Avatar Faces Controversy, Stays on Top

By Ashley Bagwell

   A majestic mountainside floats mightily behind the bright and beautiful foreground of changing colors and breathtaking jungles. Juxtaposed beside the cold steel and lumbering machines of destruction, this James Cameron film starts with a wonderful idea of the spectacular special effects that lie ahead.

   How, one is led to wonder, can critics pick apart such an incredible film? The fact of the matter is that it simply can’t be done. One major controversy surrounding this film suggests that the plot has been stolen from films such as Delgo and FernGully: The Last Rainforest.

   While these plots may all focus on an environmentally friendly message, a message common to any number of films, and some may then further employ the aspect of an alien race, the similarities all seem to stop here. The fact being that while environmental awareness may seem like an important aim of Avatar, it can easily be counted among the many other messages found in twists and turns of this ever thickening plot.

   Another, more superficial, issue surrounding this film is the negative implications of having one of the main characters, portrayed by Sigourney Weaver, smoke periodically throughout the film. Many critics are upset because they feel that this paints smoking in a positive light by having one the movie’s heroes smoke.

   “We were showing that Grace doesn’t care about her human body, only her avatar body,” Cameron said. “[The smoking] is a negative comment about people in our real world live too much in their avatars, meaning online and in video games.”

   Many times, when a movie is released, critics often feel it is their sacred duty to pick apart every symbol and every motif until they can find something wrong. Whether or not the plot is too cliché or the smoking is too repulsive, the groundbreaking, eye-popping, heart-stopping effects will always outweigh the negatives when viewing this film.