By ELAINA MERCATORIS
If you have read any entertainment news within the past month, you are probably sick of the many critics who have decided to attack the so-called “liberal” ideologies presented in “Avatar.”
When “Avatar” was first released, the only things I heard were positive comments about how awesome it was –– from peers and critics alike. For example, how the 3–D experience made the film come to life in a way that took you into the world of Pandora. Then people began picking the film apart, criticizing director James Cameron for numerous reasons, including but certainly not limited to, racism, smoking, and religion.
Besides the fact that the native Na’vi people on the moon Pandora are mostly played by actors of an ethnicity other than Caucasian, critics are mostly targeting the idea that such minorities need a Caucasian to save them. Caucasian male Jake Sully becomes the leader of the Na’vi people to save them from the greed of white society.
What many fail to acknowledge is that Neytiri actually saves Jake Sully on multiple occasions. First, when they initially meet; second, when he transfers back to his human body and fails to put a breathing mask on and third, when she kills Captain Quaritch right before he is about to kill Sully.
Cameron was quoted saying, “[“Avatar”] asks us to open our eyes and truly see others, respecting them even though they are different, in the hope that we may find a way to prevent conflict and live more harmoniously on this world. I hardly think that is a racist message.”
Jake Sully takes the time to understand the Na’vi culture. He learns to appreciate what they appreciate. Once he realizes that the actions of the Caucasian people are simply wrong, he fights for what he believes. In this case, that involves him fighting with the Na’vi people against the Caucasian people.
Apparently, people are not allowed to smoke anymore in films either.
Adult character Dr. Grace Augustine (Sigourney Weaver) smokes cigarettes. This is outrageous. No one has ever smoked cigarettes before in a film, especially no one her age; she is, after all, only a doctor. Realistically, kids see people who smoke cigarettes regularly, depending on where they live.
Clearly, the film is targeted at older audiences with its appropriate rating of PG–13 for its “battle sequences, warfare, sensuality, language and some smoking.” If parents don’t want their kids to see people smoke, then don’t let them see the movie (or, for that matter, walk around outside). It’s as plain and simple as that.
Dr. Augustine does not promote smoking or falsely claim that smoking is a good thing. She is merely an adult who smokes. Although today’s research has proved that it is unhealthy, previous generations were unaware of the dangers of smoking. People smoke in reality, so why can’t they in movies?
Religious critics, specifically in the Vatican newspaper, claim that “Avatar” advocates the worship of nature, not a monotheistic god. Many other films, books and even TV shows do not depict characters worshiping a monotheistic god. Why point fingers at “Avatar”?
The Vatican tends to concern itself with such entertainment fiction. When “The Da Vinci Code” was released, an archbishop tried to boycott the film for being insulting to the Christian faith and more specifically Christ himself.
Last week, “Creation,” the biopic of Charles Darwin, was released in the United States. Detailing Darwin’s personal life before publication of “On the Origin of Species,” “Creation” deals strongly with his loss of faith. It’s creation vs. evolution. Why haven’t we heard about this from the Vatican?
While the Pope has taken a position encouraging environmental awareness, he does not promote the idea that the importance of nature is above the importance of human beings.
“Avatar” clearly points to the idea that humans are destroying the environment. Once they have destroyed Earth, they try to destroy Pandora as well.
On January 11, 2010, the Pope said to diplomats, “The denial of God…devastates creation.” The Pope went on to basically blame all environment problems on atheists and those who don’t believe in god.
Next on the list for which to condemn “Avatar” is the idea that it is anti–military. Because of Cameron’s portrayal of Captain Quaritch and the rest of the team in charge of the Caucasian interference on Pandora, the Marine Corps director of public affairs was offended that it falsely represents the Marine Corps.
Cameron fired back with the fact that main character Jake Sully is a former Marine turned paraplegic. Cameron declared that his brother was a Marine and that he has “nothing but respect for these guys.”
Jake Sully is the hero of the film. He is portrayed as a strong, brave man who fights for what is right. And he is a Marine. Shouldn’t that say something for the Marines?
Oh, did I mention that people get depressed after seeing “Avatar”? The movie is so real that it transports people into the world of Pandora, and when the movie is over, people are depressed that our Earth is not Pandora.
It’s just a movie, for goodness sake –– a work of fiction. And every work of fiction is supposed to provide some sort of catharsis. Any artist wants their audience to feel an emotion after encountering their work.
What individuals take from “Avatar” are their personal opinions based on previous experiences in their lives. They can use their thoughts to somehow make a difference in the world or, like many seem to have done, they can openly attack James Cameron.
“Avatar” is the highest–grossing film of all time, surpassing “Titanic” just this week. There is a reason why it makes so much money –– it is a brilliant film.
So if you’ve joined one of the aforementioned bandwagons without seeing the film, go see “Avatar” for yourself.
It is a great film that will withstand such criticism for many years to come.