Posted by: Jusuchin (Military Otaku) | 01/26/2010

Blog Post #1.5 – Response

This is merely a response to Bonnie Hansen’s comments to my view of Avatar.

-more after jump-

It seems I’ve caused a stir. I did not mean to say that this film is a direct portrayal to the United States Marine Corps, or any of our Nation’s Armed Forces. As the nephew of an uncle awaiting his third deployment and an aunt on her first, as well as having gone through George Mason’s Army ROTC program, no, I did not mean to say this is what we are taught when learning to be soldiers, airmen, sailors, or marines. But, it is what I perceive from the movie. It’s really hard, well, for me, to put into words what I felt in the movie besides what I wrote earlier, so please understand if this response feels similar to the first.

What made me think that way? Well, for one, the impressive imagery in terms of the human technology. The helicopter featured most prominently, the ducted, dual-rotor transport chopper, seemed like the ubiquitous UH-1 Iroquois, or ‘Huey’, transport from the Vietnam conflict. This is added by the fact that, while on most modern military helicopters, there is a dedicated position or ‘window’ from which a crew-served machine gun can be placed, it elects to store the weapon (which surprisingly similar to the M60 with a dual drum magazine) at the door. Maybe its to provide that 3 second clip of a flying dragon pull a door gunner and toss him out of his craft and into the air to his death. Or to allow Colonel Quaritch the chance to fatally wound Sigourney Weaver’s character. It even has skids and a profile resembling a tad pole, but granted, most choppers have that. But modern military choppers like the H-60 series rely on wheels. Why not use wheels then? To erase most feelings of the Huey away from my mind?

The other thing would’ve been, well, the fact that Colonel Quaritch announces that he is a former Marine, and Jake is a former Marine. How can one not hack it, really, when someone has risen to the rank of Colonel, has survived numerous Earth engagements, and was in the famed First Recon. In the course of his life he ended up in the RDA-run PMC, which brought him to Pandora and he became chief of security. So, what do I plan to draw from that? Well, for one thing, the mantra of ‘Once a Marine, Always a Marine.’ He is mighty proud to have been one, and the fact he became almost like a fatherly figure to Jake before his defection made me like the guy. He had his priorities (keeping RDA personnel alive) straight and knows that his job is to be the security leader. Jake to me felt…traitorous to be honest. And as I’ve said, like Old Shatterhand, the white outsider falling in love with the native culture who expresses harmony with nature. (On a somewhat related note, one person’s view of nature: A few words on ‘Mother Nature’)

I’m possibly not the only one seeing the parallels to Vietnam, or even the current conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq. James Cameron himself is facing fire from the military, and while his response was that Avatar was a tribute to the Corps by the character of Jake Sully, I, along with many others, believe it not to be the case. If anyone would like to contradict me, feel free, but do keep in mind, I did get that impression from the movie, and while it was a stunning piece of work, I felt it did a great disservice to the Armed Forces.

In closing, I include this excerpt from the Marine Corps Times article, in which USMC Colonel Bryan Salas (director of public relations), responds to the film. I feel it captures exactly how I felt about the movie.

“Let’s view “Avatar” for what it is, a leap in the wizardry of cinema, a digital fantasy and a vehicle for a film-maker to make a statement, but not emblematic of the Marines who honorably fight and fall to win our nation’s real battles today.”

Link to Article: Corps official: Avatar ‘sophomoric’



  1. “Sure, the RDA was going about doing somewhat less than admirable things, but in the end, I’m perfectly willing to side with the humans.” -Your blog post #1.

    You totally misunderstood my entire first response. I was making you aware how illogical it was that you said that you were “perfectly willing to side with the humans,” when those humans are the ones who are hugely misrepresenting the American military. If you had read my full response correctly you would know that I do agree with you that the military is misrepresented but the fact that you know the military is misrepresented and you still side with the misrepresentation is appalling to me. How can you side with the people who mercilessly massacred thousands of people in the movie just because of your political interpretation of the movie?

    You can call me out now because you did not read my entire response correctly, and you can feel that I was wrong in responding negatively to you, but next time please read what I actually said.

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