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Patrick Goldstein and James Rainey
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Jim Cameron eager to mix it up with 'Avatar's' right-wing critics

You can always tell that the Academy has sent out its final Oscar ballots by the sudden reappearance of gaudy full-page Oscar ads in the trades, my paper and the New York Times. It also means that most nominees, fearful of making a horrible gaffe, are especially careful not to say anything that could possibly be viewed as controversial in their interviews with the showbiz press. 

Except, of course, for Jim Cameron.

Cameroncover He's on the cover of this week's The Envelope and he's clearly eager to mix it up with the multitudes of conservatives who've been trashing "Avatar," claiming that it's dumb, sanctimonious, anti-military, nuttily pro-environment and, as Big Hollywood's John Nolte memorably put it, a "Death Wish'' for leftists. Cameron isn't the sort of guy to take those brickbats lying down, even if means alienating a few Oscar voters, either because they agree with the conservative take on the film or prefer to vote for films that are free of any political leanings. 

As he told Glenn Whipp: "Let me put it this way. I'm happy to piss those guys off. I don't agree with their worldview." As for his detractors' contempt for his environmental consciousness, dramatized in the film by the callous destruction of the Na'vi's pastoral world, Cameron says that the film's environmental message is a lesson for all moviegoers to digest. He explains that our planet "will be a dying world if we don't make some fundamental changes about how we view ourselves and how we view wealth .... We're going to have to live with less."

Cameron admits that many people will wonder what a fabulously wealthy filmmaker ensconced in a Malibu mansion knows about living with less, but he says that "I think there's a way to live and raise your kids with a set of values that teaches them the importance of hard work, the importance of respecting other people and the importance of respecting nature."

Cameron says he did have second thoughts about using an explicit "shock and awe" Iraq war reference in the film, but he insists that it reflects a bigger point he was trying to make. "What I really was saying was, 'Listen to what your leaders are saying. Open your eyes. And understand what the run-up to war is like, so the next time it happens, you can question it."

People have debated for years whether message-oriented films actually have an effect on filmgoers' consciousness. Seeing a movie is such an internalized, diffuse experience that it's hard to know how much of an influence it leaves behind. But I would say this: You could not have spent 150 minutes immersed in the world of "Avatar" without coming away with a new respect for how much we should treasure the natural resources of our world -- or any other. 


Why do conserivatives hate the most popular movie of all time?

Comments () | Archives (36)

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"will be a dying world if we don't make some fundamental changes about how we view ourselves and how we view wealth .... We're going to have to live with less."

Who's 'we' Jim? You, Al Gore, those that grace the halls of Congress & other political, media, and business centers of power?

Or is "we" just the rest of us (those of us too stupid to understand why you live in the lap of extreame excess & wealth and tell those of us in middle America how we need do w/ less and pay for more)?

When you, Al Gore, and all the rest of the wealthy, political elite completely divest of your wealth and give it to the third world poor and/or pay off the national debt, then we little people will follow you. Till then, just be silent because the hypocricy is sickening.

BTW great movie, wonderful use of technology, and I even appreciated the rip off of Christianity (morphed w/ godess worship and pantheism): A man takes on the form of another race and gave himself to save it. Only the truth is far cooler than your creation. God, became a man, and gave Himself for all creation, that it might be saved. John 3:16-18.

How'd he feel about mixing it up with some real Marines? But they're too classy to bother with that. And if he'd like to open up a few rooms in that manse, I'd be happy to move in.

I wonder how Pandora will look when the population of the Na'vi grows to over 6 billion.

I know we're all sick of hearing about Avatar, but honestly, hypocrisy of this order needs some serious angry words before it becomes culturally enshrined:

I hold many pro-environmental, anti-materialistic, anti-imperialistic views. I loved "Dancing with Wolves" and "The Emerald Forest." ("Avatar" is just a well-animated, poorly written, poorly acted version of those movies. "Avatar" does not even deserve to be compared to "The Martian Chronicles.") But come on, Jim Cameron. In a time of war you are going to impugn the character of our marines like that? You do realize that the Taliban would beat or kill people for showing or watching your movie because of all the half-naked Na'vi depicted in it. Yet, in the current, inescapable political context, you glorify them as the righteous stewards of the earth. You think Saddam Hussein would have stopped oil production to stave off global warming? He exploited Iraq's natural resources as much as anyone before or since. You use the profits of our oil-dependent economy to buy a big house and all the luxuries you desire. Go ahead. I don't have a problem with that. Saddam Hussein used the profits of his oil sales to buy military equipment with which to kill hundreds of thousands of his own people and millions of Iranians and to threaten the lives of millions more in the region. After we invaded, to the cheers of the Shi'a majority, the peace of Iraq was destroyed not by us, but by recalcitrant minority Sunnis who had benefited from the murderous dictatorship, together with foreign Islamist extremists allied with al Qaeda. You want to glorify these people?

Cameron is fool and a hypocrite. He is everything he allegedly stands against. He's a capitalist, he's an energy hog (the carbon footprint of one of those megatheater's showing his crappy movie must be huge) and he's unoriginal. Anyone who thinks Cameron has anything worthy to add to the debate over climate change, third world exploitation or whatever else the elites are obsessed over is sadly mistaken. This includes many, many of the commenters to this story.

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