One conservative reviewer called "Avatar" a "PC Revenge Fantasy" for liberals. A prominent writer for The Weekly Standard assailed James Cameron's film for its "deep expression of anti-Americanism." The Christian Web site MovieGuide bemoaned the flick's "abhorrent New Age, pagan, anti-capitalist worldview."
What say you, Mr. Cameron?
"It's high-quality left swill, is how I would position the film," he joked to MTV News.
His truthful judgment about all this political hot air, though, stems from 30-odd years of dealing with fumbling reactions to his films.
"The two 'Terminator' films were tough enough that even if there was a soft, gooey center there, the films still were hard-ass, so it was OK," he explained. "But 'Titanic,' it was kind of like I took the hard-ass part away, and I left the soft, gooey center and a lot of people loved it. But it was also easy to attack, especially after the fact. There was this revisionist sense that if you were a guy, you didn't like 'Titanic.'
" 'Avatar' confuses people because it's got all this cool eye candy and all this cool action, and if they're starting to feel something in the middle of that, it's kind of OK," Cameron continued. "Unless you're a hard right-wing pundit, in which case it's OK, and the whole movie's ridiculous and fatuous and stupid."
The controversy concerns the story's focus on a band of neolithic-esque humanoids called the Na'vi, whose nature-loving ways are disrupted by the invading human colonizers and their insistence on plundering the territory without regard for anything but money. The setup is anything but even-handed — by the fiery climax, you're rooting for the mass murder of the human soldiers — but it'd take a great leap of logic to tag "Avatar" as anti-American or anti-capitalist. The film certainly has a strong point of view, but it's not one that eschews moneymaking. Rather, Cameron is delivering a message about environmentalism and respecting the planet on which we live.
But that hasn't stopped the right-wing pundits from staking out some wacky positions. "My favorite one was, 'They're too dumb to even know what they're saying,' " Cameron said of attacks against him. " 'Any message ... you might interpret being in the film is there by mistake.' "
Check out everything we've got on "Avatar."
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