Avatar: The Movie
(New Extended HD Trailer)
Hollywood’s Human Terrain Avatars
By DAVID PRICE
This week, as James Cameron’s 3D cinematic science fiction saga dominates the American box office, and tie-in products permeate fast food franchises and toy stores, it is worth noting an interesting bit of cultural leakage tying our own real militarized state to Cameron’s virtual world of Avatar.
Avatar is set in a world where the needs of corporate military units align against the interests of indigenous blue humanoids long inhabiting a planet with mineral resources desired by the high tech militarized invaders. The exploitation of native peoples to capture valuable resources is a story obviously older than Hollywood, and much older than the discipline of anthropology itself; though the last century and a half has found anthropologists’ field research used in recurrent instances to make indigenous populations vulnerable to exploitation in ways reminiscent of Avatar.