Saturday, December 19, 2009

Avatar: A few notes from the grumpy right 

The TH Teenager and I took in "Avatar" this evening, braving the snow and wind after having secured our Christmas tree. A number of things might be said about the movie -- and it is definitely a movie, not a film -- including this stuff, which strikes me as about right. Other things:

  • If you enjoy fantasy spectacles, see the movie. The coolness of the planet Pandora's ecosystem and the intensity of the action sequences are worth the price of admission in their own right.

  • Be prepared for an extraordinarily hackneyed story. The bad guys are an evil corporation in a massive strip-mining operation complete with smokestacks and a Mordoresque landscape, plus "marines" that are without explanation in the service of the corporation. Every modern Hollywood stereotype is there, including the profit-obsessed white male corporate tool and the crazed white male marine colonel. Really? With no limits on the human imagination, the only bad guys they can come up with are white male businessmen and marines?

  • The natives are interesting, but for some reason wear their hair in cornrows and decorate themselves with feathers, even though no feathered creatures are otherwise seen in the astonishingly diverse jungle ecosystem. Where did these feathers come from, and why did James Cameron decide these local natives would look like African Iroquois?

  • "Avatar" is basically the Pocohontas story, updated so that the "good guys" defeat the English and deter them from returning. The TH Teenager wondered -- aloud -- when the native love interest (who is a blue, topless, hottie -- after "Watchmen," blue skin seems to give permission for nudity) would burst in to "Colors of the Wind."

  • Another theory is that it is a remake of "Fern Gully," which I have never seen. The TH Teenager allowed as much during the movie, and on the way out another wag announced it was "'Fern Gully' on steriods" to his friends.

  • Three hours, and not a single joke or other humorous moment. Well, maybe one -- on the audience. It is physically impossible for that much sanctimony and humor to occupy the same space.

  • The "avatar" theme crops up in surprising ways, at surprising times, in artificial and natural ways. That stuff is interesting and original.

  • See the movie unless plot and narrative are crucially important to you. James Cameron's cinematic originality more than compensates for the banality of his narrative. Just keep your expectations in check.


    By Anonymous Anonymous, at Sun Dec 20, 05:54:00 AM:

    No Thanks, not a dime for leftist propaganda.

    You may think this stuff is harmless, but it is not.

    We have lost our Republic to the constant corrosion of this sort of agitprop (and yes, we have lost it). Every time you look at Obama, remember that decades of left wing propaganda on every level put him there. There is no such thing has "harmless entertainment" in the modern world where media has such an impact on the human mind and that media is controlled by the Left. They know what they are doing, you apparently do not.

    It is wonderful that you children can parse out the politics and understand it, if indeed they can, but I can assure that this is generally not the case across the board. Even if it were the case that only 30% of the nation bought into the beliefs of its makers, that is a catastrophe.

    You perhaps confuse how you, at you age and with your educational background, view media with how many of our young view media. They have not the cultural depth or sophistication to parse it. They have had that legacy stolen from them.

    Heavy-handed and unsophisticated? That is just the point. That is not a bug so far as the left is concerned, it is a feature. This gives ot more political impact, not less, at least to those who they are after.

    This is why we live in a world so filled with stupidity that a cretin like Al Gore can convince such a large swath of the electorate that a notion as idiotic as global warming is actually true.

    The constant and ubiquitous droning of left wing propaganda has its effects, and those effect debase and corrupt. The subliminal effects add up. Just look at how easily--and irrationally--GWB was demonized. Harmless? Hardly.

    Point in case:

    Why did James Cameron decide these local natives would look like African Iroquois?

    Well, TH, of course you know why.

    The question you should be asking is why have the been previously programmed to get the reference, and just what is that reference intended to mean?

    I can tell you that they are not referring to the brave stand for freedom against viscous tyranny our forebears took at Concord or Bastogne, and if you actually tried to make such telegraphed references today our young people would not get it. They in fact would not even know the place names. So much for "harmless entertainment".

