Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Avatar Review

A friend's recent blog post got me thinking about a recent decision--

Avatar has made more money than any other film ever. But that doesn't necessarily mean that everyone is a fan. Initially, I had very mixed feelings about it. In fact, I had to wait a full 36 hours after seeing the movie before I could tell whether I liked Avatar or not.

I finally decided that I did. I know it's endlessly formulaic. Fern Gully, Dances With Wolves, Pocahontas, The Last Samurai. This latest incarnation is doing the same dance over again that we've seen countless times.

And that's why I find it so fascinating. No matter how much we deny it today we still believe that there are superior and inferior nations ("developed" and "developing" ring a bell?). And when you realize that nation is just the modern and repackaged concept of culture, that's not a comforting thought.

I think we're trying to deal with an unsettling theme we haven't been able to collectively process yet. I've often wondered what I would be like if I stepped into the life and circumstances of a Darfur native, a North Korean, an Israeli or Palestinian. Perhaps we could all use an avatar. Walk in another person's "shoes" for a while.