Avatar: A Marxist Saga on the Far Distant Planet

  • Yong Tang Western Illinois University
Keywords: Avatar, Marxism, capitalism, neoliberal capitalism, imperialism, primitive accumulation, accumulation by dispos-session, James Cameron, Hollywood, worldview, China, forced eviction, bloggers, social oppression


This article presents a critical and cultural study on Avatar, the Hollywood science fiction blockbuster. After using classical and current Marxist theories to examine James Cameron’s major films and using textual analysis to explore Chinese bloggers’ comments on the film Avatar, the paper argues that, like Cameron’s other major films, Avatar is a cinematographic manifesto of Marxism. The class struggle between capitalists and proletarians is evident throughout the movie’s whole narrative structure. Cameron is not neutral in his approach to cinematic worldview. Like in his previous films, also this time Cameron expresses solidarity with poor people and struggles against the rich. The confrontational nature of the worldview embedded in the movie has been used by audiences in China, Brazil, Palestine and elsewhere as a weapon to fight against social oppression.