I saw Avatar in wonderful 3-D. To see the movie on the big screen is something that won’t be duplicated on a TV; it is quite an experience. Avatar was very entertaining and a real crowd pleaser. I also liked how it was thoughtful at the same time.
Afterwards I pondered how spirituality and the paranormal are portrayed in science fiction films. Avatar is a spiritual movie in its own way; even it explains away it’s spiritually in physical terms. Ideally, the spiritual or supernatural shouldn’t be included in science fiction. Yet, even hard-science fiction movies like 2001: A Space Odyssey or Contact are metaphysical.
In some ways Avatar reminded me of Star Wars in combining science fiction with the spiritual. With the Stars Wars movies, it was all hardware combined with an elusive paranormal energy called the Force…clairvoyance, telepathy and telekinesis. For the times Star Wars’ mixture of technology and mysticism was appropriate, trying to insert some mystery into the absolute rule of hardcore materialism. It was as if Star Wars was trying to rediscover a popular Zen-like transcendence along with its science opera.
Avatar reminded me of Return of the Jedi, except instead of Ewoks, we have Pandora’s thundercats…the Na’vi who are bigger, bolder versions of Ewoks. However, the spirituality is different then Star Wars. With Avatar, it is about the interconnection of all life in balance with nature. The times have changed since the 1970s and 80s when cold war fears of an evil empire occupied our imagination. Now we have new fears.
The real-life consequences of technology’s triumph are environmental degradation, global warming and the near-future depletion of our natural resources. We are facing a dire future if profit is the only thing that matters. Is self-destruction worth the price of making money? Unlike the Star Wars or Star Trek worlds, in Avatar technology is literally the enemy.
The movie directly faces this question, along with domination of one culture over another. This is a movie for our times, a green movie. Unlike Star War’s Force, there is no dark side. Predator and prey are equal. This movie’s dark side is simply ignorance, profit seeking and carelessness.