September 20, 2011

Disney plans Avatar attractions

Disney to bring 'Avatar' to theme parksDisney and filmmaker James Cameron announced plans Tuesday to bring the world of the Oscar-winning movie "Avatar" to the entertainment giant's theme parks.

The first "Avatar" land will open at the Walt Disney World in Florida, with construction due to begin by 2013, said Walt Disney Parks and Resorts Worldwide, Cameron and Fox Filmed Entertainment.

"James Cameron is a groundbreaking filmmaker and gifted storyteller who shares our passion for creativity, technological innovation and delivering the best experience possible," said Disney president and chief executive Robert Iger.

Cameron added: "I'm chomping at the bit to start work with Disney's legendary Imagineers to bring our 'Avatar' universe to life.
Comment:  This is a potentially bad idea. Avatar's Na'vi already represent a stereotypical view of indigenous people: primitive, savage, warlike, whooping, scantily clad, in tune with nature, worshiping animals and trees, lacking innovations such as fire or writing, etc. And now Disney is going to simplify and sanitize them for popular consumption?

Will Disney's Indians Na'vi tell epic cycles of stories, plot planetary courses over the centuries, engineer great canals and pyramids, or develop advanced surgical techniques? Because these are all things Indian cultures did. Or will the Na'vi simply run, jump, fight, ride, and hook up with their magical tree? You know, purely physical tasks that don't require any intelligence or planning?

The latter, I'm betting. I'd be amazed if the Avatar attractions made the Na'vi seem less primitive rather than more primitive.

For more on Avatar, see Review of Avatar and Avatar 2 Cast to Meet Indians.

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