It’s not all that often that a new movie is both successful at the box office and also praised by the critics. When a movie is received that well from all sides, chances are it is on its way to becoming a significant cultural phenomenon, at least for a while. Such is the case with James Cameron’s newest epic Avatar.
In light of the above, I decided to take a trip to the theaters and see what all the hype is about. What follows is a brief review laying out the pros and cons of the film.
I’ll start with the good. First off, Avatar is a visual treat. It’s safe to say that you’ve never seen a movie like this before. Secondly, Avatar is a relatively decent action/sci-fi movie…not the best, mind you, but not too shabby. Third, the film tells a Romeo-and-Juliet-style love story that works to a degree, at least enough to tug at one’s emotions a bit. Those three pros account for the popularity of the film amongst the masses and almost make it worth the ticket price.
(This isn’t part of my review, but I saw the 3-D version of the film. Though it’s the best 3-D I’ve seen so far, I still don’t like the style all that much. The stuff in the foreground…the stuff coming out at you…never looks real. It always looks a bit cartoonish to me, even when it’s live action. I’ll be passing on the 3-D option in the future.)
As for the cons of Avatar, I can summarize them in one sentence: Avatar is a leftist (left-wing) sermon, which is why the critics love it. All of the libs’ favorite talking points make up the sermon outline:
- All big corporations are evil.
- We’re currently destroying our planet by using its resources.
- Pagan savages are always wiser than civilized people, because they recognize that nature itself is divine.
Yes, the above themes are obvious and annoying. Yes, they tend to dominate the story. But in my opinion, they don’t quite ruin the movie-watching experience. The reason is that the film’s “bad guys” are so completely despicable that you sort of do look forward to them getting what’s coming to them in the end.
I’ll conclude this review by telling all of you what saddened me the most about Avatar [spoiler alert]. Towards the end of the film, the hero prays to the “mother” deity of the planet. In the course of his plea, he confesses that earthlings have “killed their mother”, obviously referring to our supposed spoiling of the environment through industrialization. Of course I was annoyed by the leftist diatribe inherent in his prayer, but I was more saddened by the fact that James Cameron seems to be encouraging his audience to serve a god (nature) that can be killed. A god that can be killed by us? What kind of god is that? It’s the kind of god you’re left with when you reject Yahweh, Lord of Armies. How tragic.