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denem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-05-10 08:26 AM
Original message
Avatar: The (Conservative) Critics Rave
Edited on Tue Jan-05-10 08:28 AM by denem
'Avatar' arouses conservatives' ire.

To say that the film has evoked a storm of ire on the right would be an understatement. Big Hollywood's John Nolte, one of my favorite outspoken right-wing film essayists, blasted the film, calling it "a sanctimonious thud of a movie so infested with one-dimensional characters and PC cliches that not a single plot turn, large or small, surprises. . . . Think of 'Avatar' as 'Death Wish' for leftists, a simplistic, revisionist revenge fantasy where if you . . . hate the bad guys (America) you're able to forgive the by-the-numbers predictability of it all."

John Podhoretz, the Weekly Standard's film critic, called the film "blitheringly stupid; indeed, it's among the dumbest movies I've ever seen." He goes on to say: "You're going to hear a lot over the next couple of weeks about the movie's politics -- about how it's a Green epic about despoiling the environment, and an attack on the war in Iraq. . . . The conclusion does ask the audience to root for the defeat of American soldiers at the hands of an insurgency. So it is a deep expression of anti-Americanism -- kind of. The thing is, one would be giving Jim Cameron too much credit to take 'Avatar' -- with its . . . hatred of the military and American institutions and the notion that to be human is just way uncool -- at all seriously as a political document. It's more interesting as an example of how deeply rooted these standard issue counterculture cliches in Hollywood have become by now."

Ross Douthat, writing in the New York Times, took Cameron to task on another favorite conservative front, as yet another Hollywood filmmaker who refuses to acknowledge the power of religion. Douthat calls "Avatar" the "Gospel according to James. But not the Christian Gospel. Instead, 'Avatar' is Cameron's long apologia for pantheism -- a faith that equates God with Nature, and calls humanity into religious communion with the natural world." Douthat contends that societies close to nature, like the Na'vi in "Avatar," aren't shining Edens at all -- "they're places where existence tends to be nasty, brutish and short."...


"It has the politics of the left, but it also has extraordinary spectacle," says Govindini Murty, co-founder of the pioneering conservative blog Libertas and executive producer of the new conservative film "Kalifornistan." "Jim Cameron didn't come out of nowhere. He came on the heels of all the left-wing filmmakers who went before him, who knew that someone with their point of view would have the resources to finally make a breakthrough political film. But even though 'Avatar' has an incredibly disturbing anti-human, anti-military, anti-Western world view, it has incredible spectacle and technology and great filmmaking to capture people's attention. The politics are going right over people's heads. Its audience isn't reading the New York Times or the National Review." http://www.latimes.com/entertainment/news/la-et-bigpicture5-2010jan05,0,5932910.story


Human cruelty to other life is hateful. I think it's one reason by wife has never purchased (or been given) a gun. As 'shining Edens' I seem to remember something about the lion lying down with the lamb.
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CBGLuthier Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-05-10 08:28 AM
Response to Original message
1. I guess this old liberal movie lover is more conservative than I thought
a sanctimonious thud of a movie so infested with one-dimensional characters and PC cliches that not a single plot turn, large or small, surprises.


Sums up Cameron's work well enough.
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depakid Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-05-10 08:33 AM
Response to Reply #1
4. I guess this "old liberal movie lover" expected some arthouse film
Get over it.

These sorts of films- with archetypal characters and sweeping panoramas have been a mainstay of the medium for all of cinematic history.
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Hannah Bell Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-05-10 08:41 AM
Response to Reply #4
9. archetypal isn't synonymous with "cliched writing"
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depakid Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-05-10 08:52 AM
Response to Reply #9
13. Not sure how many films you've seen over the years...
Going WAY back to the turn of the 20th Century... but let's just say, the dialogue isn't always poignant (not does it necessarily need to be).

As for the so called "conservative" critics- I'm quite sure they wouldn't have panned Birth of a Nation.





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CBGLuthier Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-05-10 08:48 AM
Response to Reply #4
11. People kep throwing that phrase around, arthouse film
as if I sniff when I speak and drink high fucking tea.,

Ever see a little film called Lawrence of Arabia? Is that too god damn arthouse for you? Network? Raiders of the Lost Ark?

There are good formula movies and there are bad formula movies and fucking eye candy does not make the difference.
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depakid Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-05-10 08:57 AM
Response to Reply #11
14. Who doesn't love Lawrence of Arabia!
Raiders- well, that's fun, too.

Avatar has its own appeal- and is more than just "eye candy."

Think about some of those John Ford westerns- the Searchers, for example. Enjoy 'em for what they are.
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HughMoran Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-05-10 09:40 AM
Response to Reply #1
18. Sounds nearly identical to the conservative reviews
I guess you're right!
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DavidDvorkin Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-05-10 10:11 AM
Response to Reply #1
19. My reaction to Avatar is the same as yours
And I'm a liberal, and my taste in movies runs overwhelmingly to escape - science fiction, fantasy, horror, comedy.

