The Dissolve asks whatever happened to Avatar (the James Cameron movie that looked like a cartoon, not the one based on a cartoon). https://thedissolve.com/features/forgotbusters/877-avatars-rapid-rise-sudden-downfall-and-endless-bil/ Avatar was one of the highest grossing movies ever, but years later seems to have left zero cultural impact. Can you remember a single line from the movie? (And the lone word "unobtainium" doesn't count as a line.) Why?
Unfortunately the article doesn't really grapple with that question or provide any satisfying answer. But it's good to keep in mind. Many movies - good, bad, and mediocre - come and go, barely leaving any footprint on our cultural psyche.
So it's interesting *sixteen years later* many people can not stop talking about the Prequel Trilogy. What other bad movies get this much obsession, memorization, and immortality?
Secondly, the commenters at metafilter do attempt to answer the question of why Avatar is so forgotten. http://www.metafilter.com/155521/Project-880
Their analysis seems mostly to be that the movie is racist, or at least colonialist, in the way it treats the native culture. While superficially about "stopping imperialism", the movie romanticizes the noble savage and puts agency in the hands of the white male protagonist. This is definitely the case (though it was less the case in the original cut.)
But, if you want a movie that's "Avatar, but the white saviors are depicted as morally compromised people who barely understand the culture they are stomping around"... you should probably try The Phantom Menace.