Monday, January 11, 2010

A Depressed "Avatar"

I've seen Avatar.

So have approximately 10 billion people.

Or so it seems.

I don't always make it to the "big" movies, unless there are talking animals or race cars involved. When I first heard about Avatar, I wasn't all that interested in it either. Over time, the previews and early reviews changed my mind, and once it became a phenomenom, I was ready to go.

I enjoyed the movie a lot. The visuals were striking and immersive. It certainly was memorable. The story in my opinion, as many others, was recycled and preachy in a not so subtle (or accurate) way. Still, I appreciated my time in Pandora.

Apparently not as much as the people in this CNN article. The title for the article is "Audiences Experience 'Avatar' Blues." It quotes people as saying they so longed to live like the Na'vi (the tall blue skinned aliens in the movie, if you weren't one of the 10 billion) or in a beautiful place like Pandora (their Eden-like planet) that it depressed them.

Some thought there was no reason to go on, since humans have pretty much trashed Earth at this point, and there's no way to reverse things. A couple of the people contemplated suicide, as everything seemed "meaningless" since watching Avatar. One wanted to "escape reality." Another thought if he killed himself, he'd be "rebirthed" in a place similar to Pandora.

Thankfully those quoted have seemed to find a little comfort in online fan communities for Avatar. I was surprised by the depth of feeling that people had in the article.

Perhaps according to my friend Becky Miller, I shouldn't have.

She's been posting for over a week on the movie. She enjoyed the movie as well, but had concerns that Christians weren't showing discernment over the worldview espoused in the movie (panentheism, slightly different from pantheism).

I certainly agreed with her over the need for discernment. Nothing comes from a vacuum - James Cameron has a certain worldview, and whether he is actively promoting it or thinks he isn't, it is still going to come out. Christians (and everyone really) should realize this and use a little analysis when doing anything from voting to watching movies. You won't convince me that is "is just entertainment."

Still, she and I debated somewhat in the comments of one post. I suggested that Christians take the movie as a "Mars Hill" moment (the time when Paul, visiting Athens, used the idol to the "Unknown God" to explain Christianity to the pagan philosophers). There are certainly some aspects of the movie that can be used as conversation starters, even if the thrust of the movie is contrary to a Christian world view.

After reading this CNN article, I'm a little more disturbed. I don't think James Cameron's intent was having people take his movie quite so seriously, but Holy Unobtanium, Batman!

I think I'll take up some of these thoughts in the next post or two...



  1. Anonymous7:29 PM

    The article was ... disturbing, to say the least. This will make me sound like a flaming wacko, I guess, but I did think how like Satan that was to make people consider suicide after seeing a movie.

    The article also made me think more about the Eden-like world of James Cameron. Since we weren't actually there, we experienced it as free of insects, snakes and spiders, though it was dense jungle. The temperature was a comfortable 72 degrees (or whatever the theater folks set it at), so Pandora never got too hot, or too cold, no matter how high in the clouds they went.

    No one ever fell and died apparently, even on their training missions, so while it was an adventurous place, it was also safe.

    And the beauty? All borrowed from this planet--ie. God's actual creation.

    Anyway, thanks for the link, Jason. The article added to my understanding of the depth of the Avatar experience for some people.


  2. Not at all like a whacko, Becky. His aim exactly.

    What's sad to me (and I haven't seen the film) is that people fail to recognize they yearn for heaven. Not even Eden because it's hidden and that experience is gone. This fallen world has nothing to do with eco-drama, global warming, etc. It has everything to do with sin in the hearts of man. It's not what we "do": it's who we are.

    So sad that people long for blue creatures and a fake environment instead of the One who makes it all perfect . . .