All sorts of groups are apparently coming out against James Cameron’s Avatar.
Warning, here be SPOILERS. And talk of *gasp* race:
While I agree with much of the article, it only approaches the “white savior” aspect in race — I presume because the writer is nearsighted, or simply hasn’t been confronted with alternative views. She misses the boat on the idea of the “Peaceful Savage Myth” the movie portrays, as well as how the vast majority of the key attackers were white; if there were a minority we could count on his or her doing the “right thing” at the appropriate time. The only cool whites were the ones who were willing to give up their biological and cultural history for that of the natives.
And on top of it all, the movie’s script itself is hypocritical. Picture this: A man lost in the nighttime woods, surrounded by hyenas. He converts his spear into a torch and begins to defend himself from the attackers. Enter his savior, a native, who slays more of the wild dogs and chases away the rest. He thanks her, to which she responds angrily that their deaths were unnecessary and his fault — that he did not tread quietly and thus prompted an attack. She quietly apologizes to each hyena for its death.
Contrast this with a later scene: The native tribe is surrounded by a clearly superior force. The humans, perhaps hyena-like, attack the natives, but the defenders’ attempts fail and many die. They had been given their chance before to tread lightly — to move away peacefully. Yet, it’s not the Na’Vis’ fault, but once again the humans’. Like the hyenas, the humans (as set up by the movie) were just doing what humans naturally do — and yet when it comes time for revenge, the humans get no prayers or apologies for their deaths. Indeed, even the Na’Vi god itself moves to purge the planet of the human pack. Still no prayers for the dead.
But then, trying apply reality to Avatar would be like trying to figure out how to use the Force to grab the television remote from across the room. The Na’Vi live in the temperate climate land of rainbows, unicorns, memory willows and floating islands. And scantily-clad women.
Now even I have the blues.