Friday, January 08, 2010
I had to laugh at a short report on one of the national TV news programs talking about "Are there hidden meanings behind Avatar?" Duh. Maybe double Duh! What made me laugh was the discussion about the "hidden meaning" of capitalism vs. ecology. I guess maybe it's easier to talk about philosophies than history, but anyone with even a trace understanding of American History could see the parallel between Avatar's plot and the sad fate of the American Indians. I think any college or even graduate class in the world could show Avatar and use it to explain "Western Expansion," "Manifest Destiny," or Turner's "Frontier". In a nutshell, "You've got it. We want it. Make a deal or die!" That pretty much sums up our dealing with the original Americans and the victims of "capitalism" in Avatar. From details, like bows & arrows and loin cloths, to non-traditional spiritualism, and a different skin color, just to name a few, it was the story of our story from Plymouth to Wounded Knee. The big difference is that we had little problem cheering for the defeat of corporate mercenary Marines, but we wouldn't dare think of Custer or Sherman in the same light.
Setting the history lesson aside, Avatar is an amazing movie. It has the same visual grabbing power, maybe more, as when I saw Star Wars the first time, then a Jurassic Park, and more recently, Lord of the Rings. You are lifted into another world that is so spectacularly interesting, with new vegetation, new bugs, new animals, new people, new language, and new culture, that it become the fastest two and a half hours you've ever spent. Yes, its got violence, but it's not really very gory, just lots of explosions and noises, and yes, I wish they'd left off the vulgar words - though I know some Marines use it. It's an experience, a real escape, and it involves you in a story that feels real - and after all, isn't that what you go to the movies for? Oh yeah, ladies, it really does include a love story. I guess it's true - love is blue.