January 1st, 2010

Avatar: the war against humans

I decided to go see the movie “Avatar” even though I knew that, as a futuristic action film loaded with special effects, it probably wasn’t going to make my top-ten list. The idea of a 3-D movie intrigued me, though, and it seemed absolutely necessary to see that sort of thing on the big screen.

And so I went. And so there was some pretty nifty technical wizardry indeed going on, with many attractive imaginary foliage and landscaping and astronomic visuals. But, even though I thought I was prepared beforehand by my son’s admonition “you’re not going to like the politics,” I was nevertheless surprised at how very far this particular film went with those politics.

In case you’ve been on a desert island for the last month or so, let me mention that “Avatar” features life on Pandora (an earth-ish moon in another solar system) in the year 2154, a place where aboriginal tall thin blue (very tall and thin; most people say they’re catlike, but they reminded me most of blue Barbie dolls with ET faces and tails) creatures called the Na’vi have reached a wonderfully respectful symbiotic relationship with each other and the world around them, and are threatened by rapacious and greedy mankind.

There’s a war of sorts, and just guess who fares poorly. In the meantime, we’re treated to statements on the part of the human soldiers on the Pandora outpost that go something like this (I’m doing this from memory, so it might not be verbatim): “We must fight terrorism with terrorism,” and “Let’s give them some shock and awe,” as well as a reference to “daisycutters.”

In addition to finding it odd that people in the year 2154 would still be referencing the Afghanistan and Iraqi wars of a hundred and fifty years earlier, I found it especially odd that this movie takes human-hatred many steps further than previous movies ever did.

In my youth (not so very long ago), the natives were often the bad guys and the cavalry good. That wasn’t quite right, either, as we children intuitively knew (and as I, who sided with the Indians partly because I looked somewhat like them and partly because my brother and his friends used to place me unwillingly in that role when they tied me and the other girls to neighborhood trees and war-whooped around us, most definitely knew).

But a few years later, cinema corrected that imbalance by providing us with films that advanced a more sympathetic view of native Americans, and then later offered a reversal in movies such as “Dances With Wolves” (another one I hated; way too long and way too violent for me) in which the US cavalry was for the most part the bad guy (what would Rin-Tin-Tin say?).

Same with extraterrestrials. First they came to kill us, then they came to entrance us (“Close Encounters of the Third Kind“), then to befriend and amuse us (“ET“). And, although they still come to kill us now and then (“Independence Day“), in “Avatar” it’s we who come to kill them. Humans are most definitely the bad guys, except for a few kind souls who cross over and defend the noble Na’vi (combination of Navajo and Hopi?).

That means that this film is the first I’m aware of in which, except for a few human heroes who are the exceptions, we’re meant to root and cheer for the destruction of humans in general. And destruction there is, aplenty. This fits in so nicely with the current notions of many of the AGW and PETA folks—that humans (especially of the first-world variety) are the scourge of an otherwise wonderful earth—that it makes me think the idea of humankind as a cancer on the planet has gone mainstream.

Yes, yes, I’m taking a frivolous movie too seriously. It’s just a fun romp with a lot of fine visuals, right? I suppose it is that. But movies have messages that reach many millions of people, and this one’s only just begun what promises to be a long and lucrative voyage around the globe.

103 Responses to “Avatar: the war against humans”

  1. Paul_In_Houston Says:

    I’ve seen a number of attacks on this movie (several from bloggers on my “Blogs I Like” list) accusing James Cameron of making an anti-American, pro-environmentalist, way too PC movie, with little or no originality to it..

    I beg to differ.

    The soldiers depicted are mercenaries hired by a corporation (in this future, corporations appear to be at the top of the food chain).

    Many of the plot points are not necessarily comments on our current situation, but can be found in classic science-fiction going back more than half a century.

    The idea of a warrior, sent to live among a people, deciding he’d rather be a part of them is NOT a ripoff of “Dances With Wolves”, but is a very human story that likely predates writing and could well be part of sagas passed down from one generation to another by word of mouth.

    One thing you could convict Cameron on is lack of originality in the story.

    BUT, to the best of my recollection, he has never claimed the ideas to be original. I think he has even said that himself in interviews.

    That said, the piece I attempted to write on it (in my blog) is probably the worst writing there, to date. I know what happened there; I was defending a guy who was perfectly capable of defending himself.

    I got very ticked off at what seemed to be personal attacks aimed at Cameron, and was experiencing deja vu from the period before the release of Titanic. In news groups devoted to movies, for a solid YEAR before Titanic’s release, there were people conducting a holy war against Cameron, over the cost (“going to bankrupt Fox and Paramount”), over his way of doing things. Apparently, he’s a perfectionist; an autocratic demanding SOB to work for.

    People there were openly predicting massive failure, hoping for it, and could never forgive him for proving them wrong. What I saw in that war was, “Those who can, do. Those who can’t, become critcs.”

    When I read some of the reviews against Avatar, I saw the same knives coming out again.

    I wanted to write a review, but had yet to learn how to do so without giving away too much. At the same time, I wanted to refute some of the charges against him, and so I jumped into it, without a clue as to where I was going to go.

    I reckon that’s what you’d call a “learning experience”. 🙂

    My final verdict, in that miserable excuse of a posting, was:

    Is this the best movie of the year? No, probably not even close.

    Is it the best science-fiction movie of this year? THAT will take some more consideration; at the moment, I’m inclined towards “District 9” for that honor.

    Well then, is it any damned good at all? HELL YES!!!

    I’ve a gut feeling this is one thing we ain’t gonna agree on. 🙂

  2. neo-neocon Says:

    Paul: well, for me it hasn’t got much to do with Cameron. And, as I said, the movie had some enjoyable features. I don’t especially like that genre of movie anyway, and although I like science fiction (big fan of Philip Dick from childhood), I much prefer to read it.

    That said, I think my post indicates that I think the movie was very derivative, which is not necessarily a bad thing. And whether the troops were mercenaries or not (I didn’t catch or pay attention to that particular point when I was watching the film, but I assume that’s true), the point I’m making is that the viewer is supposed to cheer at the death of almost all the humans in the film except the few humans who go over to the Na’vi side.

  3. Mark Says:

    This 3-D effect, are glasses required?

  4. Thomass Says:

    “that it makes me think the idea of humankind as a cancer on the planet has gone mainstream.”

    I’m thinking that the various kooky ideas* are just being openly displayed in part because the Obama phenomenon. These people watched the rallies and think the country changed. Now they’re being more open. So, is stuff like this ‘mainstream’? I’d say no, the people pushing them are just miscalculating. Is it growing? I’d say no, they were already there but more tight lipped in the past. Their openness will probably wake up more moderates to a potential problem.

    * I’d note, the left has adopted almost all of them. Including those that would have been considered kooky rightwing 60+ years ago.

  5. neo-neocon Says:

    Mark: they give you glasses and then collect them at the end for recycling.

  6. NeoConScum Says:

    Gotta agree with Neo-Neo. I haven’t seen it(and, likely won’t)in a 3-D theater, but viewed it in my living room on a DVD-Screener through the Producers Guild. Hell, I couldn’t make it all the way! In addition to the ideological sledgehammers of Evil Corporations and Vile Mercenaries, etc..It was WAY too LONG. ‘Fraid my gag reflex for Lefty BS couldn’t take the whole thing.

    It used to be rule-of-thumb that to be in the black-profit, a picture had to do twice its budget. IF, these days, that still applies, then Jim Boy’s anti-American cartoon will need to see $1-Billion before the first profit dollar. May it be so. Cameron is a talented Despot(not the least unheard of in film)with the same nonsensical lefturd, yet luxury laden, SOP message as innumerable previous and current talented airheads in our ‘bidness.

  7. Kae Arby Says:


    Is it the best science-fiction movie of this year? THAT will take some more consideration; at the moment, I’m inclined towards “District 9″ for that honor.

    There’s a bit of an irony here. Quite a few pieces of the story line in Avatar have matches in District 9.

    Evil corporations exploiting aliens for the sake of profit (Avatar: some goofy named ore. District 9: alien weapon technology)

    Gung ho mercinaries that love killing.

