Not Right-Wing Friendly

The political import of Avatar — and there’s no waving this aspect away because it’s right in your face start to finish, and especially in the third act — is ardently left. It is pro-indigenous native, anti-corporate, anti-imperialist, anti-U.S. Iraq War effort, anti-U.S.-in-Afghanistan (and anti-troop-surge-in-that-country, or strongly against the thinking of President Barack Obama and Gen. Stanley McChrystal), anti-rightie, anti-Bush-Cheney-Rumsfeld, etc.

Yes, it’s very teenaged adolescent in its super-imaginative wacko visions and exuberant energy levels, but politically it’s pure Che Guevara (more the Motorcycle Diaries or Che-in-Cuba version than Che in Bolivia), Naom Chomsky, Hugo Chavez, Howard Zinn, Gore Vidal, Oliver Stone, etc. Cameron is an earth-hugging lefty from way back (the flagrant despise-the-arrogant-rich current in Titanic being but one example) so this should come as no surprise to anyone. I for one am cheered and heartened.

If Sarah Palin sees Avatar and then sits down and actually thinks about what it’s saying (which is always a dicey proposition, I admit), she’ll hate this movie. Because Avatar hates her and her kind. Some righties will pretend to like it (“great popcorn flick! took my kids!”), but they’d have to be in major denial mode not to recognize that Avatar is much more MSNBC than Fox News. It really spits on the Fox News philosophy/worldview. If Cameron had for some inane reason put a Fox News-type character in the film, he/she would end up with a Na’vi arrow through his/her chest, trust me.

Call it the most flamboyant, costliest, grandest left-liberal super-movie anyone’s ever seen — a political tract that cost Rupert Murdoch God knows how many hundreds of millions to make and yet is totally pro-loincloth, pro-native, despise-the-greedy, hug-the-earth, worship-the-earth, down with the soulless short-end, down with the us-first, masters-of-the-universe thinking behind the Goldman Sachs/Timothy Geithner culture and up with the eternal/spiritual in all cultures and all corners of the globe. The tragedy of the Vietnam War echoes all through this film. Somewhere Ho Chi Minh is smiling.

Cameron explains the anti-imperialist current to John Anderson in a forthcoming N.Y. Times Sunday piece: “I’m…a child of the ’60s. There’s a part of me who wants to put a daisy in the end of the gun barrel. I believe in peace through superior firepower, but on the other hand I abhor the abuse of power and creeping imperialism disguised as patriotism. Some of these things you can’t raise without being called unpatriotic, but I think it’s very patriotic to question a system that needs to be corralled, or it becomes Rome.”

Spoiler: I leave it to the community to decide whether there’s a huge 9/11 metaphor in Avatar or not, but I felt one (although politically it makes no sense in the context of the film.) Call it a reverse 9/11 image. I’m not talking about the destruction of a man-made super-structure but a natural one. I’ll leave it at that and wait for reactions.

569 thoughts on “Not Right-Wing Friendly

  1. Michael on said:

    I’ll take your word for it, and it won’t affect my enjoyment (or lack thereof) one bit.

    Just remember that righties hate ‘eminent domain’ laws more than anyone…and there’s a huge anti-corporate/ED slant to this film (at least from what I gather from the trailers).

  2. I have no reason to doubt your interpretation. In fact, I’m 100% certain it’s the right one.

    But have you ever seen someone with such supposedly far-left views so obsessed with military technology? Terminator, Aliens, Terminator 2, The Abyss, True Lies, Avatar, and on and on and on. In the converse it would be like John Milius being obsessed with making Jane Austen period dramas.

    Maybe only Nixon can go to China.

  3. “Righties hate ‘eminant domain’ laws more than anyone”? Eminent domain was created for the sole purpose of helping the business interests of large developers and corporations. Who’s running these companies? I’m missing something here.

  4. What is it with you and Che. So many wonderful people mentioned in your list and then associated with that scumbag. Maybe if you focus on how he personally murdered scores of people in the same way Donnie Donnowitz did you can let go of your admiration.

  5. Che Guevara despised the big corporate interests and sided with the peasants and natives who lived close to and off the land — as this film ironically does, given who paid for it and all the high-end technology involved.

  6. Jack, what makes you think big developers and corporations are right wing? They care about those in power, that’s all. Any equation of “large corporate interests” and conservative ideology is purely incidental.

  7. Remember George Lucas said that ‘Star Wars’ was a huge Vietnam analogy, with the Rebels as the VC and the Empire as the USA.

    When I was a kid I assumed Cameron was an ultra conservative, what with the Aryan God Terminator, the comedy Jew analyst and the black man that destroys the world. I see now his more nuanced views……..

  8. The general truth of the matter is that conservatives are generally seen (accurately, I believe) as shills for corporate interests & supporters of whatever earth-ruination plans and schemes that will fatten their bank accounts and make their over-pampered wives and children feel more secure.

  9. Jeff: Spoiler: I leave it to the community to decide whether there’s a huge 9/11 metaphor in Avatar or not, but I felt one (although politically it makes no sense in the context of the film.) Call it a reverse 9/11 image. I’m not talking about the destruction of a man-made super-structure but a natural one. I’ll leave it at that and wait for reactions.

    I clearly recognized the 9/11 metaphor in the sequence to which you allude and the expressions on the Na’Vi faces are chilling. In retrospect, I was surprised how much I cared for those Na’Vi characters and for Zoe Saldana’s in particular — that is a heck of a performance and the only time I can think of actor really punching through technology like this to make an emotional impact.

    The movie floored me, unexpectedly.

  10. The majority of outrageous eminent domain cases involve the government feeling they’re not getting enough tax revenue out of a property or tract of land. Enter some asshole developer with enough cash/cache to put a legal vice on the current landowner so as to make himself wealthier.

    Government throws its weight behind developer, both are happy. There is absolutely nothing conservative about that. It may benefit a lot of Republicans, but if you can’t distinguish between Republicans and conservatives, you’re the idiot.

  11. Wells to Michael: You’re talking about an old-fashioned dream version of what “conservative” means. There are very few Barry Goldwater conservatives left on the planet. They’re all but extinct.

