By Patrick Goldstein / Los Angeles Times / January 5, 2010
It’s no secret that “Avatar” has been stunningly successful on nearly every front. The James Cameron-directed sci-fi epic is already the fourth-highest-grossing film of all time, having earned more than $1 billion around the globe in less than three weeks of theatrical release. The film also has garnered effusive praise from critics, who’ve been planting its flag on a variety of critics Top 10 lists. The 3-D trip to Pandora is also viewed as a veritable shoo-in for a best picture Oscar nomination when the academy announces its nominees on Feb. 2.
But amid this avalanche of praise and popularity, guess who hates the movie? America’s prickly cadre of political conservatives.
For years, pundits and bloggers on the right have ceaselessly attacked liberal Hollywood for being out of touch with rank and file moviegoers, complaining that executives and filmmakers continue to make films that have precious little resonance with Middle America. They have reacted with scorn to such high-profile liberal political advocacy films as “Syriana,” “Milk,” “W.,” ” Religulous,” “Lions for Lambs,” “Brokeback Mountain,” “In the Valley of Elah,” “Rendition” and “Good Night, and Good Luck,” saying that the movies’ poor performances at the box office were a clear sign of how thoroughly uninterested real people were in the pet causes of showbiz progressives.
Of course, “Avatar” totally turns this theory on its head. As a host of critics have noted, the film offers a blatantly pro-environmental message; it portrays U.S. military contractors in a decidedly negative light; and it clearly evokes the can’t-we-all-get along vibe of the 1960s counterculture. These are all messages guaranteed to alienate everyday moviegoers, so say the right-wing pundits — and yet the film has been wholeheartedly embraced by audiences everywhere, from Mississippi to Manhattan.
To say that the film has evoked a storm of ire on the right would be an understatement.
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OB Rag blogger Doug Porter also did a review of Avatar.