    The hero of the movie “goes native” (although Wikus’ transformation isn’t voluntary) and turn to help the aliens.

    While Distric 9’s Prawns are nearly as likeable at the Na’vi, by the end of the movie you end up cheering for them.

  8. Paul_In_Houston Says:

    Irony indeed, Kay Arby.

    Good points, all.

  9. Paul_In_Houston Says:

    “KAE”, not “Kay”.

  10. strcpy Says:

    Most of the people I know that watched thought it was a commentary on our treatment of Native Americans. Outside of politically minded people who knew what Cameron meant few are “getting” the message.

    Most who caught the lines about “shock and awe” and “daisycutters” couldn’t figure out the message intended for the war on terrorism. Most that do not keep up with it can not fathom someone *really* thinking of the terrorists as peace loving environmentalist. It’s such a crazy idea it never enters their minds, cognitive dissonance enters, and they ignore those lines.

    Further, if taken literally (as again most not into this type of thought do) the humans *were* in the wrong there. When one takes it literally there are no parallels to earth to make.

    Think of it this way – this is Obama’s campaign. He didn’t remotely move the country to the left – indeed a great deal of his campaign rhetoric was conservative in nature. People voted something else than what they got – those that kept up well knew what was actually being said.

    Indeed, if you simply watch the movie and forget about what he *meant* to say it has nothing of his messages in it. It actually contains fairly popular ideas and, in fact, quite a number of conservative ones.

    Cameron didn’t make a popular “US is evil, humans are evil, corporations are evil” movie – he made a “Corrupt Greedy corporations are evil and God exists” movie (and few disagree that corrupt entities are bad). In his head he made the first type but, knowing that doesn’t sell, he actually made the latter. He did the same thing Obama did during his campaign – say what people want to hear but have the “wink” to those that know what you really mean.

    Unlike Obama he can go home and feel good about himself for teaching us all a lesson as he never has to do more than convince himself that he taught the lesson. They can all pat themselves on the back and tell themselves that thier ideas are popular but somewhere underneath that all they *have* to realize what they did. Although they sometimes do drink their own coolaid and make a high dollar leftist indoctrination flick and watch it tank big time.

    The most common comment is that he left out “Avatar II – Nukes from Space” which is about a five to ten minute movie depending on how long they play out the explosions.

  11. huxley Says:

    Based on reviews similar to neo’s, I skipped Avatar went with friends to the new Sherlock Holmes today. SH was a bit too noisy and spectacle-ish (what hath CGI wrought?), but it was nonetheless fun.

    It provided original characterizations of Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson plus Robert Downey Jr. is always a pleasure to watch.

  12. Leah Says:

    Neo you are right about the subversive effects. Live in LA, at lunch yesterday I overheard two guys extolling the wonders of the movie.
    They were wishing for the day we evolve enough so that we too can be like the Na’vi. The day we will be one with the earth. They also spoke about how nature was heaven until we arrived.
    Oh and btw, I think one of them was a teacher.

    Yeah, it’s all part of brainwashing us about the evils of the West. Without ever mentioning that this movie could never be made without western no how and technology.

  13. neo-neocon Says:

    huxley: I’m a Downey fan, too.

  14. Artfldgr Says:

    the socialist realism of the few who make it past a coming apocolypse only they can see is a very common modern theme since the revolution.

    these are not really science fiction stories, they are huge propaganda fests which use stunning special effects as the candy to get you to sit there and see a archtypical script in large to you.

    they are selling rouseau and marx, and so forth.
    symbolically na’vi are new socialist man, and the story is showing that whereever capitalism is, it destroys new socialist man who lives in peace.

    the story only exists in archtypical fantasy, a remolding of our natural proclivity in believing in a utopia even if only in religion.

    however, as a form of progress the na’vi are stagnant. confucian in that they think the world is full of hate and traps and that ritual and stagnation will allow us to work out the problems and so have utopia by handling a limited reality.

    its stagnation sold as progress, so that the workers just work endlessly. no history, history becomes destroyed… so there is no past… no future… only a perception of an endless and infinite progression where each is born to the task they do for their lives and die like that serving a collective that is eternal, and has or will be told to have been here for millions of years.

    in this way, we return to a feudal existence which has no way of ending because its residence have no connections to any past or knowleve of such and so float in perceptive history… a now in which their position is fixed, and the position of the elite and theirs is fixed as elite no matter how bad they are.

    its really not for older people to get, becaue they are on the way out… they cant change… so if one looks at the perceptual life of someone born in a time during this progression, you get a clearer idea of whats going on, since the progression of ideas in movies is moving, but we are not immortal.

    so a child born today, will be able to see SAW series of super extreme sadism twisted with justice themes… before they are a teen… they will have seen avatar during formative years. they would have missed the good message and history.

    after all the feminists rewrote human history in that heterosexual families are not the norm, and that all families were these nastry abusive places which only seemed to be like father knows best.

    the kids have a very different outcome and framework…

    its funny to see plays like the lemmings…
    which predicted this self suicidal end culture.

    we are lemings we are crazies
    we will feed our flower habit
    pushing daisies…

    avatar is just the end in a progression that doesnt end till its thread enters an extreme as that is what happens with the left.

    that is, they have no limits, so what may be reasonable in argument if practiced becomes unreasonable in reality when practiced because of how the idea is to constanly push the boundaries

    so if the early movement focused on the bad that man did sans good…. then the later movement would have no stopping line, no place to call a halt and say, thats enough of that… beyond that its self extermination

    with social spending, same thing… its a thing without a limit, with no end, a boundary to push till it breaks.

    sex… cant push the boundary of sex up to old age, they know already, sot he boundary is pushed earlier and earlier.

    equality… equality of opportunity is not enough… etc.

    the navi are the end of a long progression in which man is painted as a problem to illustrate somethjing and so then keeps following that growing thread till extreme is the norm.

    the navi are the western movement of capitalism which rather than kept the money with the old order in europe… and left the rest of the world an exploitable mass of third world people who were stuck (like the other places they have sway that stagnate).

    we soak in this message… from our cartoons, to our commercials, to our shows. evne the gender war is doing it through the synonym of a man and Man… you make men idiots, goofs, and incompetents… well you now know why mankind is sick… or visa versa, they feed off each other always moving to more extreme interpretation.

    like a person who starts off with a bit of a spanking on fridays with the wife, and 10 years later are being full whipped to get that same feeling.

    like a person on a crakc pipe chasing the big high they can never have again. they keep pushing the lines, and pushing.

    instead of utopia, they end up in a world in which the people publicly cant stand to be with each other.

    its what makes it easy for these oppressed groups to attack the featured oppressors.

    the social response is things like the blacks in west beating on whites and spanish making videos…

    they will see themselves as navi fighting for the culture that the anti culture will sweep a way if they dont destroy… (except the anti culture are the leaders who like mean kids with ants sets them upon each other). the oppressor groups will identify with the attackers and feel self loathing for being a part of it.

    and even neo noticed its keyed to modern times and issues…

    National Lampoon’s Lemmings is a parody of the Woodstock Festival. It takes the “peace, love, and music” idea and adds “mass suicide” to it. Half a million youth, gathered together on a farm in New York for the “Woodchuck Festival of Peace, Love, and Death” to commit mass suicide, an act that draws respect from “Farmer Yasser,” who posits that this action of protest is “probably the best goddamn thing ever happened to this country” and that he, for one, is willing to ignore their differences because “long hair, short hair, what the hell’s the difference once the head’s blowed off?”

    Mocking the seemingly interminable announcements given throughout the festival, John Belushi constantly interrupts the proceedings to make announcements of his own — making particular note of such famous moments as the “brown acid” warning and the “rain chant.” It helps to be familiar with the source in order to get some of the more pointed humor, but other sequences like “the All-Star Dead Band” can be enjoyed by anyone with a sense of humor and a basic knowledge of dead musicians, real and rumored.


  15. Holmes Says:

    I saw it as well. We loved the visuals and the plot was beyond cliche at this point. And just to ensure we get the whole message, before the big battle, the mean, blood-thirsty colonel tells us that “We need to fight terror with terror. We need to engage preemptively.” Hilarious. Saddam Hussen and the simple blue people of Nuvi are the same?

