A friend just sent me Russell Moore's review of Avatar (at the Gospel Coalition blog). After reading Ebert’s laudatory, but politically biased review, I had the same impression.
It seems to be two movies in one: a bad movie wrapped inside a great movie. On the outside is this magnificently imagined alien world. On the inside is treasonous, radical environmentalist screed.
At one level I think it’s monumentally stupid for the director to waste so much artistic imagination on something as ephemeral as a political allegory about the alleged evils of the Bush administration, &c. It takes a degree of fanaticism to squander your artistic vision on something that passé.
Then, as Moore points out, the viewpoint of the film is downright seditious and morally inverted. It turns the war on terror upside down, so that our US soldie’s are the villains while our sworn enemies–jihadis disguised as noble savages–are the heros.
It’s just like French communists who used to wax nostalgic for Stalinism because they didn’t have to live under it.
And the power of art makes the poison fruit delicious. Reminds me of the false prophet in Rev 13 with his lying wonders.