Last week, after finally joining the other millions who have seen Avatar, I just had to go back and make sure I had read Nathan Gelgud's one-star review correctly (Film Calendar, Dec. 23, 2009).
To use some of Gelgud's own words, "the hardest thing to stomach about" his review is that within North Carolina's most politically and socially progressive major newsweekly, after viewing a film crammed full of wisdom and insight on everything from war, exploitation, greed and bigotry to indigenous rights, "humanoid" rights, racism, "looks-ism" and "able-ism" to friendship, loyalty and "forbidden love" and even to animal rights/ welfare, the environment and tribal shamanism (what Gelgud labels "New Age hokum"), he then dismisses it all as "a schmaltzy, wanna-be-epic about an ex-marine who falls in love with a giant blue cartoon."
In doing so, Gelgud personifies the "self-serious"[ness] he accuses the film of by fulfilling the "alternative" media's elitist artiste/ critic stereotype (the only type of critics the "Independent" hires, it appears) by poopooing yet another work of awesome social, political and even spiritual power as not "serious cinema" simply because it comes from a genre he doesn't like (sci-fi, fantasy, horror, animation), disingenuous disclaimers (I've heard) notwithstanding.
I found myself making "feline hissing sounds" at the newspaper and had to crank up the stereo and "prance around in [my] faux-hippie jewelry" in order to calm down!
Clifton Troy Toth