preachy $500 million, 3D, sci-fi event films that trash our military and undermine America."
Tim Slagle, 4 Mar 2010, discusses Avatar's unscientific sexuality,
which may also have been key to its success.
For some reason, Cameron gave the aliens breasts, and young athletic human-like bodies,
and they wore skimpy thongs and loincloths.
"about how he programmed the computers so that Princess Neytiri's feather necklace would always cover her nipples, to assure a PG-13 rating. It also made the film a two and three quarters hour strip tease for adolescent boys; who spent the entire film hoping for an errant breeze".
That's how you make $2 billion!
John Nolte's review, 11 Dec 2009:
"a sanctimonious thud of a movie .. infested with one-dimensional characters and PC clichés".
John Podhoretz, 28 Dec 2009:
"Avatar is blitheringly stupid; indeed, it's among the dumbest movies I've ever seen.".
Outer-Space Cartoon Says Americans Are the Bad Guys, Gregg Easterbrook,
points out the plot holes in this cliché story:
"does this project have some kind of government approval, or is it an interplanetary criminal enterprise? It's hard to believe that 150 years from now, humanity's first interaction with another sentient species would be conducted without any public officials present, but that's what is depicted."
Comment points out something I thought too.
This plot would make sense in 1854, but makes no sense in 2154:
"In a word, it's simplistic. And, like most simplistic plots, it makes for a bad movie. How likely is it in the future that people would adopt 19th century thinking about other cultures?"
My God this film is stupid.
Everyone in the film is stupid and incurious.
Everyone - the dumb hero, the dumb villain, the incurious aliens, the so-called "scientist".
None of the humans have any interest in the big questions about the alien world.
And the aliens are equally parochial and uninterested in the humans.
No one asks any of the questions I would immediately ask:
How old is this planet? How long has life existed here?
Have mass extinctions come and gone, like on earth?
Is all life related, like on earth?
Does natural selection explain all life here?
How and when did these intelligent aliens evolve? How old is intelligence on this planet?
How come there are so few of them (only tens of thousands)?
By the time we got to the bows-and-arrows stage
- maybe 10,000 BC -
maybe 5 million
Why are the aliens all at exactly the same
Why is no one a bit ahead, and building a
Why, after 4,000,000,000 years of Earth evolution (and maybe more on this planet),
does intelligence evolve within a mere 1,000,000 years of intelligence on Earth?
Even more incredible, how does the alien intelligence reach the bows-and-arrows stage within
a mere 10,000 years of the same on Earth?
Why do the aliens look exactly like us?
They look more like us than many of our recent ancestors.
They even dress like us.
In fact, they have better human bodies than most humans have!
The entirely separately evolved alien
for example, has a sexier human-like body
than most human females.
What do the aliens think about the universe?
Wouldn't they like to know how old their species is, how old their planet is,
how far away the stars are,
how humans evolved?
Have they no interest in our science,
Do the aliens really think?
Do they have debates about the meaning of the world?
Do they tolerate dissent and scepticism?
Or is it a brutal warrior society where free thought is discouraged?
No one asks. No one cares.
It's like the Tom Cruise movie of
War of the Worlds.
An awe-inspiring encounter
is spent in the company of a stupid, boring, uneducated man.
So without even getting into its dumb "messages",
the main thing I thought was:
I've just spent a lot of time with stupid people.
A similar movie:
War of the Worlds (2005).
An awe-inspiring encounter
is spent in the company of a stupid, boring, uneducated, incurious man.
4,000,000,000 years of evolution produces aliens with sexier human-like bodies than most actual humans!
Avatar does not understand primitive cultures
The movie Avatar
is all about a
attacking technology and capitalism,
and praising a primitive life that he would never, ever, in a million years, live.
Because the reality is that life in
primitive cultures is very hard.
Science, technology and capitalism make life easier, longer, healthier, and
far more full of pleasure and intellectual experiences.
on the difference between Avatar's rosy view of primitive culture and reality.
James Cameron on "The View", 17 Feb 2010,
"I think the film is definitely anti-corporate,
and I think that the corporations and the corporate lobbyists are doing huge damage to the country
and to the environment".
About this cliched message, he says:
"This is meant to wake folks up.
It's absolutely subversive."
Greg Gutfeld, 17 Feb 2010, replies:
"I admire the guy for admitting that. But I just don't see the subversion he's talking about. I can't remember the last time I saw a "pro-corporate" movie, which to me would be truly subversive."
Milton Friedman, 1977:
"The normal condition of mankind is tyranny and misery."
Ann McElhinney, 24 Feb 2010, has a glorious defence of mining:
"Mining makes everything about James Cameron's life and our lives in the developed world, beautiful, possible, bearable, majestic, gorgeous and full of promise. The people of the rain forest on the other hand who live the simple, organic, back to nature life so adored by the Hollywood elite such as James Cameron, also have short lives of misery, disease and squalor. They would do anything to have a piece of the James Cameron life and escape their subsistence hunter-gathering nightmare.
Mining companies bring jobs, roads, infrastructure, health clinics and opportunities to some of the poorest people on the planet.
James Cameron, even more than rest of us, uses the earth's resources for his pleasure and his very profitable business. His films all employ enormous quantities of heavy metals in planes, boats, trains and the latest cutting edge camera, lighting and computer technology.
Everything about Cameron's work uses metals mined from somewhere and his gigantic transport needs are fueled by oil."
The beautiful movie
The New World
shows Avatar how to do it right.
It shows the encounter between European literate technological man
and illiterate American natives
without patronising anyone
and without condemning anyone.
It shows the wonder that many Europeans would have felt.
And it shows the interest that many natives would have had in European
Both sides are intelligent, and not driven by the simplistic emotions
found in other films.
Avatar inspires opponents of liberal western democracy
Avatar inspires reactionary, tribal, third-world resistance to
advanced western democracy.
Protesters against Israeli security barrier in Bil'in, Feb 2010, dress as the Na'vi aliens
from Avatar. "When people around the world who have watched the film see our demonstration and the conditions that provoked it, they will realize that the situations are identical"
a leader of the protests.
Mohammed Khatib says the protests are non-violent
but in fact stone-throwing is routine at the protests
and many soldiers have been injured, some seriously.
Mohammed Khatib also says
he is or was linked to Fatah:
"In the 1990s, we, the new generation, decided to follow the Fatah movement and, quite naturally, we found ourselves at the head of the village committee."
Who I block:
I will debate almost anyone.
I love ideas.
I will not debate (and will block) people who do the following:
(a) Make threats.
(b) Accuse me of crimes.
(c) Comment on my appearance.
(d) Drag in stuff about me not related to the topic. (My professional career, my personal life.)
(e) Complain to my employer.
Yes, people do all these things.