THE BLOG
03/18/2010 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

James Cameron: The Brilliant Replicant

If you don't go to see Avatar you will be depriving yourself of an amazing experience. James Cameron has reached a new level for cinematic genius and breathtaking technology.

That said, soon after leaving the theatre (3-D only please), your mind should soon decompress from the emerald and shimmering moon world of Pandora, its altruistic Na'Vi population guided by an eco-religion and snap back into gear. At that point, you might say to yourself, "Gee, now that I think about it, the script seemed less than original and a bit hackneyed."

Some of my fellow conservatives have voiced concern that Cameron is using a heavy hand to demonstrate that greedy corporations or executives use superior technology to take advantage of -- or attempt to wipe out -- indigenous people for their native wealth. To those "conservatives," I say, "Snap out of it and deal with the past and ongoing reality of our species."

Be it the native Americans of North America or the indigenous inhabitants of Mexico, South America or Australia, more powerful and advanced governments, corporations, and individuals have, throughout recorded history, criminally taken what they wanted while decimating the native inhabitants who stood in their way of stolen land and riches. In my opinion, these crimes against humanity can't be told enough and I applaud Cameron for bringing the subject anew to tens of millions of young minds not yet closed by "experience" or prejudice.

Second, some conservatives seem to think Cameron is too alarmist or "liberal" when it comes to the film's less than subtle message about protecting our precious planet and ecosystem. Again, I don't think he can be strong enough with that message. For a host of reasons -- not the least of which being the continuation of the human race -- it's imperative that we safeguard that which sustains us and makes life possible, enjoyable, and worthwhile. It is precisely because we do inhabit the top of the food chain, that we have a duty to conserve and nurture our lands, our water, our forests, and our plant and animal life.

No. My problem with Avatar is that the script was the weakest part of a transformative experience. It's already been said, but it's also sadly very true. If you've seen Dances with Wolves, you've been privy to the majority of Cameron's script.

Beyond that, if you are a fan of Anne McCaffrey and her incredible Dragonriders of Pern novels which debuted in 1967, you might recognize elements of McCaffrey's female warrior Lessa in the guise of Cameron's female warrior Neytiri. Right down to her dragon flying exploits and the fact that each telepathic dragon only bonds with one rider for life. Be it on McCaffrey's Pern or Cameron's Pandora.

Also, as one who spent three years in a Joint Command at the Pentagon, I was bothered by Cameron's cartoonish and insulting depiction of the military "leader " who serves at the pleasure of the corporate weasel who leads the Halliburton-like company raping Pandora. The men and women of our Armed Forces that I had the honor to work with were, without a doubt, collectively, the most educated and ethical people I've ever encountered. Said a full-bird Colonel of the corporate weasel Cameron's military leader follows, "If me or my people had come up against that guy, we would have dropped him deep in the forests of Pandora and let the creatures of the night decide his fate."

No such laudable dialog for Cameron's military leader. Of course, as Avatar screams toward the $2 billion mark, maybe Cameron has proven that original scripts are irrelevant in the face of superior technology.