The movie Avatar: The Way of Water has been criticised for being “racist,” and viewers have been urged to avoid it.
After fans waited 12 years for the highly-anticipated return to Pandora, the sequel to the highest-grossing movie of all time was finally released in December.
The film has already established its commercial and critical successes, earning $1 billion at the box office, a 78% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, and a 92% audience score.
However, some critics have criticised the film for being ‘tone-deaf and racist’.
People have been criticising Avatar: The Way of Water on social media since since it opened in theatres.
Others object to the use of non-indigenous actors portraying the Na’vi and have criticised it for propagating a white saviour narrative.
In the meantime, many have started to avoid the movie as a result of filmmaker James Cameron’s remarks regarding the source of the plot.
“Hey y’all, Avatar is terrible. Racist, cliché, half a plot yet still full of holes and dangling threads, and entirely too long,” claimed one person.
Another expressed their anger as they wrote: “Avatar 2 was f****** trash. It was super racist. Super cringy. Way too long. It’s full of stereotypical bulls***.”
Many fans are unhappy with the franchise for seemingly promoting the white saviour narrative.
The white saviour is a cinematic trope in which a white main character rescues non-white characters from unfortunate circumstances.
The white saviour is frequently a figure who feels alienated in their own culture and establishes control over non-white minorities in order to relieve them of their pain.
When Jake Sully (Sam Worthington), the main character of Avatar, first enrols in the Avatar Program for the RDA, he is a wheelchair-bound battle veteran.
After seeing the RDA’s violence and greed on Pandora, Jake subsequently turns to the Na’vi, where he rallies the indigenous people and helps them against the humans.
In the sequel, Jake has become the chief of the Omaticaya clan and the RDA has returned to prepare Pandora for human colonisation, as Earth is dying.
The fate of the Na’vi once again rests on his shoulders.
Another issue that critics have is that the cast of the fictitious Na’vi aliens in Avatar: The Way of Water is largely non-indigenous or Caucasian.
“I am still surprised at the disproportionately white cast for Avatar 2 like,” one fan said.
What the f*** are you doing over there? It’s not unexpected, but it’s so offensive and racist that I can’t help but feel horrified, much like Kate Winslet.
Outrage is also being generated by a 2010 interview with director James Cameron that recently leaked.
In a statement to The Guardian about the source of his inspiration for the film, director James Cameron said: “I felt like I was 130 years back in time watching what the Lakota Sioux [Native Americans] might have been saying at a time when they were being pushed, killed, asked to move, and given some sort of compensation.
“This was a driving force for me in the writing of Avatar— I couldn’t help but think that if [the Lakota Sioux] had had a time-window and they could see the future… and they could see their kids committing suicide at the highest suicide rates in the nation.
“Because they were hopeless and they were a dead-end society—which is what is happening now—they would have fought a lot harder.”
Cameron’s comments were not well received and have led to people calling out the film on social media.
One person shared: “Do NOT watch Avatar: The Way of Water
“Join Natives and other Indigenous groups around the world in boycotting this horrible and racist film.
“Our cultures were appropriated in a harmful manner to satisfy some man’s [white] saviour complex.
“No more Blueface! Lakota people are powerful!”
“I must pay attention. I have to respond, “Okay, if that’s how you feel, then that’s how you feel.” Additionally, it’s true. Saying, “Well, it was never my aim,” is useless.
Despite the criticism, three more Avatar movies are scheduled to be released, with the franchise’s fifth and final feature projected to hit theatres in 2028.
Since he doesn’t want the younger character in the franchise to mature between movies, Cameron has also revealed to Entertainment Weekly that he has already shot scenes for the third and fourth Avatar movies.