    One huge mistake I think Cameron makes with this film, if his goal is indeed to save the environment, is linking environmentalism to a kooky religion filled with all sorts of strange tribal traditions. I think that will turn off more people than not, minus the Greenpeace types.

  16. NeoConScum Says:

    Whew. Didn’t realize that the too-long, waaaay too expensive flick which I saw half of…wuz so deep.

  17. Thomass Says:

    Kae Arby Says:

    “While Distric 9’s Prawns are nearly as likeable at the Na’vi, by the end of the movie you end up cheering for them.”

    I thought the Prawns were portrayed as mostly loosers and considering it was all a sci fi allegory… I was surprised the writers were not accused of being racists and soft apartheid supporters.

    You got the impression, with District 9, that the humans / corporations went too far (re: into mistreatment) but that it was not their fault that the Prawns lived poorly. For the most part it was them (wouldn’t work, wouldn’t adapt, no motivation, et cetera).

  18. Mark Says:

    Thanks for the heads up, Neo. Because my right eye is weaker than the left, I was never able to truly enjoy 3-D.

  19. Thomass Says:

    Leah Says:

    “Yeah, it’s all part of brainwashing us about the evils of the West. Without ever mentioning that this movie could never be made without western no how and technology.”

    Or that nature is really sort of messy and icky. Now that we have antibiotics, vaccines, and anti worm meds… we can get romantic about it… but Baudelaire pegged it… to paraphrase … nature is nothing more than an oozing mass of mud and blood.

    I’m sticking with the indoor plumbing and supermarkets…

  20. neo-neocon Says:

    Thomass: or that aboriginal people sometimes used their cute little arrows in order to kill each other.

  21. Matteo Says:

    “You got the impression, with District 9, that the humans / corporations went too far (re: into mistreatment) but that it was not their fault that the Prawns lived poorly. For the most part it was them (wouldn’t work, wouldn’t adapt, no motivation, et cetera).”

    That’s one thing that was so great about District 9. It didn’t paint either side as all good or all bad. It was possible to identify with both sides. Heck, the hero of the thing was even a first-class doofus. But that’s what made it so resonant…

  22. Nolanimrod Says:

    It would be funny if the name were an amalgam of Navajo and Hopi, because they have been at each other’s throats for several hundred years. That rivalry did, however, produce the most asinine Supreme Court decision on record (even moreso than the one which declared that if you grow, mill, and eat your own wheat you are engaged in interstate commerce).

    There is some “disputed land” along the boundaries of the Navajo and Hopi reservations (like an Amerind Kashmir) which has generally been used by the Navajo but the Hopi’s claim it. A while back they tried to military route and hired another tribe to fight the Navajos for them. The other tribe lost and the Navajos haven’t forgotten it.

    Then the Hopis tried the legal path. The case ended up in the Supreme Court, which ruled that the disputed land was to be “Joint Use.” The Hopis and the Navajos could both use it and play nice together.

    It’s things like this that make me concerned for the nation’s future when they start talking about having bureaucrats run health care and what’s left of manufacturing. The Navajos run sheep. The Hopis are farmers. And they use the same land? The Hopis plant corn. The Navajo sheep come and eat the tender shoots. What could be fairer?

  23. ELC Says:

    In addition to finding it odd that people in the year 2154 would still be referencing the Afghanistan and Iraqi wars of a hundred and fifty years earlier…. I watched all the episodes of the original Star Trek series last year, and I was struck by how familiar the main characters (including Spock the Vulcan and Scott the Engineer) were with 20th-century America. 🙂

  24. waltj Says:

    “…nature is nothing more than an oozing mass of mud and blood…”

    Or, as one travel writer once put when describing an “eco-tourism” destination, “in fact, nature stings, bites, and lays eggs under your toenails”.

    The “Disneyfication” of nature has been recurring theme in Western philosophy since ancient Greece, attributing to nature, and to primitive cultures, virtues that are actually utopian conceits. Like “primitive man lived in balance with nature”, or, more recently, that apex predators can be taught not to kill by force-feeding them a vegetarian diet. It’s not true, or doesn’t work, but people still believe it.

  25. Jim Sullivan Says:

    Things I learned while watching Avatar:

    – It’s OK to kill things as long as you use a bow and arrow and not a gun or missile.

    -Teh Interwebz au Naturale of the Allmother (or whatever the f*** the Giganto-smurfs called her) beats the technology of a species that has harvested the power of the atom, is capable of celestial travel, and has armored the unholy f*** out of everything. Also:

    -It’s a much better way to call up your bizarro world rhino and pterodactyl allies (the ones that previously wanted to eat you) than a Tarzan call or a Conch shell. But, you still have to send the Dire-pony express to the Four Corners of the world to rally the tribes.

    -Soldiers are bad unless they are A) not Caucasian or B) handi-capped. All other soldiers are A)psychopaths B) mindless myrmidons or C) nameless cannon fodder (or in this case arrow fodder)

    -Even shallow, selfish, homicidal savages are good because they’re…savages and therefore inherently and unquestionably noble.

    -The best way for primitive screw-heads to fight off a technologically superior, militarily sophisticated force is to fight the superior force on their terms. Asymmetric strategy, insurgent tactics and guerrilla warfare couldn’t possibly even the odds. Not in a million years.

    -All scientists are compassionate and resent the very soldiers prepared to die to protect them. This is completely reasonable and in no way intellectually dishonest. Hollywood decrees it!

    -Subjugating other species is wrong… unless you are able to have mind-blowing ponytail intercourse and biologically hack into their brain. Then it’s OK.

    -When you encounter a new mineral that floats and causes whole mountain ranges to float, the coolest, catchiest, most marketable name for it is Unobtainium. After you succeed in mining it, it semantically transforms,a la magma/lava, into HaHaHa!It’sAllMine-ite.

    -When the nobly savage Giganto-smurfs, the Emo-scientists and their Land-networked planetary defense menagerie evict the eeevil military-capitalist Gestapo from their idyllic floating mountain paradise back to their ecologically dead world, the nature frolickers all live happily ever after. There’s no chance in hell that those same military-capitalists will return with a full blown invasion fleet. Never happen. Hollywood decrees it!

  26. Vieux Charles Says:

    I confess, I was very impressed with the photorealistic computer generated imagery and stereoscopic 3-D. This is a technology that I hope continues to the point that it is available even for home entertainment.

    All politics aside, this was a pathetically thin plot, more akin to ‘Fern Gully’ than to ‘Dances with Wolves’.

    The movements and physical features of the Na’vi: eye, head, shoulder, hand etc. proportions were classic Disney and mocked any efforts by mature audience members to be fully enveloped by the film.

    The integration of live action via CGI (the mouth in particular) into these creatures was its saving grace. Sans those comicly proportioned retinas many of the close-up facial sequences were extraordinarily captivating.

    Camaron is a genius. How do I know this? He has told us so.

    This film integrates my life’s achievements… it’s the most complicated stuff anyone’s ever done.

    If you’re looking for a riveting story-line and complex characters, an inspiring message stay home. “Avatar” is not for you.

    If you’re looking for state-of-art CGI, I’d highly recommend “Avatar”. Or, you can rent “Transformers 2”.

    Your choice.

  27. Lex Says:

    As a maker of content in the entertainment industry, it mystifies me that it’s necessary to be treasonous to have one’s product bought. It’s no longer the least bit controversial to advocate perverse sexual practice or drug use or the death of all mankind as a solution to imaginary ills, or whatever else. For genuine controversy one could openly praise Bush or other (relatively) conservative leaders. Then they’d bury whoever did such an outrageous thing. I feel guilty for my muteness and what must seem complicity. It’s not complicity, I just wish the environment would change. I feel like a speck of paint on a wall where something deathly is painted. I can peel myself off, be cast aside, and know that I’m easily replaced on the picture, in the process saying goodbye to the future too much has already been invested in. Or keep my mouth shut, maintain my place, say the expected things, console myself that if I did my best to make a difference, it would do no good.

