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The notion of planetary gods (small-g) is actually one with a considerable Christian tradition. In classical and medieval Christianity there was a widespread belief that the planets had "intelligences" (specialized sorts of angelic beings) moving them. C. S. Lewis's "The Discarded Image" is an excellent reference on the subject. Quoting Lewis quoting Albertus Magnus: "the heavens have not souls and are not animals if the word soul is taken in its strictest sense. But if we wish to bring the scientists (philosophos) into agreement with the sacred writers, we can say that there are certain Intelligences in the spheres [planets]...and they are called the souls of the spheres."

In fact, Lewis himself used this old idea in his science-fiction trilogy ("Out of the Silent Planet", "Perelandra", and "That Hideous Strength"). The existence of a planetary pan-theistic god in Avatar is not inherently Christian, but it is also not inherently anti-Christian. Even if we reject the idea that such planetary "gods" exist generally, there is nothing inherently anti-Christian in supposing that God could have created such a being for some specific world (either as a primary or secondary creative act). Where a planetary "god" can become anti-Christian is if it is raised in the context of a denial of the Christian God, or by positing that such a planetary "god" could have any relation to the Christian God other than as a created being that owes everything it has to the Christian God just as we do.

It may not be a thought that is wrong to embed in Christian fiction, but the way Avatar expresses it is at odds with traditional monotheism. The idea that early Hebrews recognized the existence of numerous Canaanite and other gods among which YHWH gained religious and political ascendancy through local Hebrew military victory has a long tradition in Old Testament studies across the spectrum of historical critical points of view. But it is generally considered that over time Hebrew theology developed to the point that YHWH gained his exclusivity as capital G God, and that competing deities were henceforth considered either fictional or manifestations of angelic beings antagonistic to God (such as Lilith). Good angelic beings in the Hebrew tradition were involved with the mediation of revelation (as God's direct glory was too much for his people to survive), key moments of history, or doxology. It is this understanding of God as a unique Creator and Sustainer of natural cycles that is at the core of traditional Christian belief, directly cribbed from that stage in the development of Jewish monotheism. This is what made Jesus so scandalous.

The early Christian appropriation of monotheism does actually ascribe a measure of control over earth to an angelic being - unfortunately, that happens to be Satan for the moment. But the general idea that there are additional beings at a different level of an ontological chain between us and God that exist in Eywa like states of control and connection to created beings did have its day in the court of orthodoxy via Gnosticism, and traditional Christianity resoundingly said: me genoito.

The kind of communion and supplication that happens between beings and Eywa in Avatar is at odds with orthodox Jewish and Christian monotheism. Same deal with Gnosticism.

Lewis was making mythopoetical points about creation and divinity, which are different from direct and systematic theological points about the same topics.

Edited by MLeary

"...the vivid crossing of borders between film and theology may save the film from the banality of cinema and festival business, and it may also save the church from the deep sleep of the habitual and the always known."

(Hans Werner Dannowski)

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FWIW, Avatar now ranks 6th on the "fastest to $250 million" list; the top five are all sequels, but Avatar is the only film in the top ten to benefit from 3D ticket prices, so make what you will of that.

David Poland crunches some of the numbers.

bowen wrote:

: In fact, Lewis himself used this old idea in his science-fiction trilogy ("Out of the Silent Planet", "Perelandra", and "That Hideous Strength").

Well, sort of. Lewis worked with the idea that each planet had its own angel who had been ASSIGNED here by God, but whose original home was somewhere else; he also worked with the idea that the fate of a people can be wrapped up in the fate of its leader or king, hence, when Lucifer rebelled, all of the Earthlings under Lucifer's dominion became fallen as well. This is a very top-down way of thinking, and somewhat opposed to the bottom-up Pandora model, where the "mother" of the planet is, in some sense, a PRODUCT of the planet and has no evident connection to any other planet out there. (Yes, the spirit of the planet is personified in the figure of the deity Eywa, but from a purely naturalistic point of view, this would not be all that different from the way each person's mind is generated by the collective activity of the body but is essentially dependent on that body for its existence.)