  12. lol @ BurmaShave’s ignorant comment about Che… I can’t stop laughing so hard. I’ve read about Che for years and I’ve got a large collection of non-fiction books on Che and Latin American revolutionary politics. It’s one of my main interests. BurmaShave clearly has no fucking idea what he’s talking about.

    Wells, I love your post about Avatar’s left-wing politics. This has made me very, very happy. But then again, Cameron is left wing and liberal like the majority of Hollywood filmmakers.

    I am VERY excited for Avatar ever since I read /Film yesterday, which had an Avatar post with a lot of good buzz and critical praise from film bloggers.

  13. Which is why Hollywood will feel much better about honoring this than The Foot Locker. Same sentiment expressed, in a safer way.

  14. Michael, in your original post, you said “righties,” not “conservatives.” In today’s parlance, “rightie” means GOP and GOP means big business and big businesses use their massive lobbying power to influence the government to force people out of their homes for strictly business reasons. Of course this is a generalization but it is still true more often than not. Wells is right, there are no conservatives anymore. The answer to every problem is not to lower taxes. Read Andrew Sullivan or Bruce Bartlett. Both are true fiscal conservatives and both are apoplectic about the fiscal policy of today’s so-called “conservaties.”

  15. “I leave it to the community to decide whether there’s a huge 9/11 metaphor in Avatar or not”

    Yes, I know exactly what image you’re talking about and I felt it was deliberate.

  16. True enough, Jack. I guess I just don’t understand anyone who looks at the Republican party these days and thinks ‘conservative’. To me, ‘rightie’ and ‘convservative’ are synonymous, and there is nothing about today’s Republican party that shows either.

  17. “Eminent domain was created for the sole purpose of helping the business interests of large developers and corporations.”

    Yeah, wildly incorrect. It may serve business interests in the end, but it’s all about local governments squeezing out maximum tax money. It isn’t limited to any one particular party, but the more vocal opponents in recent years have been primarily conservative.

  18. This is a chicken-and-egg kind of argument. “It’s all about local governments squeezing out maximum tax money” Massey says. I would argue most of the time business interests are the spark. There is a huge eminent domain fight going on here in Brooklyn and it started when a huge developer named Bruce Ratner proposed turning some lower-income property into a huge new urban housing and sports complex. It was his idea and he went to the city and got them to flex their ED muscle. Of course the city will make more money in taxes; that point is not being debated. The point is that if Ratner hadn’t come along, this fight wouldn’t be happening. State and local governments don’t declare ED, move out all their citizens, tear down their homes, then go looking for someone to develop it. The developers provide the spark the vast majority of the time.

    Massey, you have no idea who I talk to or how I form my worldview. How are your little farts not as condescending and myopic as the liberal ones you decry?

  19. DeafBrown, I know you’ll bend over backwards to defend anything leftist or minority, but speaking as a Liberal, please do more homework about your heroes. I know the Che paradox is something you would just like to ignore, but it’s not possible. So many better figures on this planet even today, like Evo Morales, who is accomplishing real change for his people without resorting to thuggery. What exactly do you think Che did for Castro once he took power?

    I’m glad you have a large collection of non-fiction books. I’m sure they smell of rich mahogany.

  20. As I said, eminent domain ends up serving business interests. But a developer does not have the power to do it; that comes from government. And the politicians wouldn’t do it if there wasn’t something in it for them. So your earlier claim of ED being “created for the sole purpose of helping the business interests of large developers and corporations” is incorrect.

    Eminent domain is a creation of the government to serve its own interests. It just so happens that developer’s interests are served at the same time. And both groups should go to hell (that we can agree on?).

  21. “I’ve read about Che for years and I’ve got a large collection of non-fiction books on Che and Latin American revolutionary politics. It’s one of my main interests.”

    Has a Champagne Communist ever exposed oneself so nakedly on this site before?

  22. I will agree that you are correct. ED was not created solely for business interests. (I definitely should have chosen my words better.) What I should have said, and what I believe, is that it is “enforced” for interests that begin on the business side more often than not. Business is the spark; they use their money to influence politicians to get what they want.

    Either way, I am very conflicted by it. It some cases – highways, public utilities, etc. – ED seems essential. In others, it is despicable.

  23. How many poor people could have been fed and housed with the money spent on making Avatar? How many indigenous people could have been protected with just a small percent of the Avatar budget? How much less greenhouse gasses would have been burned if this movie was never made and millions of people stayed at home rather than driving to the theater to needlessly see it?

    Instead, that money was burned for the entertainment of the Eloi and self-important Liberals at the cost of destroying our environment. How very sad.

  24. “How many poor people could have been fed and housed with the money spent on making Avatar?”

    Riiight, because that money was just chucked down a hole. It wasn’t used to pay actors, and craftsmen and technicians, so they could make their mortgage payments, feed and clothe their families, pay their taxes on, and put the rest into savings …

  25. There’s a funny moment in the Aliens documentary in the Quadrilogy box set where Cameron describes the rabidly-anti-gun Sigourney’s first orgasmic reactions to firing that pulse rifle: “Another liberal bites the dust.”

    Looks like he’s changed a bit, for the better.

  26. I’m sure moviesquad is being a bit tongue-in-cheek, but….. it’s a great post. (And if the film had instead been a three hour right-wing screed I wouldn’t be surprised to hear that argument against it being delivered with great earnestness and gravity by at least one or two on the uber-left)

    “Wells to Michael: You’re talking about an old-fashioned dream version of what “conservative” means. There are very few Barry Goldwater conservatives left on the planet. They’re all but extinct.”

    Bullshit, Wells. What you’re really saying, I’m guessing, is that there are “very few Barry Goldwater conservatives left on the planet…..as far as I can tell from watching all those ‘worst people in the world’ on MSNBC”…. (“they’re all a bunch of Michelle Bachmanns!”) Oi.

    As far as the political angle of “Avatar”….. yeah, duh! It’s Cameron, for crying out loud. Did we expect anything different? As a non-hippie I’ve become used to his jive.

