James Cameron's Avatar as an Example of Subtle Social Trolling

    James Cameron's movie “Avatar”, in addition to setting an absolute record for box office receipts, also caused a heap of seething of various substances on the Internet. Any self-respecting blogger considered it necessary to express their opinion. Here are the most notable examples:

    Goblin - “The avatar is visually impressive, but it’s somehow impossible to empathize with the blue boys and the Judas that joined them” ( link ).
    u_96 - “But Not Ours have no rights (since they are Not Ours), okroming as the right to voluntarily kill ourselves against the wall in order to save Our time and cartridges” ( link ).
    kladun - “After all, a film is an ideological turd. But it was made so awesome that the audience eats this shit, prichavivaya, and ask for supplements ”( link ).
    dr-piliulkin - “Was Jack right when he sided with the natives, organizing resistance to his former colleagues, in fact - betraying the Earth and people?” ( link .)
    Yuri Nersesov - “In addition to the insanely beautiful video sequence, Avatar played a spectator hunger in films about fighting not with abstract villains from fictional worlds, but with an earthly, high-ranking and easily recognized bastard” ( link ).
    Leonid Kaganov - “Everything is fine in the film - computer graphics, scenery, actors, and the plot are pretty good” ( link ).
    krylov - “If someone sees in the said apology of betrayal as such - to hell with you. “You can understand in a bad sense” even a multiplication table ”( link ).

    Each of the reviewers sees in this film some kind of revelation; almost all agree that the plot of the film is simple to the point of banality. The question "why such a trivial plot causes such fierce battles", apparently, no one asked himself.

    "Avatar", in a sense, is similar to the works of Franz Kafka. At Kafka, the characters are always fundamentally undetermined, and each reader defines them based on their own ideas. So it is here: Cameron is generous with such uncertainty lures.

    Number of times: environmental disaster on Earth

    Cameron as a whole makes it clear that everything on Earth is pretty bad. BUT: not a single word gives any certainty in this matter in the film. Jake Sally emotionally says that people have dirtied their planet - but, frankly, this can be said about today's Earth, and about the Earth a hundred years ago. Do you think this is an accident? I guess not. Cameron let the viewer think through himself. And the audience did quite well! I quote dr-piliulkin:

    From snippets of information it is clear that life on Earth is not sugar. And the mineral mined on Navi is not just a whim, but perhaps the last hope of mankind for salvation. All people on another planet will not move, they will not turn into charming tailed giants. So the choice is between the lives of one and the other race. Either we, or they. And then Jack kills his planet and his people.

    In fact, the answer to the question “what is there on Earth” should answer the question - whether people on Pandora are simply considered to be a branch of an evil corporation or identified with humanity as a whole. Cameron gives no answer.

    Number Two: Pandora's Ecology

    Just as in the case of the Earth, Cameron does not give answers regarding the randomness / nonrandomness of the coincidence of Unobtanium reserves with the Na'vi settlement. It also does not respond, which prevents people from developing other fields. Provides to think out yourself. Voila! I quote kladun:
    To do this, you need to cut down a whole tree on the planet Pandora, and there are very few of these trees - just a trillion. Shit on people dying, it’s much worse to upset a couple of hundred blue-tailed tails with a felled tree — that would be a real tragedy.

    The ethical assessment of people's actions depends on the answer to these questions: it is one thing to drive the local population away from the reserves of valuable mineral on which they sit like a dog in the hay; another thing (assuming that the necessary trees grow only over the Unobtanium deposits) is to destroy the local population in order to produce cheaper Unobtanium.

    Number Three: Jake Sally's Betrayal

    As we have seen, Cameron (consciously?) Does not answer the question of identifying people on Pandora with humanity as a whole or with a greedy corporation. From here comes the assessment of Jake Sally's act - Cameron generously scattered arguments for and against. On the one hand, Jake Sally has no social connections, and absolutely all the people on the planet Pandora treat him with emphasized neglect and / or strive to use them for their own purposes. I quote Krylov:
    But let me. And what, in the world of Jake Sally there are some "friends"?

    Let’s think. The word “own”, taken seriously, implies some significant connections between people, real or at least imaginary. Belonging to some kind of community. Values ​​shared by all. Trust and sympathy. At least some general story, dear memories.

