Friday, January 29, 2010
back on earth
I suspect we were the last people in Portland to go and see what all the hoopla was about when we got all dressed up and ready for Avatar in 3D. Considering our natural range of interests I can't say either of us were prepared to be impressed but I have to admit, here and now and right up front, we'd been wrong. It's a very cool experience. I don't even like going to the movies anymore since I hate having to sit still for hours without being able to put a movie on pause while going for ice cream, using the bathroom or just talking to each other about our views up to that point. Nevertheless, we sat enthralled for nearly three hours.
I'm sure you all know the story by now or have experienced for yourselves the fabulous visuals. The ability to actualize on screen an environment and a people who live in complete harmony with their environment is a pretty powerful message to those who aren't inclined to spend time in their imaginations and moreover, have lost whatever connection they may once have had with tribal mythology.
The story itself bore a lot of similarities to a Japanese video game we enjoyed ten years ago, Final Fantasy IX, where a world tree is annihilated by enemies seeking to destroy the innate strength of a society they wish to conquer. It's an ancient theme. The hero of that story, Zidane, is also a kind of avatar since he's a manufactured being sent to infiltrate a society his master wishes to destroy but ends up falling in love with a princess and her people. Strangely enough, he always wore blue and had a prehensile tail. Baba Ganoosh pictured above has no tail but he too is sky-hued.
In this day and age as we're fed hard realities on television and in the news any hints of natural magic and sacredness come as a welcome surprise. Take, for instance, that one of the commercials we were forced to sit through before the film began was this ad for the National Guard. Besides the fact that I'm not a war supporter, the depiction that war is a valiant, heroic effort is just offensive when put into context of the current US foreign policy. That humans were the invading aliens in Avatar made an all too noticeable cognitive dissonance with the message of the commercial that we protect our country by attacking others. Yes, it was like getting hit over the head with a brick but it seems that's what it takes these days.
Meanwhile, I'm still seeing the world in 3D. Do you suppose this is just a natural aftereffect that will dissipate in time?