    But what do I know? I’m sure that this science fantasy CGI-packed 3D action film made by multi-millionaires will cause nearly everyone who sees it to immediately sign on to work for Dennis Kucinich’s next presidential run.

    (“Dude, that final battle scene KICKED ASS! Come on, let’s get the fuck over to the library and get our Chomsky on!”)

  27. BTW

    (Before the fan-boys jump on me…..)

    Jeffrey’s well-written rave has me, for the first time, really jazzed to see this.

  28. “If Sarah Palin …. sits down and actually thinks ….”

    It would be a first.

    “How many poor people could have been fed and housed with the money spent on making Avatar? How many …” etc.

    If you’ve got a viable plan for getting News Corp. to spend its money philanthropically, by all means, let’s hear it. If not, take your straw man elsewhere.

  29. Palin-Going Rogue On The Smurfs!

    Glad to see your enthusiasm for Avatar, Jeff!

    BurmaShave says …

    “I’m glad you have a large collection of non-fiction books. I’m sure they smell of rich mahogany.”

    Thanks, Burma. That gave me a good chuckle.

  30. Outstanding! Wells is on fire today. By far the best Avatar coverage of anywhere, and beautiful writing.

    A sci-fi blockbuster told from the Chomsky/Zinn prism, by James Cameron… this is better than sex.

    Many will try to pin down Avatar as simply an anti-American diatribe against the invasion and occupation of iraq and Afghanistan, but Cameron wrote this thing in 1995. I’m sure some tweaks were made to take some shots at Bush, but the story goes well beyond that and can apply to almost any time in all of recorded human history. Which is why, as we get closer to heading to the stars and exporting our imperialism, it’s important that a story like this be told on a blockbuster scale.

  31. Cameron has always been a massive walking contradiction, it’s part of what makes his stuff “work.” Note that “Titanic,” his weakest film at the script stage by far, is the only one that’s not a little bit at war with itself.

    Terminator: High-tech action movie… about how high-tech action weapons will be the doom of us.

    Terminator 2 and Aliens: Big blasting boys-and-their-toys shoot-em-ups… but they’re actually about motherhood and pregnancy-angst.

    Abyss: Cold War scifi thriller… that wants us all to get along, or else.

    True Lies: Bigger-than-huge invincible-Arnold vehicle… that’s a Romantic Comedy. About MARRIED people.

  32. Only Hollywood can make an anti-American movie set in 2154.

    I guess I should be thrilled that someone in Hollywood at least thinks America will *still be around* in 2154.

    Here’s my basic beef with the stupid, stupid, STUPID plot of Avatar, and why it will be roundly condemned by the Right– it’s not the “evil corporation” that will have people up in arms, it’s the “Marines are in blind obedient service to the evil corporation” that will rub people the wrong way.

    Cameron flirted with that in Aliens, but there was no doubt in the end, the Colonial Marines were the good guys, Burke and the Company were the bad guys (well, the secondary bad guys).

    But with Avatar, nope, Americans are the bad guys, through and through. It’s only until you abandon America and “go native” that you become heroic and worthy.

    Again, a viewpoint considered bold and risky by a 19-year-old angry Columbia grad, but very old hat to anyone who’s suffered painfully on-the-nose Hollywood anti-Americanism this past decade (or any of the last three decades).

    What will be interesting is how harmful this perspective will be. After all, movies are our greatest cultural export, and action/sci-fi movies the greatest of those. One can expect Avatar to do tremendous business worldwide, and all it will really do is confirm the biases of those who already hate us: “Guess what? The Americans will still be raping planets and killing dark-skinned people for profit in the far future too.”

    Morally offensive.

    Great eye candy, though.

  33. “Liberals who craft their views of ‘typical conservatives’ by only talking to other liberals.”

    Can one have a reasonable conversation with a conservative without said conservative jumping down one’s throat at the first opportunity.

    Wait a minute. Sorry. I forgot I was typing to Josh.

    “The tragedy of the Vietnam War echoes all through this film. Somewhere Ho Chi Minh is smiling.”

    Uncle Ho is happy that the war was a tragedy?

  34. If Sarah Palin and her supporters see this movie, they are just going to think about how much the Na’vi resemble the common, salt-of-the-earth, middle America types oppressed by the tyrannical, intrusive Kenyan/Muslim administration trying to barge in and take away their hard-earned wages and guns. It just might inspire them to throw some massive tea-party insurgency against those in power. Timothy McVeigh would have loved this flick.

    It’s also the most blatantly anti-immigration movie ever made.

  35. I see the defenders of America’s honor are at it already. As if such a thing as a country’s honor can be determined by a movie. At any rate, I take the metaphor as being HUMANS vs aboriginal aliens, not purely Americans. Of course, I don’t see a communist bogeyman around every corner, either. The urgency some feel to defend America to every perceived slight could lead one to believe that we have an inferiority complex, which would be the greatest irony of all.

  36. No, Uncle Ho is smiling that a a major influential filmmaker from the generation of men who fought the Vietnam War gets nativism and respects indigenous cultures and despises what the major power and corporate plunderers have always tried to do in pushing around and exploiting smaller undeveloped countries.

    Oh, and Thursby? You knew exactly what I was talking about when I said “Ho Chi Minh is smiling” but you pretended not to know…wanker.

  37. Ghost072 wrote- “The urgency some feel to defend America to every perceived slight could lead one to believe that we have an inferiority complex, which would be the greatest irony of all.”

    Every perceived slight?

    Gee I don’t know. You could be right. Maybe some people are being too touchy. Perhaps in their jingoistic paranoia they’re being overly sensitive, picking out little tiny details and whining that it somehow comes off as anti-American. I don’t see it myself but some right-wingers can be so thin-skinned.

    “It is pro-indigenous native, anti-corporate, anti-imperialist, anti-U.S. Iraq War effort, anti-U.S.-in-Afghanistan (and anti-troop-surge-in-that-country, or strongly against the thinking of President Barack Obama and Gen. Stanley McChrystal), anti-rightie, anti-Bush-Cheney-Rumsfeld, etc.”