    I am dubious that we will ever get a chance again to take back our nation, culture and civilization, but if we do, the first thing we need to do is clean out the stables of the media. We can get to the lawyers after that.

    The left plays for keeps and they seem to have won.

    Cameron is a hypocrite. He want to make high tech film, supplied from the rich cornucopia of technology supplied by capitalism, in order to take it down.

    You think this is harmless, but it is not. You should not praise Cameron, you should condemn him.

    An artist's craft must not eclipse his morality. He must ultimately be held accountable for the moral intent and impact of his work. Generations of Soviet filmmakers aided and abetted the Soviets, they have blood on their hands. So do Hollywood filmmakers who likewise aid and abet Communism and all the forces in the world ranged against our nation cultural traditions and our civilization.

    This is particularly true of filmmakers of Cameron's age. It is particularly true in a time of war.  

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at Sun Dec 20, 07:54:00 AM:

    Anon, as TH pointed out, sanctimonity and humor have trouble fitting into the same space.just sayin'.  

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at Sun Dec 20, 08:01:00 AM:

    (Sorry - sanctimony. Hard to type on my corporate tool blackberry).  

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at Sun Dec 20, 08:39:00 AM:

    Anon2 (fron anon1): So, eventually, does wit and blackberrys,  

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at Sun Dec 20, 08:57:00 AM:

    Thanks for getting my point, anon 2. I look forward to your purges of the media and censorship of directors. Then the victory of the (true) Left, soviet style, will be complete.  

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at Sun Dec 20, 09:17:00 AM:

    To Anon at 5:54 am

    And I thought I was nuts. Churchill said that the valor of the men who went down on the Titanic was proof of the moral superiority of Western civilization. Cameron turned Titanic into "Star Wars for girls." Did that make Cameron an apologist for Empire? Someday some of the kids watching Avatar may develop taste. They might even discover films like Gunga Din -- to which Star Wars actually owes a big debt.

    I do share your concern about the Republic, but I see broader, fixable causes. We've faced worse things as a nation, and muddled through. For me, the biggest problem is a dysfunctional, corrupt Capital city. Republicans share blame here. There's a reason that the "Tea party party" actually outpolls Democrats and Republicans right now.

    Sidebar: "Just look at how easily--and irrationally--GWB was demonized." Sorry Charlie, Bush deserves it. Until Republicans figure that out, we'll have problems moving on and winning majorities.

    For starters, we can throw the bums out in the next election. If the Republicans can't win back the House, we may have a longer more dangerous road.

    I actually put a lot of hope in our young. Many are fans of South Park -- which is actually brilliant libertarian agitprop. The young are getting royally fucked by Obama & Co but haven't yet achieved class consciousness about it. They will -- it's just a question of when. This is where the Republicans could seize the moment but may not.

    Our federal government is going broke. Even Obama says so. We need a fiscal crisis -- hopefully not Weimar-like -- to wake us up to reality. But this is fixable.

    I've been fascinated with AGW including as a revelation about MSM. Instapundit has picked up on a new global warming skeptic: Joe Sixpack. Funny, I said that here days ago. If the typical American learns that AGW theory is a crock -- that people like Brian are either disingenuous apparatchiks or over-educated fools -- a lot of change will flow from that. Sarah Palin should make this her signature issue.

    Mad as Hell  

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at Sun Dec 20, 09:54:00 AM:

    "King of the World" James Cameron is a great user of pioneering technology in film, but it doesn't always work. "Visuals" are always secondary to "story" in making a great movie that kills at the box office. The Abyss didn't work because it had too much plot. Terminator 1 was great and was made for less than Avatar's catering bill. I can't wait for Cameron to make Aquaman 3.

    Because it was so expensive Avatar will likely make no money back until a Blue-Ray DVD sale sometime in 2025. Avatar is really a bet that Cameron can make 3-D a new medium.

