Once again, a high-profile Hollywood A-lister has offended someone — but this time, the offender in question is Avatar creator and director James Cameron, and it is Avatar: The Way of Water that has reignited an old controversy!
Avatar: The Way of Water just premiered this past weekend with shockingly-low box office numbers that actually contributed to a drastic drop in Disney’s stock numbers. The movie brings back Zoe Saldana as Neytiri, Sam Worthington as Jake Sully, and Sigourney Weaver in a new role as a teenaged N’avi instead of a human adult scientist.
The movie also introduces several new characters (including one played by Kate Winslet), and has received rave reviews even though not as many people have gone to see the new film in theaters as James Cameron was hoping — but apparently, the movie has brought up some old negative memories, for some people, in regards to the director and Pandora creator!
Apparently, back when the first Avatar film was all the rage, James Cameron’s N’avi people were characters that caused the term “Blueface” to be created. When combined with some comments that James Cameron had made about an issue in Brazil back then, the effect was a negative one that alienated many audience members (particularly Native American or Indigenous populations).
Now, something very similar is happening with the sequel. “Do NOT watch Avatar: The Way of Water,” one person wrote on Twitter in the Tweet shown below, calling the movie a “horrible & racist film”.
“Our cultures were appropriated in a harmful manner to satisfy [James Cameron’s] savior complex,” the Twitter user added, recounting the quotes that are also described below.
Do NOT watch Avatar: The Way of Water
Join Natives & other Indigenous groups around the world in boycotting this horrible & racist film. Our cultures were appropriated in a harmful manner to satisfy some ? man's savior complex.
No more Blueface!
Lakota people are powerful! pic.twitter.com/NmHVU565u3
— ?Asdzáá Tłʼéé honaaʼéí?(She/Her)? (@asdza_tlehonaei) December 18, 2022
In an interview with The Guardian about his efforts to stop the construction of a dam in Brazil back in the time of the first Avatar film, James Cameron was quoted with the following statement: “I felt like I was 130 years back in time watching what the Lakota Sioux might have been saying at a point when they were being pushed and they were being killed and they were being asked to displace and they were being given some form of compensation.”
“This was a driving force for me in the writing of Avatar,” Cameron reportedly added. “I couldn’t help but think that if they [the Lakota Sioux] had had a time-window and they could see the future… and they could see their kids committing suicide at the highest suicide rates in the nation… because they were hopeless and they were a dead-end society – which is what is happening now – they would have fought a lot harder.”
These comments were seen as offensive ones at the time, and Cameron was accused of having a “colonialist” perspective. Even though it has been over a decade since those comments and the first Avatar film’s release, the statements from James Cameron have apparently not been forgotten, and audience members are endeavoring to boycott the Avatar sequel that is apparently impressing critics but languishing in theaters.
What are your thoughts on the Avatar films?