    “politically it’s pure Che Guevara (more the Motorcycle Diaries or Che-in-Cuba version than Che in Bolivia), Naom Chomsky, Hugo Chavez, Howard Zinn, Gore Vidal, Oliver Stone, etc. ”

    “Somewhere Ho Chi Minh is smiling.”

    If you ask me, “Avatar” actually might be the most patriotic movie ever made.

    - DeeZee

  38. Anyway, whatever.

    I’m not at all surprised by the politics of this film. It’s James Cameron. As long as the movie is as good as people are saying it is I’m there with sparkly bells on.

    The coffee shop liberalism is not going to bother me because I’m so accustomed to it nor will it “convert” me. (“I guess Howard Zinn was on to something!”) Because it’s a fucking movie. A fictional movie.

    It is funny, though, that many of the people who would ridicule “conservatives” for having their noses tweaked by the message of this film are the same ones who’ll say “I shall NEVER see another Jon Voight film ever again!”

    And R.I.P. Gene Barry.

  39. joncro: I thought True Lies was the righty movie.

    twicks: It’s like how the “Americans are too fat” cartoon is sponsored by a corporation which profits from selling candy products.

    Howling: “Riiight, because that money was just chucked down a hole. It wasn’t used to pay actors, and craftsmen and technicians, so they could make their mortgage payments, feed and clothe their families, pay their taxes on, and put the rest into savings …”

    Actually, it *was* chucked down a hole, since those participating players will only get a marginal take out of whatever the film finally makes.

    Moviebob: You’re wrong there, chief. It’s a movie whose message is “Money isn’t everything”, and yet whose purpose was clearly to make money.

    crazynine: “One can expect Avatar to do tremendous business worldwide,”

    Why can one expect it? When it comes to movies, the world eats from the same trough as the rest of us.

    Travis: Yeah, I can imagine Avatar suggesting we have to “finish the job” by the end. Man, V for Vendetta was such a shitty anti-Bush movie, too. And that’s appropriate, given that the source material was attacking Thatcher. But yeah, V sucked, because it was so desperately trying to be this generation’s Brazil, but it just ended up being an emo update to Quadrophenia. So I can easily imagine Avatar turning into what Paramount tried to do with Spike Lee’s Do the Right Thing.

  40. lol @ BurmaShave’s ignorant comment about Che… I can’t stop laughing so hard. I’ve read about Che for years and I’ve got a large collection of non-fiction books on Che and Latin American revolutionary politics. It’s one of my main interests. BurmaShave clearly has no fucking idea what he’s talking about.

    Wells, I love your post about Avatar’s left-wing politics. This has made me very, very happy. But then again, Cameron is left wing and liberal like the majority of Hollywood filmmakers.

    I am VERY excited for Avatar ever since I read /Film yesterday, which had an Avatar post with a lot of good buzz and critical praise from film bloggers.

  41. Wait DZ,

    Avatar=Do the Right Thing?

    Where is that track going? Do the Right Thing had a huge racial impact what does Avatar have to do with that? Are you referring to Paramount pimping it for money and that equates to FOX?

  42. I would probably be considered a mainstream conservative, and I don’t think the defensiveness from other conservatives on this thread vis a vis Eminent Domain is out of line. I think most conservatives would agree that individual property rights are very important to conservatism, and are very skeptical of government infringement on those rights. This is a VERY mainstream position on the right. If your “conservatives” are all for such infringement, I question how conservative they really are.

    Also, there is no real conservative reason to favor business qua business when other, more important issues are at stake. While I think most conservatives are sympathetic to business interests since businesses are the engine of the economy, employ people, and generally create a lot of societal benefits, business does not occupy some sort of deific position in the conservative pantheon. I’m not quite sure why the left is so sure it does.

    That said, I’ll see Avatar even if it is a concealed left-wing screed. Cameron’s the pre-eminent action director working today; I expect the movie will be excellent.

  43. “It is pro-indigenous native, anti-corporate, anti-imperialist, anti-U.S. Iraq War effort, anti-U.S.-in-Afghanistan (and anti-troop-surge-in-that-country, or strongly against the thinking of President Barack Obama and Gen. Stanley McChrystal), anti-rightie, anti-Bush-Cheney-Rumsfeld, etc.”

    Travis, which of those things is anti-American? I know that in certain right-wing circles anything anti-corporate or anti-war is perceived as anti-American, but that doesn’t mean they truly ARE. America is what we make of it and just because corporations rule us right now and certain facets of the military-industrial complex have made foreign policy decisions that we all pay for – that doesn’t mean those things are uniquely American, or even American at all.

    Also, Travis, you’re a smart guy. You know the people I’m talking about. They’re the same people who think questioning the motive of sending our troops off to war is automatically anti-American (unless it’s a Democrat doing the sending) or believe there is actually a “War on Christmas.” They’re the ones that speak of “real Americans,” meaning white, God-fearing Christians – and no one else. If a nation isn’t strong enough for its citizens to question its own actions and motives then it isn’t strong enough.

  44. Machiara –great post. I think the problem with political sides (right or left) these days is the marginalizing of the other side, and I refuse to participate in that. Most people do what they do, and believe the way they do, because they think it’s the right thing to do and that they have truth on their side.

    People are generally not polarized caricatures like you see in the movies, that are exaggerated so you can think “this is the hero!” or “this is the villain!”. Real life is not like that.

    I’m a conservative and I am not some guy who “worships” big business. You pointed out what many conservatives feel. We just don’t like a large government presence in our lives. Whether it’s a corporation, or the government, power is power and in this country it’s the individual who is supposed to have their rights protected, and be left free to achieve their success. There is not twirling of the mustache hoping that we’ll destroy lives.

    I’m not surprised this movie is left-leaning, I’m not surprised any movie is left-leaning. For it to be otherwise would surprise me. I’m actually completely fine being exposed to other views. I know if my beliefs are being insulted, but I try to not take it personally. And not to take away from the message Cameron is trying to tell, but it takes more than a Hollywood movie to make up my mind for me on these issues. I actually have the ability to look at these issues and come to my own conclusions, in spite of any “teachable moment” the filmmaker may expect me to take from it.

