Avatar

Being always up to date with popular culture, it’s taken me this long to watch Avatar. This review seems to sum it up fairly well:

"The moral lesson that the Matrix purports to offer is that the glossy magic of life inside a simulation distracts from painful truth. But the moral problem faced by the Matrix is that this lesson is betrayed by the fun that the movie has in playing inside the simulation. A viewer enjoys the scenes of jumping over buildings, and of freezing explosions and fistfights in midair and then rotoscoping through them. In fact, the viewer enjoys them much more than the scenes of what, within the conceit of the movie, is considered reality….

The audacity of [Avatar] is to make believe that the artificial world of computer-generated graphics offers a truer realm of nature than our own. The compromised, damaged world we live in—the one with wars, wounds, and price-benefit calculations—can and should be abandoned… whereas Neo jacks into a simulation, Sully jacks into to a new, improved nature… In reality-in the reality outside the movie—the Na’vi, too, are a product of corporate America and are creatures of technology, not nature… But Avatar claims that there is something wrong with technology, and that the Na’vi of Pandora somehow represent opposition to it. "

There was something about Avatar’s oblivious techno-primitivism that left me reminded of Sagan’s foreboding of an America where "clutching our crystals and religiously consulting our horoscopes, our critical faculties in steep decline, unable to distinguish between what’s true and what feels good, we slide, almost without noticing, into superstition and darkness." For all of the film’s reliance on technology to counterfeit nature, it seems genuinely oblivious as to the hypocrisy of its new age ideology. With that said, it may be charitable to give any credence to the film’s script at all; this is a film to be passively experienced rather than engaged with, which is why the entrance to the world of the Na’vi is through sleep and the unconscious.

Advertisements