Is James Cameron Keeping His Friends Close but His Enemies Closer?

I am a conservative, and I hope this review will surprise and encourage other conservatives who have not seen Avatar to give the movie another chance. Blockbusters on this scale should not be missed. The movie Milk, on the other hand, is one that I will never will watch. I have several others such films, but my point is to be smart about the ones you boycott. With that said I want to thank James Cameron and the entire team that created this grounbreaking epic IMAX 3D movie. Make no mistake: This technological innovation will change movies from here on out, which will only get better as the technology becomes more mature. I can envision entering a theater in which instead of glasses, you are handed face shields, or maybe even an entire body suit with sensors and speakers allowing the you to feel like you are actually in the movie. I see this as the next step, and I only hope I am alive for this breakthrough. American ingenuity is alive.

As a conservative, I saw something very different in Avatar from the conservative reviews I read. I also came away thinking that maybe James Cameron keeps his friends close and his enemies closer. You will have to decide if you are a friend or an enemy; it may surprise you. Also, let's not forget that James Cameron did bring us True Lies.

In one review I read, the reviewer and his sister were in a heated debate about whether the movie was closer to Dances with Wolves or FernGully. Take your pick -- either one is a very good analogue. This was a review that furthered my own opinion, so I wanted to note it -- plus I am curious if they are still deadlocked in their own opinion of which film Avatar most closely resembles script-wise.

What I saw was that the humanoid "Na'vi" on Pandora have a strong faith, and their faith has several similarities to our own human religious beliefs. There is the "Tree of Light," where they can go to speak to their dead ancestors through a physical connection by plugging into the tree through a cord that appears to be part of their hair -- although I am not sure if they can talk directly to a specific dead relative. I must point out that the "Tree of Light" is more of a switchboard for something bigger. Cameron alludes to nature or the planet, but the tree and the land it sits on are important to the Na'vi people. It is the central place that controls all Na'vi life and afterlife, although we are told it never takes sides. This is a very spiritual place for them, no different from some of Earth's most spiritual places.

The Na'vi are clearly the chosen people of the planet because they can also plug into other creatures and take control of the creatures' actions -- for example, telling a horse-like creature to turn, run, or stop.

The Na'vi believe in prophecies that include a messiah figure, whom they will know by the creature he tames. Also, there is a resurrection. The messiah is the human that becomes enchanted with the Na'vi while connected to his ten-foot "Avatar" body, which is a representation of the Na'vi people. The body looks and functions like them -- in essence, a biological robot. This human excels at everything he tries, quickly learning skills that the Na'vi take a lifetime to develop. He learns so quickly that he takes on and conquers the largest, meanest beast on the planet. This is all very predictable, so I am not giving anything away that will ruin the movie.

At the end of the movie, the humans start a war with the Na'vi people, who have formed their own army under the leadership of the enchanted human. The war scenes are great and not that brutal, so kid-friendly. The start of the war does not go well for the Na'vi people, and it appears that they will lose badly. Then, when it looks like it is over, and after many, many Na'vi deaths, all the creatures on the planet are summoned by the planet or the spirits -- let's say God -- to battle and destroy all humans and the machines they use to wage the attack. There is no mercy. Then the enchanted human, who is dying -- or at least his human body is dying, and unfortunately for him, that is where his consciousness is at this point -- is carried, along with his ten-foot avatar body, to the "Tree of Light," where both bodies are laid on an altar-like structure. If you want more, see the movie.

So let's recap:

There is a tree of light where the locals go to communicate with their dead ancestors and a higher being. This higher being, we are told, never gets involved in any disputes, like the one between the Na'vi and the humans. On Earth, God uses a burning bush to communicate with Moses. We too like to go to spiritual places to talk to our dead family members. By the way, God also does not get directly involved in our conflicts.

The Na'vi appear to be the chosen people on Pandora. On Earth, God tells the Jews that they are the chosen people.

The Na'vi culture has prophecies and saviors, or messiahs. Our cultures also have prophecies and Jesus -- and let's not forget the resurrections.

Finally, whether you are on Pandora or Earth, at some point, something higher -- I call him God -- does get involved. When this happens, there is no mercy.

