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When the Na’vi go activist.

When the Na'vi go activist. (photo)

The Telegraph reports that a group of Palestinians dressed as the Na'vi to protest against Israel's separation barrier. It wasn't meant as a joke -- they apparently seriously think this is the best way to draw some attention. And they're right. For truly unlikely activism, you have to turn to the good folks of Participant Media, who produce movies that often seem like straight-up entertainment but are actually trying to Change Your Mind and make you more progressive. (Or, alternately, to help you congratulate yourself for your enlightenment.) Movies like "Good Night, And Good Luck," "The Soloist," "Charlie Wilson's War" and more straightforwardly didactic fare like "Food, Inc." have been made with their assistance. But then, last week I caught the trailer for "Furry Vengeance," a children's movie in which Brendan Fraser plays a soulless developer who wants to tear down a forest and build a mall, at which point...

The Telegraph reports that a group of Palestinians dressed as the Na’vi to protest against Israel’s separation barrier. It wasn’t meant as a joke — they apparently seriously think this is the best way to draw some attention. And they’re right.

For truly unlikely activism, you have to turn to the good folks of Participant Media, who produce movies that often seem like straight-up entertainment but are actually trying to Change Your Mind and make you more progressive. (Or, alternately, to help you congratulate yourself for your enlightenment.) Movies like “Good Night, And Good Luck,” “The Soloist,” “Charlie Wilson’s War” and more straightforwardly didactic fare like “Food, Inc.” have been made with their assistance.

02122010_furry.jpgBut then, last week I caught the trailer for “Furry Vengeance,” a children’s movie in which Brendan Fraser plays a soulless developer who wants to tear down a forest and build a mall, at which point the local CGI-enabled animals start hijacking his car and shit-dive-bombing the ribbon-cutting ceremony and so forth. And at the end of this “Garfield”-esque hot mess? An invitation to activism.

Activism can take the mold of the most debased pop-cultural retardation (Participant has a hand in “The Crazies” as well, which is definitely pushing it), something I’m very mixed about. I don’t have the energy or conscience for hardcore activism, but I’m glad others do and support all those progressive causes — I’m just wondering if recruiting people to think about things via the most plainly stupid material, be it Brendan Fraser or blue people, is good for getting things done. Assuming it works, it fills out the ranks with raw numbers, sure, but it’s hard not to imagine it’ll give you folks who have convictions without good reasons.

But I’ll admit — dressing up as Na’vi is a hell of a way to get people’s attention, one way or another.

[Photos: "Avatar," 20th Century Fox, 2009; "Furry Vengeance," Summit Entertainment, 2010]

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