Having just seen Avatar on the weekend, I read Miranda Devine’s recent column on the movie. A quick skim of the column when it was published clearly indicated it was a rant – and it’s even sillier after seeing the movie.
Miranda, it’s a movie – an enjoyable movie. She writes:
Cameron proudly declares Avatar is some sort of allegory for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, with the capitalist, imperialist Christian West the villain. He portrays the US soldiers who arrive on Pandora in the service of some multinational corporation as moronic, sadistic and determined to wipe out the peace-loving, nature-worshipping natives just so they can mine the valuable substance under their home.
“We know what it feels like to launch the missiles,” Cameron told The Times. “We don’t know what it feels like for them to land on our home soil, not in America. I think there’s a moral responsibility to understand that.” A self -described “child of the ’60s” the Canadian-born director claims he is “opening” American eyes.
(Spoiler warning: plot revealed next.)
The triumph at the end of the movie occurs when the Na’vi slaughter the Americans, shooting down their helicopters and gunships.
It’s extraordinary that, while American soldiers are dying in dangerous wars on foreign soil, a mainstream movie would show such cartoonish contempt for them.
Oh please Miranda – firstly, it’s the wildlife that destroys the forces in the film after the Na’vi are mostly defeated. Secondly, is Miranda suggesting that films shouldn’t display American troops being defeated – films that may or may not be allegories of current wars? Should this apply whenever US troops are in a war? This is absurd. I wonder if Miranda was short of an idea and threw the column together at short notice.
What makes Miranda’s protestations even more absurd is that the movie’s plot is fairly standard. A fight of the unpowerful and dispossessed against powerful nasty interlopers – interlopers who kill and use force to destroy homes in order to extract resources for the use of their employers. Miranda, it might really be a tale of intelligent beings asserting their property rights!