Does Avatar Slander The Military?

By: Chris Mossman
By: Chris Mossman

Jose Lugo sent us his blog re: James Cameron's smash hit "Avatar". He believes "Avatar" slanders the military. Read his blog and post a comment letting us know what you think.

Avatar is an action packed movie far into the future on a far away planet called Pandora, it uses 3D and computer generated scenes for a stunning picture. What is disturbing about this movie is the possibility that it may be an undeserved insult to the prestigious American Armed Forces.


First this movie uses subtle innuendo to hint that the American Marines are mercenaries that are killing innocent men, women and children to enhance the profits of a corporation. This is done in a very subtle way because no American flag is shown, but the hero of the movie wears a Marine T-shirt and in the beginning says "back home we were Marines, but here we're just hired guns", this may be excused as just the standard complaining done by most soldiers. But the fact that they are working for a corporation is spelled out very clearly by one of the actors by his saying "what matters here is quarterly porfits". Another hint that he is an American is when he makes his video report his home address is Ag, Georga in very fine print at the bottom left of the screen.


After establishing that the American soldiers are mercenaries, two very tragic events in American history are depicted; one is the American Indian wars, the second is the Viet Nam War.


The Indian Wars are hinted at by first establishing that what they are after is a special mineral that floats in the planet Pandoras atmoshpere and is supposed to be worth 20 million dollars a kilo. If you  think of "Gold" in place of this floating rock in Pandoras atmosphere you can see the link here between Pandora and the "Gold Rush days" in the American Wild West, along with the land rush that was involved where native American people were killed when they got in the way of gold prospectors and Europeans after land. This theme is enhanced by the native people of Pandora wearing what  looks like the native wear of American indigenous people. Also, their use of the bow and arrow as their main weapon, while fighting the Americans armed with guns also hints at the Indian Wars.


The War in Viet Nam is hinted at in some scenes, by what looks something like Hui helicopters (with two rotors instead of one) with open doors that have mounted machine guns pointing out the doors and these helicopters are flying through what is clearly a jungle scene, bringing back images of Viet Nam. The American soldiers talk about winning their "hearts and minds" while other soldiers are saying "you can't do that with machine guns", again this also brings back themes from the Viet Nam War. Also, they discribe distance in "clicks" just like they did for the first time in Viet Nam. One soldier is told by a native woman to "go home, you don't belong here" again, just like Viet Nam.


These hints of The Indian Wars and Viet Nam in the fictious battle of Pandora are saying that American soldiers always have been and always will be mercenaries for the corporations. A clearly false reading of history based on only two wars from the many that were fought in American history.


In real life, some people have tried to smear the American Military with the slander "mercenary"; for example, during the war to free the Mideast country of Kuwait when it was invaded by Iraq. They said the American military was fighting for oil profits for the corporations and even though this was proven to be not true, when American forces withdrew from Kuwait after the defeat of the invading Iraqi forces, no apology was offered to the American military.


The modern American Army has constantly fought for freedom through most of its history. The Civil War freed the slaves, World War II was fought for the freedom of the people of Europe, the Korean War was fought for the freedom of the people of South Korea, the Viet Nam War was fought for the freedom of the people of South Viet Nam.


Granted, the American Indian Wars were not fought for the freedom of anybody,  but this was a tragic war of another generation in another time in history. American culture has gone through major changes since that time, but apparently some people can not get over the Indian Wars, and we end up with movies like Avatar that try to portray todays American military personnel as mercenaries for rich people. A clearly underserved insult in what other wise may be a great movie.


It's interesting to note that nobody has commented on the anti-military aspect of this movie, it in fact has made over a billion dollars in sales. It seems that while it was OK many years ago to insult groups like African Americans, Jews and homosexuals; but today these groups are off limits. The new groups that it's OK to insult are police, American soldiers, Catholics and politicians, so nobody is objecting to this movie. But is this really OK, I mean American soldiers are giving up their lives and are being maimed for the freedom of many people in this war against terrorists and all the movie industry can do is insult them.


"When will they ever learn".


Jose lugo




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Comments are posted from viewers like you and do not always reflect the views of this station.
  • by John Location: Greenville on Jan 16, 2010 at 07:49 AM
    Quick lets find something else to be offended by...
  • by Nathan Location: Eastern NC on Jan 16, 2010 at 12:15 AM
    First of all, it's science fiction. It's not meant to be taken very seriously. It's fantasy. Also, this was done at least three times in the last twenty years. Dances With Wolves, Ferngully, and Star Trek Insurrection all played off the white guilt as it relates to Native Americans. Second, if they're working for a corporation, they're not United States Marine Corps. They can't be both, and one being from Georgia doesn't change that. And anyone can wear a Marines shirt without being in the Service. Third, it's not "okay" to insult police and American soldiers. Catholic priests make their own mess (they practice on kids what their church forbids between consenting adults) and politicians have always been a target through every fault of their own. Also, "clicks" is "klicks" which is slang for kilometers. I wondered that reading Tom Clancy and Robert Ludlum and only recently found that out. I have not seen Avatar, but will see it only for the visual effects, which are said to be stunning.

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