  45. “But yeah, V sucked, because it was so desperately trying to be this generation’s Brazil, but it just ended up being an emo update to Quadrophenia.”

    Where on earth do you come up with this shit? I mean, honestly, you just have a giant fucking film almanac at home and u just randomly thumb through it and blindly point to a blurb from an completely random movie, and that will serve as the film used for your comparison, right? I honestly have no other explanation for your cinematic analogies. They’re so beyond terrible, they are hilarious.

  46. “McDonald’s has taken my vision of Pandora from the big screen to the computer screen and beyond, ” Cameron says. “Avatar has been my dream for 14 years, and I am extremely happy with how McDonald’s is bringing it to life in their restaurants.”

    Um… land-rapers? Try McDonald’s for the gold on that one. Is Cameron going for comedic irony here or is he really living in a fantasy world and doesn’t understand what’s actually going on here to real people on a real planet – ours.

    And if you don’t understand how McDonald’s is a plague on this planet, please just do some research into animal agriculture, dietary changes in developing countries, land use, etc.

  47. Wow, I came for a movie review and wound up in the lunatic ward of the Huffington Post. I’m pretty sure Sir Rupert has met some leftwingers along the way as he has financed The Simpsons and Fox Searchlight for decades…. As for Sarah Palin blah bigot blah imperalist blah anti-enviromentaliism – she married an Eskimo, moved to Alaska, birthed five half eskimo children, vigorously fought fedgov domination of Alaska’s natural resources, and is primarily an anti-big government conservative. As opposed to the Obaminators plan to have gov’t tell you how to live, eat, crap and think. And, btw, I’m pretty sure “Uncle Ho” was smiling all throughtout the 60′s and 70′s as mobs of pre-yuppie “radicalized youth” openly rooted for the communist totalitarians to conquer the free peasants of South VietNam, as they merrily destabilized our own country. You’re forgiven for being young and miseducated Jeff, but condemned for being an exceptionally UN-nuanced leftist blowhard.

  48. If Sarah Palin sees Avatar and then sits down and actually thinks about what it’s saying (which is always a dicey proposition, I admit)

    couldn’t get through an otherwise intelligent review without a pathetic snark attack on a decent human being, could you?

    Moron.

  49. What a hoot! The disconnect between liberals and reality never ceases to amaze me. It’s liberals who are the imperialists. They crave more and bigger government at every turn, wanting to control the freaking world for crissakes. They are the biggest con artists on the planet, cloaking themselves as do-gooders as they strap on their jack-boots.

    Their God, Al Gore, flies hundreds of thousands of miles around the globe on private jets to lecture others about, um, pollution. His home consumes FAR more energy than the average person he lectures, but that’s OK because he BUYS carbon credits. How about this; every single person on the planet gets an equal ‘carbon’ share, PERIOD. No one’s entitled to more just because they’re wealthier (ahem, from carbon trading schemes). Now THAT’S equality.

    Oh, and then there’s the Hollywood do-gooders who take their productions to low-cost areas to pay the local yokels as little as possible to ‘save’ money in order to pay ‘stars’ and studio honchos tens of millions.

    The liberals sham list is endless.

    And let’s not forget that you can barely find any liberal commenting about anything with out mentioning Sarah Palin. Can you say NEUROTIC? Obsessive Compulsive Disorder? For crissakes, the woman rose to become a governor through hard work, had a high approval rating, stood up to people in her own party and worked with people from the opposition party, has a nice family and you loony liberals make mind-numbingly juvenile comments like wondering if she can think.

    That’s a hoot coming from Obama worshipers, a man who twice helped elect the biggest bozo governor Illinois has ever had (even after he was under investigation).

    Anyway, thanks for ANOTHER reminder of why I will never vote for a Democrat again (another working-class, union member fleeing); liberalism IS a mental disorder

  50. So, what’s with all this eminent domain talk, anyway? Kicking natives off their land is not eminent domain, it’s manifest destiny. (Eminent domain requires citizenship.) And, while it was originally a bipartisan idea, “manifest destiny” was definitely taken over by the right some time within the last 50 years.

  51. Heh, looks like this entry being featured on Breitbart’s horrid Big Hollywood is sending all the Dirty Harry disciples over here.

    Of all the people Jeff purged, I really wish he hadn’t banned Nolte/Dirty Harry, because at least here you could call him out on his bullshit. Whereas on BH, and formerly DH’s Place and Libertas, he just deletes anything he doesn’t like or agree with.

    Here’s his review, which couldn’t be more predictable if it was Ken Turan penning his yearly love letter to Clint Eastwood:

    http://bighollywood.breitbart.com/jjmnolte/2009/12/11/review-camerons-avatar-is-a-big-dull-america-hating-pc-revenge-fantasy/

    I even skew kinda right, but Big Hollywood gets some of the stupidest commenters this side of the IMDB message boards.

  52. Yes, Howlingman…they got their talking points memo… straight from the White House and Cheney!…. (oh wait……)

    (sorry, but that “talking points” grand conspiracy thing gets old… like Rahm doesn’t tap his friends at NBC and NYT?…. ugh)

    And yes, that Breitbart site review WAS totally predicable. That’s why I don’t pay attention to critics who let politics dictate their opinions. Ebert hated “Absolute Power” because, (he admitted it) he thought it was a jab at his friend Clinton. Travers (predictably) didn’t like “Saving Private Ryan” because he’s an old hippy and didn’t dig seeing US soldiers not raping young girls and burning villages to the ground.

    Oy.

  53. “Ebert hated “Absolute Power” because, (he admitted it) he thought it was a jab at his friend Clinton.”

    Here is a link to Roger Ebert’s review of ‘Absolute Power’, in which he mentions neither hating the movie nor Bill Clinton.

    http://rogerebert.suntimes.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/19970214/REVIEWS/702140301/1023

    Should I spoil it and say how many stars he gave it? I’ll give you a hint: three and a half out of four. Way to stand up for your friend Bill, Rog!