MLeary wrote:

: It may not be a thought that is wrong to embed in Christian fiction, but the way Avatar expresses it is at odds with traditional monotheism. The idea that early Hebrews recognized the existence of numerous Canaanite and other gods among which YHWH gained religious and political ascendancy through local Hebrew military victory has a long tradition in Old Testament studies across the spectrum of historical critical points of view.

Heh. In my earlier post, I toyed with saying that the theology of Avatar was more henotheistic than pantheistic. :)

"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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'Avatar' and the faith instinct

What would have been controversial is if -- somehow -- Cameron had made a movie in which the good guys accepted Jesus Christ into their hearts.

Of course, that sounds outlandish and absurd, but that's the point, isn't it? We live in an age in which it's the norm to speak glowingly of spirituality but derisively of traditional religion. If the Na'Vi were Roman Catholics, there would be boycotts and protests. Make the oversized Smurfs Rousseauian noble savages and everyone nods along, save for a few cranky right-wingers.

I'm certainly one of those cranky right-wingers (wanna see my decoder ring?), though I probably enjoyed the movie as cinematic escapism as much as the next guy.

But what I find interesting about the film is how what is "pleasing to the most people" is so unapologetically religious.

Jonah Goldberg, Los Angeles Times, December 29

"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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The kind of communion and supplication that happens between beings and Eywa in Avatar is at odds with orthodox Jewish and Christian monotheism.

The aliens of Avatar are not human beings and the rules governing them would not necessarily be the same as those governing humans. Even among humans, Jewish law, for example, imposes many rules on Jews that do not apply to non-Jews. With regard to Avatar, there is no obvious reason why the Navi and Eywa could not both be created beings whose lawful relationship to each other is unlike anything in human experience. The whole thing only becomes anti-Christian to the extent that Eywa is set up as an alternative to God for the Navi (God OR Eywa instead of God AND Eywa).

'Avatar' and the faith instinct

What would have been controversial is if -- somehow -- Cameron had made a movie in which the good guys accepted Jesus Christ into their hearts.

Jonah Goldberg, Los Angeles Times, December 29

Not nearly as controversial as a movie in which Jonah Goldberg accepted Jesus Christ into his heart.

Edited by bowen
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Heh. In my earlier post, I toyed with saying that the theology of Avatar was more henotheistic than pantheistic. :)

I wish I would have just said that instead of OT theology blah blah blah.

The aliens of Avatar are not human beings and the rules governing them would not necessarily be the same as those governing humans.

So let's make up a new terms for their "theology" instead of invoking Lewis. Camerology Proper.

"...the vivid crossing of borders between film and theology may save the film from the banality of cinema and festival business, and it may also save the church from the deep sleep of the habitual and the always known."

(Hans Werner Dannowski)

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So let's make up a new terms for their "theology" instead of invoking Lewis. Camerology Proper.

I wasn't trying to explain what Cameron was up to in terms of Lewis. I have no reason to think that Cameron even read Lewis, still less was using him as a conscious inspiration. I was only commenting on a similarity between what Chattaway described as a "plantary god" in Avatar and a similar concept in classical and medieval Christian theology. The routes to the ideas and the thinking behind them are really pretty radically different, but they ended up surprisingly close together.

The concoction of religions in science fiction has been going on a long time; I wouldn't take them seriously as objects of theological study though. As a kind of set dressing for a fictional society, they're fine, but look at them too long and you end up with something like midi-cholorians. Best to just give them a glance and move on.

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We really should have a midi-cholorians beat-down thread. A Film-talk punching bag stress reliever after watching something you really decide you hate. Might be kinda fun. Will grock on this for a while.

In an interstellar burst, I am back to save the Universe.

Filmsweep by Persona. 2013 Film Journal. IlPersona.

