Critique of the way Marines are depicted in Avatar

#1
Interesting critique of the way Marines are depicted in Avatar. Only someone from "Hollywood" could seriously regard this movie (film) as a "tribute" to the USMC.

James Cameron: Avatar a "Tribute" to Marines
January 26, 2010 by
Mark Whittington

Appearing on the Jay Leno Show, James Cameron sought to respond to criticism that his biggest grossing film of all time, Avatar, besmirched the honor of United States Marines. Cameron's answer, according to John Nolte, was rather strange.

"The anti-military [criticism] is kind of tough for me because my younger brother Dave was a Marine. ... I got nothing but respect for those guys.
James Cameron: Avatar a "Tribute" to Marines
...

"I made my main character a Marine ... and I imbued him with all the characteristics of heroism, courage and intelligence, and all the stuff I thought would honor them. And I think people are thinking about it too simplistically. ...

"I asked a special request, I want to talk to Marines that are on the ground. Guys that are forwards. We're trying to organize going to Afghanistan to show the film to some Marines that are on the ground there. This is my tribute ... my tribute to them."

The problem is that Jake Sully only becomes heroic when he literally becomes one of the native Na'vi and turns on his fellow former Marines, leading the Na'vi in slaughtering them in droves. The Marines depicted in Avatar, from the insane Colonel down to the lowliest private, are all quite willing to go through the Na'vi like John Chivington through Sand Creek, slaughtering men, women, and children without discrimination. The Marines (alright, technically former Marines) are even cool with blowing up the Na'vi sacred tree. They do these things in Avatar not for honor, or to avenge some other atrocity, or even as some obscure excuse of national policy. The Marines in Avatar do these things for the purpose of putting profits into the coffers of an evil corporation.

It is interesting that James Cameron wants to talk to Marines now. If he had done so before he had started to develop Avatar as a film, he might have found that the reality of American Marines is far away from the calumny that eventually showed up in Avatar in loving 3D enhanced splendor.
James Cameron: Avatar a "Tribute" to Marines
James Cameron would have found heroic and thoughtful warriors dedicated to studying the culture of people among whom they are called to fight. Their maxim: "No greater friend. No worse enemy." They are not blind, kill crazy savages. The Marines are something far greater and at the same time far more terrible. They are masters in the infliction of death and destruction who are schooled at how, why, when, and where to do that.

If James Cameron had taken these lessons to heart, Avatar would have been a far different film. The Marines would no longer be the heavies. Colonel Qauritch would probably have a degree in anthropology, which would set up interesting interactions with Dr. Augustine. The Marines would live among the Na'vi, learning from them and having them learn from them.

Which leaves whom as the heavy? The corporate weasel? While James Cameron talked to Marines who had served among indigenous people in Afghanistan, Iraq, and even Vietnam, he might also talk to people who have developed mining and oil facilities in the Third World. James Cameron would have found that someone like Parker Selfridge would not have passed the first interview for a job like that. A company like, say, Exxon-Mobil is not going to send such an idiot to get some wells dug in some place in Africa or South East Asia.

Then who will the heavy be? The reality of Marines and corporations in the 21st Century certainly mitigate against James Cameron's allegory of the evil White Man despoiling the natives and then getting what they deserve.

An invasion by other aliens or the Chinese might make for good action sequences, but is a scenario that could degenerate into silly space opera. But even that would be an improvement over what Avatar turned out to be.

How about this. A sophisticated and subtle story about how two cultures discover one another, have problems with misunderstanding, but struggle to learn from one another and to reach a mutual accommodation. There would not be as many fireworks, but the story would be worthy of the Oscar Avatar is likely to get anyway for being pretty and politically correct.


http://www.associatedcontent.com/ar...on_avatar_a_tribute_to_marines_pg2.html?cat=9
 
#2
I agree wholeheartedly, the film is not true to life. Most USMC's I've come across haven't been able to speak English as well as they did in the film!

How can it be a tribute? Avatar is science-fiction.

At the end of the day though, you go to "the movies" to be entertained & regardless of whether or not you were offended by this "tribute" to the USMC; you must admit Avatar is a bloody good film. That's what it's all about, it's just a film and is there to be entertaining.

