AVATAR opens with Jake, a paraplegic ex-marine, arriving on the planet Pandora to operate an avatar. Avatars are like mindless biological clones of the 10-foot-tall alien inhabitants of Pandora. The project is run by a group of humane scientists who want to befriend the natives and negotiate with them. The brutal outpost commander recruits a soldier named Jake to gather military intelligence. He is torn between his mission and his new “life” as an alien. The aliens accept him when he receives signs of favor from the deity the aliens worship. The “nice” humans come to have great respect for this false diety and the concept of being one with the trees and animals. The bad humans want to destroy the site where the aliens worship their false god.
AVATAR is a visually stunning, but shallow and abhorrent, adventure pitting evil human capitalists against heroic, spiritually in-tune alien creatures on the planet Pandora. Its story, dialogue, and characters are weak and shallow. Also, its New Age, pagan worldview contains extremely anti-capitalist content with a strong Marxist overtone. It promotes group-think and argues in favor of the destruction of the human race.
(PaPaPa, PCPC, EEE, FRFR, CoCo, AcapAcapAcap, C, B, O, LLL, VVV, S, NN, A, DD, MM) Extremely strong, slightly mixed, New Age pagan, politically correct worldview contains very strong environmentalist content and strong communalistic group think philosophy, overt New Age Gaia/Goddess worship and tree worship extolling people over the individual and promoting the connectedness of everything in nature, a strong Marxist overtone, and very strong anti-capitalist content where human capitalists are presented as greedy, merciless thugs abusing the creatures and landscape of another planet, but with some Christian references and allusions with some Christian, biblical values able to be read into the movie, including themes of being born again, sacrificing yourself for others, and respecting nature, but, on closer examination, these themes differ from the revealed, biblical Good News of Jesus Christ, plus some occult content of hearing spirits of dead ancestors; 26 obscenities and 10 profanities; very strong bloody violence with huge battle scenes, people impaled by spears and arrows, stabbings, hatchetings, attacks by vicious animals, poisonings, bloody wounds, death, people caught in the mouths of large creatures, creepy tree grows into people, and people and creatures shot, blown up, and run over, plus ugly alien creatures could cause children nightmares; sexual content includes allusions of sex between partially clad aliens and hints of bestiality with animals and sentient aliens establishing physical and mental connections that are like a spiritual, almost sexual “high”; some upper female nudity on aliens, 10-foot-tall humanoid creatures nearly naked throughout the movie, with partially nude breasts and partial upper nudity, very thin alien clothing, upper and human male nudity; brief alcohol use; smoking and implied drug references; and, greed and exploitation rebuked, and movie promotes an anti-human, reverse racist ideology.
AVATAR excels in 3D special effects. For that reason alone, it should perform well at the box office. Beneath the special effects, however, is a very thin, anti-human, filled-with-plot-holes storyline that goes on and on and on and on. Great entertainment puts plot first, character second, dialogue third, idea forth, music fifth, and spectacle last, as Aristotle noted. James Cameron, the writer and director of AVATAR, reverses this. And, all too often, when you put spectacle first, you turn a great little movie like KING KONG into KING BORE.
In AVATAR, the dialogue is often funky, the ideas are self-contradictory and absurd, the characters are shallow and stereotypical, and the plot is forgotten as Cameron shows off scene after scene of his special effects. If only someone had edited this movie, it may have been more interesting. Those who want to be blown away by special effects, or who are on drugs, may disagree.
AVATAR opens with Jake (played by Sam Worthington), a paraplegic ex-marine, arriving on the planet Pandora, hired to “drive” an avatar. Avatars are like biological clones of the Na’vi, the 10-foot-tall humanoid alien inhabitants of Pandora, combined with human DNA. The human drivers live through the avatars. The human lies down in a sealed box and allows his mind to do nothing but operate the avatar. When the human takes a break from operating his avatar, the avatar drops into a sleep-like state.
Humans are on Pandora to mine an ultra costly mineral called “unobtainium,” a humorous reference invented in the 1950s that references any material that’s unavailable or impractical. The mining operation is run like a military outpost in hostile territory where the atmosphere is toxic to humans. The avatar project, a small part of the overall operation, is run by Grace (Sigourney Weaver) and her little group of humane scientists who want to make friends with and negotiate with the inhabitants of Pandora. Colonel Miles Quaritch (Stephen Lang), the outpost’s brutal defense commander, recruits Jake to use his avatar to gather military intelligence. Grace distrusts Jake but winds up forced to work with him because, in his first avatar outing, he winds up befriending Neytiri (Zoe Saldana), daughter of the leader of the Na’vi aliens.