    So what does one do? Make my little part of the painting glimmer with a faint hint of life, despite what it is a part of overall?

  28. neo-neocon Says:

    Jim Sullivan: beautiful!

  29. neo-neocon Says:

    Lex: you are in a very difficult position, and you are not alone. You might be surprised at the amount of email I have gotten over the years from people in similar binds, whether it be in the arts or in academia.

  30. Terrye Says:

    I don’t know if it is the big wigs who run the studios, the socalled talent who comes up with the ideas or who or what is at fault, but this kind of sanctimonious drivel dressed up as entertainment is just so tedious. And self righteous. And preachy. And shallow and silly.

    The native Americans were not pacifists, they did not have a love affair with nature. And there is no way someone like Cameron or the people who like his movies, could last in that kind of world for more than a week. I wonder what the carbon footprint of this silly movie was? I wonder how much evil money Cameron expects to make?

    They are like people who dislike the way Dad made his money, but damn well expect to be included in the will.

  31. Gray Says:

    I refuse to go see movies that crap on my race, my politics, my species, my country and my military.

    McDonald’s has Avatar “Happy” Meals–isn’t this a PG-13 Movie? What 13yo ever wants a happy meal?

    Who the hell is a kid going to root for?

    “Yay! I hope those blue aliens kill the soldiers I liked last week in Transformers! Hey, wait: I can’t grow up to be a blue alien….”

    James Cameron = Asshole


  32. Gray Says:

    Who the hell wants a “Happy Meal” that preaches the destruction of your species?

    Hate ’em. I just f’in hate Hollywood and entertainment-types.

    They lost me: I used to love to see movies, the last movie I paid money to see was in January 2008 when I saw “Cloverfield”.

  33. vanderleun Says:

    thanks for that brilliant analysis. I hope you don’t mind that I showcased it at


  34. waltj Says:

    Lex: Neo is right, you are not alone. Many go along to get along, but it might surprise you how, when pushed, many of these same people actually have pretty conservative core values. Not all, and not in every company/organization, certainly, but we’re more numerous than you might think. I found this myself by testing the waters in my company. My situation is probably different than yours: I’m an expat working overseas with some other expats (American, Aussie, and European), and a whole lot of local staff, so by company policy, politics (and religion) are generally taboo subjects for open discussion. But I’ve found some allies through some discreet, open-ended inquiries. Listen closely to the answers; you may have more friends than you think you do.

  35. Artfldgr Says:

    perhaps the name is a kind of latin treatment of native… one native… many nativi… na’vi

  36. Thomass Says:

    Lex Says:

    “So what does one do?”

    We’ve all dealt with liberal open mindedness at one time or another (a class, a boss, someone we dated, whatever)… so most of us understand if you just want to keep your head down. 🙂

  37. Thomass Says:

    waltj Says:

    “Or, as one travel writer once put when describing an “eco-tourism” destination, “in fact, nature stings, bites”

    Heck yeah. I’ve seen some pictures of non North American bees and wasps… and that alone killed any eco travel for me….

  38. katzxy Says:

    For what it’s worth,
    na’vi is roughly hebrew for ‘prophet’

    H/T Dennis Prager

  39. SteveH Says:

    I just can’t respect people like Hollywood liberals especially who are forever in covert messaging mode about their “humanity is the problem in the universe” beliefs.

    In 20 or 30 years there will be one succinct paragraph written somewhere that accurately sums these people up. And i’m confident the word masochistic will be in it somewhere.

  40. Portia Says:

    My son thinks Na’vi stands for Naive.

    As for the movie, even if it weren’t annoying and offensive — what is there NEW in this “humans are the virus”? Matrix did it earlier and possibly better (didn’t much care for it, either.) It’s boring. It’s establishment pap. THIS is my big issue with leftist “art” and story teling. YAWN. Fresh at the beginning of the 20th century. Now? Just boring.

  41. ABC Says:

    How about, “Self-Hating Humans”?

  42. Portia Says:


    In same boat and I FEEL for you.

  43. RiverC Says:

    SteveH: Humanity is not the problem, I’m the problem.

    Maybe the best way to sum them up is:

    Those secular sorts who depended on a functional market and religious society to peddle ideological texts via all mediums which were directed to undermine both the means by which they were made and sold and man himself. They attempted variously and severally the following: To remake class, to remake nationality, to remake science, to remake knowledge, to remake society, to remake sex, to remake economy, to remake architecture, to remake art, to remake music, to remake man, and lastly having failed all of those, to create a religion which would compel man to remake himself and the rest voluntarily in the ways they designed. All failed miserably except on the count of bodies.

  44. Promethea Says:

    Nature can be quite icky. Once I started walking along the Appalachian Trail–a part that seemed to be covered in poison ivy–so I didn’t walk too far.

    Another time I was in a beautiful field of flowers and was attacked by a swarm of newly hatched swarm of hungry biting insects. So I went back to my car. But that didn’t save me from acquiring some kind of suppurating bite that led to a painful infection. An antibiotic salve helped.

    Another time I stepped into a bog, which may have been quicksand. I had a hard time getting out of the bog, and learned my lesson that unknown dangers await the uninformed.

    Another time I was bitten on both my legs by about 100 insects–mosquitos? chiggers? Or maybe it was 2 insects who thought I was a buffet. Thank goodness for Benedryl.

    Another time I was caught in a thunderstorm with lots of lightning and hailstones. Good times (in retrospect).

  45. Promethea Says:

    I should have proofread better. Shame. 🙁

  46. Foxfier Says:

    I think I’ll stick with watching the Airbender type Avatar show, instead of this movie….
    (Go, Zuko, go! Listen to Uncle!)

  47. Don Says:

    Avatar was not really an allegory for modern American policy and thus was not (to me) a statement against it. More than any other, the situation it reminded me of was the power granted the East India Company in the 1700s to exploit for the Crown the lesser-armed peoples of Asia. None of us could seriously defend the EIC’s motives and methods today, so I don’t know what’s to complain about with Avatar.

    There were no references to Iraq and Afghanistan, but there were to recent wars in Nigeria and Venezuela. Of course, those wars are likely to occur somewhat sooner than 150 years.

    The “bad” guys were not all white people but a fairly even racial mix. Perhaps the film’s most jarring moment for me was when the human crowd was nodding in agreement that the Na’vi needed suppression, for fear they would overrun the base. This was jarring because many in the crowd looked to be descendants of people who had been suppressed just as ruthlessly a few centuries before, and for exactly the same reasons, by the British and the Spanish and the French. Seemed to me if they knew their family histories, they wouldn’t be so eager to repeat.

    I also didn’t feel we were expected to cheer on the deaths of these American-looking soldiers. The great final battle scene was between mismatched foes and except for the American look of the gunship side, it’s natural for us all to cheer the underdog. I had no problem doing so because I didn’t think of the one side as being particularly American. Nor did I see the corporation’s plan to uproot an ancient tree to get at a lode of “unobtainium” as particularly responsible capitalism. More an act of rapine, which is not so profitable over the long term.

    Overall I enjoyed the film tremendously as a high-quality bit of movie-making with a compelling story and interesting characters. Nor would I worry it will encourage many people to go easier on our present-day indigenous enemy, so long as said enemy keeps sending truck bombs into volleyball games and attempting to kill cartoonists.

  48. Baklava Says:

    I read this post but not the comments.

    I found the movie sooooo fictional that it basically boiled down to good vs. evil and it was only coincidental that the bad was a bad military man and the good was the good Na’vi.

    Of course the whole premise that any military force was going to just blow up the “Home Tree” to get some natural resource was pretty ridiculous.

    If anybody were to relate it to anything it’d be more in common with the Empire of Japan and it’s quest for natural resources.

    That – is how fictional it was/is. Heaven forbid the U.S. today pays and gives money for oil. Or that we try to guarantee the free flow of commerce – not allow Iraq to take over Kuwait….. etc.


    I went with my partner. We both found it the best movie of the last 10 years.

    We found the love story so powerful. The connection. The intertwining of spirits and energy and love between the two beings whether the big bird like creatures or the two partners themselves or the horse like creatures.

    The connection between the two was a love story that transcends millions of miles, planets and I applaud the messages in the movie.