    I can’t find the Travers review of ‘Saving Private Ryan’ on-line, but I’m going to give you the benefit of the doubt and assume it actually *was* negative, I’d still think it might contain any number of valid criticisms of that film, since the bulk of it is just a stock “guys on a mission” war movie. And, as for ‘Absolute Power’, the reason I even went to read Ebert’s review was the surprise that he’d need a specific political reason to not like that movie; it’s not awful or terrible, but it’s not very good either. Just another generic ’90′s thriller which happened to have a good director, by my memory.

  54. Are you SURE about Ebert?

    I never read his printed review, I’m basing it on the show. Actually it might have been Siskel who found it all rather distasteful and too much of a shot at Clinton….

    I probably remembered it as Ebert because he is SUPER liberal and his views often do color a film.

    Point is, it shouldn’t color your view one way or another. I happen to enjoy Michael Medved on the radio (though he’s more socially conservative than I am, for sure) and think that he’s very good at what he does when he’s talking politics. That being said I pay little to no attention to his movie reviews because he approaches almost all of them through a very conservative prism.

    (i.e. he raved about “Radio” and that Kurt Cameron fire fighter movie because they had positive family Christian values or some such bullshit to them)

    And how many people do you know who hate “Forrest Gump” because they believe it carries some hidden right-wing message in it? (I know quite a few)

  55. “Are you SURE about Ebert? I never read his printed review, I’m basing it on the show.”

    It’s an interesting approach to an argument; rather than checking the evidence itself, you ask if I’m sure and then say you weren’t sure anyway, and it’s still true of Ebert even if the evidence you cited doesn’t prove it, and it’s true of other critics too. Problem being, you’ve got no examples left on the left.

    “And how many people do you know who hate “Forrest Gump” because they believe it carries some hidden right-wing message in it? (I know quite a few)”

    I’ve never heard somebody cite this as their primary or only reason for not liking ‘Forrest Gump’. I’ve definitely heard people mention it, but the people who think that way tend to find the story itself simplistic and corny anyway, whether they’ve lamped to that level of subtext in the movie or not.

    “Point is, it shouldn’t color your view one way or another.”

    That’s true. But the evidence you’ve provided so far comes off as you letting your view of Ebert color your view of his reviews a lot more than it comes off as Ebert letting his views color his reviews.

  56. I’m thinking this is going to be another Water World. That movie was another high budget movie with the wrong message. Movies like that try to be serious movies but suddenly take themselves too seriously (like the scene showing the Exxon Valdes sinking) and become, inadvertently, comical. I can see from the trailer there is plenty of opportunity for Avatar to take itself too seriously. Should be pretty funny, though it is depressing to think some people do actually think that way.

  57. Jesus, Gordon…. this is Hollywood Elsewhere, not a fucking courtroom….

    Nice to know you’re doing research on my behalf….

    Ya got me… I mixed up Ebert and Siskel’s review… busted….

    Are you going to spend the better part of your Sunday trying to track down video from that particular “At The Movies”?

    And I’ve met plenty of people who hate “Forrest Gump” for the very reason I mentioned. If they had a problem with the story or thought it was corny they tended to perhaps not care for it as much as so many other people. No, the people that really HATE it do so because they think it’s some kind of right-wing, anti-counter-culture Reagan-esque fantasy.

    Don’t believe me? Wait until it next comes up as a subject here.

    And you really don’t think Ebert’s views color his reviews? (not just politically, by the way)

    He is, along with Ken Burns, the guiltiest white man in America. Has there ever been a film that took place in the “hood” that he didn’t fawn over?

    It’s as if “Crash” were made specifically for him.

    Another thing. Wells spent the past several weeks dogging on “Avatar” in anticipation of not liking it. He sees it and goes bananas. Perhaps the politics of it is what got him.

    BTW Remember last year when everyone on here was freaking out because they were afraid there was a subliminal, pro-Cheney subtext to “Dark Knight”?

  58. Glenn Beck made up that Pro-Cheney context so no. I don’t remember anyone “panicking” about it. Beck is about as qualified to review film as he is to review literature.

  59. All this arguing over a film seems a bit silly does it not? I mean the Na’vi’s home planet was pretty much invaded by humans. I don’t see how them fighting back was a bad thing or how an Ex-Marine joining them was bad either.

    If our planet was invaded by an alien race to harvest our resources for their monetary gain are you saying none of you would fight back?

  60. You guys have an imaginative ideas in the movie. This is story of the movie is just an imagination of the writer and nothing politics on it. In our inbound call center office, what we see there are all entertainment. Nothing personal nor politics. Its the business or entertainment.

  61. I believed that the AVATAR movie speaks for itself when it comes to message to the viewer. The writers in this movie clearly show that the good always win against the evil so there is nothing to debate on the motive.

  62. This movie is hitting at the right time if the overtones are anti-corporate. With the bank bailouts, people unable to get mortgage refinancing to save their homes, and the fat cats on wall street collecting big bonuses on the taxpayers dime. I see where this is a hit movie among the teens and adults.

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  64. God, I hate that movie. Completely over-rated. Sure, the 3-d was a nice touch, but after 2 1/2 hours OF THE SAME THING, it gets old. No wonder I wanted to read yet another Avatar movie review in which they smear the Na ‘Vi. There has been some video game news about the movie that hasn’t been too inspiring either. But, since it’s the biggest movie ever, you know we won;t hear the end of it for quite some time…

  65. I thought Avatar was a quality movie. I’m sick of everyone whining about the political messages. I know it was pro natute also with all the Timber Garages and free article directory in the forest that had the brain and talked to the animals and indigenous people. The Avatars were huge too and the girls alien was sexy clothing big time with some nice curves. Overall, I didn’t care one bit about the political messages that James Cameron felt were necessary; I just enjoyed the movie in 3D.

  66. Wait DZ,

    Avatar=Do the Right Thing?

    Where is that track going? Do the Right Thing had a huge racial impact what does Avatar have to do with that? Are you referring to Paramount pimping it for money and that equates to FOX?