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Girish:

-- I haven't seen the film yet but
and
write about
Avatar
3D causing eyestrain and headaches if the viewer looks away from the areas of the frame where the filmmaker
wants you to look
. André Bazin famously believed in the value of the spectator assuming an active role by scanning the film frame and choosing what to pay attention to.
Avatar
seems to be mandating the very opposite--by
punishing
viewer choice and agency with physical pain to the eye and the head!

"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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This is starting to remind me of an article that William Goldman, I think, wrote for Premiere, I think, explaining why the Titanic screenplay didn't deserve the drubbing or dissing that it got: He, too, if memory serves, said it ain't about the dialogue, it's about the structure.

- - -

The "Avatar As Death Of Storytelling" Fallacy

If you actually look at Avatar clearly, thinking seriously about the storytelling, it is as complex as any film Charlie Kaufman has ever written. What it is not - and I think that this could be be and should be seriously considered by writers who chose to think about film seriously - is particularly oblique, as many of the films that "serious" critics choose to love are. But what's funny about that is that if you really start to think about what's been set up in Avatar, nature perhaps being hard-wired in a literal way, Cameron is throwing out as big an idea as any studio film has offered in years.

Avatar is a genre movie. Absolutely. And when it isn't thrilling the audience, it is usually reaching for emotion, not intellect. But it is also a master class in story structure. The weakest parts of the first act - all the Basil Exposition moments - are all paid off in a big way in the third act.

I defy any of the bashers to come up with a major element of the movie that doesn't actually make sense in the context of the movie. I'm sure there are a few minor ones... there always seem to be a few, even in the most highly regarded films. But this is not Charlie's Angels: Full Frontal or Bad Boys II or even Transformers, #1 or #2, randomly inserting action sequences that never quite fit the context of what minor story that is being offered.

What Avatar is not is as dark and mysterious as The Dark Knight. There is no evil character as strong as The Joker. Our hero and heroine are not as brooding and focused as The Batman. And the moral questions of Avatar are not as clearly stated or as yes/no as The Dark Knight. But all that said, the story structure of the movie is more successful than TDK at delivering on what it promises. . . .

David Poland, December 31

"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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Strong structural integrity, while admirable, does not qualify as AVATAR as something as complex as anything Charlie Kaufman has ever written. What hyperbole.

But he is right to juxtapose AVATAR against the laziness of something like TRANSFORMERS 2 and point out how much more care has been put into AVATAR as a narrative experience. That's very true. Many Hollywood products today suffer from a lack of professionalism, of a real care for quality of the product, and that's clearly not the case here. But that doesn't change my gut feeling that the film will, by and large, be forgotten in another ten years.

Edited by Ryan H.
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Experimental filmmaker Jennifer Reeves on seeing Avatar (via Darren's re-tweet):

We are in the rural midwest now, and when here we only have options of mainstream movies. So what did we see last night? Avatar. wow. It really inspired me. Just imagine what I could do with that technology and budget! I could either make 16mm or 35mm experimental films for my lifetime, and put food on the table, and maybe even help fund other artist filmmakers. Or I could redo When it was Blue in 3D IMAX! It'll be phenomenal! Or I could do Firelight Song in 3D. Now that would be good. A historical lesbian love story in 3D! It'll be amazing, a truly avant-garde use of 3D. (that's my pitch for Hollywood) I could even borrow a line from Avatar like "Duh... I may only be talking to a tree, but if you hear me tree of souls, could you help us..." If you can laugh about such financial imbalance, where such a massive amount of resources to go to these blockbusters, while there is such a tremendous resistance to some miniscule amount of tax dollars going to the arts, then you don't get so blind with anger. What a plot ! ... the childish marine becoming a tree hugger running around naked, bonding with animals and saving the forest people from the military capitalist machine he was a part of! It was pretty awesome. If a plot like that was done with a small budget they'd call the filmmaker a communist. But in glitzy 3D, it is green chic. Besides this sarcasm, there's actually a lot you could say about the film. I didn't mind watching it. I didn't feel totally empty after watching it as I do after most big budget films I see. But the filmmaking allowed no intimacy with the characters. I truly felt nothing for them. That wasn't the point I suppose. There was a pornography element to the special effects.

