Prompted by NBC's Meredith Vieira, on Monday's Today show, Avatar director James Cameron revealed the liberal undertones in his new blockbuster as he told the Today co-anchor the plot centers on how greed and imperialism "tends to destroy the environment..." and how the human characters in the sci-fi flick "are doing the same thing on another pristine planet that we've done on earth." [audio available here]
Big Hollywood's John Nolte reports, in his review of the film, "Avatar is a thinly disguised, heavy-handed and simplistic sci-fi fantasy/allegory critical of America from our founding straight through to the Iraq War," in which the human characters want to "strip mine" the alien planet for its resources.
Vieira first broached the politics of Avatar with Cameron by noting, "There's a message about, you know, greed and when people want a lot of things, imperialism. All of that," to which Cameron espoused, "And how that tends to destroy the environment and so on."
The following is the relevant exchange as it was aired on the December 14 Today show:
MEREDITH VIEIRA: You know, you have obviously directed some ground-breaking movies, in the past, we listed them, before. But this you say is your greatest challenge, ever. Why, what separates this film from all the others that you have done?
JAMES CAMERON: This is a particularly tough film, because of the time, you know? And there was a lot of animation of all of these creatures and characters and so on, and we had live action as well, plus we were shooting it in 3-D. So it was just kind of, all these layers of complexity. And the trick in that, of course, is to stay, is keep the heart of the movie alive while you're dealing with all of this technology.
VIEIRA: Yeah because ultimately, you say for all the talk about the technology, your say this is really, at its heart, a chick flick?
CAMERON: Oh yeah. All of my movies are chick flicks. I can't, I can't help it. Aliens was a chick flick. So was, so were the Terminator films, you know? And this film is no different because I love strong female characters. I love writing complex women. And even though this is Sam Worthington's character's story and we follow him, we have these amazing women in the story as well and there's a love story.
VIEIRA: Yeah there's a love story and also there's a message about, you know, greed and when people want a lot of things, imperialism. All of that.
CAMERON: And how that tends to destroy the environment and so on. And here they are doing the same thing on another pristine planet that we've done here on earth. So it's a way, sort of looking back at ourselves from this other world and seeing what we're doing here.