Avatar: Some Personal Comments
The film Avatar has finally been released this month after being in development since 1994. I have not seen it yet, but I have read about it and discussed it with several people who have. This prose-poem tries to encapsulate some of my initial thoughts on this blockbuster, its initial reception and some of its meaning.
James Cameron, who wrote, produced and directed the film, stated in an interview that an avatar is: “an incarnation of one of the Hindu gods taking a flesh form." In this film, though, avatar has more to do with human technology in the future being capable of injecting a human's intelligence into a remotely located body, a biological body. "It's not an avatar in the sense of just existing as ones and zeroes in cyberspace,” said Cameron; “it's actually a physical body." The great student of myth, Joseph Campbell(1), should have been at the premier in London on 10 December 2009. I wonder what he would have said.
Composer James Horner scored the film, his third collaboration with Cameron after Aliens and Titanic. A field guide of 224 pages for the film's fictional setting of the planet of Pandora was released by Harper Entertainment just five weeks ago. The guide was entitled Avatar: A Confidential Report on the Biological and Social History of Pandora. With an estimated $310 million to produce and $150 million for marketing, the film has already generated positive reviews from film critics. Roger Ebert, one of the more prestigious of film critics, wrote: “An extraordinary film: Avatar is not simply sensational entertainment, although it is that. It's a technical breakthrough."-Ron Price with thanks to Wikipedia, 30 December 2009.
Like viewing Star Wars back in ’77
some said/an obvious script with an
earnestness & corniness/part of what
makes it absorbing/said another/Gives
you a world, a place/worth visiting/eh?
Alive with action and a soundtrack that
pops with robust sci-fi shoot-'em-ups...
A mild critique of American militarism
and industrialism.....yes the military are
pure evil........the Pandoran tribespeople
are nature-loving, eco-harmonious, wise
Braveheart smurf warriors. Received....
nominations for the Critics' Choice Awards
of the Broadcast Film Critics Association &
on and on go the recommendations for the..
best this and that and everything else. What
do you think of all this Joseph Campbell???
You said we all have to work our own myth(1)
in our pentapolar, multicultural-dimensional
world with endless phantoms of our wrongly
informed imagination, with our tangled fears,
our pundits of error, ill-equipped to interpret
the social commotion tearing our world apart
and at play on planetizing-globalizing Earth.(2)
(1)Google Joseph Campbell for some contemporary insights into the individualized myth we all have to work out in our postmodern world.
(2)The Prophet-Founder of the Bahá'í Faith, Bahá'u'lláh, has been presented as an avatar in India beginning, arguably, in the 1960s. With only 1000 Baha’is in India in 1960 to more than 2 million by the year 2010. Baha’u’llah has been associated with the kalkin avatar who, according to a major Hindu holy text, will appear at the end of the kali yuga, one of the four main stages of history, for the purpose of reestablishing an era of righteousness. There are many examples of what one might call a quasi-cross-cultural messianistic approach to Bahá'í teaching in India.
This approach has included: (a) emphasizing the figures of Buddha and Krishna as past Manifestations of God or avatars; (b) making references to Hindu scriptures such as the Bhagavad Gita, (c) the substitution of Sanskrit-based terminology for Arabic and Persian where possible; for example, Bhagavan Baha for Bahá'u'lláh, (d) the incorporation in both song and literature of Hindu holy spots, hero-figures and poetic images and (e) using heavily Sanskritized-Hindi translations of Baha'i scriptures and prayers.
I watched it the other evening. The story line is Dances with Wolves and Pocahontas (the Disney cartoon movie) meets Surrogates (Bruce Willis). It's completely predictable.
I enjoyed it and would watch it again but that's about it.
Don't click on this link if you haven't seen the movie yet.
I thought it was a fantastic movie on several levels. I got the message, predictable story line or not. Most movies are somewhat predictable for me, I'm rarely surprised by one. (I had Sixth Sense figured out in about 10 minutes and that was supposed to be one of the biggest surprise plots ever.)
The message that we humans are destroying our earth, we Americans enter another country and wreak havoc and yet we call 'them' terrorists, and most of all, that we are all connected to each other and all of nature.
My favorite part was the connection theme - I have had rides on some of my horses where I actually felt that we had a physiological and psychological connection without words or cues. I feel the same when I'm out in nature, mainly alone away from crowds or noises. I actually 'feel' connections to animals and natural 'things' so I truly was fascinated with that aspect.
The computer graphics and visuals were incredible. The best I've seen yet for that type of movie. It reminded me of Jurassic Park when it first came out, to see the dinosaurs like that on the big screen, so alive and realistic was amazing. Predictable plot but none the less awesome to me.
