Avatar'Avatar' is a big blockbuster with gorgeous visuals and awesome 3D effects. It's not so much a movie you watch as it is a movie in which you immerse yourself, soaring along with the dragons, rooting for the good guys and hoping the bad guys perish in a fiery blaze.

But is 'Avatar' a popcorn fantasy flick or a carefully construed message movie? The answer is -- well, a bit of both. The film is a non-stop action flick that's exquisite to look at -- but there's no denying director James Cameron has loaded one of the most expensive films ever made with messages about terrorism, environmental chaos, and government corruption. Avatar'Avatar' is a big blockbuster with gorgeous visuals and awesome 3D effects. It's not so much a movie you watch as it is a movie in which you immerse yourself, soaring along with the dragons, rooting for the good guys and hoping the bad guys perish in a fiery blaze.

But is 'Avatar' a popcorn fantasy flick or a carefully construed message movie? The answer is -- well, a bit of both. The film is a non-stop action flick that's exquisite to look at -- but there's no denying director James Cameron has loaded one of the most expensive films ever made with messages about terrorism, environmental chaos, and government corruption. Let's break it down.

It's a "green" movie ... or is it?
The overt message is one of environmentalism and man's missteps in that area. The plot revolves around the fact that humans have destroyed the earth and are now mining nearby planets for minerals, including unobtainium, on the Eden-like Pandora. If you stop to consider the film's estimated budget of $230 million (other estimates put the cost at between $400 and $500 million), you find yourself wondering how many resources were used and how much waste was accumulated in the making of this film. Maybe it's not so green after all. Maybe it's downright hypocritical.

The humans are bad guys.
Pandora is inhabited by the peaceful Na'vi, a race of blue humanoids who live in harmony with their beautiful land and are connected to their ancestors in a way you might imagine Aborigines, Native Americans and other tribes around the globe. Thus, when the massive bulldozers mow down the Na'vi's sacred spaces, you picture those same bulldozers blazing a swath of devastation through the rainforests on our current planet, scattering the tribes and creatures willy-nilly.



It's like 'An Inconvenient Truth' ... re-imagined as a 3D sci-fi blockbuster.
Al Gore's 2006 documentary claims that global warming is real, that it's caused by human activity, and that humans and the government have to do something before it's too late and our planet moves beyond the point of no return. So, yeah, the argument could be made that it's sort of like what's happening in 'Avatar' (though depending on which news sources you read or watch, the question is being raised again on whether or not global warming is, in fact, a threat).

'Avatar' takes a jab at President Bush's War on Terror.
In fact, at one point, Stephen Lang's war-hungry Col. Quaritch proclaims, "We will fight terror with terror!" There's another reference to a "shock and awe" campaign. When it appears that the Na'vi are refusing to vacate their land so the government can mine the minerals there, the military will stop at nothing to achieve their goal -- even if it means killing every Na'vi and replacing all the delicate plant life with an apocalyptic landscape of charred rubble and chaos. They also enlist a group of scientists to create the avatar program, infiltrate the tribe and report back with pertinent info. Some of the scientists have hearts, whereas the military personnel are heartless you-know-whats.

Sound Off: Did 'Avatar' knock you over the head with messages? Or did you just lose yourself in the fantasy?
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