ames Cameron's sci-fi blockbuster Avatar may be making box office history, topping $1 billion worldwide after only 17 days, but it's not making political conservatives happy. Right-wing columnists and bloggers are ripping the film—about a soldier-cum-corporate-spy who infiltrates a spectacularly peaceful planet with base intentions but ends up turning on his bosses—as a pantheistic work of leftist "anti-American, anti-human" propaganda. Is Avatar blatantly leftist, or are conservatives reading too much into a sci-fi fantasy? (Watch a report about some conservatives' belief that "Avatar" has an anti-military message.)
Avatar is liberal-revenge porn: Why would James Cameron waste half a billion dollars, asks John Nolte in Big Hollywood, on this "sanctimonious" attack on American achievements—"from our [nation's] founding straight through to the Iraq war"? Only movie-goers with the sort of "liberal bloodlust" that lets them "freakin' hate" America could overlook the movie's "by-the-numbers" plot and tired "PC clichés."
"Cameron's 'Avatar' is a big, dull, America-hating, PC revenge fantasy"
Who's out of touch now, conservatives? "America's prickly cadre of political conservatives" hates Avatar for a simple reason, says Patrick Goldstein in the Los Angeles Times: Its stunning success in the heartland. After these right-wingers "ceaselessly attacked liberal Hollywood" for being out of touch with Middle America, they're incensed that this "blatantly pro-environmental," anti-war spectacular is a "hit everywhere, from Mississippi to Manhattan."
"'Avatar': Why do conservatives hate the most popular movie in years?"
Relax—the FX spectacle overshadows the politics: Yes, Avatar is awash in "anti-American, anti-military, pro-primitive themes," says Suzanne Fields in RealClearPolitics, but "enraged" conservatives should mellow out. Most people, including kids "won't care what the movie has to say." They'll be wrapped up in the "breathtakingly beautiful" 3-D spectacle, not the "Hollywood clichés and adolescent counterculture sensibility."
"Beauty in the Beast"
Liberal? Try 'American': Avatar's central theme, that "big business is sinister and in league with a malevolent state," isn't particularly liberal or conservative, says Carl Mortishead in the Irish Independent, but it is quintessentially American. As a nation, Americans tend to love the anti-corporatist rebel and, "if big studios are making movies about sinister corporations," it's not because they have a liberal axe to grind. "It is because Americans lap them up."
"Hollywood's hatred of big business is a rebel legacy"
SEE THE WEEK'S LATEST COVERAGE OF "AVATAR"
• Top 4 'Avatar'-Pocahontas video mash-ups
• 'Avatar''s 'ugly' message
• Will 'Avatar' suck?
• Video: Hitler hates the 'Avatar' trailer
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- Who are the real gay marriage bigots?
- What the collapse of the Ming Dynasty can tell us about American decline
- What would a U.S.-Russia war look like?
- Don't worry: World War III will almost certainly never happen
- Why is American internet so slow?
- Religious liberty should be a liberal value, too
- 22 TV shows to watch in 2014
- Watch The Daily Show mock Fox News' confused man-crush on Vladimir Putin
- Russia's Ukraine invasion is a moral crisis
- The new bride who had a horrifying allergic reaction to her husband's sperm
Subscribe to the Week