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 Anti-War Veterans Review "Avatar" 
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Post Anti-War Veterans Review "Avatar"
Excellent review on James Cameron's "Avatar" from Winston Warfield in Boston.
Gordon

(original dated Dec 23, 2009)
Leaving aside the growing feeling that the entire population of the U.S. outside of its elites could be opposed to imperial occupation in Southwest Asia, and it still wouldn’t matter because public opinion isn’t power, the just-released Hollywood blockbuster “Avatar” is as good a mass-distribution entertainment as it gets from the standpoint of anti-imperialist politics and the understanding of deep-environmentalism. To boot, it’s technically an artistic masterpiece of visual richness and a kick-ass action flick. Just a hint: see it in IMAX and 3-D for the full, twenty megaton impact. You won’t be disappointed.

Gallons of ink have already been spilled in the left blogosphere regarding the critical role now being played by the “soft” sciences of psychology and anthropology whoring itself out to Pentagon counterinsurgency in the AfPak theater. As well, those who think about these things are increasingly alarmed at the mating up of CIA black ops, Special Forces, and an enormous army of mercenaries unaccountable to any legal framework, including the Uniform Code of Military Justice, a nightmare redux of the Phoenix Program in Vietnam now writ large in the AfPak arena. Obama’s Dirty War.
You want an outstanding popularized version of how all this interlocks, check out “Avatar”, which is an astoundingly-good movie not just on an action and technical level. It explores the role of corporate-imperial force and subordination of a native culture through the science-fiction medium of the avatar, to infiltrate an indigenous people in order to induce its cooperation though skilled manipulation, using the carrot-and-stick of do-gooder anthropology and mercenary hunter-killer terror. Director Cameron even understands that the aliens (what we now call the “indig’s” in AfPak) don’t want our roads or schools, in other words want to keep their own way of life.
“Avatar” of course centers around a romantic story, wherein the gung-ho Marine vet “avatar”, now mercenary, gets into the whole dynamic of “going native”, which we Vietnam and AfPak vets know about. I remember the stories in Nam about this or that grunt who just “disappeared” into the bush, and the understanding was that it wasn’t due to hostile action that he didn’t come back. The belief was that he found a vill somewhere, and a lover from among the local people, and joined the “enemy” culture. Special Forces is especially prone to this dynamic, where infiltration and cultural knowledge are part of the suite of military skills. There was even a myth afoot of a black G.I. who had flipped over to the Vietcong and actually led them in combat. We never knew if these were just rumors or legends, but we didn’t find them impossible to believe. The central theme of “Avatar” is just this cultural absorption of a “westerner”, in this case an other-worlder, by the targeted people.
The morally-compromised role of professional science, whereby Sigourney Weaver is the anthropologist in love with the alien culture on planet Pandora, is skillfully fleshed out by Cameron. She and her team are an integral part of the corporate mission to trick and ultimately humiliate and wreck the indigenous culture, but naively believe they can still “turn” the corporate mining interests and mercenary killers into respectful deal-makers with the natives. We can’t help but equate this to liberal Obama administration policy, which now tries to re-package neocon butchery as “humanitarian” militarism. “We just have to build more schools, blah, blah…” Director Cameron makes it quite clear that Pandora’s humanoid inhabitants have a culture of their own and wish to be left alone. Indeed, that “we” are the “aliens”.
The globalist planetary rapine and pillage of our own planet here on Earth is counter-posed to the Na’vi culture on Pandora, which worships an “earth”-deity and believes in the total interconnectedness of all living things, not unlike the Giaism religion which holds that the entire biological envelope of our own planet is one living organism, and that we humans are killing it. So this movie on top of good, updated and topical anti-imperialist politics, has a strong ecological message.
Lest all this message stuff seem heavy-handed, Cameron has wrapped it inside a kick-ass action story - a guerrilla struggle against overwhelming odds, replete with the most outlandish collection of fearsome alien beasts you will see, and placed the entire narrative in a computer-generated setting which is artistically stunning in its imagination and delicate beauty. Those who’ve dived on the world’s remaining healthy reefs will recognize some of the arresting visual themes, like the resplendent flowers which seem to disappear in an instant at the lightest touch, just as do living corals when retracting into their protective shells.
“Avatar” is a must-see, and on top of being exceptional entertainment, will educate millions of young viewers around the world on important political and ecological issues facing our planet.

Sincerely,
Winston Warfield

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Last edited by Gordon Sturrock on Sat Dec 26, 2009 11:55 pm, edited 1 time in total.



Sat Dec 26, 2009 11:53 pm
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Post Re: Anti-War Veterans Review "Avatar"
Here's my own review, much shorter, released just a day or two before Winston's (above).
Gordon


Dec. 22, 2009
A new movie out **could** be a big shot in the arm for efforts to end the wars and illegal occupations. Written and directed by James Cameron (Titanic, Aliens, Terminator, Terminator 2), "Avatar" is a barely veiled allegory about U.S. imperialism.
US military working as thugs for corporate interests who seek extremely rare and valuable Unobtainium, scheme to remove indigenous humanlike Na'vi who live above large ground deposits of the rare mineral. The Na'vi have strong spiritual bonds with their home planet of Pandora, much like Native Americans, or todays "environmentalists", but in a more SciFi way. Using futuristic(?) medical technology, they clone Na'vi and implant a means of remote mind control into the clones so they can infiltrate and gain trust among the unsuspecting indigenous people, in order to scam them of the riches that lay underneath their habitat. Failing 'peaceful' persuasion, the military plans to use force. But resistance arises from within the military and one young former Marines who didn't fall for the lies.

Movies homepage: http://www.avatarmovie.com/

More from Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Avatar_(2009_film)

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