    Because – yes, people should be good. People should be giving. People should stand up for what they believe in…. and… those who can’t even LISTEN (yes – you liberals who can’t listen ! ) and consider information that you haven’t considered should hear the message of listening.

  49. Gray Says:

    Avatar was not really an allegory for modern American policy and thus was not (to me) a statement against it.

    Y’know, other than the fact that the writer and director says it is an allegory for modern American policy and a statement against it….

    Really what this film ultimately does is hold a mirror to our own blighted history, where we have a culturally advanced civilization supplanting more “primitive” civilizations. Some of these civilizations and cultures have a lot more wisdom than we’ve shown. We just have bigger guns. We have ships that can cross oceans, we have horses and armor. And this country we’re in now was taken from its indigenous owners. And it’s kind of owning up to our own human history.

    Science fiction is for humans by humans. We’re not trying to predict what will really happen when we go to an alien planet. We’re trying to make some comment about our lives that we’re leading right now.”

  50. Gray Says:

    We found the love story so powerful. The connection. The intertwining of spirits and energy and love between the two beings whether the big bird like creatures or the two partners themselves or the horse like creatures.

    Whoa…. Beastiality?

    I don’t want to see any “beings” making love and intertwining with bird-things or horse-things. I wonder if that will be featured in any McDonald’s happy meals?

    I still can’t abide the fascination with buggery….

  51. strcpy Says:

    “Y’know, other than the fact that the writer and director says it is an allegory for modern American policy and a statement against it….”

    And Obama claims to not be a leftist anti-American shill. Turns out what we claim to be often isn’t what we are.

    Cameron obviously felt this was this case, to me the film obviously wasn’t. I agree with the person you are responding too and is why I think the movie is popular. If you are wrong and this idea was that prevalent we are even more screwed than anyone here thinks. AGW global warming is the largest threat we have and we all need to die and only us few crazies think otherwise.

    Really, if you ignore what Cameron thought he was promoting *what is to argue*? Do you really disagree with what the movie says? Do you really want the humans to win? Our fight against the movie does more harm than good – Cameron was (as many other movies have done) a genius in that it presented an obvious conservative idea (religion and such) yet we fight against it. In a world where we have A or B and we fight against or own ideas few look beyond into what Cameron said. As much as Rove run the dems in a circle Cameron has us (and like the dems that Rove ran in a circle we are happy to be running).

    I parallel it with Obama’s campaign and I think that is very true. If you truly think that the humans should have won then he has done more than he ever could just by releasing the film. Our own reaction to something few will ever see has aided their stereotype more than anything we could ever do on our own. *No one* should really feel the Na’Vi were in the wrong. Their planet obviously had both a spiritually and scientifically intelligent world and we were destroying that – lets face it if you stuck you hair into a tree in your front yard and talked to you dead parents how happy would be someone razed it for an apartment building? I bet not so much.

    Since last I checked my hair didn’t do so (or at least what is left of it) I do not really see how it is more than simply fiction. Yea, the guy meant it as such, but even the lefties I know were confused by it being a leftist message. Some “got it”, but those were so deep into that message that the Gaia Theory isn’t a theory.

    That so many want to corporation to be good and barely acknowledge that it isn’t just fulfills the lefts stereotype of the right’s blind support of corporations. Our reaction to the movie is WAY worse than anything the movie might maybe have done given that it didn’t remotely say what Cameron wanted it too. He, like Obama running around us (and frankly how Bush ran around the dems for a number of years), is that they give us enough rope to hang ourselves and watch as we do, happy all the way.

    Not that the dems listened nor do I expect many to now. People aren’t stupid (which is that the dems thought) nor are they policy wonks (which is what the repubs think). The film, on its own, doesn”t have anything either side wants it to have. The left just needs to remain silent (and they have) and the right just seems to rant against the obvious in favor of monetary considerations. That only hurts one side and helps the other – not in our favor. Dislike the film all you want – Dances with Wolves with tall blue aliens is all it is. Pretending it is otherwise just hurts us.

    But then, again, I do not expect things to go beyond simple politics and we are playing to Cameron as much as the dems did to rove and are happy to do so (just as those dems were).

  52. Baklava Says:

    Sorry I wasn’t clear. Before “riding” a beast – you plugged your “tail” and it’s fibers into another being’s receptors and the energy or spirit between you enabled you to act as one.

    So. No. No Beastiality.

    I flowed two concepts into one paragraph and did a disservice. 🙂

    I do think everyone here has positive and negative energy and if we could somehow “measure” spirit each one of us could somehow plug into one another one day. 🙂

    We didn’t know how to harness and use and measure electricity until the last couple hundred years. I do believe there are other energies or spirits that will become measured and used and harnessed in the future.

    Yes. I’m a sane IT person. 🙂

  53. waltj Says:

    “Heck yeah. I’ve seen some pictures of non North American bees and wasps… and that alone killed any eco travel for me….”

    I share your feelings on that. Living as I do in Indonesia, a “walk in the woods” can lead to an encounter with cobras (not those made by Carroll Shelby, either), spiders the size of your fist (also venomous), giant wasps and hornets, scorpions, centipedes (which possibly have the most excruciatingly painful bite known to man), crocodiles, pythons, tigers (very rare, but still in parts of Sumatra), and, if you’re on the right couple of islands in Nusa Tenggara, the world’s largest lizard. Which can also kill you, in a particularly unpleasant way. The Komodo Dragon’s bite contains a vile stew of infectious bacteria (and a recent Australian study also suggests actual venom, but this hasn’t been verified) that cause what is essentially a form of blood poisoning. I can think of plenty of ways to go, and that’s got to be one of the worst. Artfldgr may disagree with me–he seems to love rural Indonesia, more power to him–but a golf course or a beach is as rural as I like to get, anywhere, and my idea of camping is a hotel that doesn’t get ESPN. I did enough of that “back to nature” thing when I was an infantryman in the Army.

  54. Artfldgr Says:

    Artfldgr may disagree with me–he seems to love rural Indonesia, more power to him

    nope… no disagreement…
    nature is out to kill you… 🙂

    while bumping into a komodo would be pretty hard unless you tried, there are plenty of other things to make ones life miserable to dead.

    tell you the truth i think the australians with the ants and those box jellies have it rough.

    the US is comparitively benign… however as they are making heroes out of two idiots with docupropaganda (grizzly man, and another about someone who ended up starving), we will soon have more.

    nature is harsh.
    the security we are used to and reality we are separated from day to day is a testiment to mans abilities.

    oh.. nature is much less dangerous to those that know about her and come prepared. that too helps create the illusion that she is safe.

    the kids shows, anthropomorphising, and the nature shows who dont really give you a valid image of the animals are much to blame for peoples atitudes and knowing.

    oh and walt.. the most deadly thing in nature is the thing people dont pay much attention to when making lists such as yours.

    temperature and weather

    those two probably kill more than the others combined… but thats about as scientific a statement as me yelling i discovered a planet and then point to the ground.

  55. CV Says:


    Ross Douthat has an interesting take on Avatar. In the NYT, he basically describes it as Cameron’s ode to pantheism (equating God with nature):

    “…pantheism opens a path to numinous experience for people uncomfortable with the literal-mindedness of the monotheistic religions — with their miracle-working deities and holy books, their virgin births and resurrected bodies. As the Polish philosopher Leszek Kolakowski noted, attributing divinity to the natural world helps “bring God closer to human experience,” while “depriving him of recognizable personal traits.” For anyone who pines for transcendence but recoils at the idea of a demanding Almighty who interferes in human affairs, this is an ideal combination. Indeed, it represents a form of religion that even atheists can support. Richard Dawkins has called pantheism “a sexed-up atheism.” (He means that as a compliment.) Sam Harris concluded his polemic “The End of Faith” by rhapsodizing about the mystical experiences available from immersion in “the roiling mystery of the world.” Citing Albert Einstein’s expression of religious awe at the “beauty and sublimity” of the universe, Dawkins allows, “In this sense I too am religious.”
    The question is whether Nature actually deserves a religious response. Traditional theism has to wrestle with the problem of evil: if God is good, why does he allow suffering and death? But Nature is suffering and death. Its harmonies require violence. Its “circle of life” is really a cycle of mortality. And the human societies that hew closest to the natural order aren’t the shining Edens of James Cameron’s fond imaginings. They’re places where existence tends to be nasty, brutish and short. Religion exists, in part, precisely because humans aren’t at home amid these cruel rhythms. We stand half inside the natural world and half outside it. We’re beasts with self-consciousness, predators with ethics, mortal creatures who yearn for immortality. This is an agonized position, and if there’s no escape upward — or no God to take on flesh and come among us, as the Christmas story has it — a deeply tragic one….”


