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Tandra Page 1587, The Noble Savage

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I’m sitting on my back porch looking out over the yard as the rising sun brightens the Eastern sky.

I was watching “Avatar” last night before I fell into bed. Actually, I watched it both last night and the night previously. Don’t get the idea that I watched it twice because that is definitely not true. This thing is a punishingly long movie, coming in at some three hours and it is divided on DVD onto two disks. I watched Part I on Saturday and I played Part II last night.

I’ve not watched this thing in quite some time, probably since around 2009 when the DVD came out a few months after the movie had vanished off the Big Screen. I never saw it in theatres, though I have friends who raved about it as though it was the greatest thing since sliced bread. I bought and watched the movie for primarily the same reason I went to see “The Incredibles” from Pixar and for the same reason I bought and watched “Incredibles 2” and for the same reason I’ve watched “King Kong” far more times than I can remember. (I am, of course, talking the 1932 “King Kong” and not the disastrous re-makes that have cluttered up the Big Screen of recent times. I really wanted to like Peter Jackson’s re-make, but, for all his good intentions, Jackson totally missed the boat with his ill-fated version.) I absolutely love stop motion animated movies and am infatuated with the sort of animation for which Pixar is famous.

So, as I recently bought “Incredibles 2” on DVD and loved it, I decided to pull “Avatar” of the shelf and give it a try. As I remembered, “Avatar” is an incredibly beautiful movie and the digital animation is first rate, though the animated characters still look fake. I mean, they look like what they are, digital animations of the sort Pixar would do and not photographed alien creatures living on another world. Peter Jackson had the same problem with Gollum in his “The Two Towers” movie but, by the time “Return Of The King” was released, Gollum began to look like a real character and not just a CGI animation. I understand the tech problems with creating real characters from computer images and integrating them on screen and I give both Peter Jackson and James Cameron an “A” for effort.

At bottom line, I’ve seen most of James Cameron’s movies and they all suffer from the same issue, superlative CGI technology and weak story. George Lucas, of “Star Wars” fame, is plagued by the same limitations.

In the extra features section of the “Avatar” DVD, Cameron explains that, back in his teen years, he was fascinated by a written piece or a movie that made the Climate Warming Propaganda Claim that the Earth is being destroyed by technology and he locked into the arguments put forth by the article or movie and has suffered from a bad case of arrested development ever since. It never appears to have come to James Cameron’s attention that the very technology he condemns is the technology that provides him with the tools to make his movies and, thus, fatten his bank account.

James Cameron gives evidence of having bought into the “Noble Savage” conceit of which many Europeans imagined in the early Eighteenth Century. They invented for the American Natives a culture these people never possessed, in fact, would never have understood, and proclaimed the natural way of life of savages is superior to the civilization brought to the Americas by European Invaders.

I have Native American blood in my family tree and I an not going to make any effort to defend the terrible way in which Europeans treated my people, but neither am I in the camp of granting Native Americans virtues they did not possess nor would have embraced, even given the opportunity. Stone Age Savages are vicious and superstitious by nature and live a life that is dirty, brutal and mercifully brief. There is nothing noble about the Stone Age Savage.

The natives of Pandora, the Eden like planet of “Avatar”, are noble and cultured, apparently a version of the American “Noble Savage” but with feline traits. The invading Earth People are, by contrast, the actual savages, but with the advantage of military technology. When James Cameron, in his movie, portrays his “Noble Savages” on his CGI created “Garden Of Eden”, he leaves out the insects, the disease, the brutality, the high infant mortality rates and the superstitions of the savage life. James Cameron’s Pandora Tribes are “Noble Savages” that have never been on a world that can only exist James Cameron’s intellectually arrested mind.

But “Avatar” remains a movie with impressive CGI and beautiful scenery, even if the script appears conceived by a retarded three year old indoctrinated in delusional Liberal Regressive fantasy.

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