Friday, December 18, 2009

The deeper layers of Avatar



I saw Avatar the other day. I didn't know what to expect. Apparantly Avatar broke the record as to what movie has been the most expensive motion picture to produce thus far. Would this benefit the movie, or rather work against it? I didn't know before I sat in the modest theatre in my hometown.

My first impression was that of being impressed of the sheer beauty. Computer generated imagery has apparently taken leaps and bounds in terms of what it can accomplish yet again. And the planet Pandora; which humanity is present to pillage natural resources from, is as otherwordly and fascinating as it should be.

For those who have seen the japanese animated worlds of Hayayo Miazaki in movies such as Princess Mononoke and NausicaƤ of the Valley of the Wind, you will be able to see clear similarities between the ideas of these different filmmakers. James Cameron has blessed Avatar with the same life affirming critique of mans dominion over nature such as with Miazaki's films.

Another layer is the story about colonialism and its destructive logic: that idea that might gives right. A story woven into the fabric of our own histories. A question which still burns and unsettles the world.

Avatar is also a beautiful portrayal of indigenous spirituality. There is a clear theme presented that the people who live there view divinity as being present in all living things - a thought which some may call animism. There is a clear reverence for the natural world here which struck me as being vibrant and respectful. For this thing alone I would recommend you to see the movie.

The thing which makes science fiction such a fantastic form to tell a story is that it disconnects us enough from the present to show us another angle at what precisely is our present. This movie does that wrapped in a story which engaged me.

7 comments:

Suecae Sounds said...

Sarah wrote:

I am greatly looking forward to seeing this..especially now I have read what you thought about it all!!Clearly beautiful for the eye..I do like the idea that it has beauty for the soul as well.

Thank you for you comment on the Bee today hon..I am sorry for what you have been through..but I see an amazing man..I do!! You have amazing gifts to offer! I am so thrilled to have met you!!

Hope you have a wonderful day hon!
Namaste, Sarah

Black Butterfly said...

Thank you for this brief glimpse of the movie. I definitely want to see it soon.

sallymandy said...

Suecae, I appreciate your review of this movie. It's gotten such interesting reviews, and I've been unsure whether to go see it. I value your opinion, though, as it comes from a deep-thinking and insightful person.

Have a lovely holiday....Sallymandy

Mike said...

I took my boys to see Avatar and I liked the movie a well.I saw the 3D version which was really cool but after awhile I got a head ache from the 3D effect.It does have religious undertones that point to a "mother earth" theism but it's subtle.The story of the exploitative nature of the materialistic world view is an ancient one and is mentioned in the book of Enoch.The Nephilim were condemned not because of their use of magic but the use of it for their own selfish interests.It was the abuse of power that was the sin; the exploitation of women and using knowledge to create weapons of war causing a disruption to the community as a whole.Another aspect I liked about the film was how it portrayed Divine intervention as a limited event which I think reflects how Divine intervention works in our world.Too much Divine intervention negates free will but a limited amount gives life to myths and miracles.Their is a scene that hints at Resurrection and maybe the Tree of Life but that might be a bit of a stretch.The religious nature of the story is presented ambiguous enough that one can weave ones own religious views into it.It's a good movie...

Suecae Sounds said...

Thank you all for your kind comments. It is definetly one of the better movies I've seen this year.

Mike:

I didn't see it in 3D. But getting a headache doesn't sound very nice. I definitely agree that its subtle tones allow us to weave our own preferences into Avatar - which is probably why it is so intruiging. Concerning the "Tree of Life" there is both Norse as well as Jewish and christian points of reference. Which is probably another point why Cameron's movie will be remembered: it goes beyond one cultures religious symbolism and taps into something more profound.

Gweb said...

I'm looking forward to seeing it. Your comment about science fiction disconnecting us enough to examine ourselves from a different angle is interesting. Another sci-fi movie that I thought did this very well was District 9. It examined the irony and bleak cruelty we are capable of when faced with an "other", human or otherwise. Sounds like Avatar may explore some similar ideas. It'll be fun.

Suecae Sounds said...

I haven't seen District 9. Thanks for reminding me of it Gweb!