    The Truth is Out There  

    By Blogger Dawnfire82, at Sun Dec 20, 10:15:00 AM:

    "Sorry Charlie, Bush deserves it. Until Republicans figure that out, we'll have problems moving on and winning majorities."

    Really? He deserved the constant, grinding, damning assault of almost every media outlet in the world for years? The constant manipulation of headlines to reinforce the negative? Perhaps you remember the nigh-perpetual drum of 'high unemployment' and 'dim economic prospects' during the Bush years (2001-2007 had an average unemployment of 4.7%; lower than in Clinton's terms), or all the headlines that went something like '8 Americans slain in ambush; What went wrong?'

    The selective hiding of information? Did you ever wonder why Mississippi didn't have the same problems with the Federal response to Katrina that Louisiana had? It's because the governor of Louisiana refused permission for federal intervention [which the law at the time required] until two days AFTER the storm hit New Orleans. She didn't run for re-election because she was accidentally caught admitting this on camera, footage which was never played outside of Louisiana. I wonder why?

    Since I mentioned Katrina, how about the Mad Max style running gang warfare and serial rapes at the Superdome (Thunderdome)? Also never happened. Ever. Period. The Congressional report on Katrina went out of its way to specifically condemn the media for feeding public frenzy but reporting complete garbage as facts. ("If anyone rioted, it was the media...") But half the public still thinks that it happened.

    How about the outright fabrication of news, especially concerning Iraq? Remember all those headless corpses [conveniently defying identification] that kept appearing? Almost none of them ever existed, and those stories almost all used the same (again, mythical) source.

    And how about the omission of embarrassing details of his opposition? We now have allegedly politically savvy figures of prominence who claim that no one ever compared Bush to Hitler. And people believe this, because the thousands of instances were almost completely unreported. For years.

    All of this, done in order to bring him down politically, was justified? THIS was how media is supposed to behave in a free republic?

    You may have disagreed with Bush politically. Every person has that right. I wasn't much of a fan myself, many times. But when such disagreement serves as de facto justification for the greatest organized mass media lynching of a political figure since Trotsky, the success of which is then touted as 'proof' that he deserved it, there is something seriously wrong with the country.  

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at Sun Dec 20, 10:57:00 AM:

    "Anon 5:54 am" threw in that GWB was "easily and irrationally demonized" because most Americans have minds of mush because they watch James Cameron movies. This is a canard, and I called it out.

    Folks on the right shouldn't think -- as Anon 5:54 does -- that all is lost because most Americans are too dumb these days. That's a conceit, and it aims to shift blame. Instead, the right deserves blame as to how they ran things while in office. Many Americans learned to hate Bush because of Iraq, but many others got to the same conclusion because Bush was also a weak President domestically, and fiscally profligate. The failure of Bush and the Republicans is why 60 Senators are now moving Healthcare forward, even though most Americans including many on the Left hate it.

    Reread that last sentence slowly. If you haven't noticed, we're in the beginnings of a coup by the DC-based political class. This needs to be stopped and soon. As a democracy, we can be masters of our fate, the fault is not in our stars.

    Mad as Hell ...  

    By Blogger Mystery Meat, at Sun Dec 20, 01:21:00 PM:

    TH- Avatar is a "Tarzan" movie.

    A powerful, adept white male embeds with the noble savages. Before long, he masters their culture and does everything as well or better than they do. He becomes the de facto leader of the tribe.

    The movie also has echos of Dances with Wolves, Pocahontas, Star Wars, The Emerald Forest and others.  

    By Blogger Mystery Meat, at Sun Dec 20, 01:23:00 PM:

    PS- I saw it in 3D and thought it was quite entertaining, schmaltzy obviousness aside.  

    By Blogger Foxfier, formerly Sailorette, at Sun Dec 20, 02:54:00 PM:

    Goodness, Dawnfire82-- that was good.  

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at Sun Dec 20, 04:16:00 PM:

    I think I have started to agree with the first anonymous poster, that this kind of muddled morality creates a sinkhole.

