Thursday, December 17, 2009

"Avatar" as Some Kind of "PSA"-- Or Not. You Don't Have to Think About it if You Don't Want To. But if You Don't, We're All Gonna Die

There is a filmmaker called James Cameron, who made "The Terminator," about a cyborg from the future who goes back in time to perform an abortion, "Terminator 2," about a cyborg from the future who goes back in time to kill a teenager and destroy the planet, and the woman wrongfully imprisoned in a mental hospital who attempts to stop him, and "True Lies," about a secret agent who enforces American foreign policy in the Middle East and saves his traditional marriage and family in the process, who has a new film coming out called "Avatar." Perhaps you've heard of this film. It is supposed to change the way we watch movies, or something like that (perhaps by inducing nausea in viewers?).

A lot of people are saying that the movie also has a politically left-wing, or environmentalist, agenda. Including Mr. Cameron himself:

Actually, I am glad that Mr. Cameron is a better filmmaker than public speaker (and he is one of the best living filmmakers), because I cannot tell what exactly he is saying in this piece. Or is it just that it's so badly edited?

Anyway-- transcript of Mr. Cameron's take:

Well, anybody that would say it's a 300- well, first of all it's not $300 million, but, what, at whatever price tag it's a PSA for, for, for uh global warming, umm obviously republican (laughs) ah, you know. But anyway, the, uh, look, there is, there is a theme- I don't want to say message, because it's not beating it over the head; there's a theme, and I think that it's a theme that's a legitimate one, one that I care very passionately about, and by the way I think that if we want to survive as a species we better ALL start caring about it. But, you can enjoy the film as a straight adventure story ahhh, as a romp through the jungle with a lot of action, a lot of ah white knuckle chills and spills-- or, you can THINK about your entertainment. You as the consumer have the choice.

It's nice of him to tell us that we have the choice as to how we consume our entertainment. But is it not clear how Mr. Cameron wants us to consume it? This "romp through the jungle with a lot of action" has a theme, a legitimate one that, well, we ALL better start caring about. But if you don't want to care about it, that's okay. Except that we WILL DIE AS A SPECIES IF YOU DON'T. So you'd better care about it. But you can forget all of that for the nearly three hours you're watching the film. Because you can-- if you don't want to THINK about your entertainment-- just watch this movie as a white knuckle jungle adventure.

Okay, that part of his statement I understand. But what about that first sentence, the one about republicans? Is he saying that republicans are the ones making a big deal about his film's environmental message? Is he suggesting that's ludicrous? Because the rest of his statement contradicts that. Is he suggesting that the idea that anyone would give him not exactly $300 million for an "environmentalism PSA" is ludicrous? Because the rest of his statement tends to contradict that (I'll give him some leeway on that because the term "PSA" suggests not entertainment but preaching-- like those "The More You Know" segments). Is he suggesting that republicans aren't environmentalists? His famous star, Arnold Schwarzenegger, contradicts that idea.

So he seems to be dismissing the idea that his film has some kind of message, then says it has a message, then says that people don't have to listen to the message if they don't want to, then says that if people don't listen to his message we're all going to die.

I really hope the actual movie makes more sense than this. I also hope it doesn't make me nauseous.

Avatar's message: Buy Big Macs at McDonald's. Or, don't pollute the jungle.

McDonald's Avatar pic source.


shampoo said...

I am thinking they felt like they needed to make the movie as a commercial for the inevitable flurry of video games. the movie doesn't sound very good and three hours is a really long time... but if it will piss of republicans...

Ricky Sprague said...

Yeah, it's a "PSA" for Big Macs, toys, and video games.

shampoo said...

ricky sprague, can't they work booze in there as well? one must have something to wash down the "big mac".