Movie: Avatar

24 01 2010

Saw Avatar spontaneously tonight. Kept wondering what I’d write about it…

Sure, it was full of pantheism or panentheism, with the whole planet connected via a “network”. And there was a definite underlying dualism (the idea that the conscious can be transferred from one body to another). Actually, the dualism bothered me more – because it has become such an accepted fact that our “spirit” or “soul” is completely disconnected from our bodies. The main character wants to dispose of his original, “broken” body and take over a second, healthy one.

But the thing I found most disturbing… was the cultural question. We’ve got “natives” who are referred to as savages, whose culture is completely disregarded. Then this guy Jake comes along, falls in love, learns a little of the culture. So far, I’m with it. Not a fan, but okay.

So why does this Jake need to be the one who leads them in war? How is it he figures out how to do what only 5 Na’vi before have ever done, tame a toruk? On the one hand, I applaud his attempt to gain their respect in a way acceptable to their culture. But seriously? He tames an animal and suddenly they’ll all follow him to war and death?

Why is it some other race needs one of us to ride in to the rescue? White man to the rescue…

Let me put this in another tone: Yes, I applaud the attempt to appreciate and value diverse cultures. However, ultimately, it’s still a white-American-male perspective, dripping of condescension and ethnocentricism.

On another note – I thoroughly enjoyed it. Plot was a bit predictable, but the story-telling & special effects were great. Definitely worth seeing in the theater.