Avatar – American Terrorists Invade a New World
By URI DOWBENKO
It’s 2154, and American Terrorism has been totally privatised. In fact, it has become the undisputed enforcement arm of the criminal plutocracy on Planet Earth. In other words, the future is just like today – except the terrorists have gone off-planet and expanded their field of prey.
In Avatar, the plutocracy of Planet Earth needs more resources, so American ex-military mercenaries are sent to rape-and-pillage a planet called Pandora for its so-called “unobtainium.”
By the way, “unobtainium” is a Real World term for valuable rare-earth metals like neodymium, terbium, dysprosium, lanthanum, yttrium and thulium. They are currently used for weapons, as well as digital cameras, computers, Priuses, and iPhones.
In fact, according to the UK’s Daily Mail, industries that rely on “unobtainium” are estimated to be worth an astonishing 3 trillion pounds (US$4.5 trillion), or 5% of global GDP. Thus, wars and invasions of other planets are completely plausible as a possible Real World future scenario.
Meanwhile, the movie shows that the use of ex-military burn-outs, the de facto storm troopers in Avatar, is a clear signal that the United States has finally become the “Evil Empire” of Star Wars fame, exporting its brand of terrorism to yet-unconquered worlds.
The movie also riffs on past colonial adventurism by the US, as well as British, Spanish, French and Belgian invaders, especially the exploitation of natural resources in Africa and South America and its attendant genocide of indigenous peoples. Avatar then is a realistic dramatisation of the ruthless behaviour of out-of-control sociopaths, hell-bent on destroying a civilisation they have judged to be “inferior” and the inhabitants they have decided are “subhuman.”
Thus, the predatory virus and the agenda of rape-and-pillage technology have been exported from Planet Earth to create more mischief in other parts of the universe.
The characters of Avatar are typically stock figures, bordering on caricature, and the plot is so simple that even a three-year old could follow it, says director, screenwriter and producer Jim Cameron, according to published reports. Cameron steals from himself, combining memes from Terminator, Dark Angel, etc. in a kind of recombinant mythology that has struck a powerful and resonant chord throughout the world.
The protagonist is Jake (Sam Worthington), a gung-ho disabled vet who gets his dead brother’s job. As an “avatar,” he has to navigate a custom-made 10-foot tall body in order to “live” with the indigenous blue-skinned race called the Na’avi. When the locals are called “blue monkeys” by the invaders, contemporary racist jargon gets catapulted off-planet and back to the future.
The word “avatar,” of course, implies an online persona that can navigate the virtual realities and cyberspace, as well as a religious messiah or saviour in Hindu theology.
(Can Jake – the All-American White-Bread Saviour – save the Na’avi from destruction? Of course he can. Where else could a Hollywood formula movie plot go?)
So in his Na’avi blue avatar-body, Jake meets a blue girl called Neytiri (Zoe Saldana) who just like Pocahontas – just imagine – teaches him about living in harmony with nature and the invisible forces that sustain Pandora. And Jake, just like Dances with Wolves, goes “native,” as he bonds with the blue people and falls in love with the blue girl.
Because his crippled body restricts his physical movement in his “waking” life, Jake loves to use his Na’avi body and begins to experience his virtual blue-body life as the “Real Thing,” instead of the other way around.
The question for Jake becomes – which world does he prefer to live in? Then it’s a choice for him – just like the gamers who are so obsessed with online “living” – which reality or virtual reality is better?
At the same time Jake makes a deal to be an informer for Col. Miles Quaritch (Stephen Lang), the head of the privatised military-security and the most zealous practitioner of the rape-and-pillage mindset. Quaritch is the embodiment of the evil corporate-military invader and a ruthless enforcer for the Ruling Corporate Empire which has gone off-planet to exploit other worlds.
In his naïveté, Jake believes he can “save” the Na’avi from the coming slaughter planned by the corporate killers, but finds out that he has been betrayed once again. Just as he was in the Marines. (Does that mean military guys have a slow learning curve?)
After all, the mining company just wants the valuable minerals and doesn’t care about a tribe of primitive “blue monkeys.” As always, brainwashing mind-control must convince its subjects (state-sanctioned military would-be killers) that the so-called “enemy” is “sub-human” and therefore open to slaughter. However, it’s too much for him to endure, so Jake goes “off the reservation,” as they say, switches sides, disobeys his orders and begins fighting on behalf of the Na’avi.
Other stock characters include Sigourney Weaver as a scientist who wants to “study” the Na’avi and communicate with them, but like the intellectual prostitutes who work for the Pentagon-NSA-ETC Complex, she remains just another pawn in their extra-planetary game.
Another character you love to hate is Jonathan Ribisi, who plays the heartless corporate honcho. He tackles his “task” of genocide and ecocide with a “missionary” zeal, just like the gofers (a.k.a. employees) of Blackwater, DynCorp, KBR and other Vulture Capitalist Corporations with government insider deals.
The final battle for Pandora, its natural resources and the metaphysical power-source of the planet centred in a primordial Tree of Life which is the embodiment of their ancestors’ wisdom, takes Avatar to a spectacular finish – and the obligatory third final battle sequence.
The fun continues as Jim-Cameron-as-god creates fantastic creatures like hammer-head buffalos, friendly reptilians and sentient jellyfish who help the local blue people defend their planet from the “alien” humans.
In an archetypal Hollywood happy ending, the local blue people survive and the humans are “the aliens [who] went back to their dying world.” That’s about as happy as it gets – when you’re dealing with real raw issues of genocide, nasty behaviour and other evil.
It should be noted that Jim Cameron’s innate ability to tap into the Deep Subconscious of the planet produced the pop culture remix version of the sinking of Atlantis, a.k.a. the movie Titanic.
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