On a more serious note, I would "do" Neytiri.
 
#3
It's a visually stunning movie about 10ft tall blue cat-people and the writers of Pocahontas, Dances With Wolves and even fecking Fern Gully: The Last Rainforest must have been spewing when the Writers' Guild nominated Cameron for "Best Original Screenplay".

My only enduring concern is that I was oddly aroused by the lead blue cat-woman and kept trying to spot her nips.
 
#4
#5
Krazy_Ivan said:
I agree wholeheartedly, the film is not true to life. Most USMC's I've come across haven't been able to speak English as well as they did in the film!

How can it be a tribute? Avatar is science-fiction.

At the end of the day though, you go to "the movies" to be entertained & regardless of whether or not you were offended by this "tribute" to the USMC; you must admit Avatar is a bloody good film. That's what it's all about, it's just a film and is there to be entertaining.

On a more serious note, I would "do" Neytiri.
Perhaps, and I readily admit my bias, but this just like Generation Kill and other films, can lead the audience (remember most have no idea abut the real world of the military) to some very distorted perspectives about the military in general.
 
#7
crabtastic said:
It's a visually stunning movie about 10ft tall blue cat-people and the writers of Pocahontas, Dances With Wolves and even fecking Fern Gully: The Last Rainforest must have been spewing when the Writers' Guild nominated Cameron for "Best Original Screenplay".

My only enduring concern is that I was oddly aroused by the lead blue cat-woman and kept trying to spot her nips.
You left out The Last Samurai. :wink:
 

chrisg46

LE
Book Reviewer
#8
The film is set in 150 yrs time.... I bet the USMC had different attitudes 150 years ago, who knows how things may change?

Or to put more succinctly, who gives a toss, its a (bloody good) glorified cartoon?
 
#9
jumpinjarhead said:
Krazy_Ivan said:
I agree wholeheartedly, the film is not true to life. Most USMC's I've come across haven't been able to speak English as well as they did in the film!

How can it be a tribute? Avatar is science-fiction.

At the end of the day though, you go to "the movies" to be entertained & regardless of whether or not you were offended by this "tribute" to the USMC; you must admit Avatar is a bloody good film. That's what it's all about, it's just a film and is there to be entertaining.

On a more serious note, I would "do" Neytiri.
Perhaps, and I readily admit my bias, but this just like Generation Kill and other films, can lead the audience (remember most have no idea abut the real world of the military) to some very distorted perspectives about the military in general.
Considering that the American taxpayers happily shell out a trillion dollars a year to the Pentagon without even asking why, I can't believe that they're likely to overly influenced by a film. If food stamps, lousy schools, no jobs and no health cover doesn't bother them I can't see that a mere blue movie will change their mindsets.
 

Guns

ADC
Moderator
Book Reviewer
#10
The best phrase I heard to sum up the film is Smurfhontas. I thought it was funny, but then I don't get out much.
 
#11
Only the septics could put up a statue to a war hero who never served a day in the forces so whats wrong with the way they see somthing thats not going to happen for 150 years
 

maguire

LE
Book Reviewer
#12
oh ffs...

IT'S A FILM.

between this and the 'people feeling suicidal because they'll never be able to go to Pandora' stories the other week, it's enough to make you think we've got more to worry about in the future from plummeting IQ levels than we do about harming the environment.
 
#13
The main character states that the security personnel are mostly ex-Marines who, back on Earth, fought for freedom, but are now merely hired guns working for the mining company. (A close paraphrase of his words.)

I'm very surprised Cameron said all of that patronising crap when he could have stated, in big bold letters, that the film's villains were not Marines but mercenaries. Ah well.

Does it count at all that one of the film's heroines is an (ex-)Marine chopper pilot?

Everybody has their little personal beef with Avatar. Whether it be the right-wingers talking about the film's preaching for environmentalism and anti-WOTerror, or the left-wingers for its 'white-man-saves-the-day' narrative, or the Vatican because of its pantheistic nature-loving, or the Marines because they were personally offended...
 
