Tuesday, December 22, 2009

The movie "Avatar" from a 14-year-old's perspective

My oldest daughter was invited by some neighbors to go see the movie Avatar this past weekend.

Having heard dubious things about it, I first read some critical reviews. The biggest complaint seemed to be that the movie had a far-left radical agenda which (surprise!) painted humans as evil while plastering eco-conscious labels on the good and green aliens. Well, my daughter is an intelligent young lady well-versed in the green agenda, so I gave her permission to go see the movie.

She came back impressed by the special effects but little else. The highly-touted special effects were, she reported, superb.

The motivation of the humans – to obtain some special rocks for sale, a huge deposit of which was located under a gigantic tree in which the aliens lived – was in question. “What were the rocks used for?” my husband asked, as we all discussed the film the following morning. “In other words, what was the big motivation to get the rocks underneath the alien’s tree?”

My daughter thought for a moment. “I don’t know,” she said. “If they said what made them so valuable, I forget what it was.” We marveled that the movie-makers didn’t deem it important enough to emphasize the motivation, at least enough for a fourteen-year-old to remember.

But she did say something very insightful: “It was as if the humans in the movie forgot WHY they were after the rocks, and the purpose just became to get the rocks because they wanted the rocks, no matter what kind of destruction they had to go through to get them.”

In other words, humans had to be portrayed as selfish greedy creatures with insufficient motivation to blow up this ginormous tree. They wanted the rocks just because they wanted the rocks, nothing more.

She told us the aliens rode horse-like creatures and flew on pterodactyl-like animals.

“How clever of the movie-makers,” I commented, “to provide the aliens with green, eco-conscious means of transportation. No need to burn that evil awful oil in order to fly.”

Our daughter said the ground on the alien planet would light up as they walked on it. “Aha!” I said. “No need for evil awful power companies to provide electricity – it’s all natural on Pandora! Amazing!”

“Some people were actually crying” as they came out of the theater, our daughter reported. She looked at them and wondered what kind of gullible fools they were for falling for the kind of bunk the movie represented.

She did acknowledge that the pastoral paradise of the alien’s planet was unparalleled. “I want to live there,” she proclaimed, as we drove past a pristine Lake Coeur d’Alene amid soaring trees and stunning vistas.

Of course, I notice the movie-makers were happy to rake in millions and millions of dollars on the opening weekend of the movie. That, clearly, is their motivation.

When the movie is released on DVD, I guess I’ll have to rent it just to see the special effects. I think I’ll skip past the plot, though.


  1. I had heard the plot/story line was pretty flimsy. Isn't it a wonder how the film industry can so easily overlook their own shortcomings and darkend hearts? With all their money and fame they are still a pitiful lot.

  2. I saw the film too. Like your daughter, I too was impressed by the special effects and graphics, but the critics were right-the plot was cheesy (my uncle likened it to a greenie version of "Dances with Wolves"), and I'm pretty sure that even the most dim-witted of civics students could see that the message of "Avatar" was as red as Communism itself.

    Thanks for posting!!

  3. It was derivative, but kind of fun. I don't usually get too excited about leftist agendas in my entertainment.

    And your daughter's insightful observation that eventually the rocks intrinsically became the object, rather than what they can be used for? - Well, I think that happens rather a lot. In this case, it was simply a commodity. This mining firm was going to sell the rocks to somebody else. Who cares what it's for, as long as the checks keep rolling in, and the company stocks continue to have value? And that's what I think is the message of the film, if there is one: Greed does things to people and changes our values.

    Yes, I know this is an incredibly old post. :)