The Avatar That Almost Was.
I've just finished the author's repeat of the original scriptment. And it's still got elements of 'What These People Need Is A Honkey'. But elements vs the WHOLE DAMN THING, is a very odd perspective.
For me, the fact that the Na'vi are actively resisting by the time Sully's character arrives and it's due to human privilege and hubris and OTHERING (right down to killing animals for fun which just make me think of Zebras in Africa and Buffalo in the US) seriously makes me wonder at the INSERTS of stupid racial tropes.
The fact that those controlling avatars going native, has happened before and has facets of individuals from a ruined earth falling in love with something that doesn't look at all like over industrialized earth and facets of falling in love with a way of life that reveres trees and growth and green - rather than 'the white men want to live the nobler, simpler life' is just so - blink blink blink.
And I guess for me, the ugliness of Research & Devleopment and certain military characters is so damn true - in a way I've rarely seen in mainstream media (which might explain why it didn't make it) - but for example, certain individuals wanting to bomb the Na'vi's home, not to obtain the unobtainable, but to send a message planet wise that humans will fuck up all those who don't bow to their imperialistic boot? Let me know if that's been stated plainly before - and give references. It might be something I'll enjoy watching/reading.
There are apparently nods to deeper concepts of what is self, who has the right to oppress self, what would it mean to be a blended entity, etc. And Sully doesn't end up the new leader of the Na'vi, but the new leader of the blended Avatars - which makes FAR MORE SENSE.
Am I more furious over Avatar, that not unlike Texas School Board Approved Books, American Exceptionalism got promoted in the final work, vs 'historical accuracy'?
I think what it does, however, is make me even more distrustful of Hollywood and all Hollywood is beholden to. The Hollywood machine knows very well what pap the public will swallow and they won't deviate from that, it's not in their best interests.
And given that there will be individuals growing up with a less accurate understanding of science and history - there will be even less for Hollywood to worry about accidentally challenging in the future.
I can't help but be reminded of this post, claimed to be done anonymously by a woman in Afghan. She talks about the difference between her father and her brothers. Her brothers grew up in Taliban enforced times and picked up their attitudes towards women. Despite how a prior member of their household felt, a respected member, their father - how the Taliban revised history and reshaped the world was what made an impression on them.
Each history book, and movie that reshapes and revises so that there's stress on American Exceptionalism but without mention of the slavery and indentured servitude, racism and second class statutes that allowed that bubble moment of glory and fortune, is renewed oppression.
Avatar vs Project 880 (according to Devin Faraci at CHUD) looks like a microcosm of that kind of revisioning.
Friday, January 8, 2010
The Avatar That Almost Was.