  67. If Sarah Palin and her supporters see this movie, they are just going to think about how much the Na’vi resemble the common, salt-of-the-earth, middle America types oppressed by the tyrannical, intrusive Kenyan/Muslim administration trying to barge in and take away their hard-earned wages and guns. It just might inspire them to throw some massive tea-party insurgency against those in power. Timothy McVeigh would have loved this flick.

    It’s also the most blatantly anti-immigration movie ever made.

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  68. Anyway, whatever.

    I’m not at all surprised by the politics of this film. It’s James Cameron. As long as the movie is as good as people are saying it is I’m there with sparkly bells on.

    The coffee shop liberalism is not going to bother me because I’m so accustomed to it nor will it “convert” me. (“I guess Howard Zinn was on to something!”) Because it’s a fucking movie. A fictional movie.

    It is funny, though, that many of the people who would ridicule “conservatives” for having their noses tweaked by the message of this film are the same ones who’ll say “I shall NEVER see another Jon Voight film ever again!”

    And R.I.P. Gene Barry.

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  69. Outstanding! Wells is on fire today. By far the best Avatar coverage of anywhere, and beautiful writing.

    A sci-fi blockbuster told from the Chomsky/Zinn prism, by James Cameron… this is better than sex.

    Many will try to pin down Avatar as simply an anti-American diatribe against the invasion and occupation of iraq and Afghanistan, but Cameron wrote this thing in 1995. I’m sure some tweaks were made to take some shots at Bush, but the story goes well beyond that and can apply to almost any time in all of recorded human history. Which is why, as we get closer to heading to the stars and exporting our imperialism, it’s important that a story like this be told on a blockbuster scale.

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  70. While Avatar is being hailed as a breakthrough to new levels of filmic techno-sophistication – its 3D and special effects are wrapped around a scintillating story line that is driven by thermonuclear political intensity. Avatar is a hyper-political film from its gripping beginning to its illuminating end.

    In a nutshell, Avatar’s political message is: The American Military-Industrial Complex will utterly destroy the known universe. Avatar depicts a war in heaven – on a mythological planet named “Pandora” – where the cosmic box is opened to reveal that the evil demons set loose to destroy humanity are – us – the US of A. The evil Usses are, indeed, Us.

    A brief recapitulation for anyone who has not yet seen the film: The US Military-Industrial Complex is hell-bent to colonize and mine Pandora for its rare extra-terrestrial element, Unobtainium, a mineral with anti-gravitational properties that will resolve the terminal decline of Earth and permit the colonization of more planets for the aggressive exploitation of the universe in pursuit of energy to fuel an endless cycle of extraction and consumption.

    The characters of Avatar are archetypes. The protagonist is a paraplegic ex-Marine named Jake Sully who became paralyzed from the waist down like the heroic Ron Kovacs in some future US military intervention. Sully is proselytized into a high-level research program on a far-flung planet that will liberate him from his paralysis with occasional interludes as the mind of an avatar – a native of Pandora, a humanoid people, the Na’vi. On the distant planet, Jake Sully meets the lead scientist of the inchirieri auto Avatar project, Dr. Grace Augustine, and her dual nemeses, Parker Selfridge, the corporate bureaucrat driving the mission to mine Unobtainium, and Miles Quaritch – the US military commander of the Pandora invasion.

  71. Avatar, remains in effect for a long time in my life I have watched and is one of six masterpieces.

    After the movie my friends went into a shock. I wonder if this dream, they went after him two more times to watch could not get enough anyway.

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  72. Its amazing how this is America the land of the FREE but yet there isn’t anything you can enjoy without someone else getting involved and ruining it. Can’t watch any Movies or even listen to your favorite music without politics getting involved.

  73. I see some other commenters giving you crap for your writing style. I think its bold and on the psychological level its a title that calls attention to it. Usually I dont read many blogs but this one caught my eye just by the title. Thats a good example of writing at its liga 1 live best. Some people say the vulgarity is unnecessary but its probably the reason they read this post as well, so mission accomplished. Good job.

  74. As far as the political angle of “Avatar”….. yeah, duh! It’s Cameron, for crying out loud. Did we expect anything different? As a non-hippie I’ve become used to his jive.

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  76. Just remember that righties hate ‘eminent domain’ laws more than anyone…and there’s a huge anti-corporate/ED slant to this film (at least from what I gather from the trailers). …you are right..

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  79. I agree with you that the movie has been made from a biased perspective politically and this is wrong. Great work pointing it out. Other than that the movie is superb with great graphics and awesome direction and acting. By that point does come to mind while watching it.

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  83. Of all the people Jeff purged, I really wish he hadn’t banned Nolte/Dirty Harry,

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  84. For many hundred years its been done this way, poor suffers and rich have no idea where should they spend money?

    I agree with your thoughts, Avatar is not the only example, there are countless others and will continue to come!

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  87. I noticed the left-wing bias in this movie as well. I suspect that there are plenty of others that did also. This is just one example of many movies with a demo slant which should come as no surprise since most of “Hollywood” are left-wingers anyway. cheap seo

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  100. If you follow the story of avatar it almost the exact story as Pocahontas. Lush new world, mining for resources, tribe of locals, hero learns the way of nature. etc. It goes on and on. It’s a basic story about protecting nature. I’m not sure that’s anti right wing or not, but it is sure pro-environmentalism.

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  106. I didn’t like the trailers of the film. Now this gives me another reason to not like it. I predict a bust at the box office.Every step taken toward the installment of Sharia law will be justifiable to the person who values appearance more than freedom and democracy.

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  107. Yes, it’s very teenaged adolescent in its super-imaginative wacko visions and exuberant energy levels, but politically it’s pure Che Guevara (more the Motorcycle Diaries or Che-in-Cuba version than Che in Bolivia), Naom Chomsky, Hugo Chavez, Howard Zinn, Gore Vidal, Oliver Stone, etc. Cameron is an earth-hugging lefty from way back (the flagrant despise-the-arrogant-rich current in Titanic being but one example) so this should come as no surprise to anyone. I for one am cheered and heartened.

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  109. Thank you for the sensible critique. Me and my neighbor were just preparing to do some research about this. We got a grab a book from our local library but I think I learned more from this post. I am very glad to see such great information being shared freely out there.

