Actor Stephen Lang: As Avatar's Colonel Miles Quaritch, Lang plays the

role of merciless invader, a kind of modern analogue to Marlon Brando

as Colonel Walter E. Kurtz, in Apocalypse Now.



Cyberpresse, Canada

The Film Avatar is the 'Apocalypse Now of the Virtual Age'


"It's refreshing as hell to see a mainstream director take so many risks, primarily financial, then commercial and finally political, by so directly denouncing American military occupation."


By Nathalie Petrowski



Translated By Juliet Fox


January 10, 2010


Canada - Cyberpresse - Original Article (French)

Film maker James Cameron: What is he trying to say with Avatar? It's a question being asked around the world.



BBC NEWS VIDEO: Glory for James Cameron's Avatar at Golden Globes, 00:02:43, Jan. 18 RealVideo

But for my teenager, who insisted on it, I would never, ever, have gone to see Avatar, James Cameron's mega-fable starring blue giants with the faces of dogs and big yellow balls in the place of eyes. But it was the holiday season, the time of year when every respecting parent is ready to satisfy every whim of her children, giving them free reign to stuff their pockets with films about avatars or monsters.


And so it was that I headed out for Avatar, my purse stuffed with prejudices and my ears ringing with the enlightened comments of my colleagues Cassivi and Lussier, who couldn't stop mentioning on the radio how the plot of this film, with a budget that could feed the whole of Africa, is a complete zero, simplistic, a caricature, and crudely Manichean [a simplistic tale of good vs. evil]. The care that was taken with the special effects, the set design and the art direction never found its equivalent in the development of story and character development. In short, I expected the worst, and when the theater employee handed me an old pair of scratched up 3D glasses, I told myself that the worst was just beginning - and what's more, almost three hours of it. Misery!


But when I passed into the futuristic military lab, where I understood literally none of what was going on, for a first dive into the luxurious and verdant world of the Na'vis, something happened. Not only did I begin to relax and appreciate the journey, but to my great delight I saw the dawn of what would unfold. An ecological fable, and what's more, a film that's ferociously anti-militarist and almost anti-American; a sort of Apocalypse Now for the virtual age without the tormenting profundity of the Joseph Conrad novel and without the intellectuality of its script, but with the same fierce determination to show the ravages of excessive militarization.


"It's rare to have a blockbuster with a position as negative about the state of American civilization," wrote a critic of the magazine Telerama. To which I would add: "It may be rare, but it's refreshing as hell to see a mainstream director take so many risks, primarily financial, then commercial and finally political, by so directly denouncing American military occupation, as much in Vietnam as in Iraq and Afghanistan. A director who, furthermore, has launched into popular culture the bizarre Sanskrit word from the Hundu religion: avatar.


Cameron's only advantage in this respect is that Avatar is not a part of George Bush's America, but the more open and diverse America of Barack Obama.   



Marlin Brando as Colonel Walter E. Kurtz, the American invader

gone wrong of Francis Ford Coppola's Apocalypse Now: Is the

introspection of the film Avatar in the same cinematic tradition?



Komsomolskaya Pravda: Communists Say Cameron 'Robbed' Soviet SciFi

BolPress, Bolivia: Jesus Christ and the Movie Avatar

China Daily, China: Twisting Avatar to Fit China's Paradigm

De Standaard, Belgium: What Does Avatar Mean to You?

Russia Today, Russia: Communists Demand 'Ban' on Movie Avatar

Jornal De Angola, Angola: Avatar Holds Out Hope for Something Better


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Perhaps this is what explains the dazzling success of the film that, despite a slow start, has finally crossed the $1 billion mark. And this also explains the sudden raising of shields on the American right: since the end of the holidays, it has begun furiously vilifying a film that it reproaches for, among other things, being unpatriotic. Curiously, when the film opened before Christmas, the right had been rather silent or downright indifferent. But from the moment Avatar began to gain traction and rake in, from France to Brazil to Russia, over $600 million in foreign sales, the American right awakened. It leapt to defend the honor of the homeland, affronted not only by a leftist from Hollywood but a Canadian leftist to boot!


Personally, the fact that preeminent members of the dull-minded right like of Rush Limbaugh and Bill O'Reilly revile this film makes me like all the more. Not to the point of going to see it again, but enough to make me thank my teenager for having opened the way and letting me appreciate Avatar.



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Posted by WORLDMEETS.US, Jan. 19, 2:09am


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