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The Avatar Effect

Took young grandson to see James Cameron's "Avatar" in 3D today, through the blinding snow. Was expecting to be bored, except perhaps by the special effects, but was totally gripped all the way through. The special effects were indeed staggering, probing a whole new level of virtual realism, but the story line surprised by not being so crypto-fascist as most American sci-fi blockbusters have been  (StarWars, Dune, Starship Troopers, Armageddon, Independence Day etc. etc). Sure it's simplistic, melodramatic, romantic - just as popular story telling has to be. The surprise is that it over-simplifies in an anti-corporate, anti-imperialist direction for a change.

The US Right is furious - this is a product of Murdoch's Fox don't forget - with lots of websites telling people not to go and see it (some chance). One of the milder comments is "Cameron needs to stop making anti American films. The United States invades foreign countries when necessary" [from  www.topix.com]. But what's quite amusing is to watch
leftish British commentators desperately trying to think of reasons to hate the movie anyway:

"Avatar is overlong, dramatically two-dimensional, smug and simplistic" - Philip French, Observer

"Even more tedious than the film's plot is the ideology enshrining it. In punctilious compliance with liberal pieties" - David Cox, Guardian

Several critics sought to belittle the film by comparing it to "A Man Called Horse" and "Dances With Wolves", but it owes at least as much (which is not very much) to "Seven Samurai" and "Viva Zapata". Avatar is indeed smug and simplistic, but then propaganda always was and always will be. Of course the British Left has entirely forgotten how to do propaganda, being so far up itself with political correctness and post-modern pseudo-radicalism. Avatar might indoctrinate a whole generation of under-16s that American militarism is the problem, which is certainly simplistic. But ever since Star Wars, blockbuster movies have been indoctrinating them that American militarism is the solution, and I know which I prefer... 


originally posted 21 Dec 2009 22:05 by Dick Pountain   [ updated 22 Dec 2009 05:08 ]

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