[FoRK] A comment on Avatar

Bill Stoddard wgstoddard at gmail.com
Wed Jan 20 04:46:12 PST 2010

On 12/24/09 10:58 AM, Bill Stoddard wrote:
> On 12/24/09 2:03 AM, Bill Humphries wrote:
>> On Dec 23, 2009, at 2:13 PM, Bill Kearney wrote:
>>> Oy, yet another idjit.
>> Annalee will just laugh at that, she's heard worse. Like the 
>> right-winger who was screaming at her about how feminism destroyed 
>> Japan.
>> People who think that "Avatar" is problematic, and I'm one of them, 
>> don't think that liking "Avatar" makes you racist. Avatar is, by all 
>> accounts a visually amazing film, I get that people like it.
>> However, "Avatar", "Dance With Wolves," and "The Last Samurai" have a 
>> common story: damaged white guy encounters The Other who heals them 
>> through their noble (yet savage/backward/alien) ways, and he rallies 
>> to lead them.
> Over-analyzed into meaninglessness.  To offer a different, equally 
> valid (and equally meaningless) interpretation... it's common 
> knowledge the Chinese will rule the world 100 years in the future ergo 
> the CEO, BoD, major stake holders and brains behind of the company 
> funding the Avatar adventure are, ummm, not white people.  The white 
> guys are just grunts in the field doing the dirty work.  For those who 
> insist on reading meaning into the film (which is a mistake, imo), 
> perhaps Chinese capitalist activity in Africa is a better example?
> Calling this a white guy guilt movie is trite and boring.
> Bill
This is so absurd that I wonder if it's a joke.  Off by a continent but 
general idea is intact.



China announced on Wednesday that the government has ordered theaters 
nationwide to stop screening the blockbuster film Avatar only 2 weeks 
after it premiered in the country.

Avatar, which recently won the Golden Globe awards for Best film, has 
grossed more than $1.62 billion world wide and $73.2 million in China.

The film's financial success concerned the Chinese government, according 
to a report in Hong Kong's Daily Apple newspaper, which said the 
government feared the blockbuaster would stifle the local film industry.

The report said the government feared the revolt by the indigenous Na'vi 
population shown in the film would ignite the Chinese people's 
imagination to instigate a similar popular revolt.

Movie studio 20th century Fox confirmed that the 2D version of the film 
will be banned in more than 1,600 theaters and will be replaced by a 
Chinese biographical production about Confucius.

The 3D version is expected to continue showing in more than 900 cinemas 
until February 28.

Chinese commentators have also pointed out the similarity between the 
film's story of the Na'vis' battle to protect their land and culture 
with Chinese citizens fighting to protect their property from the 
government and developers.

"Foreigners think this kind of brutal interference is beyond 
imagination, that it can only happen on a different planet or in China," 
Chinese blogger and commentator Huang Hung wrote.

Tickets for the blockbuster, selling at an all-time high of $11 per 
ticket, and up to $40 in the black market for the 3D version, were sold 
out in China weeks before the film premiered, according to the Hollywood 

Yet despite the film's box office success, official Chinese policy 
placed limitations on the screening of Hollywood films in the country to 
20 a year, in order to support the local film industry.

During the promotion tour for his film, Avatar director James Cameron 
urged the Chinese government to lift the limitation on foreign films, 
and said that the encouragement to visit the cinema would only stimulate 
the local film industry to build more cinemas.

In 2008 the Chinese government banned blockbuster The Dark Knight, due 
to "cultural sensitivity" that could offend the Chinese people.

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