Sunday, January 24, 2010

The Movie, "Avatar"...If Only the Graphical Could be the Real Me!

January 24, 2010

Oh, If Only the Graphical Could Be the Real Me!

I may be the only knucklehead who hasn’t weighed in on one of the most important topics meriting our attention at this moment in time. In fact, I cannot upload, publish or share any other writings, until I address this most paramount of issues:

How I feel about the movie, “Avatar.”

Like most of us, I thought this was just a movie, but au contraire. Though the 3-D glasses resembled the ones I wear after having my pupils dilated, and thus, were a bit off putting, I went ahead and donned the suckers, ready for an experience. Little did I know that it would be an experience I can’t wait to tell anyone and everyone about, eliciting responses like, “Huh. That’s interesting, ma’am. Paper or plastic?” I just think the richness of the movie’s thematic content alone is worth a conversation, but I’m finding not everyone shares my enthusiasm for this or the potential for possessing a tail.

I mean, right out of the chute, what’s not to love about a future that shows us we can have an alter ego that is taller, more agile, a beautifully reflective blue and has a tail? We might even add braver, imbued with a social conscience and more in tune with basic instincts. We get to be all of these things in the year 2154, vicariously thrilling our way through “Avatar,” as Na’vi-people-in-training leaping from tree branch to tree branch. Suffused with Penguin-like monogamous love and enough truth-seeking neurons to bring down an entire army of warlike heathens hell-bent on destroying the true humanitarians is all ours for a small amount of cash.

Do you like irony? Then this movie is for you because the Na’vi are more human than the humans. Humans are portrayed as having lost their way (again) due to greed, providing us with (again) a cautionary tale of what can be or what will be, dependent upon whether you’re a “glass is half full,” “half empty,” or “there won’t even be a glass” kind of person. The Na’vi protect the earth and her natural resources, while the homo sapiens seek to drain the very sustenance of all living creatures. Humans kill, or set on the path of ruination, the very essence of what will, ultimately, save them. How do you not go out of that theater without purchasing another ticket and fed exing it to an influential politician, along with your end notes?

The historical references abound. How can we not watch the Na’vi prepare for the grand scale attack being waged by the military and not think of Native Americans? Mother Earth, rituals and the honoring of family all play huge roles, reminding us to preserve the important traditions that empower and connect.

It is through the cathartic synthesis of the character, Jake, that we are able to experience hope exemplified by the evolution of a warrior and, thus, the expansion of the term. Emotionally shutdown, due to the potent combination of his own loss of mobility and the loss of his twin brother, he is seething with potential. Ultimately, he develops into a caring, warrior steward of all living creatures, rather than a warrior waging destruction against anything that cannot be coerced into submission.

I’ve got to admit to a dirty little secret here. I’m a sucker for a good love story, but I’m even more of a sucker for the symbolism related to trees and so they had me with the first scene in the tree. When Jake and Neytiri are standing on the branch of Hometree and she says, “You shouldn’t be here,” there is obvious intra-inter-species attraction there. Gulp! And then there’s the “Tree of Voices.” Wow! Be still my heart. Cap that off with all of the meanings related to trees; tree of life, trees manufacture oxygen, trees exhibit seasons, representing growth and transformation. I may need to go hose myself down.

While I’m admitting things here, I may as well admit to you that I’m also a lover of dictionaries. I know. How old school, huh? So when I looked up the word, “avatar” I confirmed the technological meaning we’re all used to these days, “a graphical image that represents a person, as on the Internet,” but I love the definition that relates to Hindu mythology, because it provides me with yet another layer of the movie to ponder: “The descent of a deity to the earth in an incarnate form or some manifest shape; the incarnation of a god.”

Let’s face it. In any time, for any reason, a movie that can lift us up, make us feel large, even engender a bit of spirituality and feel some hope in the bargain, now that’s worth the four-dollar, unrecognizably-flavored beverage.

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