I've been waiting for someone to qualify Avatar as ___________ -porn. I guess "special effects-porn" was the most likely variation.

"But the filmmaking allowed no intimacy with the characters. I truly felt nothing for them."

Hmm. I agree with that with the exception of Nyteri. I felt something for her, thanks to Saldana's performance and in spite of Cameron's hysterical "Look at this! And can you believe this?!" direction.

Edited by Overstreet

P.S.  I COULD BE WRONG.

 

Takin' 'er easy for all you sinners at lookingcloser.org. Also abiding at Facebook and Twitter.

 

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on an entirely different note, and not intended as any critical commentary on the movie itself, a friend who works for the genomeAlberta project had this to say about the [gen]omics of avatar...

I don't deny that there should be priests to remind men that they will one day die. I only say it is necessary to have another kind of priests, called poets, to remind men that they are not dead yet. - G. K. Chesterton

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Things Avatar reminded me of:

pornography

Maxfield Parrish

Final Fantasy cut scenes

"Can You feel the Love Tonight" from the Lion King

"Colours of the Wind" from Pocahontas.

reading Edward Said

Dances with Wolves

Second Life

MechWars

Spy Kids 3-D (Ricardo Montalban as Grandpa Cortez gets his legs back inside the video game world just like Jake Sully).

How few films by native american or woman directors ever get made or distributed (Nobody but a white man would have ever made this movie).

how much i hate the font Papyrus

the band Adiemus

the band Deep Forest

The Dirty Projectors'

film (directed by James Sumner) which was a much more affecting exploration of american colonialism through awesome liveaction-cgi blending and creation of a fully immersive though intentionally glitchy digital world, and was made by only one person for less than $5000, and how the world might be different if our cultural system was set up to enable more of that sort of innovation instead of this blockbuster silliness.
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word.

The Dirty Projectors'

film (directed by James Sumner) which was a much more affecting exploration of american colonialism through awesome liveaction-cgi blending and creation of a fully immersive though intentionally glitchy digital world, and was made by only one person for less than $5000, and how the world might be different if our cultural system was set up to enable more of that sort of innovation instead of this blockbuster silliness.

personally, i think the fact that someone (anyone, really) spent some $300,000,000 on this is obscene...

(and not that i'm against "useless" extravagance)

I don't deny that there should be priests to remind men that they will one day die. I only say it is necessary to have another kind of priests, called poets, to remind men that they are not dead yet. - G. K. Chesterton

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Several of those things on your list Moly! are things that I really like.

I'm interested though in your connection between this film and pornography. is it just because the Na'vi are mostly nude most of the time, or is it on some other level that it reminds you of pornography?

Scott -- 2nd Story -- Twitter

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FWIW, I also don't think the term "panentheism" is appropriate here. As I understand it, the term -- at least in its orthodox Christian usage -- refers to the idea that everything is IN God, but the film plays with the opposite idea, that Eywa grows out of the material world and is thus inside the world rather than vice versa. To put it another way, Eywa exists only on Pandora; she might encompass her planet, like a magnetic field generated by the planet's core, but she does not encompass the entire universe as God does.

Spot on.

The notion of planetary gods (small-g) is actually one with a considerable Christian tradition. In classical and medieval Christianity there was a widespread belief that the planets had "intelligences" (specialized sorts of angelic beings) moving them. C. S. Lewis's "The Discarded Image" is an excellent reference on the subject. Quoting Lewis quoting Albertus Magnus: "the heavens have not souls and are not animals if the word soul is taken in its strictest sense. But if we wish to bring the scientists (philosophos) into agreement with the sacred writers, we can say that there are certain Intelligences in the spheres [planets]...and they are called the souls of the spheres."

