Kita, Caine and I went and saw Avatar over the weekend. Much like my wife, I was skeptical going in: we barely ever go to the movies, and block-buster action films are the last thing we’d see. But I’d heard and read enough about Avatar to lead me to believe it was worthwhile, and we were up for something different.
I thought it was fantastic. Yes, there are big shortcomings: the dialog, the characters, etc. all were pretty weak. In these dimensions, it was indeed a Hollywood blockbuster.
But the great thing about Avatar is its ambition. It tried not to be just some entertaining or even thought-provoking story, but instead wound up and swung to be an epic, a myth to speak to something eternal about our humanity and our universe. And epics—like say the Iliad—are never long on character development. Instead their focus is on the mythical journey of the hero and the message it brings about our existence.
In the case of Avatar, the message couldn’t be more aligned with my own worldviews (which I guess is party of why I liked it so much): that modernity and technology—particuarly fossil fuels—are too much with us; that our aim should be to live a live aligned with Nature; and that all living things are spiritually connected and ultimately one entity.
And then, what is so powerful about Avatar, is the creative and technical genius that delivers the message. The artistry and graphics to Avatar are simply incredible and it makes me think of all of the super talented people back in my old city of LA who make these sort of things happen. This is probably the greatest example of their abilities to date. Simply amazing.
So if you haven’t yet, go see Avatar. Cheers to the film-makers for the epic ambition. It is great to see a film that strives to inspire us on the level of the truly huge themes in our existence.