Avatar was boring, uninvolving, silly, shallow, cliched.
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ProfessorGAC Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-05-10 10:47 AM
Response to Reply #1
25. EXACTLY What I Thought
I thought the very same of Titanic. James Cameron is among the most overrated directors of all time. When i read the OP, i was thiking, "Well, of course. It's a James Cameron film." Then i read your reply.

GAC
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BOSSHOG Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-05-10 08:30 AM
Response to Original message
2. We should imprison all Movie Producers
not approved by those with conservative values. That's what living in the land of the free means right?
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Buzz Clik Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-05-10 08:32 AM
Response to Original message
3. Well, he's right on some counts:
1. The plot was paper thin and completely predictable.
2. The story was derivative of many films before it.
3. The lead characters had little depth.

Ironically enough, the rants by those who are ired by their political interpretation of the film are likewise being predictable and amazingly shallow.
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meegbear Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-05-10 08:34 AM
Response to Reply #3
5. But the 3D shit was TOTALLY FUCKIN' AWESOME!!!
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denem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-05-10 08:35 AM
Response to Reply #3
6. No more or less so than 'Aliens' or 'Terminator'
Edited on Tue Jan-05-10 08:38 AM by denem
I went to Titanic twice, to watch the ship, so I guess I am easily pleased.
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Robb Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-05-10 10:50 AM
Response to Reply #6
26. Heh.
Yeah. I liked Avatar for the clumsy message a lot of people will get, and (as meegbear put it) the totally fucking awesome 3D shit. :D

Cameron followed the "hero's journey" to a T, and delivered several things I didn't expect in what I had prepared myself for as a "people flying on dragons" movie. Such as the best firefight I've seen in theaters, and aerial battles that should show the world what a hack Lucas is.
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surrealAmerican Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-05-10 08:51 AM
Response to Reply #3
12. I agree with all three points.
It's a tired old story we've all seen before. If it weren't so incredibly visually impressive, it wouldn't be worth watching.
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Raster Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-05-10 08:38 AM
Response to Original message
7. It was a high-end, high-CGI Christmas blockbuster that's already made over a billion dollars.

I liked it. I liked the CGI and I liked the underlying messages. And I really like the fact it's pissing off the reich-wing.

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woodsprite Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-05-10 09:26 AM
Response to Reply #7
16. Our family loved it, but didn't spend the $$$ for the 3-D version.
Is it worth it? We'd be interested in going if we new the 3-D version was good.
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architect359 Donating Member (544 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-05-10 10:28 AM
Response to Reply #16
22. Oh, it is so worth it.
I was wary at first because I remember movie 3D from when I was younger. The effects never quite gelled, if you know what I mean. The technology has taken quite a leap forward. It did take a few minutes to acclimate - after that, I was pleasently surprise at how immersed I was with the movie.

The plot / dialogue, however, is another matter. I'd say that it was adequate. It served to carry the movie along, but that was all that it had to do. It is a simple story with themes we're familiar with.

In the end, this is a movie that is about the visual experience. In that regard, I'd have to say that it was spectacular.

So - yeah. If you have the opportunity, check out the 3D version. If nothing else, just to experience it.

My 2 cents for posterity. :)
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janx Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-05-10 02:05 PM
Response to Reply #16
32. It is absolutely worth it!
I saw it in 3-D twice!
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Lisa0825 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-06-10 12:38 AM
Response to Reply #16
33. If you can, see it in 3D IMAX!!!!
It was AMAZING! I always thought 3D was just silliness, because it has never been THIS GOOD! I am not even talking about the things coming right at you like all 3D films do, but just the subtle every-scene little things like fern fronds peeking in from the seat right in front of you and the embers drifting down just to the left of your line of sight....

I have never been too impressed with 3D because of the bad glasses and ghost images. This is NEW TERRITORY! And when you combine it with IMAX which has always been impressive, it is just a really fun ride!