  56. Madrussian Says:

    Boris Strugatzky, a famous Russian science-fiction writer, complained yesterday that the whole plot of the “Avatar” was a plagiat of his and his late brother, Arkadij Strugatzky, series of novels. Even the name of the planet, Pandora, was taken from this saga, as well as the whole ecosystem description. The only and obvious difference is that in Strugatzky’s novels natives were canine, not feline-like creatures. I read these novels and can affirm that Boris claims are fully true.

  57. waltj Says:

    “…the most deadly thing in nature is the thing people dont pay much attention to when making lists such as yours.
    temperature and weather”

    Agree completely. I grew up in the upper Midwest, where I learned early on to respect the weather, particularly in the winter. Old Man Winter is a mean ol’ bastard, and he’ll try to kill you the minute you ignore him or take him for granted. That’s why I don’t live in a cold climate any more–I got tired of fighting the effects of winter. The summers up there were more benign, but it still got plenty hot. Plus we had our share of thunderstorms and tornadoes. Not as many as Tornado Alley, but some damage and injuries/fatalities every spring and summer.

    I previously lived in Australia, and the thing the Aussies say about their critters is that, except for crocs and Great Whites, their larger animals–kangaroos, wombats, and even dingoes–are essentially harmless to adults humans (dingoes have a reputation for attacking children, but it’s actually very rare). But it’s the small ones you have to look out for–they can kill you. The box jellies are one. The cone shell is another, as is the funnel spider. Every snake they have is poisonous, except for the python (like that helps), and some, like the taipan, are both highly venomous and aggressive. Then there’s the all-time great Australian pest, the cane toad. Introduced from South America in the 1930s as a means to control the cane beetle, it’s highly toxic, although more of a threat to domestic pets and native predators than humans, and it continues to spread across the northern half of the country.

    So yes, nature is out to get us. I know how to survive in it, but I prefer to take my chances in concrete jungles these days.

  58. Cappy Says:

    I’m becoming of a mind that most libtards are just tending toward the outageous and edgy to be their normal attention whores. I mean, what’s left man? A case in point, the once venerable Saturday Night Live sketch featuring Andy Samberg on the crapper repeatedly. What’s left? Anyone up for beastiality or cannibalism, just because?

  59. Tatyana Says:

    Lex and Portia: I’m a third in your boat. Or used to be, when I was employed.

  60. Artfldgr Says:

    this would fit that i noticed them bringing to the US art from old soviet era as if it was new, and not remembering or knowing the original source.

    like people not realizing that kafka’s roach, is confucian butterfly….

  61. Tatyana Says:

    I’m a sane IT person.


    This year starts well.

  62. Artfldgr Says:

    ha! bufitin frogs are deadly? not really..
    but they do give you a trip on par with scopalamine… which you can find all over the US (sacred datura)… the wonderful concept of toad licking came from these darlings…

    basically a dog bites them, gets fearfully stoned, and never goes near em again…

    hey.. that reminds me. i gave my wife and her sister one of those tiny survival blankets for their purse. i said, even though we are in a city, when crap hits it bad, it can freeze up. and since we tend not to dress for the weather, but for the destination it can get dangerous from time to time (rare). like the lirr train sitting for 6 hours with no heat or electricity in the last snow storm.

    better to have the 2 dollar item, than not have it.
    sounds silly, but those who live long tend to waste a bit of calories on these side things… then later when they survive they rae called lucky… 🙂

    several people die every year crossing the nevada dessert without enouhg water in their car…

  63. NeoConScum Says:

    Jim Sullivan: Wonderfully stated, Sir!

    WOW, d’ya suppose Cameron(and Marx)is right and Hobbes is wrong?? Man, in a state of Nature, is Goooood…Until ruined and exploited by Baaaaaaad corporate interests and industrialized stuff and technology and scientific advances and thingies??

    No wonder The Taliban is Gooood and al Qaeda is purity itself. Those Na’vis would luv’um.

    Me, I’ll stick with Evil Crusaders.

  64. Artfldgr Says:

    oh wand walt… my life has been threatened many more times in the city… the difference is that you can meet nature and survive by knowing, surviving in a city is also partly just luck… as knowing wont save you in many circumstances if you happen to be there.

  65. Lex Says:

    Waltj, re: Australian critters: A woman was killed not long ago by a kangaroo. She made the mistake of approaching it during her period. It apparently thought the scent was a female in heat, put its arms around her, she fought it, it got mad, its hind legs basically disemboweled her. They are not our friends. The jellyfish artfldgr refers to are box jellyfish, the most potent animal venom known (far beyond any snake), whose stings are able to kill a man in under a minute (the cause of death is basically pain.) I think scientists are a little perplexed as to why this jellyfish, whose prey is little fish, has venom so ridiculously powerful. But this species has kept some of the most beautiful scenic beaches in the world completely untouched. A real eco warrior…

  66. waltj Says:

    Yeah, Artfldgr, I should have made that a bit clearer. Granted, cane toads probably won’t kill people or the family German shepherd. The family dachshund or tabby is another story, as are some of the native small Australian predators, mainly reptiles, which have no natural immunity to the bufotoxin. And the Aussies consider them their no. 1 pest problem right now.

    The main threat in nature generally comes from nature itself–weather, terrain, or fauna. In the city, it usually comes from other people, or their activities. While it’s true that other people can be unpredictable, and therefore more dangerous, the city is still where I prefer to make my home. There’s always something going on. Out in the sticks, whether it’s in the U.S., Australia, Indonesia, or somewhere else, once I’ve taken in the natural beauty, I tend to get bored. Before I started high school, my family moved out of the city into a rural area about 50 miles away. I hated it. So I’ve gravitated towards cities throughout my adult life.

  67. SteveH Says:

    I don’t think enviro whackos could handle knowing how small and non influential man really is on this planet.

    They have this reflexive need to see man as uber powerful. Which probably explains why they see the US govt as endlessly rich and rising sea levels within its scope of problem solving.

  68. Jim Sullivan Says:

    Neo and NCScum, Thank you


    I’m flattered and I don’t mind at all. Thank you.

  69. rickl Says:

    I’m one of those who has largely been boycotting the entertainment industry due to their incessant leftist, anti-American propaganda. I have no plans to see Avatar. I think the last movie I saw in a theater was Team America: World Police>

    For Lex, Portia, and any others who work in and around the entertainment industry: Thank you for your comments. I haven’t been in your shoes so I don’t have any advice to give, except maybe to bide your time and look for opportunities to express your true beliefs. The Gramscian “long march through the institutions” took decades of gradual infiltration and slow progress; it may be necessary for us to re-take the institutions the same way.

    The mere fact that you commented here gives hope to people like me to see that not everyone in the media is a leftist, though it so often seems that way. Small comfort, I realize.

  70. Thomass Says:

    Artfldgr Says:

    “oh.. nature is much less dangerous to those that know about her and come prepared.”

    That and our ancestors just wiped out anything that was a threat. The few surviors are bouncing back now that it is un PC to kill them…

  71. Thomass Says:

    strcpy Says:

    “Cameron obviously felt this was this case, to me the film obviously wasn’t.”

    There is also a precedent where the director and writer is undermined by other writers.

    Firefly was supposed to have the same theme as Cameron is describing (and was described as such by its director Wheaton). But conservatives tend to love it… probably because one of the writers was a well known libertarian who went in other directions (Wheaton got his themes in on a surface level but on others firefly could be seen as a negative commentary on socialism / is quite conservative…).

