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Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Avatar - beautiful animation, but is it just another story about a white man saving the natives?

SPOILER ALERT -- dont read this if you plan to see the film - or dont care if some of the plot is given away...

Avatar was exquisitely crafted in every technical aspect.. and very creative in it's analogy of nature based spirituality on an alien planet... but i started to cringe when i realized the story line was quickly adding up to just another "white man saves the day" film... in my humble opinion, this is yet another retelling of the false fable of Pocohantas from the perspective of the oppressor.. the science fiction enthusiast in me would love to just enjoy this movie for the amazing merits it does have - the inspiring artistry, the technical brilliance, the creative depiction of natural splendor on another planet, the beautiful, realistic characterization of computer animations, plus, the best part : seeing the belligerent, greedy, destructive humans, get stomped and sent home in the end.. I also enjoyed all the subtle references to our own disgraceful present day wars in Iraq and Afghanistan including the satirical and intentionally subversive Bush-isms spoken by the earth army general like "make no mistake" , fight terror with terror, "shock and awe" and "lets roll" sprinkled throughout the dialogue of the film... I liked all of these aspects of the film.. not to mention that its just breathtakingly beautiful....
But.... i honestly cant fight off the feeling that its just another Dances with Wolves, "white man goes native" film - the white guy becomes "one of them" - supposedly shedding his outside oppressor role.. becomes accepted.. an insider.. but retains his sense of privilage by becoming their leader, marrying the king's daughter, showing the native men up at their own game, etc etc- and that is dangerous because it will be so appealing to children that we're just passing on that same old value to them. What am i talking about? What is all this "Lib'ral PC rubbish" i'm spewing? I think this blogger said it best-- but i warn you, this is a total spoiler review : When Will White People Stop Making Movies Like "Avatar"?

Dont get me wrong, I really enjoyed the film.. I would like to see it in 3-D, as I only saw the 2-D.. I just wish it hadnt been so close to all the other films and fables that twist the story of horrific genocide of native people, and simultaneous destruction of their environment and attempted erasure of culture into a fairy tale that makes the white man look like the hero. (That's so 1-D)


At 10:18 PM, Blogger ANDY: Pop Music Not Pills. © said...

I totally agree. When will they ever? But it's a great movie and James Cameron is a wonderful story teller.

I am sure Bollywood will think up of something soon.

At 6:06 PM, Blogger DJ Carl Hamm said...

You're right.. its a really great movie.. just wish it didnt have to revolve around the white dude..

oh , "Avatar" is a Hindu concept if im not mistaken.. :)


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