Monday, January 18, 2010

Blue People, Rise Up!

I saw the new movie Avatar for the second time today. Some people didn't like it, and one blogger I read thought it was just an elaborate sexual fantasy (and loved it), but I am firmly on the side of the majority who found the whole thing amazingly, wonderfully, supercallafragilistically, AWESOME. It is a moving drama set in a beautiful, alien world, and is an unmistakable allegory of the tragic exploitation of nature and indigenous peoples still progressing in our own world.

Image probably copyrighted by someone or another...

Well, HOPEFULLY it's an unmistakeable allegory. I know not everyone who watches it is a hippie liberal eco-freak like me, raised in the rainforest of the Pacific Northwest and educated on groovy books like Ishmael, Guns Germs and Steel, and Last Child in the Woods. City folks and videogame-generation kids who see the movie are surely moved, as well, but maybe aren't getting quite the same message. They feel a sad longing to be immersed in Avatar's fantasy world of awesomeness, but have little sense that the same natural beauty can be experienced on earth (and needs to be protected). That sucks.

I will never ride a dragon through the floating mountains of planet Pandora, but I have windsurfed among moving mountains of water, wheeling flocks of gannets, and leaping pods of dolphins, and I've tamed a powerful kite to lift me soaringly over the wave crests. I have never leaped through a jungle of bioluminescent ferns on a six-legged alien horse, but I have scuba dived at night through forests of kelp, bathed in glowing plankton, and felt the deep furrows of a 1000 year old Douglas Fir tree. I sure as hell hope I'm not one of the last to do or care about any of those real things.

PS- I can't do this post without making two geeky, "that could never happen" comments about the movie from the scientific perspective:

1. Though it's often done in scifi movies, there's no way you could actually mix alien DNA with human DNA. Real aliens wouldn't even have DNA- they would have some completely different and incompatible molecular system for storing genetic information. You might as well try to mix Legos and Linkin Logs, put a vinyl record in a CD player, or write English words using Chinese characters.

2. Floating mountains, Unobtainium, and the flux vortex. Umm, no. None of those things could be real, but at least the moviemakers consolidated the three violations of physics by relating them all to one another.


Johnny Douglass said...

We just saw it. In 3D! Pretty dazzling. Other than the hero was a warrior who didn't have no learnin' in science and the scientists were mostly cornballs, I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Superbeast said...

Yo James, I love ur theme song! I've been a zombie fan since 1993. I've seen White Zombie, when they were 2gether as a band. And the Zombie GOD solo 3 times! I saw KORn open up for White Zombie. Then when Rob went solo. I saw him open up for KORN. Next, was ZOMBIE openning up for OZZY. Then he opened up for GODSMACK. I wasnt able to make the lastest. When again, he opened up for KORN, again! I just started my 1st blog. . So Im new to ALL this. So if U could give me some pointers, I'd B greatful... IZombie