In fact, Lewis himself used this old idea in his science-fiction trilogy ("Out of the Silent Planet", "Perelandra", and "That Hideous Strength"). The existence of a planetary pan-theistic god in Avatar is not inherently Christian, but it is also not inherently anti-Christian. Even if we reject the idea that such planetary "gods" exist generally, there is nothing inherently anti-Christian in supposing that God could have created such a being for some specific world (either as a primary or secondary creative act). Where a planetary "god" can become anti-Christian is if it is raised in the context of a denial of the Christian God, or by positing that such a planetary "god" could have any relation to the Christian God other than as a created being that owes everything it has to the Christian God just as we do.

Did the "Pandora is a living intelligent network/being/thing" concept remind anyone else of the planet in Solaris?

It's the side effects that save us.
--The National, "Graceless"
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Pardon me ye critics, but this thread is a prime example of why i generally stay away from the Film forum. 16 pages of the same four or five peeps with heightened critical acumen, dissecting a big-budget action flick, post after post after post. Woo-hoo! How fun is that? After combing thru just a few pages of this, i wonder how many of you guys like dancing. Seriously-- the question is totally relevant to the thread.

Anyway... I've seen the film twice-- once with the kids in 3D and then with the wife sans nerd glasses, and I enjoyed the respective rides immensely. (The 3D version certainly enhanced the experience). There's a generous leeway that I give to roller coaster ride movies before I even sit down in the theater, be it Star Wars, Pixar or Indiana Jones. I just assume most people do this. Keith Jarrett and Kiss are entirely different experiences. Avatar is a bit like taking in a KISS concert circa 1978 and I found on that level, the film was pure magic, laughably clunky dialogue, bad science, plot holes and all. But going beyond the technical wizardry, I did actually care about the characters, I did find the romance between Jake and Neytire engaging and I did care about the world of Pandora. It was the most fun I had in a movie theater all year.

"The things we enjoy are channels through which the divine glory strikes us, and those who love and delight in any good thing may yet learn to love God." --Gilbert Meilaender

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FWIW, I saw Aliens again last night and spotted another connection to Avatar: In Aliens, the first thing Sgt. Apone does when he wakes up from hypersleep is put a cigar in his mouth (the cigar was apparently sitting there in the hypersleep chamber with him the whole time); and in Avatar, the first thing Sigourney Weaver's character says when she gets out of her avatar "bed" the first time is "Where's my cigarette?"

And for those who'd make a big deal of the religious symbol that The Michelle Rodriguez Character wears around her neck, well, Private Vasquez wears a crucifix in Aliens, too. Maybe, for James Cameron, that's just what feisty Latina women DO.

Holy Moly! wrote:

: how much i hate the font Papyrus

Heh. Had you seen this post before?

techne wrote:

: personally, i think the fact that someone (anyone, really) spent some $300,000,000 on this is obscene...

I dunno, when I look at figures like that, I think of all the people who were employed. Maybe it's because I live in a movie-industry town, but job creation, I'd say, is not a bad thing.

tyler1984 wrote:

: Did the "Pandora is a living intelligent network/being/thing" concept remind anyone else of the planet in Solaris?

Oh, interesting; I can't say it had, at least not in my case, but James Cameron was the producer on Steve Soderbergh's remake, wasn't he?

- - -

Alien Sex Scenes Cut from Avatar May Pop Up in DVD

If you guessed that the strange tendrils the Na'vi use to connect or "sync" with other creatures on Pandora might have something to do with how they "get their groove on," you would be right, according to Saldana.

"If you sync to your banshee and you’re syncing to a tree, why not sync into a person? I almost feel like you’ll have the most amazing orgasm, I guess. It was a very funny scene to shoot because there were so many technical things that sometimes you have to keep in mind that paying attention to all those might disrupt the fluidity of how a scene is supposed to take place.

"And because Jim was shooting for a PG-13 rating, we couldn’t move in certain directions. The motion would look a little too past the PG-13 rating standards. So it was really funny for Sam and me. We had a lot of giggles there."

ReelzChannel.com, December 27

'Avatar' team brought in UC Riverside professor to dig in the dirt of Pandora

James Cameron's "Avatar" takes place in 2154 on the lush moon Pandora. To make its alien jungles believable, the filmmakers brought in Jodie Holt, chairwoman of the department of botany and plant sciences at UC Riverside, to consult on plant life and the approaches a botanist might take in the off-world setting. Lori Kozlowski interviewed Holt for the Los Angeles Times. Here's the Q&A. . . .