  110. As much as I love Cameron’s work and as much as I enjoyed Avatar – been four times to the cinema in Bucharest – I have to say that the parallel between the troops in the movie and a current image of the US military politics is too obvious. Avatar is however picturing the military offenders (and therefore US indirectly) as if they had only the bad side to them. Of course, a couple of honorable heroes, who maintained closer contact with the natives of Pandora, are a metaphor for the leftist stream. I recently participated in a survey with inchirieri auto Baneasa, measuring the perception of certain cars by car rental clients, where the outcome was a certain set of ‘keywords’ describing each brand. And it is amazing that Jeep got for example the following: powerful, American, aggressive, dominant. I believe that this has be clearly a result of a media massage, starting with the news and finishing with the motion picture as you correctly stated, presenting US as military radicals. Apparently the ‘left ones’ go further than you’d think :)

  111. Hi jeffrey, When I watched Avatar I really didn’t pick up on this. After reading your article it is obvious Cameron put his political beliefs in the film. Now that you mention it right-minded people don’t really like Avatar kenny@ the buy Nintendo 3ds site thanks.

  112. I must say that the script of Avatar was the most poor one that I have seen in sci-fi movies. The concept was stolen from the book of Harry Harrison “World of Death” every thing on Pandora planet was took from there.

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  113. I am actually from South Africa, so the fact that the NAVI are so obviously meant to represent disadvantaged native types was apparent to me immiediately.. That thing that the Navi do where they look at eachother and say “I see you”… that is something which derives from the Zulu culture here in South Africa.

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  114. This post is hugely insiteful… Avatar is so blatantly politicized that it actually makes Blood Diamond look like there might not be a political agenda behind it at all… and that is saying a lot! Avatar is the left wing movie of the Millenium!!

  115. Avatar is a very important movie, it show to us that we have to respect other people ideas, even if we do not undestand them. Two thumbs up to the people who made this blog.

  116. This post really is SPOT ON! Avatar is so politically charged it’s scary. The Navu traditions actually remind me a lot of the Zulu traditions in South Africa. ‘I see you’ (which is what the Navu always say) is something which derives from an African tribe – pretty sure it’s the Zulus. Anyway, great piece of writing very insightful.

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  118. Excellent read, I just passed this onto a colleague who was doing a little research on that. And he actually bought me lunch because I found it for him smile So let me rephrase that:

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  120. eh, Cameron might be a left wing nut job but he is a genius left wing nut job. That man know show to make a movie, end of story. So judge and hate all you want but he will still be the talented man he is. Annuities

  121. “eh, Cameron might be a left wing nut job but he is a genius left wing nut job. That man know show to make a movie, end of story. So judge and hate all you want but he will still be the talented man he is” – i’m agree with you

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  125. I think that politics is a real threat for our freedom. I sometimes come here and take some links from you, but I read what you say.

    This is really something…Sarah Pallin wants to candidate for presidency…if someone hates Avatar, she or he should stay away from politics

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  128. Hollywood can’t stop making movies promoting their political agendas any more than main stream media can stop spinning the news to suit their hidden (or not so hidden) agendas. Nothing ever changes.

  129. I think that the Avatar movie was the best movie that I had seen in a while. I think that people can make a big issue out of anything; it seems that we a society love to make things up about movies and everything. Personally if someone does not like the movie then they shouldn’t watch it. The Best Spinner

  130. I never see the political message in the movie Avatar. I just enjoyed the film, it’s amazing visual effect and it’s story and fine actors. I don’t see it politically inclined. Nice article you have here.

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  131. The article was a good one, however, maybe because I’m a foreigner, I coldn’t find any left or right wing message. Sure, it may be biased, but I found it entertaining and fun to watch.

  132. This is a very interesting review. I admire where you get your ideas from. I enjoyed reading this. I don’t know if this is really a review or a political satire. I love your blog!

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  135. In fact, at one point a character says “We will fight terror with terror!” There’s another reference to a “shock and awe” campaign. When it appears that the Na’vi are refusing to vacate their land so the government can mine the minerals there, the military will stop at nothing to achieve their goal — even if it means killing every Na’vi and replacing all the delicate plant life with an apocalyptic landscape of charred rubble and chaos. Ring a bell? Top Toys For Christmas 2011

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  137. Avatar is fun to watch, but I think some people might be reading too far into it. Then again, maybe its message runs a lot deeper and has a lot more symbolism than I ever noticed. Perhaps we need to ask Cameron himself.

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  138. Great work! There is absolutely nothing conservative about that. It may benefit a lot of Republicans, but if you can’t distinguish between Republicans and conservatives. thanks for the sharing this discussion with us,

  139. Great work! There is absolutely nothing conservative about that. It may benefit a lot of Republicans, but if you can’t distinguish between Republicans and conservatives. thanks for the sharing this discussion with us,

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  158. Avatar is steeped more in New Ageism than in leftist politics, though it certainly has a left-of-center-stick-it-to-the-Man bent.

    Thanks for the post and the food for thought.

  159. This post is hugely insiteful… Avatar is so blatantly politicized that it actually makes Blood Diamond look like there might not be a political agenda behind it at all… and that is saying a lot! Avatar is the left wing movie of the Millenium!!

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  161. “Yes, it’s very teenaged adolescent in its super-imaginative wacko visions and exuberant energy levels, but politically it’s pure Che Guevara..” I agree with this..

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  169. Why can’t we just both agree to get stuff done. I mean the people that get hurt are the main street people not the lobbiest, right wing or left wing politicians. There has to be a better common ground to all this.

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  171. I must admit that politics is not my kind. It is about laughing at others and generally guessing all the time. What a waste of time. trying to undermine others. I rather support them and make them stronger… Like the navy seals who are giving their best years to help us keep the fragile balance of peace… we support males male enhancement pills

  172. If Sarah Palin sees Avatar and then sits down and actually thinks about what it’s saying (which is always a dicey proposition, I admit), she’ll hate this movie. Because Avatar hates her and her kind.

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