Jake is torn between his mission as a human and his new “life” as a Na’vi. His acceptance by the Na’vi is brought about by signs of favor shown him by the deity of the Na’vi, Eywa, a pantheistic earth goddess. The movie’s press materials state, “The Na’vi have developed a complex culture based on a profound spiritual connection among all creatures, and the deity they call Eywa.”
The movie contrasts the humans (most of whom are driven by greed) with the Na’vi, who, even in hunting for food, consider themselves one with the creatures they hunt. The Na’vi have a special hair like sexual appendage that enables them to physically connect in a spiritual, mental, and even sexual bond with the creatures they ride or fly. There are Na’vi versions of prayer and worship throughout the movie, which are presented as if they’re something noble and beautiful. In contrast, the only use humans have for God is to spit out his name in profanities.
The “nice” humans come to have great respect for the diety worshipped by the aliens, including the concept of being “one” with the trees and animals. The bad humans want to destroy the “sacred” site where the Na’vi worship their false goddess.
This is a huge Christmas season movie. What audiences need to know is that the God profaned in this movie is real. The goddess and the spiritual concepts presented in the movie are fiction. The Spirit we need is the Spirit of Almighty God, our Creator, who is only available when we accept the loving gift of His redemption in the name of Jesus Christ, who is God made flesh, who died to pay the penalty for our sins and was raised from the dead to secure eternal life for each of us who accept Him. While we remain here, we are to be stewards of the other living things on earth, not equals.
The humans in AVATAR are all presented as unbelievers. It’s as if humans have no God while every Na’vi worships Eywa the goddess. The reality of life on earth is that there are millions of Christians who worship a loving and compassionate God. Christians who engage in free enterprise are not brutal and greedy. Many of them are kind and generous. They also support missionaries around the world who help the poor and the suffering.
The major problem with this movie is that Cameron tells a story that hates people. This self-loathing eventually has the group think natives triumph over the evil human corporations and sends the humans back to a dying earth where they can all die.
Aside from the theological and philosophical problems with the movie, it is amazing so little attention was made to the dialogue and characters of the alien natives. Even the names of the exotic items are ridiculous. For instance, the rare mineral the earth needs to survive is called “unobtainium.” The planet AVATAR takes place on is Pandora. Pandora is a moon that orbits Polyphemus. Thus, most of the names sound like they came out of a midnight session where everyone was smoking dope.
For hundreds of years, the pagan, communist ideas expressed in this movie circulated among a threadbare group of outcasts with dirty fingernails and greasy hair, who shared their obtuse, occult ideas amongst themselves with manic, alienated glee. Now James Cameron has made these insane views the major bulwark of a very spectacular movie, but the spectacle does not make the views any more coherent, rational, or uplifting.
Ultimately, AVATAR is bad news. What the people in the movie need to deliver them from their greed and the aliens in the movie need to deliver them from their severe group think is the loving salvation available only through the true God, Jesus Christ.
Cameron’s anti-capitalist ideology is more dangerous than Michael Moore, whose recent anti-capitalist documentary will be seen by far fewer people. The truth is that we live in amazing luxury today under capitalism, compared to what we’d have if we lived like Pandora’s aliens. Would you like to get up each morning from a hammock in a tree and hunt for food with a bow and arrow? Capitalism can be brutal and ugly if the capitalist is brutal and ugly, but so can every other economic system. Capitalism can be a beautiful thing in a nation where capitalists live by God’s golden rule, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”
If you want to live in a kinder, gentler, more compassionate world, don’t go hug a tree or look for some earthly version of an Earth goddess. Give your life to God through Jesus Christ and let Him use you to reach out to those trapped in selfishness, greed, pride, and hatred.
Now more than ever we’re bombarded by darkness in media, movies, and TV. Movieguide® has fought back for almost 40 years, working within Hollywood to propel uplifting and positive content. We’re proud to say we’ve collaborated with some of the top industry players to influence and redeem entertainment for Jesus. Still, the most influential person in Hollywood is you. The viewer.
What you listen to, watch, and read has power. Movieguide® wants to give you the resources to empower the good and the beautiful. But we can’t do it alone. We need your support.
You can make a difference with as little as $7. It takes only a moment. If you can, consider supporting our ministry with a monthly gift. Thank you.