UPDATE: The movie Avatar is absolutely gorgeous. I was stunned at the technological leap I was seeing on the screen. The uncanny valley has been crossed. There is nothing unsettling about the digital characters in this film. They are as real and as expressive as any actor I’ve ever seen on the screen. The creatures and plant life are realized in incredible detail.
James Cameron is an technical and artistic genius.
But I’m not sure how often I’m going to watch this film in the future. Its filled with self-loathing for humanity and our technological advancement. The military is portrayed, with a couple of notable exceptions, as a bunch of trigger-happy sadists. Corporations and capitalism are shown to be the engines of environmental destruction both on Earth and on Pandora.
This is not a happy message. Its also wrong.
I can’t wait to see the incredible tools that Cameron has developed in service of better stories.
ORIGINAL POST (2009-12-17 13:02:39):
I’ve had a sinking feeling for a few weeks that Avatar might turn out to be “Captain Planet” for the big screen. This review at Popular Science doesn’t reassure me:
Avatar is every militant global warming supporter’s dream come true as the invading, technology-worshiping, environment-ravaging humans are set upon by an angry planet and its noble inhabitants. But the film’s message suffers mightily under the weight of mind-boggling hypocrisy. Cameron’s story clearly curses the proliferation of human technology. In Avatar, the science and machinery of humankind leads to soulless violence and destruction. It only serves to pollute the primitive but pristine paradise of Pandora.
Of course, without centuries of development in science and technology, the film putting forth this simple-minded, self-loathing worldview wouldn’t exist. You’d imagine Cameron himself would be bored to tears on the planet he created.