We've gotten some great responses, and some actual good quality answers (yes, I'm surprised) with our article The Many Questions of James Cameron's Avatar. Now comes another article asking some Avatar questions. This one is by Peter Bart of Variety.com. He's not attacking the movie, but instead looking at the left, right and film critics and what they have to say with the blue monkey cat people.
There's wide confusion among the noisemakers about the basic facts of "Avatar" itself. To those on the right side of the political spectrum, the combatants assaulting the natives of Pandora are U.S. Marines, who are depicted as being unnecessarily brutal. To those on the left, they are independent contractors who are correctly portrayed as being mindless mercenaries.
Instead of discussing mindless mercenaries, however, the mindless critics by and large are focusing on the film's special effects and the impact of performance capture and 3D. The reviews mostly have been exemplary on those levels -- indeed, in some cases downright orgasmic.
To some reviewers, movies will never be the same and, indeed, on some levels, they are right: James Cameron has raised the stakes both visually and financially. The care and feeding of tentpoles will now be even pricier and more precarious as rival filmmakers try to match Cameron and raise him one.
It seems everyone wants to make sense of the film. It is odd for Bart to pick on (mindless) critics. Though I guess I can't argue that mindless critics are bad. Just like dumb people are stupid. I however don't think Cameron has raised any stakes. In all likelihood, someone else is going to attempt a huge film based on Avatar's success, and when it tanked, because eventually something super expensive has to fail, that's when everyone will say ... wait a minute ... shouldn't we look for more Paranormal Activity and Hangover films? Wouldn't that make us more money?