In the actual movie, which I've now seen four times, I studied the equipment and labs -- and everything looks just fine and quite credible. The only real sample one sees Grace take is with a syringe, which is a reasonable thing to do. As far as field equipment goes, we agreed that 150 years in the future the equipment would likely be much smaller and more efficient, hence the small packs the scientists carried. Overall I thought the science in the movie was fantastic! However, several of my colleagues noted, as I did, that the fact that Grace smoked could be a problem in the lab. The tobacco mosaic virus is common on cigarette tobacco and can easily be transmitted from a smoker's hands to biological samples and contaminate them. I was never consulted about the smoking, as this was a part of Grace's character separate from the science. Only biologists in the audience who work with molecular samples would think of this, however. Later, in the fall of 2008, Jon Landau called to ask if I would be interested in writing descriptions of the plants, including fabricating Latin names, to be included in the games and book that were planned. The result was a set of Pandorapedia entries, completed in early 2009. . . .

Los Angeles Times, January 2

"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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Greg P wrote:

Pardon me ye critics, but this thread is a prime example of why i generally stay away from the Film forum. 16 pages of the same four or five peeps with heightened critical acumen, dissecting a big-budget action flick, post after post after post. Woo-hoo! How fun is that? After combing thru just a few pages of this, i wonder how many of you guys like dancing. Seriously-- the question is totally relevant to the thread.

Greg,

Thanks again for the reminder that as we magnify the film's flaws it's easy for that discussion to eclipse its strengths, or to make impossible the particular kind of pleasure it offers.

There's a reason Star Trek is among my 20 favorites of 2009, and that Avatar's among the close runners-up. I had a fantastic time watching them, and I need to see it again now to think more about why I liked them so much. (For all of my criticisms of Star Trek, I've enjoyed it more each time I've watched it.) Watching these movies is like watching kids play. To respond with nothing but criticism of the flaws in their play would be inappropriate and even harmful. To praise them for their imagination and enthusiasm, and then give them a little food for thought that might inform and enhance future play, that would be more useful and appropriate... and probably good for the critic as well as the "critiqued."

A great deal of the grumbling and the discussion of Avatar's flaws comes, I suspect, in response to what appears to be over-praise and, in some cases, what seems to be a rash embrace of the whole thing.

But you're right. Just as it's easy to minimize serious flaws because we "had so much fun", it's also easy to get caught up in the good feeling of showing how much we know about somebody else's flaws, and minimize what they were able to accomplish when they were caught up in imagination and vision.

I think this is what Ebert was on about when he defended The Phantom Menace. It's certainly why I defended it for a long time without seeing clearly its flaws. And now I've swung too far the other way, just as I too easily use Return of the Jedi as a target for scorn. There are things worth praising in that film, things that still inspire me and move me... and I say that knowing full well it will tempt certain other critics to sneer. And there are even more aspects worth praising in Avatar, I think.

I often think, reading reviews of my own work -- "Well, yeah, you're absolutely right, that is a weakness in my story, and you've pointed out flaws I'd never discovered before, but is that all you saw? Was there nothing worthy of praise?" That's begun to inform my own criticism of others' work, but I have a long way to go. Phil. 4:8 encourages us to "let our minds dwell" on "whatever is excellent, whatever is worthy of praise." That is both a call to recognize those things that are done beautifully -- which is a call to discernment and to critical thinking -- but also, I suspect, a call not to "dwell on" those things that are flaws, because excessive negative criticism does something to the spirit. I know it does to mine.

There's something like music in the rush of colors and emotions throughout Avatar. It has something to do with the thrill of discovery, of being awestruck and mystified by something greater than ourselves. (In that James Cameron seems addicted to that feeling, I have some sympathy for, and even affection for, the guy. His tendency, though, to hurry to take credit as the Master of those wonders he unleashes puts me off.) It's a quality that's more difficult to describe than a movie's weaknesses, and thus few reviewers try to get beyond the standard modifiers.

