Avatar gets a “black lung” rating

Avatar has received many reviews and ratings since it’s release just over 3 weeks ago, however it has been given a rather unique rating by a site called SceneSmoking.org. They’ve given it a “black lung”, along with the following review:

In the world of Avatar, everything is modern and technologically forward, but obviously the creators were not thinking forward when they included smoking in several scenes of the movie.

One of their main issues comes from a scene where Dr. Grace Augustine, played by Sigourney Weaver, is seen smoking on-screen after coming out of her mind transporting/fridge/incubator machine. She clearly hadn’t smoked up in a while, and she was craving one like most smokers do. When I watched the scene I acknowledged that she was smoking, and I remember it quite clearly, however I thought it added to her ‘pissed off scientist working for idiots’ character, and it shouldn’t really be an issue.

Thankfully, James Cameron took time out of counting up Avatar‘s box office gross to address this issue:

In a statement sent by e-mail over the weekend, Mr. Cameron said he had never intended Ms. Weaver’s character, Grace Augustine, to be “an aspirational role model” for teenagers.

“She’s rude, she swears, she drinks, she smokes,” wrote Mr. Cameron. “Also, from a character perspective, we were showing that Grace doesn’t care about her human body, only her avatar body, which again is a negative comment about people in our real world living too much in their avatars, meaning online and in video games.”

Speaking as an artist, Mr. Cameron said: “I don’t believe in the dogmatic idea that no one in a movie should smoke. Movies should reflect reality. If it’s O.K. for people to lie, cheat, steal and kill in PG-13 movies, why impose an inconsistent morality when it comes to smoking? I do agree that young role-model characters should not smoke in movies, especially in a way which suggests that it makes them cooler or more accepted by their peers.”

Smoking, Mr. Cameron concluded, “is a filthy habit which I don’t support, and neither, I believe, does ‘Avatar.’ ”

Well said Mr. Cameron. I would understand SceneSmoking.org’s frustration if, for example, the main characters from Twilight were seen smoking in a few scenes as lots of young teenage girls watch those movies and they would probably think it was cool. We’d have thousands of young girls sucking on a cigarette like it was Robert Pattinson’s…

  • atmblack03

    this is annoying, honestly it annoys me when people jump to ruin a movie over little things like this, back with tropic thunder it was the “never go full retard” had people in an uproar. Then other movies you have the naacp complaining that some movies are racist, you have religious people attacking movies, nationalities attacking movies. Honestly i do not see why people feel the need to do such things, like they have nothing better to do than to pin the blame for say teen smoking on a movie like Avatar. I went and saw Avatar and i barely remember the smoking scene, i was more into the story and moments of the movie as well as the visuals to careless that someone had been smoking a cigarette. People need to understand smoking is a peer pressure thing that starts in Middle & High School, not from watching a movie. I'm a huge Clint Eastwood fan and i've seen the Dollars Trilogy where he is smoking cigars.. never made me want to start. This is what ruins TV, Movies & Music for the rest of us and why i can't watch movies on cable because of the bleeps or even subs..try watching Mallrats on Cable with Jays lines subbed by some random guy trying to make Jay sound like a really nice guy who never said a bad word his entire life XD

  • umbriel03

    As stated above I had completely forgotten the smoking until those idiots made a stink about it. If the people complaning were actually paying attention the smoking in the movie was there to emphasise the imediate destruction to the planet that the humans were causing. So the smoking was ment as a deturant to smoking . Theres always has to be a dumass. Avatar is the finest most moving picture I have ever seen. The idiots should go watch it again and rethink their view point.

  • http://tricon.myopenid.com/ Tricon

    LMAO! Liam, your trail-off at the end is comedic genius.

  • genebb

    The main objection to Sigourney Weaver's smoking in Avatar is that the cliche anachronism takes the viewer out of the world Cameron's trying to create. The audience is suddenly going “WT–? Smoking 150 years from now? In a lab?? What's up with that?” Without an explanation, it takes people out of the movie.

    Here's what the tobacco PR maven trying to hook kids in “Thank You for Smoking” said:

    –Nick Naylor: Now, what we need is a smoking role model, a real winner. . . . two packs a day. . . .

    –Jeff Megall: Sony has a futuristic sci-fi movie they're looking to make.

    –Nick Naylor: Cigarettes in space? . . . But wouldn't they blow up in an all-oxygen environment?

    –Jeff Megall: [long pause] Probably. But, you know, it's an easy fix. One line of dialogue: 'Thank God we created the, you know, whatever device.'

    A second objection is that Cameron/Weaver go 150 years into the future to spout 80-year-old tobacco propaganda.

    In the 1920s, American Tobacco Co. hired Freud's nephew Edward Bernays to get women smoking. His solution: promote smoking as freedom and independence. Bernays hired debutantes to walk down 5th Ave during the 1929 Easter Parade dressed as the Statue of Liberty, holding their cigarettes aloft as “torches of freedom.”

    Bernays later deeply regretted his work for tobacco companies.

    Independence/rebellion is an ad theme Cameron falls for and promotes with Rose's character in “Titanic,” too.

    Weaver's stress-relief is another tobacco advertising mantra, used since the 30s at least, with lots of jet pilots, sports stars, etc., “calming their nerves” with cigarettes.

    Cameron's unconscious swallowing of tobacco propaganda shows he really doesn't understand the issue; his rationale is specious. He is fooling only himself.

  • Annoyed Person

    What the hell are you on about?!? I'm so sick of controversy over absolutely nothing.
    “You said black, that's racist”
    “You saw someone smoke, thats terrible”
    Can't people just accept that not everything is meant to offend you. Here in Australia, kindergartens aren't meant to teach 'Ba ba black sheep', it now has to be 'Ba ba rainbow sheep'. Black is a colour not an offensive term, if I point out someone as being black, it could just be to help recognise them not insult them. Not everything needs to be bland and impersonal just to be inoffensive. And here you are, saying that Cameron was 'advertising' tobacco just because it was in a movie. If a character smokes, can't it simply be because it shows a personality trait? Cameron even says he doesn't support smoking at all. So if you found it offensive that a character smoked in a movie, go sit in a grey corner and think like a computer, so you don't offend people by recognising their personality and appearance.

  • genebb

    “If a character smokes, can't it simply be because it shows a personality trait?”

    A. It's a “personality trait” shared by NO ONE else in the movie. No one. There was no coherent reason for her smoking whatsoever; it was outside the world of the futue, it was outside the world of a controlled-environment lab, it was outside the world of the movie itself(!)

    B. It's an aspirational “personality trait” tobacco has tried to associate with female smoking since the 20s; it's propaganda, pure and simple.

    Judging by all the booster seats outside the movie theatre entrances–and the number of kids in the house when I saw it–an entire generation is being sold on cigarettes in the same way cigarettes have been marketed to girls since the 20s, the message reinforced over and over, with each viewing, on all the TV reruns, for decades to come:

    Strong, tough, independent, smart women smoke.

    Realism? Ha. It's against all reality. This would be a seriously atypical scientist. 44% of cigarettes are sold to the mentally ill; most smokers are poor and uneducated. This is an ad, pure and simple. And millions of kids are getting the message.

    You _should_ be annoyed, but not at me. I'm not hawking cigarette mantras to kids. This is no small deal.