    Bush had some bad moments. I don't know any right wingers who are unabashed fans of the man or his policies. At the same time, the demonization of him was hyperbolic, to say the least.

    The principle cause of those on the right, freedom, loses out when we react in such a way as to avoid being demonized. It doesn't mean we need to take extreme positions on issues but it does mean we shouldn't be afraid to call a spade a spade. And this movie is an example of a heavy handed political message that needs to be called out.  

    By Blogger Christopher Chambers, at Sun Dec 20, 06:34:00 PM:

    The first Anonymous commenter IS a sinkhole. Or a dick, perhaps a racist tool. A typical TH fan, therefore.;-)

    Or how about, "damaged white male learns how other people [blue creatures as metaphor] live, think, fear, fight, love?" We can always ask Jim Cameron. Matter of fact, I will ask Tom Fontana (Oz, Homicide, etc.) to ask him.  

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at Sun Dec 20, 06:34:00 PM:

    A friend with no knowledge of the posts here just wrote:

    "Just saw Avatar at our local IMAX. The Terminator meets Transformers meets Star Wars meets Black Robe meets The Mission meets The Last of the Mohicans meets Little Big Man meets "Intergalactic" Geographic meets Little Big Horn meets Joseph Campbell and The Power of Myth meets Pocahontas meets Nova meets Maxfield Parrish meets Aliens meets Sting saving the Amazon meets the soundtrack of Titanic meets The New World meets the new king of the world for an essentially mind-blowing cinematic experience. . . . The place was packed, the couple with the screaming one-year-old fortunately left after forty minutes, and I'm holding on to the glasses as a souvenir."

    He's a Phd in Russian Language and a film buff. IMDB.com projects Avatar to be in its top 25 of all time. rottentomatoes.com gives it an 83%, which is a strong score for a movie of this type.

    All this confirms to me that some of the posters here may be just a little too sensitive on GWB and the White Man's Burden, and are very out of touch with mainstream America. They should stick with flicks like John Wayne's The Green Berets.

    Mad as Hell ...  

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at Sun Dec 20, 06:36:00 PM:

    Holy alignment of the stars, Batman. I actually agree with CC.

    Mad as Hell ....  

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at Sun Dec 20, 07:36:00 PM:

    Never have completely understood the whole white guilt issue, one tribe beat another tribe, my ancestors were part of the winning tribe. Get over it, and plan a rematch.  

    By Anonymous Boludo Tejano, at Sun Dec 20, 08:51:00 PM:

    Those who post as "anonymous:" Please don't. It makes it much more difficult to follow the thread when there are multiple "anonymous" people there. Please put your screen name in the name box. It makes the threads much easier to follow.Mad as Hell and The Truth is Out There, I am glad you put what appears to be a screen name out there, but it would be easier to follow the thread if you typed your screen name into the name box instead of putting the screen name at the end of your posting.

    In one sense we are all anonymous, but it does help to have screen names at the top of postings to distinguish who writes what.  

    By Blogger Gary Rosen, at Mon Dec 21, 12:30:00 AM:

    "The first Anonymous commenter IS a sinkhole. Or a dick, perhaps a racist tool."

    More projection from Chrissy.  

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at Mon Dec 21, 10:26:00 AM:

    Boludo (or others), How do I post from a name as opposed to anonymous? If I opt for "google account" it posts my real name as opposed to something fun like "Mad as Hell" (not me, I'm only annoyed) or whatever..Do I have to set up a new Google account with a pen name? Or is one of the other posting options the appropriate one. And yes, I do deserve a bumper sticker that says "Honk if you are a Luddite).  

    By Blogger Bomber Girl, at Mon Dec 21, 10:33:00 AM:

    Boludo - Never mind. I feel virtuous now. I think.  

    By Anonymous Name/URL, at Mon Dec 21, 11:26:00 AM:

    will let you choose a name and site without using google.


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