I quite enjoyed this at the time. James Cameron’s massively hyped, almost a generation in the making, film that’s supposed to change the face of film-making: its not all bad. I was gripped and on the edge of my seat at times. I was truly blown away by a film that looked genuinely stunning (although, like all the other 3D films I’ve seen, it doesn’t benefit from the third dimension). It was baggy, but I was more or less held for the duration of the two and a half hours. So, all told, pretty diverting.
It’s only when you step away and think about the ‘big picture’ of this very biggest of pictures that you realise what an offensive, hypocritical piece of self-righteous nonsense this is. Cameron has spent a vast amount of money on bringing to life what he says was in his head. From that point of view, the money is well spent – its brilliantly realised with depth and imagination. Which it makes it all the more offensive that no attention was paid to a baggy plot, a script that could have been written by any idealistic 16-year old. Or to peddle a philosophy that talks peace and love, but builds to what is essentially a big action-movie, let’s blow stuff up pay-off. Or to talk the talk of new, sane and urgent environmentalism in the face of so-called progress and corporate greed, while running a production that must have had a carbon footprint the size of a city. If Cameron’s such an environmentalist, can he come out and tell us how much of an impact his production had?
Let’s be clear – Cameron’s made a couple of films I really enjoyed and one or two classics. Avatar, though, is what we deserve – a movie perfect for the age of politically spun smoke and mirrors: have your mind blown by something amazing, all the while smuggling under the radar a money-making machine with no soul and no concern for anything other than a quick buck or surface sheen. I did enjoy it, but it just goes to show how much we get taken in; empty, good-looking and soulless. It spin, it’s pornography, it’s hypocrisy. Cameron may have tried to change to industry, but if this is what we’re going to get then he’s ruined it.
James Cameron: hang your head in shame.