Blue In the Face
Posted on: 2009-12-17 15:38:06

Avatar is the corniest movie ever made about the white man’s need to lose his identity and assuage racial, political, sexual and historical guilt.

James Cameron’s love of technology is enough to sell Avatar to fans awaiting his first techno-feat since 1997’s Titanic. But will they understand the awful thing he’s done with it? Avatar’s highly-touted special effects depict an army from Earth traveling to Pandora, a moon in the Alpha Centuri-A star system, to mine rare ore from under its inhabitants, tall, blue-skinned creatures with tails called the Na’vi.

These F/X show Cameron’s ex-Marine hero, Jake Sully (the great everyman Sam Worthington), taking part in a quasi-military program where he enters the alien society via a hybrid body (an avatar) made from human and Na’vi DNA. Cameron’s “fully immersive” 3-D technology is irritating to watch for nearly three hours.


And then there’s his underlying purpose: Avatar is the corniest movie ever made about the white man’s need to lose his identity and assuage racial, political, sexual and historical guilt.

Only children—including adult-children—will see Avatar as simply an adventure film; their own love of technology has co-opted their ability to comprehend narrative detail. Cameron offers sci-fi dazzle, yet bungles the good part: the meaning. His undeniably pretty Pandora—a phosphorescent Maxfield Parrish paradise with bird-like lizards, moving plant life and floating mountains—distracts from the inherent contradiction of a reported $300-$500 million Hollywood enterprise that casually berates America’s industrial complex.

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