I am really excited about the dozen or so new 3D films coming out in the next couple years, and plan to see them all in IMAX. This is really what it took to get my ass back to the theater.... this is not something you can feel the same about when you see it on a regular TV on DVD.
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newfie11 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-05-10 09:40 AM
Response to Reply #7
17. And I totally agree with you
It was fantastic!
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stanwyck Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-05-10 11:07 AM
Response to Reply #7
28. I liked it, too. And I'm an elitist snob.
I don't usually like sci-fi or bluescreen movies. I didn't want to go to Avatar. BUT my husband, daughter, and son, wanted to go on Christmas day. I'm glad we did. The technology didn't distance the viewer the way too many of the special effects movies do. The actors engaged the audience, despite their shifting appearances. Yes, the message was not new. The storyline was predictable. But, it's a message I like. So, it was gratifying to have that message shown in such a spectacular way.
Many of those throwing stones just want us to know how brilliant they are. It's a shame they couldn't lose themselves in Avatar.
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janx Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-05-10 01:10 PM
Response to Reply #7
30. So do I, Raster!
:rofl: :hug:
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rurallib Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-05-10 08:39 AM
Response to Original message
8. Podhoretz is a film critic?
I thought maybe his world view wasn't advanced enough for moving pichers?
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Burma Jones Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-05-10 08:42 AM
Response to Original message
10. The Market has spoken......these anti-capitalist finger waggers should STFU
That being said, I liked the movie although I liked it a little better when it was called "Dances With Wolves"
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Lisa0825 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-06-10 12:45 AM
Response to Reply #10
34. Houston-area blogger "Kiss My Big Blue Butt" calls it "Dances with Aliens." LOL
I don't care how many times it has been done before.... it was done WELL! Exciting, beautiful, and compelling. I will see it again this weekend. I enjoyed it for the experience of it, more than I can remember feeling before.
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SpiralHawk Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-05-10 09:07 AM
Response to Original message
15. "Whine." - Republicon Homelander Chickenhawks
Edited on Tue Jan-05-10 09:09 AM by SpiralHawk
as usual.

The wingnut film reviewers lie when they say the NaVi go up against American soldiers. Bullshit. They go up against corporate mercenaries.

Big difference.

Free clue to republicons: when you stop lying & spinning, people might actually give a shit about what you say.
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RaleighNCDUer Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-05-10 10:24 AM
Response to Reply #15
21. And in the script it is made abundantly clear, on several occassions,
that the entire force is FORMER military.

What the critics are not admitting to is that it is a criticism of their beloved Blackwater - of the entire 'privitization of the military' movement, which fundamentally means that authority begins and ends with the bottom line, and there is no government oversight.

In 'Aliens' the soldiers were Marines - they were official military who were set up by the corporation to do their dirty work without their knowledge. In 'Avatar' their is no government - there is only the corporation (though I never quite got who was funding the scientists - perhaps the corporation itself, thinking they could find a less costly way to deal with the NaVi).

Sure, it was derivitive, reaching back to 'Dances With Wolves' as well as Harry Harrison's 'Deathworld'. That doesn't automatically make it bad.
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whosinpower Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-05-10 10:13 AM
Response to Original message
20. We went to see it
And thoroughly enjoyed it - in spite of its shortcomings, it is entertainment. My son went with me to see it, and then again to see it with his friends.

Conservative movie critics don't like it and oh dear - it has flavours of anti-americanism. Awwwww - cry me a river. The market (capitalism and all that stuff) ultimately speaks to the movies' success or failure. Seems to me - Avatar is a success.

I look forward to the next installment - if nothing else, but to see the foam speckled movie critics froth and spew some more.
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butterfly77 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-05-10 10:30 AM
Response to Original message
23. It was alright but...
did anyone think that the snow was really coming at them where you could touch it? The flowers and the color scheme were beautiful too...
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cui bono Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-05-10 10:45 AM
Response to Original message
24. Not my usual type of movie but went to see it in 3D...
and I cried like a baby! The military guys were such a-holes and they reminded me of the previous administration with their attitude and actions. Afterward I was looking around at others and they didn't seem affected at all. Do they not see any connection between the movie and real life? I think most do not.

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gordianot Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-05-10 10:58 AM
Response to Original message
27. That Conservatives are so angry at this film fills volumes.
By just hitting that nerve the "right" way it has added value. True the plot is a little shallow and full of cliches but the eye candy in 3-D was worth the ticket. That the wingnuts are so angry at this film must give Michael Moore some comfort when he openly attacks their greed and stupidity, the right wing is "Nuts" when they are left to fill in the blanks and truly show their stupidity over computer generated characters. If anything the reaction is an admission of guilt to something they do not admit anymore even on a conscious level.

In some ways this all reminds me of the reaction to a really silly movie of the the past "Billy Jack". It probably comes down to a reaction to those being exploited fighting back not something RW are comfortable with. It makes me want to ask are they feeling some guilt here? Are all of the young men sent to war going to be something to fear?
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SpiralHawk Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-05-10 12:51 PM
Response to Reply #27
29. "Republicons are fearful whiners & basically anti-sanity." - BJ
Edited on Tue Jan-05-10 12:52 PM by SpiralHawk
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anonymous171 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-05-10 01:12 PM
Response to Original message
31. I disliked Avatar because they let the Corporate guy off the hook
Edited on Tue Jan-05-10 01:12 PM by anonymous171
Basically it was just your typical Hollywood "HURR DA MILITARY KILLZ BABIEZ DURR" movie. Nice graphics though.
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