Avatar: In Hindu mythology, an appearance, manifestation; personification, embodiment. I discovered a sure-fire way to save at least twenty-five bucks. That's the cost of two movie matinee tickets plus popcorn and soda in our ‘burb and it's a bargain, except when it's wasted on Avatar. In case you haven't seen it yet, don't bother.

I'd give it 2 3/4 stars-mainly for the special effects. Add a star if you appreciate paying for propagandistic, anti-American swill disguised as an science fiction-adventure-romance and add another if you go see it thinking it compares with director James Cameron's previous epic, Titanic. It doesn't.

That would give it almost six stars which is what most critics would assign Avatar out of a possible four, if they could. In actuality, it's too long (150 minutes), too derivative of Cameron's Alien, and entirely too predictable down to the cataclysmic denouement. If I were to spend 4 years and $300 million on a film, I'd try harder.

The propaganda isn't even subtle. Consider:

. Set in 2154 A.D., the movie begins with chatter about how super-valuable some exotic mineral is and how a firm, an American firm, of course, is going to extricate it from the equally or more exotic planet of Pandora, like the box. Refugees from “a dying planet,” with depleted resources, the humans are remarkably calm in their desperation and in their willingness to decimate Pandora's denizens.

. In the process of stealing the resources from the innocent and assumed-defenseless Pandora, if they have to despoil this paradise then they have to despoil it. Business comes first, just like it did with Columbus and the Conquistadors. Pandora is apparently free of Al-Gorean global warming or climate change because of the simple, natural lifestyle of its people.

. The indigenous Pandorans aren't called Pandorans. They're Na'vians, don't ask why, and they're not exactly thrilled with the idea of being re-located but come hell, high water, and even if the creek rises, they will be moved and Col. Quaritch will insure the move. A classic militaristic, genocidal Rambo-Dr. Strangelove combo, Quaritch isn't one to back down, especially from a bunch of savages on their own planet. Donald Rumsfeld's “shock and awe” is a ham-handed throw in line.

. The protagonist is an older, crippled version of Luke Skywalker, a war victim, paraplegic Marine, Jake Sully, who still says, “Hoo-rah,” and is promised a new pair of legs only if he accomplishes his mission of infiltrating the savage society and reporting back to Quaritch with worthwhile intel. The only way he can effectively do that is by using his avatar-get it?-a blend of his own and an alien dna, although the humans are the true aliens in this film.

. The indigenous savages, an elongated, yellow-eyed people who make cat sounds on occasion, aren't really savages, just different and disrespected because they are. The whole clan lives in a humongous tree, worships Mother Earth, and are capable of flying on trained mini-pterosaurs with which they bond by sticking the end of their pigtails into a pterosaur aperture. Think Flower People or Greenpeace minus the flying unless you count drug-induced flying.

. They really worship all of nature, sacred trees, bugs, plants, and the odd land and flying Pandoran animals to which they apologize if they're forced to kill them for food or to save themselves from being eaten by said sacred animals. A Na'vian's just gotta do what a Na'vian's gotta do. They may in fact be vegetarians although we never see them sitting down to a meal.

. The Na'vians are pantheists, worshipping everything in nature but especially a god/goddess, Eywa, whose name sounds suspiciously like Allah, and when they get all exercised they ululate, using the same high pitched chants Muslim women use. Make of that what you will.

What I make of it is that James Cameron could have saved 4 years and $300 million had he just announced he didn't care much for the nation that made him rich, the United States. At least Michael Moore admits it.

Source by Gene Lalor