More Thoughts on Avatar

So many conflicting views on this movie.  I loved the movie, as I mentioned briefly in January 11’s post.

By now, you know that Avatar won a Golden Globe for Best Picture.  The effects are unreal (as in deliciously excellent), and although the story is predictable and clichéd, it works somehow (in my humble opinion).  I was disturbed by David Brooks’ article in The New York Times–“Messiah Complex”–because I know he’s right.  The movie is a white-man-saves-the-natives kind of story.

But is that a bad thing, necessarily?  Certainly, the movie is full of other positive messages.  [I’m limited here, in talking about it, because I don’t want to give anything away for those who haven’t seen it.]

Other movies that do the same thing–Dances with Wolves; Pocahontas, which I just watched with Liliana this past Wednesday afternoon; Blind Side, where a white woman rescues a black man.  Are we sending all the wrong messages?

Should the situations have been reversed, just to make a point?  [Granted, Blind Side is based on a true story, so that couldn’t have been told any other way.]

Then I read Steve Bell’s piece, focusing on the I See You part of the movie, and I thought, you know, I loved that part of the movie.  To be seen, to be understood, to be heard is the deepest wish of everyone I know (although I’m not sure all people would be self-aware enough to say so).

So.  I’ll say it again.  I’m of the liking-it-very-much camp (when it comes to critiquing Avatar).  I think the movie, despite all the controversy around it, tells an important story–that of protecting others, of treating them with respect, and of an ability to learn new things.  Just because we don’t immediately understand something doesn’t mean we destroy it…or that it doesn’t have intrinsic worth.

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The quote I live by

Have patience with everything that remains unsolved in your heart. Try to love the questions themselves, like locked rooms and like books written in a foreign language. Do not now look for the answers. They cannot now be given to you because you could not live them. It is a question of experiencing everything. At present you need to live the question. Perhaps you will gradually, without even noticing it, find yourself experiencing the answer, some distant day.
--Rainer Maria Rilke in Letters to a Young Poet

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