With the critical consensus for Avatar swinging dramatically into the positive, an Armond White takedown review was inevitable. And now, it’s here! The Up–hating, Norbit–loving NY Press critic tears Avatar apart, calling it “the corniest movie ever made about the white man’s need to lose his identity and assuage racial, political, sexual and historical guilt.” He grants that it’s “technically impressive” (Pandora is “undeniably pretty”), and Sam Worthington is “great,” but claims Cameron “bungles the good part: the meaning.”
Here we go:
Cameron’s superficial B-movie tropes pretend philosophical significance. His story’s rampant imperialism and manifest destiny recalls Vietnam-era revisionist westerns like Soldier Blue, but it’s essentially a sentimental cartoon with a pacifist, naturalist message. Avatar condemns mankind’s plundering and ruin of a metaphorical planet’s ecology and the aboriginals’ way of life. Cameron fashionably denounces the same economic and military system that make his technological extravaganza possible. It’s like condemning NASA—yet joyriding on the Mars Exploration Rover.
Also, it’s not as good as Gamer. Man, now we can’t wait to see it!
Blue in the Face [NYPress]