I think some of us - the one person I'm thinking of in particular is myself - come to value only those things we can discuss and describe and argue rationally. They give us a feeling of authority. But there was a reason I came out of the theater telling everybody I knew to buy a ticket right away. And I don't think I should be so quick to rationalize that away. I should spend more time writing about it and thinking about it and seeking to understand it.

Edited by Overstreet

P.S.  I COULD BE WRONG.

 

Takin' 'er easy for all you sinners at lookingcloser.org. Also abiding at Facebook and Twitter.

 

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Wonderful and thoughtful response, Jeff. Thanks.

I found that the film accomplished most, if not all, of the things that one reasonably expects in a mega-budget, uber-hyped action flick. And then some. I went in expecting to be dazzled and I was. But what surprised me most was that Cameron sustained this writer/ director sleight of hand over two and half hours, while simultaneously leaving me totally immersed in the emotional world of Pandora-- even though most of the time i knew where the story was headed.

I had boys running the gamut from 14 to 6-years old siting next to me and there was a marked absence of fidgeting throughout. Anyone who has boys knows this is no small feat, even with the most obnoxious, over-the-top action movie. At one point I looked over to see two of them wiping tears underneath their 3D glasses. I loved that-- and not just for their sake, but also for myself, because I felt exactly the same way. So a big part of my joy was allowing myself to be caught up together with them-- admittedly not the most objective criteria. But the older and more cynical I get, I find it harder to be filled with a sense of wonder in film or music. When it does happen, I've learned to cherish that innocent sense of awe and just allow myself to be swept up.

Edited by Greg P

"The things we enjoy are channels through which the divine glory strikes us, and those who love and delight in any good thing may yet learn to love God." --Gilbert Meilaender

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techne wrote:

: personally, i think the fact that someone (anyone, really) spent some $300,000,000 on this is obscene...

I dunno, when I look at figures like that, I think of all the people who were employed. Maybe it's because I live in a movie-industry town, but job creation, I'd say, is not a bad thing

fair enough - i understand that. obviously, it's my own personal issue and i am struggling with the idea right now that while that money may go to support hundreds of the wealthiest 10% of the world's population, what could that kind of money do if used to help those in the bottom 50% of the world's population? not that i think most people (including, sadly, myself) would give up their entertainment to do so. or even a portion of the now $700,000,000 in profit?

again, my issue...sorry if this takes it off-topic.

Alien Sex Scenes Cut from Avatar May Pop Up in DVD

If you guessed that the strange tendrils the Na'vi use to connect or "sync" with other creatures on Pandora might have something to do with how they "get their groove on," you would be right, according to Saldana.

"If you sync to your banshee and you’re syncing to a tree, why not sync into a person? I almost feel like you’ll have the most amazing orgasm, I guess. It was a very funny scene to shoot because there were so many technical things that sometimes you have to keep in mind that paying attention to all those might disrupt the fluidity of how a scene is supposed to take place.

"And because Jim was shooting for a PG-13 rating, we couldn’t move in certain directions. The motion would look a little too past the PG-13 rating standards. So it was really funny for Sam and me. We had a lot of giggles there."

ReelzChannel.com, December 27

heh. "pop up". tee-hee.

Edited by techne

I don't deny that there should be priests to remind men that they will one day die. I only say it is necessary to have another kind of priests, called poets, to remind men that they are not dead yet. - G. K. Chesterton

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Several of those things on your list Moly! are things that I really like.

I'm interested though in your connection between this film and pornography. is it just because the Na'vi are mostly nude most of the time, or is it on some other level that it reminds you of pornography?

I like a lot of those things too, but I also acknowledge that they are very very silly. This is a silly movie.

It reminds me of pornography in that it's about fantasy and empty gratification and nothing substantial is communicated. And the plot is an afterthought. And the music stinks. It could prove to be addictive though. I'll probably go see the sequels, even though I'll feel a little dirty.

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