Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Why I hate avatar

I hate avatar.

Yes. The movie. Lots of people like it. It’s made tons of money. People keep seeing it. Even I’ve seen it twice now. I went to see it cause my aunt… didn’t get it the first time. Or something. She wasn’t very clear, but she likes to see the technology. She told me that first time she kept trying to figure out what sort of costume the N’avi actors were wearing, and that she found out later that it was computer stuff. Things like that.

Anyway I am switching gears here and talking about these goldfish, here. They’re a new brand (I think) part of this “mix-up” line, called “mix-up adventures.” On the cover here there is this whitish, feminine parmesan flavor goldfish (named brooke, for reasons I cannot fathom) and an extreme orange, with extremely raised eyebrow (named xtreme) and a noticeable (manly) chin. They’re sort of colliding together in front of a green and red background, and little pictures of goldfish are flying off from the explosion that culminates in a white line in the middle (cough, cough, Italy). Anyway the actual flavor is called like “extra cheesy pizza” because parmesan plus cheese equals pizza. Actually it does, this stuff is delicious, but it’s retarded. The back has a little thing about the adventures these little anthropomorphic crackers are going on in Italy. Fantastic. I am being sold Italy in a pouch. Very cool.

Anyway. Avatar is a movie about some bad corporate dudes who want a rock that is hilariously called unobtanium (jesus shit, is it that hard to come up with a fake rock name?) and in the interest of obtaining it, they do some bad stuff to peaceful and huge alien dudes. Very easy to follow, yeah. IT’s got a nice moral, presented beautifully using the latest technology to deliver such evocative scenes as the n’avi spiritual leader crying and asking for help in front of the giant destroyed tree and the burning space-horse—

Horses were introduced into native American society very late in the game. They only had them for about 200ish years. Seriously, fuck you james Cameron

Running through the burning space jungle. So on, so forth. Very evocative, to the point that people become all depressed cause real life isn’t that awesome. It makes me tear up, it does. But not for the reason you think, nope. It makes me tear up (with rage [no, with sorrow {fuck you I have no emotions}]) because no matter how effective these scenes are at selling this story, they will have no effect on the people watching them. Millions of people will see it, using millions of those glasses, generating millions of dollars in revenue, but no one will change. James Cameron will become even more filthily rich, and we’ll still be shooting people in other countries for no real reason. Nothing. Will. Change.

I guess what bugs me is that it’s an old story told over and over to all sorts of people (peace is good, you fuckers.) and it’s never gotten through, no matter how advanced the medium. The finest in fancy graphics and pretty explosions couldn’t even spark a minor movement, let alone cause humans to reflect on who they are and what they do.

I said all this to my aunt, you see, and she told me “It’s just entertainment. I don’t see how it’s related to Iraq or any of that.” I dunno. This depresses me. Because it is just entertainment. The movie was made to make a buck, plain and simple. The ideology of peace has been co-opted by the instruments of war. People go to this movie, they think “oh it is so sad those na’vi were killed, oh I would never do that” and they totally ameliorate any reservations they have about our operations in the middle east. They will think, on some level, “well this movie made me feel guilty enough, I must be a good person” and believe that they must be good people, so the things they do must be good.

Things like recycling have the same effect. They fulfill people’s need to feel moral and “good” for society. They’re pacifiers. They’re the methadone for this society. Recycling doesn’t really do any good. Doing real good would require giving up things. Driving less. Taking mass transit. Most people don’t do that. No, they recycle. And only when it’s made supremely easy for them. To the point that dumps (waste processing plants) hire people to stand by a conveyor belt and sort the recycling that comes by. Then the recycled stuff is processed, generating huge amounts of pollution, then sold to companies for profit so that the companies can mark up their products and label them “recycled content” so more people can buy them and feel good about saving the earth. It’s stupid.

The same with movies like avatar. They use morals as a method to sell you a product. They use your emotions to justify your purchase. I hate it. So much. What I’m really scared of, I think, is that this movie is so incredibly popular, that it will rob the legitimacy of actual peace movements, of actual conservationists. When they attempt to convey a message, it will be judged next to this movie. Did this documentary on filicide in china properly evoke enough sad feelings as avatar? Did this movie about the slow and inevitable demise of the orangutan to subsistence hunting make you feel as bad as avatar? But who cares, they’re just entertainment. Just like avatar.

I want to write, right? I like to write. I like telling people what I feel about things and that what they feel about things is wrong and they should agree with me if they want to live a happy, healthy, productive life. I am scared, though, that no one will listen to me. But even more than that I am scared that I will write and everyone will listen to me, but no one will understand me. No one will listen to what I’m trying to say, and hear only what I do say. Avatar makes me think of that. I doubt that James Cameron really wanted to convey a pro-peace, anti-corporation, pro conservation, pro-space exploration, pro-science for the sake of science and not simply profit message. I think he really wanted to win an Oscar or something. Or make a lot of money. But it frightens me that something could be made, something with all those messages, and it can be ignored.

That’s why I hate it. It’s just entertainment. It’s just an awesome trip to Italy in a bag.

No comments:

Post a Comment