Finally, a movie where the Americans are the bad guys, and it's making a KILLING at the box office.
Yes, Time columnist Joe Klein is pumped about "Avatar."
It's not because he's a fan of special effects or blockbuster action flicks, but because the "timely" liberal message of the movie could "ripple" through the culture in a manner favorable to, wait for it, "enviro-theism" (emphasis mine):
[The 3-D presentation] wasn't the most amazing thing about the movie: the Americans were the bad guys. They were a mercenary army working for corporate villains who wanted to strip-mine a tribe of alien, cerulean nice-guy, enviro-theists. The dialogue was awful; the characterizations were crude...and I'm sure that conservatives will dismiss this as another excretion of the Hollywood left. But still, it was something for a mainstream--indeed, a blockbuster--motion picture to have you rooting for the blue dudes flying about on birds painted like Chinese fans...and rooting against the humans, none of whom had the requisite Eastern European or Arab villain accents.
The message that big trees are good and bulldozers are evil seems rather timely. The message that God is Green is fascinating stuff to be peddling in the shopping malls of middle America (I particularly liked the moment when the mercenaries chuckled about the fact that the primitives believed in a tree god). Movies are usually overrated as agents of social or political change--I remember when The Right Stuff was going to launch John Glenn into the presidency--but the zeitgeist is a subtle thing and the impact of Avatar is bound to ripple in all sorts of lovely, little enviro-theistic ways.
Note to budding enviro-theists, one green resolution for 2010 might be to cancel your dead-tree edition Time subscription. Sure, it's full of bulls***, but only in the metaphorical sense, and hence it won't serve as a useful organic fertilizer for your backyard garden plot.