Monday, January 18, 2010

Off ya tree of souls

Avatar? More like...Shitatar! Oh my god! Somebody stop me! Where do I come up with this stuff? But really, I just couldn't resist a ranty panning of Jim Cameron's bloated half-billion dollar soap box epic of blue bombast. Maybe I'm just an elitist contrarian, unwittingly compelled to loathe all status quo-determined zeitgeists, but I was frankly gobsmacked by the dumb CGI sermonising of the prophet Cameron.

Sure, it's a visual spectacle to be matched- no qualms there, JC (heavens, even the initials are redolent with holier-than-thou-ness), you've certainly dazzled us with sweeping landscape/artillery porn. If this is solely the reason for it's immense popularity, then I will be at peace. But if cashed up bogans are genuinely flocking to this flick in their gas-guzzling foreign made four-wheel drives and walking out feeling like shrewd social commentators on Iraq and climate change then I will readily seppuku my innards in a heartbeat.

Just to clarify- if JC didn't quite beat you hard enough over the head with his subtle take on neo-imperialist land rape and jingoism- the greatest director who ever lived literally set out to 'educate' Americans, and the world (hmmyes, two different things, apparently), about the ill effects of invading and subsequently bombing the proverbial out of Iraq... what? There's negative ramifications of launching missiles at Baghdad schools and hospitals on a daily basis? Fuck, good thing Jim Cameron pointed that out to me via $500million of three-dimensional awesome! Mmm, where was I? Popcorn and mega-cola! If you want intelligent critique of war-mongering America, read some Chomsky or Pilger, don't go to the megaplex.

Not to mention his blatant use of the 'noble savage' plot device, really only a few rungs down from the 'magical negro' plot device on the latent racist plot device ladder. So we're all to fall in love with the Na'vi and their huntin', avian-enslavin', paganistic ways, right? Again, Western colonisation indeed led to abhorrent genocide and heartless assimilation of indigenous peoples the world over- most sentient beings are aware of this fact, and multiplex sci fi actioners are generally not ideal source material for this topic, so maybe avoid citing 'Cameron: 2009', along with Wiki brilliance, next time you're compiling a political science essay reference list.

Next- the cardboard cut-out gung ho meathead cowboy military stereotypes. Yes, sadly they do exist, and in large numbers, particularly in the US armed forces. But could JC have made it any more black and white- shite was I at a loss as to who the antagonists/protagonists were! Sooo...the shaven-headed, buff, gun-toting types who want nothing more than to cold-bloodedly and gleefully blow up some trees of souls and "savages", mostly for the sheer heck of it, partly to mine 'unobtainium' (I know- they really do call it that- outstanding, Cam!) are the baddies? Well I'll be a thanator's uncle! Could Colonel Whatshisname be more of a George W. Bush/poor man's Lieutenant Colonel Kilgore from Apocalypse Now caricature? ...Sorry, I'll try and curb the cynical rhetorical questions, they do become tiresome I suspect- but really? "...Fight terror with terror"? Come on Jim, make us think just wee bit. Maybe Colonel Shootemup had a difficult childhood, with an abusive father or something? He just wanted to be a classical pianist instead of going to military school. Maybe blowing up pagan god trees and blue aborigines was his only way of expressing that angst? Let's flesh out some of these characters, eh Jim.

What else- oh, of course, Worthington's stellar American accent!
I could extrapolate more, but I think that's enough ire. Essentially, it's dumb, overly idealistic people and aging hippies like Cameron who give the Left a bad name, with such unequivocal preachings through 'art'. There's countless films and songs that combine politics and art successfully and subtly, and the thought that Avatar could be referred to as something more than simply a gargantuan piece of well-styled summer cinema entertainment is rather dry retch-worthy.
Leave the humanist ideologue to intelligent people. And hail Eywa! Oh, gosh- it really is addictive! I take it all back, Jim!*
*I don't.


  1. Wholeheartedly agree. Would also like to add: I can't remember the last time I saw a film with such a predictable plot.
    Avatar: Easy on the eyes, but also the brain.

  2. If Avatar is a commentary on the Iraq War, then so is Disney's Pochahontas from 1995.

  3. Oh please James! You read somebody's altered Pocahontas (yes, only one 'h'!) script on the internet (oh my gosh! Other people saw that site too?!) and go about preaching in your pseudo-intellectual manner as though you were the first to notice the similarities in the "invasion is bad" metaphors in the respective films? Bravo!

    Granted, I thought that Pocahontas was one of the more dreary of Disney's offerings and thus I may not have been paying due attention, however I do not recall the villain directly quoting George W Bush at any point during the film.

    I think you would have to be a simpleton indeed not to conclude that Avatar is a (decidedly thinly veiled and pathetic) commentary on the War on Terror. At the time I viewed the film, I considered it an affront to my intelligence and concluded that Cameron was underestimating his audience in being so blatant, however after reading your comment, I see that I was not entirely justified in labelling the film utterly devoid of subtlety. Evidently, Cameron should have incorporated a scene with some Sadam or Bin Laden look-alike for the 'of-below-average-intelligence' cinemagoer.

  4. wow, what an OTT comment 'anonymous.' i don't think james was claiming to be the first to notice parallels between pocahontas and avatar. and besides, pretty sure avatar, pocahontas and fern gully - another film to which avatar is readily compared - are all about western imperialism. the iraq war is an example of western imperialism. they all have a common theme.

    still, i agree with everything alex wrote. avatar was a boring, indulgent, preachy and unsubtle bag of shite.

  5. Did you hear the DVD is going to include a blue people sex scene between Sam Worthington and his tall girlfriend? Something to look forward to.