Thursday, December 31, 2009

Avatar Gets Criticized

For those of us that have seen Avatar, it was an amazing experience that just blow people away with the visuals and use of 3D.  There has probably never been a more beautiful movie released out of Hollywood.  But, it appears that not everyone is as blown away with Avatar as the rest of us.

The Movie Blog put up an interesting post today talking about the criticism that Avatar has been receiving from political and Religious groups.  Apparently, some Hindu and Native American groups are offended with the use of the word Avatar, as well as, the parallels that can be found between these two traditions.  Truth be told I don't know much about either of these two traditions and how the word 'Avatar' is revered, so I can't really say much other than to say that they need to understand that the word Avatar in English means something different then it does in their religion and so its not a direct reference, nor is any reference to there religious traditions meant to be offensive.

Also, there are some Christian groups that aren't to happy with Avatar either.  The Movie blog has a quote from an review done by Dr. Ted Baehr over at the MovieGuide which criticizes Avatar for having a New Age agenda which promotes the worship of Goddess, etc.  Now I can kind of see his point, but I have to kind of disagree.  Certainly some might come away from Avatar interested in worshiping the Earth or something, but the vast majority of the film going audience really isn't interested.  I'm a Christian myself and I know that some circles are a bit more sensitive in terms of what they see and watch. But I've learned to just try and see the positive in things, and not to just try and find the evil in everything.  Avatar introduced the ideas of both an afterlife and the existence of God , but we don't see that quoted in the review.

That being said, I think that criticizing Dr. Ted Baehr is kind of dumb.  The MovieGuide is a Christian movie review site.  Meaning that its for Christians.  If you not a Christian you don't need to go there.  This is not the front page of the New York Times, its a website that most people have probably not even heard about and so to take its criticism out of the context of this Christian website is a bit unwise.  If the MovieGuide is serving its audience of conservative Christians, than that's great and we don't' need to go there.

Avatar has also come under criticism for being anti-American.  Some have commented that the evil corporation represents the Americans, while the Na'vi are the Afgan  or Middle Eastern people.  So essentially James Cameron has reversed 9/11, with the Americans being the attackers and these middle eastern people being the victims.  Now whether it is James Cameron's intention or not to criticize the American military's operations in the Middle East, I'm just not sure.  I know that we can certainly draw parallels between the corporation and the American Military. The fact that the boss of the operation literally comes out and says that the only reason that they are even on Pandora is that this mineral found there sells for a lot of money, could add some credence to the idea that James Cameron is criticizing the American Military.

If James Cameron is criticizing the American Military, he is only sharing the same sentiment that other people around the world have been voicing for years now.  But, I feel that looking at what goes on in the movie, you can only draw so much of comparison between Pandora and the Middle East.  The Military's operations in the Middle East isn't just for oil.  I know that some people might disagree with that, but that is what I believe. If you believe differently I can respect that too.  Also,  I don't see any direct criticism of 9/11 here in the movie just because the Na'vi's tree was destroyed doesn't mean that James Cameron is criticizing 9/11.  Certainly, it was just as traumatic, but it wasn't the World Trade Center.  Sorry I just can't see it.

So in truth, I feel that most of the criticism is just people being sensitive.  There is possible some merit to the idea that James Cameron is criticizing the American Military, but I just don't really think James Cameron is.

What are your thoughts?

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