Some perspectives from the writer/director James Cameron himself ...
Elisabeth Hasselbeck: ... What about to the emotional response? You've certainly hit some nerves with this film. Like Sherri said, you know, the tears, and the love, and the fight. But then there's also been a million incredible reviews ... some sort of criticism that it's - you know, we've even talked about it here on "Hot Topics" - anti-American, anti-troops. What's your response to that? 'Cause I also think this is fiction, and people should step back, and understand the creative aspect, not just critique a political stance.
James Cameron: Yeah, I think people ... I think it's fair game to attack a movie based on your perception, of your reality. I think that's fair game. I think movies ... a movie that's trying to communicate ... if that starts a dialog, that's fine. My personal ...
Elisabeth Hasselbeck: Were you trying to?
James Cameron: No, no. Here's, here's ... I think the film is definitely anti-corporate, you know. And I think that the corporations, and the corporate lobbyists are doing a huge damage to the country, and to the environment. But, but ... (applause) I think they are; I believe that. But you gotta remember, the troops in the movie are corporate security guys; they're mercenaries. The main character is a former Marine - the guy that we follow, who's a hero. And he enlists the aid of a female pilot, who is meant to be a former Marine. My brother, John David, was a Marine for 6 years, fought in Desert Storm. I feel very close to the psychology of the Marine Corps, their sense of duty, and honor, and courage. And so my main character, that I ... you know ... we've spent, you know, couple of hundred million dollars making a movie about this guy - he's a Marine, and he does what Marines do, which is to be courageous, and ultimately to become a hero ... So that's where my heart lies; so that ain't anti-military.
Elisabeth Hasselbeck: Well, it's good to hear it from you too, 'cause I think that people have been sort of getting on a bandwagon of treating it as an anti-American film.
Whoopi Goldberg: Also, this is meant to wake folks up?
James Cameron: Sure, sure, clearly. I mean, that ... to me it's a very personal film, in the sense of when I was a kid, uh, you know, in high school; it was the start of the environmental movement. and I made a film in high school about pollution. So, you know, in the years since, trying to get documentaries funded about the environment? - Can't raise any money to do that; nobody wants to buy that stuff. So I thought if I make a big spectacular action, science fiction film, I can embed these themes in a movie that people are going to see for other reasons. (I tell ya, it's absolutely subversive ...)
Sherri Shepherd: Speaking of themes, when you think about making a statement, and themes, Avatar ... it became a political statement for some groups. Because, recently in Jerusalem, a Palestinian and some Israeli activists dressed up as the Na'vi aliens from Avatar, and they peacefully protested a security fence, which was built by Israel, near their village. So does something like that worry you? Does something like that make you proud, Or ...?
James Cameron: I think it's cool. I mean, look, the movie starts with the main character opening his eyes, and ends with the main character opening his eyes. It's about changing our perception. It's about this idea that "I see you". It's about seeing the other person past the cultural barriers, past the language barriers, for who they really are. And so here, they're saying, "Look, we're like these guys in this movie. Look at us; see us differently." Well, I think that's cool. And, you know, the film has done that, for a lot of different groups around the world.
Here's a link to today's whole episode of "The View" ...
BTW, James Cameron is going to be on "Charlie Rose" tonight. I imagine the interview would be along the same lines.
[Edited at 2010-02-18 14:56 GMT]