So Who is Avatar Accused of Ripping Off This Week?
O for those innocent times when a few eerie parallels between Delgo and Avatar represented the extent of James Cameron's alleged creative thievery. If only we could go back to that pure era before the King of the World had pilfered from a short story or Ferngully or Dance With Wolves or A Man Called Horse himself or, this time around, some Russian sci-fi hardliners calling for a restoration of Cold War hostilities.
A growing cult of Avatar viewers in Russia has argued that portions of the blockbuster suspiciously resemble The World of Noon (a/k/a Noon Universe), a bestselling, 10-part series written in the '60s by brothers Arkady and Boris Strugatsky. The survivor among them, Boris (Arkady died in 1991), hasn't seen Avatar and doesn't seem to care about the allegations either way. But for a country without sex-addict golfers and late-night civil wars to keep it occupied, the West's lifting of its prized culture is apparently a pretty big scandal. To wit:
· Both stories occur in the 22nd century
· Both stories take place on a humid, lushly forested moon/planet named Pandora
· One group of aliens inhabiting the Strugatsky's Pandora is known as the Nave
And... I guess that's it? You can see what a skulduggerous, insidious ripoff we've got here! 20th Century Fox -- which presumably shuttered its Office of Frivolous Avatar Complaints right around the 1,700th Pocahontas comparison plunged the department's intern into a deep, Na'vi-gurgling catatonia from which she has yet to respond -- has declined comment. Some Russians aren't letting it go, however: "The Na'vi are unequivocally reminiscent of the [Strugatskys'] Nave," said one prominent Russian journalist. "My point is that the film is harmful for western civilization."
Jeez, pal! Relax! The LAPD has it totally under control.