Monday, March 8, 2010

AVATAR


Hi guys,

Ed suggested a month or so ago that we talk about movies sometime. Lets talk about Avatar. All of my young friends LOVED it… I though the special visual effects were spectacular but the story line was ho-hum (Dances with Wolves remixed).

My friend Ray Ciervo critiqued the pantheistic theology behind AVATAR.

rayciervo.com/reviews

Several movie critics strongly disagreed about the movie,

Critics argue

Tell us what you thought? What is the message? What is the philosophical or theological worldview? Did you like it? Are views of the AVATAR influenced by generational issues?

15 comments:

John M. said...

Hey everyone. This sounds like a good thread.

BUT, I think we owe a response to Cindy C.'s "dilemma" post on the "hope" thread. As I recall the sense of "lost hope" experienced by many of our younger friends was the catalyst for that discussion. I'm hoping that some of you will address her dilemma before we get totally engrossed in this thread.

Brian Emmet said...

I just posted a response to Cindy on the previous thread/discussion.

John M. said...

Thanks Brian! I'm still thinking.

Joseph Holbrook said...

The previous "Hope" conversation is still going strong.

I wrote my own perspective on at least one positive aspect of AVATAR that I personally like. To save space in this thread I posted it on another blog: Why I liked Avatar

Several people have told me that they have already read Ray's review and the other discussion between two reviewers. I look forward to your comments.

Years ago, Anthropologist Don Richardson wrote about finding "redemptive analogies" in cultural stores in order to more effectively communicate divine truth. One does not need to agree with everything in the story in order to draw out a redemptive analogy or metaphor. I have several friends who are doing this with the Koran in the Middle East. There is some gold in them thar hills pilgrim!

Brian Emmet said...

With you, Joseph. Jesus' stories about the farmer who sows his seed indiscriminately, on all kinds of soil (hardpack, shallow, thorny, good), and the farmer whose well-sown field nevertheless has weeds in it (due to "an enemy" who has come "at night") might be understood to say that "the word" is already out there, everywhere. This does not mean that everyonbe understands it, knows it, embraces it, just that it is already present, already at work... as opposed to our model that we "bring" the word to places where it does not exist.

Laurel Long said...

This is a very complex and challenging transition. Mostly new threads consist of an entirely different color, textile, and pattern, but this one seems to have lost all three from the previous stitching and loom. Maybe for Cindy we need to adopt a knitting term that she understands: she has pearled one(hope) and lost two (loss of hope). Like knitting, establishing a new "godly pattern" in our lives can be reversed by simply pulling the thread back to the place where we feel we need to start the new pattern, the pattern and design we intended, that new pattern for many of us is called Grace.
Cindy, thank you for letting us be a part of the tapestry of your precious life.

Joseph Holbrook said...

huh? :O

Joseph Holbrook said...

actually, after thinking a couple hours about it, Laurel is probably right -- normal conversations weave and transition but normally do not make abrupt changes to entirely new topics. I was hoping this would draw the younger crowd back in ...but that does not appear to be the case.

Brian, lets move on to something that has a little more continuity with your topic on hope. Any ideas? Maybe Faith or Love?

Joseph Holbrook said...

we can leave AVATAR "percolating" for a while ... (and give you time to go see it!)

John M. said...

I see the point about the abrupt jump. Although I love these kinds of discussions the fact I haven't seen the movie would limit my participation. I would like to hear opinions from others who have seen the film.

I agree with Joseph's point and Brian's response. Perhaps that could be another thread: "Truth Cries out in the Streets", discovering the Kingdom of God (ie his presence, influence, truth, love, and HOPE)in the events, circumstances and relationships that make up our lives.

As I read what I wrote, that's probably too broad. Perhaps someone can focus it a little better and frame it for a discussion?

John M. said...

P.S. I'm not assuming that my idea is what we'll go with, just throwing it out as a suggestion.

Laurel Long said...

Dear blog-masters: Joseph and Brian, of course.
Why don't we try to combine the two: Let's talk about how and why a movie like Avatar would or would not offer its viewers hope. I have not seen it; these types of movies are never appealing to me but I would be glad to view it if we all agreed that it was worthy of discussion and offered some sort of edification.
Perhaps we could create a few questions which would fence us in to a few issues presented in the movie.
From what I have seen the movie definitely wants to impose a certain feeling,mood and ideology; one must be able to abandon one's own definition of reality in order to receive its full merits and message. Graphics are a problem for me as I have usually refused to watch animations, even Micky Mouse. At 5 years old I was very uncomfortable with cartoons. As an adult I realized that cartoons, animation, and any type of alternative graphics to present a story was always very disturbing to me. It may be because modern artists ability to disguise sinister and insidious ideologies has become increasingly more sophisticated leaving the viewer at a disadvantage; if you criticize the message you are criticizing the art. This is the same disadvantage at which propagandists always put their audience.
What do you think?
Please don't try to analyze my aversion to science fiction animation. I don't think I have missed much.

Laurel Long said...

Dear blog-masters: Joseph and Brian, of course.
Why don't we try to combine the two: Let's talk about how and why a movie like Avatar would or would not offer its viewers hope. I have not seen it; these types of movies are never appealing to me but I would be glad to view it if we all agreed that it was worthy of discussion and offered some sort of edification.
Perhaps we could create a few questions which would fence us in to a few issues presented in the movie.
From what I have seen the movie definitely wants to impose a certain feeling,mood and ideology; one must be able to abandon one's own definition of reality in order to receive its full merits and message. Graphics are a problem for me as I have usually refused to watch animations, even Micky Mouse. At 5 years old I was very uncomfortable with cartoons. As an adult I realized that cartoons, animation, and any type of alternative graphics to present a story was always very disturbing to me. It may be because modern artists ability to disguise sinister and insidious ideologies has become increasingly more sophisticated leaving the viewer at a disadvantage; if you criticize the message you are criticizing the art. This is the same disadvantage at which propagandists always put their audience.
What do you think?
Please don't try to analyze my aversion to science fiction animation. I don't think I have missed much.

steve H said...

I went to see Avatar 4 weeks ago because Dennis Cole told me that many of the younger set to whom I would be speaking a couple week later would have seen it at least once.

It's not my cup of tea -- too much New Age, paganism, goddess stuff. Its apparent assumptions about the evil of progress and technology are old news. It's like the 60s protests against the "military industrial complex."

That being said, it has appeal to many because of the graphics/special effects ... whatever. (That's all beyond me.)

More significantly, I think Avatar and the environmentalist movement appeal to our innate sense of responsibility for the earth/creation. That sense is due to the fact that God created us to have dominion as his stewards of the earth.

Some over emphasize the sense of dominion and abuse the earth for their own or "humanity's" interests. Others put it on a pedestal and worship/serve nature -- even putting it in a higher place than human beings.

But at the gut level we do know that we have responsibility in relation to nature and we do know that the relationship between man and the rest of creation is screwed -- which according to the Bible is due to man's fall into sin.

Deb W said...

I know you decided to put this topic on hold, but I wanted to throw in a word, nonetheless. It was not my kind of thing either, but I was curious about the special effects - which were spectacular. Probably as big a technological breakthrough as the 'talkie' was when there were only silent films. The story - I had the same impression as Joseph - lame.... Dances with Wolves redux. The New Age aspects were a large part of the film, and alarming.

"Are views of the AVATAR influenced by generational issues?" Uh, yeah! About to the same extent as the last Presidential election. Which would also be my response to the question

... "why a movie like Avatar would or would not offer its viewers hope. " False hope, or hope in that which is false, is no hope, but a trap, which ultimately leads to hopelessness.