Vatican: Avatar is no masterpiece
James Cameron has taken a "bland approach" with his sci-fi movie Avatar, the Vatican's newspaper has said.
L'Osservatore Romano said the plot of the film - which has already taken more than a billion dollars at the worldwide box office - is unoriginal and its message not new.
"He tells the story without going deep into it, and ends up falling into sappiness," it said.
L'Osservatore Romano and Vatican Radio dedicated ample coverage to the film, but the reviews were lukewarm and they suggested it was superficial in its eco-message, despite groundbreaking visual effects.
L'Osservatore said the film "gets bogged down by a spiritualism linked to the worship of nature". Vatican Radio said it "cleverly winks at all those pseudo-doctrines that turn ecology into the religion of the millennium".
"Nature is no longer a creation to defend, but a divinity to worship," the radio said.
Vatican spokesman Rev Federico Lombardi said while the movie reviews are just that - film criticism, with no theological weight - they do reflect Pope Benedict XVI's views on the dangers of turning nature into a "new divinity".
Avatar tells the tale of the tall blue creatures who inhabit Pandora and contend with humans' intent on grabbing the resources of their planet.
"So much stupefying, enchanting technology, but few genuine emotions," said L'Osservatore Romano.
Vatican Radio did say, however, that "really never before have such surprising images been seen" while L'Osservatore said the movie's worth lies in its "extraordinary visual impact".