In spite of the crowds, I did decide to go see Avatar. It was a three hour film. One way I measure a film’s success is if I notice the length and in this case I found this film more engaging then Sherlock Holmes, a two hour film that seemed more like three. I am sure part of the engagement was the wonder and color of the planet, Pandora. I loved the idea of a people so in tune with the land that every step is linked to the life around them.
Okay so this is not an original story by any means. Natives in any major continent all have histories of being linked into the land and natural rhythms of the earth and all of these aboriginal peoples have been dominated and killed for access to the lands. There’s also nothing new about foreigners finding some precious metal, resource or nugget that is worth tons of money but would require the destruction of the planet to mine . Finally the fight that eventually takes place is not new either. Indeed Avatar is the same story we keep repeating over and over, for real and in stories like Fern Gully and Worship Down. yet, we never learn.
Avatar means teacher, but I am not sure the lead character lives up to the title. Maybe Grace did. But she died. Our main man did change. But I was wishing for some other path then fight war with war. I get he was only defending their home which by any human standard is perfectly acceptable, but isn’t there something else. Here is a planet that is so interconnected that eventually all the animals come to fight off the bad guys. What if instead of fighting them off that interconnecting link was used to shift minds. I know it is not Hollywood but I am still looking for a new storyline.
I liked Avatar. I was cheering for him and the natives. But I left wishing there could have been a more unique and novel path for resolving differences. I have to believe there is something – a paradigm shift that is available to us and all living beings. Often that type of magic arrives through remembering or imagining and then sharing the stories through the present day medium which in today’s world, is 3D film. Avatar had many elements of that possibility; telepathy, interconnection, blending of different species and of course the age old ingredient love. However, in the end the story still didn’t provide a new paradigm.
I am still waiting and will keep trying to remember and imagine that there is a path other then violence that leads us home!