Avatar under criticism of antismoking groups

Published on January 22nd, 2010 09:46

Anti-tobacco advocates which seek to eliminate smoking in movies were once again frustrated as they have witnessed the future shown by one of most eminent Hollywood film-makers, and smoking was still there in that future.

James Cameron, director of science fiction epic “Avatar”, stated that Sigourney Weaver’s character, who was smoking in the movie, should not be considered as a source of inspiration for teenagers, but simply proved that people won’t change significantly in the future.

Stanton Glantz, professor of medicine and chairman of Campaign for Smoke Free Movies, claimed that it was a mind-blowing shock for the campaigners to see cigarettes in this groundbreaking movie; but still, they have no intention to give up and will soon launch a new campaign focused on obliging major film studios avoid showing tobacco in the movies.

In case of Avatar, Glantz was referring to several scenes in which Dr. Grace Augustine ( brilliantly played by Weaver), a scientist and leader of Avatar program, was desperately trying to find her smokes and then lighting up a cigarette and enjoying it while helping to get closer to Na-vi civilization and attempting to save Pandora’s fragile eco-system.

Scenesmoking.org, which rates movies according to presence of smoking scenes in those movies, granted ‘Avatar’ movie (rated PG-13 by MPAA) a black lung rating, signaling that it includes more than one inadmissible scene with a major character consuming tobacco in any form However, Cameron’s box-office success that became the second highest-grossing movie in less than three weeks is not the only motion picture currently showing in cinemas to receive a black-lung rating.

“The Blind Side”, “Nine”, “Sherlock Holmes”, “Did You Hear About the Morgans?” and “The Fantastic Mr. Fox,” all showing during holidays got the “black lung” since they depicted pro-smoking messages, despite these movies were given PG-13 or PG by Motion Picture Association of America.

Speaking about the critical attitude of the anti-smoking groups, Mr. Cameron admitted that Dr. Grace Augustine was never intended to be a role model for adolescents.

He mentioned that Ms. Weaver’s character is a rude and straightforward person who has a careless attitude to her real life and human body, as she only paid attention to her Avatar life. Cameron said that Dr. Grace Augustine symbolizes those young people who spend their lives chatting in the web, forgetting about the simply pleasures of real life.

Speaking about showing smoking in films, the legendary filmmaker said that though it is an odious habit, it still is a part of our everyday life, like coarse words, alcohol, violence, drugs and murders; however there is no movement to ban scenes showing sex or violence in the movies. So, the campaign to stub out smoking in cinema is a little bit one-sided.

He added that he agrees that inspirational positive protagonists should never light up; however it should not be considered inadmissible to smoke, particularly when it has a negative coloring.

As regards Mr. Glantz, he said that apart of smoking scenes, “Avatar” is a great motion picture that could not leave anyone indifferent.

By Joanna Johnson, Staff Writer Copyright © 2010 TobaccoPub. All rights reserved.

Related tags: anti-tobacco | quit smoking | smoking | movies

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