A few points and theses inspired by James Cameron's Avatar:
1) Why is hi-tech/virtual Hollywood so anti-imperialist and anti-corporate? Maybe it's the movies I'm choosing to see. But as an example, take the last three Pixar movies. The Incredibles has that sequence where Mr. Incredible is trying to hold down a job in an insurance company, defying bureaucracy and the profit motive to give fragile old ladies their health cover. Wall-E describes a brand-totalitarianism - the Buy'n'Large corporation - that has despoiled Earth, turned humans into dependent grubs, and conducted a program of mass delusion and seduction to keep the truth from citizens. (Only knowledge, love and virtuous robotics can break through the mental grip).
And UP!, though it's mostly about the joys of ageing, has its expected anti-corporate sequence at the beginning, where impassive suits in shades exploit the tiniest social and legal infraction to get old Carl out of his house, so the developers can move in. The Pixar paradox/hypocrisy - these vast, thoroughly commercialised and marketed 'event' movies preaching about the balance of nature, the primacy of relationships, the tawdriness of capitalist modernity - has often been noted.
And you'd have to say that, at first sight, Avatar is the height of this tendency. The colonisers of Pandora represent mid-22nd century American(ised) culture at its most brutal and reductive - its empty consumerism ("they don't want what we have"), its bottom-line commercial myopia, its terrifying patriarchal/hierarchical militarism (literally embodied in the military commander Miles Quaritch), all supported by a gross technological power. The humanoid species they face, and whose mineral deposits they want to secure, live in a state of hunter-gatherer equilibrium, supported by a mythology and set of practices familiar from accounts of aboriginal cultures. The Na'avis connection with nature, however, is more than merely systemic or ecological, but bio-neural - they can entwine their ganglia with the neurology of other fauna and flora in Pandora, and transmit and receive messages with them.
I want to say more about this piece of post-human wish fulfillment later. But I think it gives a clue to why the most technologically cutting-edge movies have a consistently anti-authoritarian tone. In essence, the geeks and techs have inherited the shooting lot in Hollywood. And geek/techdom often operates best in small, motivated, obsessive groups, who often simply want to be mostly left alone to solve their problems and come up with new ones. They obviously have to deal with the managers and executives who provide the resources and conditions for their furious imagineering - and who will impress marketing and audience considerations upon their work.
So it's no surprise that Pixar movies recapitulate the creativity-vs-bureaucracy trope over and over again, given their tense relationship with Disney for most of their existence (and now even that they're in the Mouse House, the trope still persists with UP!). And the stories of James Cameron's fuck-you attitude to his Hollywood paymasters, particularly as he pursues new technological platforms for visual wonders, are well-documented.
You also have to consider that persistent overlap between counterculture and cyberculture described by Fred Turner - for example, the way that Burning Man becomes the paradigm event for Google employees, serving as a utopia of autonomy, creativity and ingenuity. The crew of scientists (headed by Sigourney Weaver) who work for the human corporation in Avatar are an instance of this overlap. Of course, they are an analogue to the embedded anthropologists who are currently at work in Iraq and Afghanistan, and who have often accompanied American adventuring (and one shouldn't underestimate how much the American public's war-weariness shapes the radicalism of Avatar's narrative). But they are also the geek-squad par-excellence - chain-smoking female scientist, white and nerdy linguist, super-cerebral Indian neurologist, all building avatars that help you enter into the imaginative world of others. Analogue to the filmmaker and his team of obsessives, I'd suggest.
There's even a scene in the movie which refers to what you could call classic hacker politics. That's the moment where Weaver's head scientist is remonstrating with the corporates and soldiers as to where the real wealth of Pandora lies - and it's not the energy-providing mineral deposit called 'unobtanium'. "The Na'avi are hooked up to nature, they are part of a planetary network - imagine what we could learn from them if we lived with them, observed their ways..." This netological idealism - exemplified currently by writers like Kevin Kelly, but rooted in cybernetics and the philosophies of McLuhan and Teihard De Chardin - is at the core of the hacker belief system. The response from the corporate boss is salty - "what have you people been smoking!?" But from the tech-hacker angle, it expresses precisely the kind of linear, hierarchical narrow-mindedness that you'd expect from bottom-liners, money-men and top-brass strategists.
So the secret ideological drama of the digital movie spectacular is: highly skilled tech-creatives against the executive suits. But given that...
2) What does the Hollywood SF movie prepare us for? Where Avatar is most deeply radical - in the sense of getting to the root of our selves - is in its post-human banality. A future in which transgenic chimeras - the human/Na-avi "avatars" of the film's title - are brewed up in tanks, ready for use in exploration, diplomacy or war.