Friday, May 28, 2010

Seeing Avatar

I originally saw the film Avatar in theaters months ago. January, I believe. 3-D, excellent effects, but not a story to write home about. Predictable story lines happen to be an issue for personal soap-box agenda, so my ability to accurately predict the film in its entirety left me rather unimpressed, to say the least. I walked out of the theater willing to praise its effects and directing, but the film on the whole? Good thing I'm not a formal critic.

Without going into the whole story of it, I saw it again this evening. For myself, it was practically a dare. I sat and watched and dared the film to dazzle me as it has so many others. I was terrifically skeptical, but decided to play fair; I conceded my qualms with predictability and looked beyond the plot.

I lost my own dare. I could write pages on what I saw.

There is only one thought that I want to record: the contrast of life and death. I am very visually-oriented; I feel meaning through my eyes. In visual orientation alone the cultural interpretations on life and death were presented in a beautiful contrast. First, 'civilized man.' Kept in a manufactured world of steel and guns, he sees change as death. Those individuals who adopt Avatars, who undergo transformation, who face change must do so in a coffin. Look a the device they lay in, entomb their bodies in. No warmth, no life. Only a steel box.

The 'natives' do not build steel worlds. Instead of living under ego, they live under deity. This difference proves colossal. In the briefest of moments, the camera pans over a funeral scene. No steel boxes. Only a small, round hole in the soft dirt. Inside, the body curled as a fetus in a new womb. There lies the difference. Change is not death, even death is not death. It is life.

It reminds me of the title of a book I once read: The Birth That We Call Death. I think I've started to understand.

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