I finally caught Avatar today, after giving up (for now) trying to see the film in IMAX 3D (endless sold-out shows), and settling for a regular 3D showing, which I least saw on a fairly large screen. The verdict? It's maybe not the most sophisticated of stories; basically it comes down to us versus them. Oh, but what an us (the exotic Na'vi on their lush, equally exotic planet), and what a them (a take-no-prisoners earth military armed with all manner of deadly hardware)... and what a fight when they finally go head to head.
Plus, the subversive guts James Cameron's movie has! My movie theater showed its usual military recruitment ad before the film began (a National Guard tribute this time, instead of the usual chorus of praise to the U.S. Marines), but then barely a few minutes later, once the film begins, we see Cameron's military forces, which are clearly modeled after the current U.S. military, being set up as the invading heavies in his epic adventure. Wow. And if that isn't enough, we see the sympathetic earth scientist, played by Siguorney Weaver, regularly puffing on a cigarette... and made to look cool. Take that, p.c. police!
There's a lot more to say about Avatar, and I will, but those are two things that made me smile in my seat. Whatever your politics or worldview, isn't it gratifying that, occasionally, a movie funded to the gills by corporate America isn't afraid to annoy and offend sacred cows like the military and the healthy-lifestyle crowd? At the very least, thank you for that, Mr. Cameron.