And the amount of people-power needed to produce Avatar was pretty incredible too. So many people had to do their part just right to get this to turn out so great. The result of the James Cameron's genius and the collective effort was near perfection and a hugely expensive movie that will actually made a decent profit.
For me anyway, it was an amazing experience, twice and I'm hoping for one more viewing on the big screen before the run ends. My wife refuses to go for a third time, so I'm going solo if I must!
I agree that is similarities/comparisons w/ Hinduism & Buddhism. Indeed, I published an article on the subject here: www.beacog.com
The theology aspect was pretty intriguing. Wasn't there an aspect of non-violence in the movie as well? I want to see it again.
I wouldn't quite say there is a nonviolent aspect as "God" (Enwa) sends animals to fight against the humans & the aliens use their more effective, but simplistic weapons.
However, I do believe a message of environmentalism and deliverance from evil are definitely in the film, which is also a good thing.
I enjoyed the comments folks!
Belated thanks for your comments on my introduction and the film. I will add no more at this stage; perhaps a comment on another film is in order.....ah yes, Matrix....I'll put it in another thread.-Ron;)
I just saw this thread and wanted to comment about the fact that the main character is disabled. Not all disabled people are heroic figures. Hollywood seems to want to make every disabled character a portrayal of a heroic person. Most disabled people are just trying to live the best life we can just like most people. I do appreciate the inclusion of more disabled characters in film. I just wonder why they can't be a little closer to reality.
The movie Avatar was visually wonderful. The themes were a bit heavy-handed and the plot predictable. It was nice to see the underdog triumph. I enjoyed it for the mind candy that it is.
Avatar is a joyous celebration of story craft and the visual possibilities of cinema. Cameron had set his sights on taking the technology of film where no one had gone before. And he delivers. Avatar is stunning....just my two cents!
I liked the part when they herded all those sheep and then later had homo sex in the tent. Unless that's another movie I'm thinking of. I get them confused.
Word! I personally like the movie from begining to end... :lol:
Just waiting for the 2nd chapter!!! :pray:
I frankly thought Avatar would be a stupid movie based on previews, but after having it recommended by several people, I gave in and watched it. I loved it! For me, the movie had a very Pagan message: everything's connected (the trees/plant life "spoke"), reverence for nature and for all life. And Sigourney Weaver was awesome. I came near tears at least a couple of times throughout the film. Five stars!
It had great spirit and I like that. I hope that the sequel does not become action porn (loose plot to connect action scenes) like so many sci fi movies.
There are hints like "what a beautiful brain" that definitely refer to Buddha Nature blended with Pagan Animism. I definitely tuned in to that!
I hope more of "love your Mother Earth" and provocation of the wonder of llife wthin people is achieved iin the sequel!
It Has Been Some Time
It Has Been Some Time....since I have been at this thread but, since many more comments have been made since I was here last I'll post a piece I wrote about people with disabilities having a central place in movies.-Ron
Even as the medicine and therapy for mental health disorders have made remarkable progress, the ancient social stigma in relation to psychological illness remains largely intact. Families are loath to talk about it and, in movies and the media, stereotypes about the mentally ill still reign. Whether it is Norman Bates in Psycho, Jack Torrance in The Shining, or Kathy Bates' portrayal of Annie Wilkes in Misery, scriptwriters invariably tell us that the mentally ill are dangerous threats who must be contained, if not destroyed. It makes for thrilling entertainment. There are some notable exceptions, of course -- Dustin Hoffman in Rainman, or Russell Crowe's portrayal of John Nash in A Beautiful Mind. But more often than not, the movie or TV version of someone suffering from a mental disorder is a sociopath who must be stopped.
Alex Forrest is considered by most people to be evil incarnate. People still come up to Close saying how much this character terrified them. Yet in her research into her own behavior, she only ended up empathizing with this character. She was a human being in great psychological pain who definitely needed meds. She consulted with several psychiatrists to better understand the "whys" of what she did and learned that she was far more dangerous to herself than to others. The original ending of Fatal Attraction actually had Alex commit suicide. But that didn't "test" well. Alex had terrified the audiences and they wanted her punished for it. A tortured and self-destructive Alex was too upsetting. She had to be blown away. So, the director and producer went back and shot the now famous bathroom scene. A knife was put into Alex's hand, making her a dangerous psychopath. When the wife shot her in self-defence, the audience was given catharsis through bloodshed, Alex's blood. And everyone felt safe again. The ending worked. It was thrilling and the movie was a big hit. But it sent a misleading message about the reality of mental illness/distress.
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