Friday 24 February 2017

David Quinn: Spirituality is real reason behind Avatar's success

David Quinn

David Quinn

Actors Sam Worthington and Zoe Saldana, as her digital character Neytiri, in a scene from 'Avatar' - the highest grossing film of all time
Actors Sam Worthington and Zoe Saldana, as her digital character Neytiri, in a scene from 'Avatar' - the highest grossing film of all time

It's official: 'Avatar' is now the highest grossing film of all time. This week it passed out another of James Cameron's offerings, 'Titanic', to occupy the top slot. What do both films have in common? Spectacle. What else do they have in common? A very simple story with cartoonish, black and white, cardboard cut-out characters.

Actually, it's too easy to pick holes in 'Avatar', for its story, its politics, its philosophy. It's so easy you wouldn't even bother, except for the fact that so many people have seen it, and then seen it again.

The story rips off 'Pocahontas' and 'Dances with Wolves'. The politics is essentially anti-capitalist and anti-American. (The villains are obviously American even if they're not directly identified as such.) The philosophy is a mix of New Age environmentalism and the myth of the Noble Savage contrasted with the corruption of the 'civilised' white man.

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