Popular Science doesn’t think much of Avatar:
It’s an intriguing paradox–the success of a film as technologically elaborate and ambitious as James Cameron’s Avatar will come down to a simple question: Will audiences marvel at the movie’s groundbreaking production methods enough to forgive Cameron’s curious choice to frame everything on a script that is, almost above all else, obsessed with the evils of technology in the wrong hands? . . .
Unlike Lucas’ more playful science fiction epic, Cameron reaches for a heavy environmental message. Avatar is every militant global warming supporter’s dream come true as the invading, technology-worshiping, environment-ravaging humans are set upon by an angry planet and its noble inhabitants. But the film’s message suffers mightily under the weight of mind-boggling hypocrisy. Cameron’s story clearly curses the proliferation of human technology. In Avatar, the science and machinery of humankind leads to soulless violence and destruction. It only serves to pollute the primitive but pristine paradise of Pandora.
Of course, without centuries of development in science and technology, the film putting forth this simple-minded, self-loathing worldview wouldn’t exist. You’d imagine Cameron himself would be bored to tears on the planet he created. There are no movies on Pandora, so he’d be out of a job. The Na’vi rarely visit a multiplex. They sit around their glowing trees, chanting; they don’t build and sink titanic ocean liners, and they don’t construct deep-sea mini-subs enabling certain filmmakers to spend countless days exploring said cruise ships.
You’ll find a lot of people who want to protect the superior virtue of the noble savage, but you won’t find many volunteering to join him.