God bless Blockbuster Express. For $1 we got to rent 'Avatar' and view it at our leisure at home. Now I have just one question outstanding: how did 'The Hurt Locker' beat out 'Avatar' for best picture?
True, Avatar presented 'corporate America' as rapacious savages and THL presented Iraqi-occupation troops as bravely heroic, and neither meme is as true as some would like to have us believe (or, in fact, as many people actually do believe). Perhaps it is because it is more acceptable to 'support the troops' (as they kill in the name of corporate profits) than to bash the capitalists (who make their profits the old-fashioned way)?
'Avatar' used lots of computer graphics. I don't know what the price/performance ratio is for CGI, but it still needs voice-overs, and that can't be cheap. THL looks like it was shot on-location and it had scads of 'extras' that all had to be paid. Also 'not cheap', merely 'cheaper'.
The thought that keeps gnawing at the back of my mind is that 'Avatar' is very much an avatar of Western Civilization's treatment of the native Americans: we killed them and/or burned them out of their ancestral lands because they were 'in the way'. It's not pleasant to have one's nose rubbed in one's own history... like a puppy being bowel-trained. Perhaps the Academy found it as distasteful as I did.
On the other hand, how else will we learn history's lessons?