Proceed no further if you have not seen Avatar
I read about this news before I actually saw the movie. It is kind of old news now, but I just saw Avatar last night and I had to see why James Cameron was getting so much flack because one of his characters smoked. Of course, I didn’t see what the big deal was, but I’m totally biased. The smoking wasn’t glamourized, but they also did not go to great lengths, like many movies do, to only “sort of show smoking”. Cameron said he used smoking as a character flaw and to show that Grace cared more about her Avatar body than she did about her real body.
I think Cameron inadvertently showed something deeper with Grace’s smoking. The tagline for the movie could probably be: “I see you.” Although this line became a little corny by the end of the movie, it was the major theme of the entire movie. When we first meet Grace, she is obnoxious, mean, condescending and she smokes like a chimney. You might think to yourself, why would I ever want to get to know this person? But beneath that tough, crass exteriour is someone who really cares about the work she is doing and is actually a good person. You learn that by the end of the movie. Jake starts out much the same way. He is ignorant, reckless and maybe just a little trigger happy. But Jake was more than that… I think this was an analogy for life and how we often make quick judgements based on appearances or first impressions. Sometimes these judgements are wrong.
Normally it is the bad guy that smokes in the movie, but Grace turned out to be one of the good guys. I think that is why all the antis had a problem with it. A character that turned out to be not so bad after all, is a smoker. God forbid!
The only thing that struck me as funny regarding said smoking was that it was all indoors. Apparently the smoking bans haven’t made it to Pandora yet.
If you are looking for some more reactions to the smoking in Avatar, the following two articles were interesting: