"Avatar:" Global Warming Propaganda, Hypocrisy or Warning?


"Avatar" Na'vi battle Earthlings exploiting Pandora. Image courtesy of 20th Century Fox.

The year is 2154. Earth is under ecological siege. Six light-years away, the moon of Pandora possesses a resource called Unobtanium (yep!) that holds the answers to the ravages on the environment. But the nature-worshiping indigenous inhabitants, the Na'vi (short for native perhaps?), don't take too kindly to human's invading to rape and pillage their land. That's the set-up for Avatar. Fair enough. Not according to Newsbusters, which rails against it for making the world's most expensive "commercial for global warming." And cynics are joining forces with the skeptics.

The LA Times calls it an anti-imperialism movie and anti-technology film filled with contradictions that: "touts the healing powers of nature but is up to its neck in the latest gizmos and gadgets." Though film critics love to find fault, many are mesmerized by James Cameron's imaginative world with its 500 species of flora and fauna, like Hammerhead Titanothere, jellyfish-type Atokirina, Banshees, and Dire Horses as well as the 10-foot blue glowy Na'vi.

So will this sci-fi action-adventure epic blockbuster subconsciously indoctrinate millions of kids with an anti-climate change message? We can hope so, even if not so subtly.

Well, not if the climate change skeptics have their way. They're hell-bent on warning Sen. James Inhofe supporters to beware of Avatar's eco-friendly slant. According to a review in Popular Science:

Avatar is every militant global warming supporter's dream come true as the invading, technology-worshiping, environment-ravaging humans are set upon by an angry planet and its noble inhabitants. But the film's message suffers mightily under the weight of mind-boggling hypocrisy. Cameron's story clearly curses the proliferation of human technology. In Avatar, the science and machinery of humankind leads to soulless violence and destruction. It only serves to pollute the primitive but pristine paradise of Pandora. Of course, without centuries of development in science and technology, the film putting forth this simple-minded, self-loathing worldview wouldn't exist.

Missing the point? Technology isn't the evil. Plundering resources and non-renewable technology is the problem. Well, that's enough to make me curious to see the film now.

PSA or commercial?

In Newsbusters, Noel Sheppard reports "Avatar: A Multi-Million Dollar Ad For Global Warming? (I might say it's "against" rather that "for" global warming but...) he provides director James Cameron's Hollywood Reporter interview as proof that the $357 million epic has an environmental agenda: "At whatever price tag, it's a PSA for global warming -- obviously Republican," says Cameron with a laugh. "I think it's a theme that's a legitimate one." See for yourself:

Not convinced yet? To further the point, Sheppard even quotes "freelance science writer Christina Reed" (neglecting to mention the source he links to is from the NRDC's One Earth magazine): "James Cameron's new movie Avatar arrives coincidentally at the end of the Copenhagen climate talks...Let's demand that our delegates only be allowed into MusikTeatret Albertslund to see the film if they reach a fair and ambitious agreement before the screening time of 7:45 p.m. Friday!"

"Is she a Republican, too, James?" he asks, skipping the irony. But it's just the job of Newsbusters to "document, expose and neutralize liberal media bias."

And then there's the The Rude News which calls Avatar: "The Passion of the Christ for liberals...They are out in their sanctimony-Sunday best extolling the virtues of the aliens over their white, imperialist and capitalist oppressors. The eco-system will rise up and defeat the evil Marines!"

That's it -- I'm splurging on an IMAX ticket.

More on eco-disaster movies:
Eco-dystopia: Trendy Cinematic Vision for the Planet?
Are We Drowning in Dystopias?
5 Eco-Inspired Sci-Fi Movies

Tags: Actors | Conservation | Global Warming Effects | Movies