    But in the agonizing earthly world, all this is simply not there. There is neither a nation to which one can belong, nor an estate to which one can relate, nor like-minded people in whose ranks one can be a member ... It seems that there is not even a family. Ah, there was a brother. Bro. The brother was killed. For a pretty penny, just like ours. Packed in a box and burned. Nothing, in general, was left. One can only be comforted by the fact that everyone lives like that. People are absolutely alien to each other, nobody trusts anyone and nobody sympathizes with anyone. The strongest connection that connects the hero with the Earth is the contract signed by him. That is - if you take the motives - the hope of making money for the operation. Salvage, yes. The only value that is still worth something in this world is the lack of a better one.

    But in parallel with the atomization of Jake, Sally Cameron makes him a former soldier who served in hot spots. He introduces the story of Colonel Kuorich, who behaves almost flawlessly towards his subordinates. Thus, the topic of military duty by Cameron is again deliberately inserted. And again, the viewer is forced to decide for himself which of the two arguments to give more weight.

    Number Four: Jake Sally Motivation

    Here Cameron did his best. Throughout the whole film, Sally never gives an explanation of why he goes over to the na'vi side - despite the fact that he constantly tells something off-screen, keeps a video diary, etc. Do you think this is accidental? Are there too many accidents?

    And again, each commentator himself thinks out what drives Sally. dr-piliulkin:
    Taras Bulba is right in killing a traitor-son. Andrei is wrong to change his people for the sake of love ( in fact, Jack’s motivation ).

    There are problems with the motivation of the characters. For example, the protagonist heroically slaughtered people in Venezuela, and he was respected for this in his homeland. By the way, it's a pity, it is not indicated how long the bloody regime of the dictator Chavez will last. And suddenly the murderer-guardsman becomes insanely sorry for the blue aliens. It is so unfortunate that he, without any pity, begins to bring down yesterday's colleagues in a dangerous business. It looks strange, about like a war with humanity on the side of cockroaches.

    After all, who is the good? These are those with whom you feel good. And who is better with Jake Sally? In a wheelchair with people or a physically full-fledged savage, cut into hole holes? Yes, he for such pokatushki his former co-workers shot for hell. But he didn’t do anything wrong, did he? He was for the good versus the bad. He unleashed an unnecessary war when everything seemed to have settled down (after all, the savages really had a place to move - they live on trees, and around them are just trees). What for? Otherwise, I would no longer fly on hole holes, and the blue-eyed bitch would no longer allow me to blow myself under the tail. And poor Jake was an addicted bestial, as we recall. [...] Today Jake is good with the blue-eyed, he is fighting for them against bad people. Tomorrow he will be fine with the yellow-bellies, who are the enemies of the blue-winged, and then what? And no remorse because now the good ones are yellow-bellied, and the blue-headed ones are already bad, so Jake is again for the good versus the bad, again loyal to his ideals and killed many for them. What a fellow guy!

    As you can see, each commentator defines his own way. Based on some of their ideas. Cameron did not give any hints. Moreover, at the moment when Kuorich accuses Jake of betrayal, he does not respond . It does not give any clues.

    Number Five: Substitution

    There is one point in all reviews of Avatar that surprises me: none of those who spoke spoke out about Jake Sally's action and the actions of earthlings. Meanwhile, these actions require a separate ethical assessment. The actions of earthlings destroying the na'vi are in no way connected with Jake's personal moral choice. Nevertheless, I did not find a single review where it would be said: I condemn both the actions of earthlings and Sally's act; or I do not condemn the action of earthlings, nor the act of Sally.

    Here it is, the perfect example of subtle trolling and skillful demagogy. Two completely different judgments are presented as a single one, and none of the opponents even thinks of separating them.

    Number Six: Unreal Beauty

    And finally, the visuals. All reviewers together pay tribute to the quality and beauty of the graphics in the film. However, the more polar the view, the sharper it is claimed that the picture is a way to read some kind of morality. True, which one - the critics disagree. kladun writes about "psinobesii", Goblin about conscientious colonialists-occupiers, Krylov about "indigo children", Kaganov - about harmony with nature, dr-piliulkin - about the plurality of truth. I would venture to express such a thought: the video sequence just distracts the viewer so that he does not notice that Cameron does not read any morality. He just subtly trolls and watches who and what he sees in this plot.

    And in conclusion

    After long deliberation, I came to the conclusion that the plot of the film is specifically tailored precisely so that everyone sees his own in it. There are too many critical silences in the film and they are too obvious. There is, of course, the possibility that in the original (or in the directorial version) unequivocal answers to all these questions are given, but to be honest, I do not believe that the Russian translators were subtly tricked, not Cameron. In any case, it was in such an undetermined format that Avatar had its (I must say, colossal) impact on the blogosphere in particular and Russian society as a whole.

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