Posts tagged “colonialism”.

Movie Review: Avatar (derivative, from the makers of Tylenol)

The good news is that in the latest Cowboys-and-Indians movie, Avatar, the Indians won. The bad news is that this film sort of takes every genocidal theme, allusions to 9/11, and strains of Celine Dion, and gives us the U.S. Army vs. blue nature-loving aliens.

James Cameron has created some beautiful, luminous images of an alternate planet where the intelligent life doesn’t totally disrespect the planet (as we do), and if we could have a dialogue-free film, I might have liked it more. But, the film degenerates to the usual good-vs-evil simplicity, all the way down to a final mano-a-mano duel with everything but a countdown-to-zero clock.

Luckily, I did not have to pay to see Avatar, since I used the free movie-nights offered through my local cable provider. As a Facebook friend said, who was boycotting the film before it opened, watching colonialism in action is not enjoyable. And, watching an apocalyptic attack with shades of the Twin Towers falling and seeing animals on fire? Just not something we need to see. It’s an anti-colonialism movie laden with “destruction porn.”

Of course, with 2 hours and 40 minutes to fill, watching a careful study of negotiation, etc., doesn’t have “BLOCKBUSTER” written all over it, does it? So it’s a lot like Terminator. And Titanic. Here, instead of Jack, we have Jake, and strains of “My heart will go on…” weaving in an out. Enough to notice it.

And, if the humans need oxygen masks to survive the planet’s atmosphere… why is it that they are so often not wearing them?

A lot of the themes in Avatar could have been more interesting if there was a good way to explore them slowly, maybe as a TV series, with 90 percent less violence. It is explained to us that the Earthlings are looking for “Unobtainium,” which turns out to be a real scientific term, but here just seems ridiculous. Also, this takes place 144 years from now… yet everyone uses 20st Century terminology? If the producers were able to make up a whole language for the Na’vi people, then why couldn’t they make the army unit stationed on Pandora have some more interesting futuristic dialogue. A bit more exposition of how bad things are back on earth would also be sensible. I’ve seen enough sci-fi in my viewing history to know that a good “backstory” told in the start of the film would work a long way. Instead, this is just a high-minded cartoon, which is unfortunate. But, it’s the number-one box-office seller of all time now, so what do I know?

Well, I do know that Americans like special effects and explosions, and they abound here.