Hours after my first viewing of Avatar on 12.10 I wrote it was “ardently left, pro-indigenous native, anti-corporate, anti-rightie, anti-imperialist, anti-troop-surge-in-Afghanistan,” etc. Then I said on 12.24 that one of the great pleasures of this film is the way it makes right-wingers furious and miserable. So I’m very sorry that I missed this 12.25 rant by Telegraph‘s conservative commentator Nile Gardiner, because it says all the right things.
Avatar is “a distinctly political work of art, with a strong anti-American and anti-Western message,” he stated. “It can be read on several levels — a critique of the Iraq War, an assault on the U.S.-led War on Terror, a slick morality tale about the ‘evils’ of Western imperialism, a futuristic take on the conquest of America and the treatment of native Americans — the list goes on.
It’s also “a highly manipulative film,” he wrote. “When I saw the movie last night in a packed theatre, I was disturbed by the cheering from the audience towards the end when the humans — U.S. soldiers fighting on behalf of an American corporation — were being wiped out by the Na’vi. Washington is one of the most liberal cities in America and you come to expect almost anything here – but still the roars of approval which greeted the on-screen killing of U.S. military personnel were a shock to the system, especially at a time when the United States is engaged in a major war in Afghanistan.
“Avatar is more than just a cinematic thrill-ride. It is an intensely political vehicle with a distinct agenda. In fact I would describe it as one of the most left-wing films in the history of modern American cinema, and perhaps the most commercially successful political movie of our time. While the vast majority of cinemagoers will simply see it as popcorn entertainment, Avatar is at its heart a cynical and deeply unpatriotic propaganda piece, aimed squarely against American global power and the projection of US economic and military might across the world.”