The Vatican's newspaper has dubbed the sci-fi epic "simplistic" after editors spoke to bishops and cardinals after a screening.
In an article in L'Osservatore Romano, one Vatican critic writes the movie "gets bogged down by a spiritualism linked to the worship of nature," adding there are "few genuine emotions" in the film.
And Vatican spokesman Revd. Federico Lombardi reveals the criticism reflects Pope Benedict XVI's views on the dangers of turning nature into a "new divinity."
The film, which has already become the second highest-grossing of all time, will be released in Italy on Friday (15Jan10).