My recommendation, which has little to do with the points I make, is to see this movie -- and see it in IMAX 3D.
I am a conservative, and I hope this review will surprise and encourage other conservatives who have not seen Avatar to give the movie another chance. Blockbusters on this scale should not be missed. The movie Milk, on the other hand, is one that I will never will watch. I have several others such films, but my point is to be smart about the ones you boycott. With that said I want to thank James Cameron and the entire team that created this grounbreaking epic IMAX 3D movie. Make no mistake: This technological innovation will change movies from here on out, which will only get better as the technology becomes more mature. I can envision entering a theater in which instead of glasses, you are handed face shields, or maybe even an entire body suit with sensors and speakers allowing the you to feel like you are actually in the movie. I see this as the next step, and I only hope I am alive for this breakthrough. American ingenuity is alive.

As a conservative, I saw something very different in Avatar from the conservative reviews I read. I also came away thinking that maybe James Cameron keeps his friends close and his enemies closer. You will have to decide if you are a friend or an enemy; it may surprise you. Also, let's not forget that James Cameron did bring us True Lies.

In one review I read, the reviewer and his sister were in a heated debate about whether the movie was closer to Dances with Wolves or FernGully. Take your pick -- either one is a very good analogue. This was a review that furthered my own opinion, so I wanted to note it -- plus I am curious if they are still deadlocked in their own opinion of which film Avatar most closely resembles script-wise.

What I saw was that the humanoid "Na'vi" on Pandora have a strong faith, and their faith has several similarities to our own human religious beliefs. There is the "Tree of Light," where they can go to speak to their dead ancestors through a physical connection by plugging into the tree through a cord that appears to be part of their hair -- although I am not sure if they can talk directly to a specific dead relative. I must point out that the "Tree of Light" is more of a switchboard for something bigger. Cameron alludes to nature or the planet, but the tree and the land it sits on are important to the Na'vi people. It is the central place that controls all Na'vi life and afterlife, although we are told it never takes sides. This is a very spiritual place for them, no different from some of Earth's most spiritual places.

The Na'vi are clearly the chosen people of the planet because they can also plug into other creatures and take control of the creatures' actions -- for example, telling a horse-like creature to turn, run, or stop.

The Na'vi believe in prophecies that include a messiah figure, whom they will know by the creature he tames. Also, there is a resurrection. The messiah is the human that becomes enchanted with the Na'vi while connected to his ten-foot "Avatar" body, which is a representation of the Na'vi people. The body looks and functions like them -- in essence, a biological robot. This human excels at everything he tries, quickly learning skills that the Na'vi take a lifetime to develop. He learns so quickly that he takes on and conquers the largest, meanest beast on the planet. This is all very predictable, so I am not giving anything away that will ruin the movie.

At the end of the movie, the humans start a war with the Na'vi people, who have formed their own army under the leadership of the enchanted human. The war scenes are great and not that brutal, so kid-friendly. The start of the war does not go well for the Na'vi people, and it appears that they will lose badly. Then, when it looks like it is over, and after many, many Na'vi deaths, all the creatures on the planet are summoned by the planet or the spirits -- let's say God -- to battle and destroy all humans and the machines they use to wage the attack. There is no mercy. Then the enchanted human, who is dying -- or at least his human body is dying, and unfortunately for him, that is where his consciousness is at this point -- is carried, along with his ten-foot avatar body, to the "Tree of Light," where both bodies are laid on an altar-like structure. If you want more, see the movie.

So let's recap:

There is a tree of light where the locals go to communicate with their dead ancestors and a higher being. This higher being, we are told, never gets involved in any disputes, like the one between the Na'vi and the humans. On Earth, God uses a burning bush to communicate with Moses. We too like to go to spiritual places to talk to our dead family members. By the way, God also does not get directly involved in our conflicts.

The Na'vi appear to be the chosen people on Pandora. On Earth, God tells the Jews that they are the chosen people.

The Na'vi culture has prophecies and saviors, or messiahs. Our cultures also have prophecies and Jesus -- and let's not forget the resurrections.

Finally, whether you are on Pandora or Earth, at some point, something higher -- I call him God -- does get involved. When this happens, there is no mercy.

My recommendation, which has little to do with the points I make, is to see this movie -- and see it in IMAX 3D.