Everyone's a film critic, right? Even the occupants of the Vatican. Earlier this week news outlets picked up the Vatican newspaper and radio station criticisms of Avatar, the gazillion dollar box-office buster with such damning words as.... "Bland" while applauding its "extraordinary visual impact."

Vatican Radio dismissed it as"rather harmless." Not exactly harsh words.

L'Osservatore Romano, owned by the Holy See, states, "Not much behind the images." I couldn't agree more, although I'm in the minority of non-Avatarites.

It's hardly the first time the Vatican had opinions on Hollywood productions in recent years. Disney was under fire for their involvement with Kevin Smith's Dogma (although interestingly enough, they didn't take on Smith himself).

Not surprisingly, the biggest issue the Vatican has with Avatar is the naturalistic spirituality of the Na'vi, something the Vatican has long derided and feared.

The Na'vi's spirituality centers on Eywa, an earth mother goddess, and to them, a literal living goddess, which is at least two major strikes against it in devout Roman Catholic eyes, as it's dangerously neo-pagan, which makes it an easy target. L'Osservatore almost diplomatically states that Avatar "gets bogged down by a spiritualism linked to the worship of nature." Vatican Radio, on the other hand, snarks that it "cleverly winks at all those pseudo-doctrines that turn ecology into the religion of the millennium." Even that is more observation than damnation.

With over a billion dollars banked after release, the opinions of naysayers of any stripe aren't going to make any significant impact on the profits.
categories Movies, Sci-Fi