Thoughts on Avatar
Just saw Avatar in IMAX 3-D. Very cool, though the story and dialogue were as awful as critics say. I suppose there’s a lot for a historian to say about the image of the “noble savage,” and the “othering” of natives, but it’s probably already been said elsewhere, and I really don’t think Avatar offers much sophisticated commentary on anything. If you really want interesting examples of using “the other” to examine ourselves, check out Montesquieu’s Persian Letters, or its more recent incarnation, Borat. Anyway, here are five of my other initial reactions to Avatar:
1) Though the dialogue was generally atrocious, the villain got to deliver the best lines. Almost made you wanna root for him.
2) IMAX 3-D magnifies actors’ facial blemishes. You can see covered up zits on the big screen fairly clearly.
3) Ok, one little piece of social commentary. According to Avatar, all the humans have to offer the people of Pandora are “blue jeans and light beer.” First of all, blue jeans are pretty cool. Been wearing them my whole life. Second, why not regular beer? And third, what about books? And pastrami? And baseball? I’m just saying, our civilization isn’t all bad. Reminds me of the famous Life of Brian bit, “What have the Romans ever done for us?”
4) When watching the movie, you can picture James Cameron behind the camera of each scene, saying to himself “I’m fucking awesome!” This is not a pleasant thought.
5) Michelle Rodriguez is kind of sexy. Especially in 3-D.