Avatar is well-suited for ideology criticism, and though I’ve not read many reviews of it (with the notable exception of Zizek’s, who apparently did not see the film before publishing an article in New Statesman) James Cameron’s blockbuster solicits us to flex our critical skills in order to excavate its “hidden content.”
The PG-13 rating, of course, was unavoidable, and largely an economic decision, though one that reflects a general tendency in American cinema to appeal to the pubescent in all of us. CGI-heavy films are expensive, and thus require large audiences to realize a hefty enough profit. This is why you’ll never see a Cameron-style spectacle rated NC-17, except, perhaps, as a director’s cut. To date, Avatar has grossed $2,772,605,563 world-wide, or over 10 times its $237 million budget.