#14
1. Avatar.................it's just a movie.

2. Cameron.............Re comments about USMC, (IMHO) just another pig-ignorant attention-ho' seeking adulation and understanding. Probably believes his own publicity as well.
 
#15
Krazy_Ivan said:
I agree wholeheartedly, the film is not true to life. Most USMC's I've come across haven't been able to speak English as well as they did in the film!

How can it be a tribute? Avatar is science-fiction.

At the end of the day though, you go to "the movies" to be entertained & regardless of whether or not you were offended by this "tribute" to the USMC; you must admit Avatar is a bloody good film. That's what it's all about, it's just a film and is there to be entertaining.

On a more serious note, I would "do" Neytiri.
My bold, sadly for the majority of the US populus, this is where they learn history from, ask most septices who nicked an enigma machine, or who won the battle of Britain, or who won eother of the WW's, and sadly, they think its GI Joe every time.

To the likes of you and me, and more or less the entire English speaking world, the yanks have and always will be bit part players in the history of world wars or anything slightly related to warfare, ask mr and mrs obese yank in the street, and anything from the boxer rebelion to Rourkes drift to maybe the FI conflict, is an all american gungho stars and stripes spectactular of GI wins the day against nazi oppression every time.

Saying that, im waiting for the full on US version of, "IRANIAN EMBASSY SIEGE, with vengence"
With the navy seals saving the day......


You laugh, but trust me, going by their past endeavours, it wont be far from coming true.
 
#16
Ahhh.... welcome to Hollywood, Marine!

To echo Gren, it's the same Hollywood that had the 29th US Inf Division being ferried to Omaha by the USN, and not by the Royal Navy, the same Hollywood that had the USN capture the Enigma machine, and not the Royal Navy, the same Hollywood that turned Len Deightons classic story of a Lancaster Bomber mission into "Memphis freaking Belle", and the same Hollywood that had you Yanks come over to win the Battle of Britain (Pearl Harbour). Don't even get me started on the Bridge on the River Kwai.

So, portraying the USMC as a bunch of killers for hire is nowt compared to us poor benighted Brits having our history airbrushed out at best, stolen at worst, and every bad guy in the history of Hollywood having an English accent!

I'm trying to get finance for a film I've written called "1814". It's about the British burning down the White House during the war of 1812 (yes, I know - it went on for a while). Denzil Washington has agreed to play President Madison, who goes down in a blaze of gunfire, with Paris Hilton playing Dolly, the first Lady. I've cast Sly Stallone as Admiral Cockburn.

Oddly, I'm not getting much backing from across the pond..... ???? :p

ps... Wiki tells me that we spared the Marine Barracks as a mark of respect !
 
#17
Werewolf said:
crabtastic said:
It's a visually stunning movie about 10ft tall blue cat-people and the writers of Pocahontas, Dances With Wolves and even fecking Fern Gully: The Last Rainforest must have been spewing when the Writers' Guild nominated Cameron for "Best Original Screenplay".

My only enduring concern is that I was oddly aroused by the lead blue cat-woman and kept trying to spot her nips.
You left out The Last Samurai. :wink:
Do you know anyone who actually saw that?
 
#18
Correct me if I'm wrong but Hollywood has re-written British history how many times? I find it quite amusing you're so touchy about the USMC...
 
A

armadillo

Guest
#19
Uncle Sams Misguided Children have a history of getting thrashed in the jungle, whilst we the british in a similar jungle environment kicked ass twice. Burma, Malaya.
 
#20
crabtastic said:
Werewolf said:
crabtastic said:
It's a visually stunning movie about 10ft tall blue cat-people and the writers of Pocahontas, Dances With Wolves and even fecking Fern Gully: The Last Rainforest must have been spewing when the Writers' Guild nominated Cameron for "Best Original Screenplay".

My only enduring concern is that I was oddly aroused by the lead blue cat-woman and kept trying to spot her nips.
You left out The Last Samurai. :wink:
Do you know anyone who actually saw that?
Err...a "mate" told me about it... :oops: :oops: :oops:
 

Similar threads

Latest Threads

Top