Golden Globe winner James Cameron earned another kudo this week: PETA just awarded him its “2010 Proggy Award for Outstanding Feature Film” for Avatar. The “Proggy” (that stands for progress) is “making a film with an overarching message of decency, understanding, and compassion — as well as breathtakingly beautiful CGI that heralds a new era in filmmaking (one that we hope marks the coming end of the use of live animals in entertainment).”
Hmm. You had me with the first part, PETA: The film’s message is that all nature is connected and man should never destroy any species’ home for monetary gain. That certainly relates to animals whose habitats are threatened. But arguing that Avatar, which takes place in a fictitious world featuring animals that don’t actually exist, proves that no movie ever need enlist a live creature again? Now, you’re reaching.* Would CGI animals — normal ones, not singing Chipmunks — freak you out and diminish emotional impact? Or is knowing that no animal was harmed in the making of a movie not enough?
* Just like the non-PETA protester who recently yelled “Squeeze your boyfriend’s balls instead!” at me as I was going into Madison Square Garden for a PBR (Professional Bull Riders) event. I’m sure there are arguments to be made against bull riding, but that is not one of them: The flank strap never touches the bull’s berries.