A lot of people with loathe this movie because it goes big to make its point and that will seem too simplistic. However, to give James Cameron some credit, there are some key moments he gets right in making his point. The afformentioned dialog points out the difference between reacting with stereotypical dismissal towards vague new age nature worship" popular thing for people to do, and an attractive straw man argument -and confusing it respect for the environment backed up by rationalism and science.
The film gets to have its cake here and eat it, too, though. In the world of Pandora, new age nature worship is validated
by science - there's a scientifically observable and explainable balance of nature. People can be quite literally in tune with the beasts and birds, they can jack in like it's a port. Our technological interaction with nature is here quite literally alien, and the living planet - acting like a forest god with a vague 'science' veneer - can rise up to stop that.
Cameron's basically loading the whole deck for its argument and letting any internal contradictions be erased by the story logic. Fair enough, but we can't really say it's valuing rationalism instead of
a new age attitude - really, it's both, if that. Or to be less fair rationalism is made to back up new age attitudes and is subordinate to them.
Also, I do have to wonder - do people who think the movie is unrealistically simplistic also think that, given the opportunity, the scenario the movie outlines would never happen?
Depends how vaguely you define it. Reduced to the barebones of the story - natives attacked by advanced culture who screw up their ecology - it already has
happened, to a point. Once we wonder off into noble savage tropes, and more specifically, interstellar travel, it gets a mite more implausible.
Hell, District 9, which now that we have this movie to compare it to, was initially slammed by lots of kneejerks because of all sorts of simplistic and "racist" overtones in in. Funny enough, now I'm seeing tons of people holding up District 9 as the "right way" to do it compared to Avatar.
I never slammed it as that. The only racist overtone I wasn't comfortable with, really, was the evil Nigerian flesh-eaters. You know what? Still not cool with that.