Roman Catholic newspaper hits out at film

ROME — “Avatar” may be popular with auds worldwide, but the Vatican is slamming James Cameron’s 3D sci-fi epic as “sentimental hokum.”

Following the Italo “Avatar” red carpet preem on Saturday in the Auditorium Conciliazione, a stone’s throw from St. Peter’s, Vatican daily L’Osservatore Romano gave it the thumbs down in a review which, among other things, faulted Cameron’s storytelling as “bland.”

By concentrating on the creation of Pandora’s fantasy world, he tells the story without any deeper exploration,” the Vatican paper said.

L’Osservatore also lamented that “there is plenty of stupefying, enchanting technology, but few genuine human emotions.”

Vatican Radio, which goes out worldwide, blasts “Avatar” for “winking at the pseudo-doctrines that have made ecology the religion of the millennium,” which may help explain the animosity.

In recent years Vatican media have increasingly commented on pop culture, often to warn the flock against pics such as “The Da Vinci Code,” perceived as posing a potential threat to Roman Catholic underpinnings.

However, last month L’Osservatore made a splash when it praised “The Simpsons” on its 20th anniversary, crediting the show for its “realistic and intelligent writing.”

“Avatar” will open in Italy on Friday on 800 screens.

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