  72. neo-neocon: Says:

    Don: no references to Iraq and Afghanistan in the movie? I already named several in my post:

    In the meantime, we’re treated to statements on the part of the human soldiers on the Pandora outpost that go something like this (I’m doing this from memory, so it might not be verbatim): “We must fight terrorism with terrorism,” and “Let’s give them some shock and awe,” as well as a reference to “daisycutters.”

  73. Gray Says:

    Really, if you ignore what Cameron thought he was promoting *what is to argue*? Do you really disagree with what the movie says?

    Of course if you ignore what the Framers meant in The Constitution, *what is to argue*? It’s a living document open to all interpretation….

    Good job of po-mo desconstruction there. You learned well. Even conservatives are steeped in this nonsense as you just demonstrated.

    I will go with the author’s intent–once you ignore that, you can claim anything means anything.

  74. Trimegistus Says:

    Avatar — and the modern “environmental” movement — are simply the ultimate development of the liberal mindset. Liberals, more or less by definition, are people who don’t like things as they are. When things are bad, this is a useful personality trait, and the chronically dissatisfied can rise to genuine heroism.

    But the trouble is, in an increasing number of people, this has become a pathology. Even when things are good they remain dissatisfied. They search for victims and fight oppression, whether or not it really exists.

    For most of the 20th century, liberals embraced “the People” as their idealized victim class. But a funny thing happened in postwar America: the People got rich. They turned out to be perfectly capable of standing up for themselves and making their own decisions.

    Liberals never forgave them for that.

    So liberals have moved away from humans altogether. They are now defending “the Planet” against evil homo sapiens. They brainwash our children into hating themselves and their civilization. They burden our economy with senseless taxes and restrictions. They doom billions of poor people across the globe to misery and poverty. And they feel so good about themselves for doing it!

  75. Jay Says:

    I’m gonna give this movie a pass. But –

    “In my youth (not so very long ago), the natives were often the bad guys and the cavalry good. “

  76. Jay Says:

    Apologies – clicked before finishing –

    The first movie to show Indians in a sympathetic light was BROKEN ARROW (about the Apaches) in 1953.

    After that, Hollywood was mostly sympathetic to the Indians.

  77. DerHahn Says:

    Nod to Jay.

    I don’t think I’m far from NeoNeo’s age and I definitely don’t remember any new movies from my youth that featured Indians as ‘bad guys’. Even if some of the Indian characters were, there was almost always a Squanto-like individual to serve as a spirtual guide and mentor to the white leading man.

  78. neo-neocon Says:

    DerHahn: I’m thinking of the movies I saw on TV in my youth, which were old, as well as some of the TV shows, which were new. It’s not that all the Indians were bad (for example, Tonto). It’s that, if there was a fight between calvalry and/or settlers and the Indians, you can bet that, in general, the former were the good guys and the latter the bad guys.

  79. Artfldgr Says:

    If an unknown species dies in the forest away from civilization would a greenie know to mourn it?

  80. SteveH Says:

    Artfldgr, I personally mourn all the yet to exist species that can’t find a foothold on Earth because enviro whackos want to shut down Man behaving in his natural and predatory way.

    Who knows what magnificent creatures might come into being because homo sapiens have for mellinia behaved the way nature designed us and not in ways the trendy little touchy feely activist thinks he should behave?

  81. virgil xenophon Says:

    In re movies like Avatar, I am always amused by the condescending attitude of the more “cosmopolitan” “progressive” supposed conservatives like David Brooks types (lefties are totally unabashed anymore and fully admit to the subversive nature of their art) who shrug off critiques (and very good ones at that) such as many have proffered here as gross overreaction. “It’s just a movie, for chrissesake, is usually the standard reply, seeking to avoid the charge of looking like knuckle-dragging Joe McCarthy
    Communist-under-every-bed types and by doing so actually ending up defending the left by playing down/disputing the influence such works have on society and the youth–and by doing so rewarding the efforts of those who would utterly destroy our society by re-making it into an unrecognizable (or perhaps recognizable all too well) letist, statist utopia. People like Brooks used to joke about the relatively harmlessness and ineffectiveness of the “Hollywood 10” whose greatest clam to fame, it would be argued, was at best they could only do minor insidious things like having the background muzak in elevator scenes play the Communist Internationale. Bust in fact, as has already been alluded to here by several, these even small things have a cumulative effect over generations.

    If the Hollywood 10 had had their way we would all be speaking Russian by now, driving 2 cyc cars and living like ants in massive Soviet/E. German-like featureless concrete apt blocs. Art as subversive propaganda–whether it be the movies, paintings, poster, dance or music–should never be dismissed. That’s why Radio Free Europe used to beam American Jazz into the old SU–and why the SU always jammed it….

    As our friends here from Indonesia have been at pains to point out, REAL nature is red of tooth and claw and the unmentioned utterly necessary feature of both real “man-less,” “steady-state” nature and the utopia depicted in Avatar is that the elderly, the sick and the lame quickly perish. In fact even those relatively healthy individuals are likely to fall prey to predators unless they are the absolute finest specimens of their lot. True nature is horribly unsentimental–as are those human utopians who would try to replicate it. The eugenics and euthenisia movements arose as a natural extension of Darwins natural selection concepts, after all…

  82. Madrussian Says:

    The very idea that Mother Nature is at balance is ridiculous to those who know elementary ecology. Our geologic period, Holocene, began only 10000 years ago, after great ice sheets melt away. So in all temperate zone things change rapidly even without human interference due natural causes. That is why some nasty critters began to eat out New England trees, do not blame humans. This, just as well intrusive plant species advances, are expected to happen in so immature ecosystems.

  83. armchair pessimist Says:

    I’ll give full credit to the special effects guys because the movie is spectacular. The script however is a slapdash mulligan strew of lefty boilerplate and new agey claptrap. Lastly, I very much hope that the Hollywood establishment lives long enough to regret they were ever born, and not a minute longer.

  84. Jay Says:

    “It’s that, if there was a fight between calvalry and/or settlers and the Indians, you can bet that, in general, the former were the good guys and the latter the bad guys.”

    I hear this all the time but I think it’s a gross exaggeration.

    I think this is true of the Hollywood Injuns of the 1920s, when the movies were new. But all ethnicities were crudely and grossly stereotyped then. In fact, everyone in the movies was a crude gross stereotype then. Why should Indians have been exempt?

    John Ford respected the Indians highly. In “The Searchers” the main character hates Indians but the movie didn’t.

    I think things are more complicated than you are presenting them here. Perhaps you remember them as bloodthirsty savages because as a child you would tend to simplify.

  85. neo-neocon Says:

    Jay: let me try to clarify once more. Individual Indians were often represented very sympathetically. In fact, as a child, I identified with them quite strongly. But in battles between cavalry and the Indians, or the cowboys and Indians, the bad guys were the (generic) Indians most of the time. This was on TV shows, and in old movies, which were the ones usually shown on TV (and not necessarily good movies, either—just run of the mill stuff). I didn’t see new westerns in movie theaters when I was a child.

  86. Luther Says:

    Saw it last night. Yes, I agree, a lefty’s viewpoint of the world. But great movie nonetheless.

    As the movie was groundbreaking in it’s presentation. As much as I dislike Cameron for his political views he did a damn fine job here. He has set a new standard.

    Though I saw it as more of a ‘hive mind’ world. The ‘super’ network where everything is connected to everything else. I am an atheist… but an atheist who has experienced events that cause me to wonder in awe at the connectedness of the universe. It may not be ‘God’ but it is something we as yet know nothing about. I mean, particle physics is just mind blowing.

  87. Gray Says:


    I’m sure the studio will make enough money from conservative wannabe-hipsters to shoot many more movies shitting on America.

  88. Paul_In_Houston Says:

    # Baklava Says:
    January 2nd, 2010 at 3:11 am
    . . .
    Yes. I’m a sane IT person. 🙂

    Sorry, Baklava, there ain’t no such thing!
    (I’m a retired IT person 🙂 )

  89. br549 Says:

    You know, the various Indian nations weren’t all that friendly toward each other, either. Not any different from mankind anywhere else on this planet. Just thought i’d toss that in there.

  90. Madrussian Says:

    I can remember a real history episode where the plot of “Avatar” was actually realised: Major General Orde Charles Wingate, who was organizer and founding father of Haganah, the Jewish resistanse to British and Arab forces in Mandate Palestine since 1938. These early Zionists were enthusiastic and heroic, but knew pretty nothing about guerilla warfare or any other warfare. Wingate provided invaluable expertise in these matters, envisioned and organized both structure and tactic of counter-measures to Arab gangs attacks on Jewish settlements.

  91. Never Yet Melted » The Wisdom of Hollwood Says:

    […] As found in James Cameron’s Avatar (2009) by Neoneocon commenter Jim Sullivan: […]

  92. Paul_In_Houston Says:

    Madrussian Says:
    January 4th, 2010 at 4:42 am

    I can remember a real history episode where the plot of “Avatar” was actually realised: Major General Orde Charles Wingate, who was organizer and founding father of Haganah, the Jewish resistanse to British and Arab forces in Mandate Palestine since 1938.

    In Leon Uris’ novel “Exodus”, the fictional “P. P. Malcom” was based on Orde Wingate.

  93. Avatar Review « Sake White Says:

    […] Included the post to Neo’s review of the […]

  94. Sean Says:

    Just wanted to point out that unobtanium is an actual term used in engineering and R&D to describe a material that either does not exist or is very difficult to obtain. Check it out on Wikipedia:


    Otherwise the movie was so clichéd, predictable and adolescent that it in a way it almost undermines its own message. It was as if it was written by a 14-year old.

    What I found so offensive is not so much the message (I’m used to that from Hollywood now), is that supposedly Cameron thought this up 14-years ago, worked on it for the last 4-years, and, to date, this is the most expensive movie ever made; and this is the best he can do. The best he can offer is a really cool looking movie with a weak and predictable story. You know all you need to know in the first 15-minutes. Cameron does not deviate one bit from the classic liberal Hollywood clichéd myth of the noble savage, former military and evil corporations.

    What would have been “controversial” would be to analyze the human characters more and what motivated them beyond the standard one-dimensional clichés and provide the emotional conflict to make Jake’s defection to the Na’vi more difficult. Out of 1000+ mercenaries, only one pilot had an issue with what was essentially an unlawful order? Come on!

    Good sci-fi requires the viewer to accept certain things that are impossible by today’s standards (ftl travel, laser guns, aliens, etc). In order to do that, the characters should be believable, have depth, motivations, etc. This movie required the viewer to accept too many unbelievable things about the characters in addition to the setting to be considered great sci-fi. It should have been shown in the summer, because that is what it is; a summer popcorn blockbuster.

    Y had some great comments on this film which I agree with.


  95. Earl Says:

    If you want a WONDERFUL 3-D experience without the angst of having to worry about the content, go see A Christmas Carol, starring Jim Carrey! This is going to be a Christmas classic — we really loved it!

  96. Watcher of Weasels » Watcher’s Council Nominations – On To The Next Decade! Says:

    […] Submitted By: American Digest– NeoNeoCon – Avatar: The War Against Humans […]

  97. Webloggin » Watcher’s Council Nominations - On To The Next Decade! Says:

    […] Submitted By: American Digest– NeoNeoCon – Avatar: The War Against Humans […]

  98. Sig Says:

    Not to beat a dead horse, but this amused the hell out of me. Change a few nouns, cross off a few words, and Disney’s Pocahontas becomes James Cameron’s Avatar.

  99. Das Says:

    The movie was a wide-open firehose torrent of cliche. E.g., to compress character construction we have IMMEDIATE CONFRONTATION, as in:
    “You numbnuts, no brain, military, beast cripple.”
    “You brassy, sassy scientist, feminist, chain-smoking brainy broad.”
    Only cheap movies indulge in that kind of thing. But Cameron Picked up on it early going back to “Alien.” Anyone notice? Space sleep and then wake-up and then all the IMMEDIATE CONFRONTATION!


    In reality anyone who has entered the world of hazardous or difficult work in exotic locations knows that working people, tradesmen and soldiers are capable of enormous tact and diplomacy. And you usual do not arrive on site in the first place unless you have the game together. Few people just stumble into a big-boys world. But, sigh, we’d hate to discard our stale Hollywood cliches. That would be to expose our empty minds.

    (p.s. XO from Dragon Palace in Seattle! Dim sum forever!)

    Including a liberal, softhead look back at the superior technology vs close-to-nature peoples game of 1492-1878

  100. neocon is bad Says:

    The main message of Avatar was a statement made by one of the character: There is something we need from a certain land(country), we vilify its people, make them enemy and attack them.
    Isn’t that what was the Bush administration tactic in Iraq.
    If you agree till me please who are evils?

  101. TheSeventhBlake Says:

    Speaking personally I don’t think that you’ve even begun to scratch the surface on how insulting this film is to humanity.

    For a start there’s the fact that this is James Cameron pissing on all human developments from the creation of fire to the technology which helped to render high quality Na’vi nipples so he could get large audiences to watch his film.
    Then there’s the fact he tends to totally ignore the fact that the alien species is a totally stagnant society which will never grow beyond cavemen level technology, and by denying the humans Pandora’s resources they may well have just committed large scale death and famine from the economic backlash.
    Perhaps even outright genocide of the human race.

    Still, it’s good to see that someone didn’t miss the hidious plot because Cameron tried to distract them with shiney CGI.

  102. George "B" Romero Says:

    Avatar was a piece of cinematic trash. A bright and shiny yet poisoned apple filled with the wormlike vitriol of the far left and extreme environmentalists. Avatar is execrable stuff.

  103. inbetweeners movie and dvd Says:

    inbetweeners movie and dvd…

    […]neo-neocon » Blog Archive » Avatar: the war against humans[…]…

About Me

Previously a lifelong Democrat, born in New York and living in New England, surrounded by liberals on all sides, I've found myself slowly but surely leaving the fold and becoming that dread thing: a neocon.

Monthly Archives


Ace (bold)
AmericanDigest (writer’s digest)
AmericanThinker (thought full)
Anchoress (first things first)
AnnAlthouse (more than law)
AtlasShrugs (fearless)
AugeanStables (historian’s task)
Baldilocks (outspoken)
Barcepundit (theBrainInSpain)
Beldar (Texas lawman)
BelmontClub (deep thoughts)
Betsy’sPage (teach)
Bookworm (writingReader)
Breitbart (big)
ChicagoBoyz (boyz will be)
Contentions (CommentaryBlog)
DanielInVenezuela (against tyranny)
DeanEsmay (conservative liberal)
Donklephant (political chimera)
Dr.Helen (rights of man)
Dr.Sanity (thinking shrink)
DreamsToLightening (Asher)
EdDriscoll (market liberal)
Fausta’sBlog (opinionated)
GayPatriot (self-explanatory)
HadEnoughTherapy? (yep)
HotAir (a roomful)
InFromTheCold (once a spook)
InstaPundit (the hub)
JawaReport (the doctor is Rusty)
LegalInsurrection (law prof)
RedState (conservative)
Maggie’sFarm (centrist commune)
MelaniePhillips (formidable)
MerylYourish (centrist)
MichaelTotten (globetrotter)
MichaelYon (War Zones)
Michelle Malkin (clarion pen)
Michelle Obama's Mirror (reflections)
MudvilleGazette (milblog central)
NoPasaran! (behind French facade)
NormanGeras (principled leftist)
OneCosmos (Gagdad Bob’s blog)
PJMedia (comprehensive)
PointOfNoReturn (Jewish refugees)
Powerline (foursight)
ProteinWisdom (wiseguy)
QandO (neolibertarian)
RachelLucas (in Italy)
RogerL.Simon (PJ guy)
SecondDraft (be the judge)
SeekerBlog (inquiring minds)
SisterToldjah (she said)
Sisu (commentary plus cats)
Spengler (Goldman)
TheDoctorIsIn (indeed)
Tigerhawk (eclectic talk)
VictorDavisHanson (prof)
Vodkapundit (drinker-thinker)
Volokh (lawblog)
Zombie (alive)

Regent Badge