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Avatar: Some Personal Comments
02-05-2010, 01:28 AM
Post: #1
Avatar: Some Personal Comments
AVATAR

The film Avatar has finally been released this month after being in development since 1994. I have not seen it yet, but I have read about it and discussed it with several people who have. This prose-poem tries to encapsulate some of my initial thoughts on this blockbuster, its initial reception and some of its meaning.

James Cameron, who wrote, produced and directed the film, stated in an interview that an avatar is: “an incarnation of one of the Hindu gods taking a flesh form." In this film, though, avatar has more to do with human technology in the future being capable of injecting a human's intelligence into a remotely located body, a biological body. "It's not an avatar in the sense of just existing as ones and zeroes in cyberspace,” said Cameron; “it's actually a physical body." The great student of myth, Joseph Campbell(1), should have been at the premier in London on 10 December 2009. I wonder what he would have said.

Composer James Horner scored the film, his third collaboration with Cameron after Aliens and Titanic. A field guide of 224 pages for the film's fictional setting of the planet of Pandora was released by Harper Entertainment just five weeks ago. The guide was entitled Avatar: A Confidential Report on the Biological and Social History of Pandora. With an estimated $310 million to produce and $150 million for marketing, the film has already generated positive reviews from film critics. Roger Ebert, one of the more prestigious of film critics, wrote: “An extraordinary film: Avatar is not simply sensational entertainment, although it is that. It's a technical breakthrough."-Ron Price with thanks to Wikipedia, 30 December 2009.

Like viewing Star Wars back in ’77
some said/an obvious script with an
earnestness & corniness/part of what
makes it absorbing/said another/Gives
you a world, a place/worth visiting/eh?
Alive with action and a soundtrack that
pops with robust sci-fi shoot-'em-ups...

A mild critique of American militarism
and industrialism.....yes the military are
pure evil........the Pandoran tribespeople
are nature-loving, eco-harmonious, wise
Braveheart smurf warriors. Received....
nominations for the Critics' Choice Awards
of the Broadcast Film Critics Association &
on and on go the recommendations for the..
best this and that and everything else. What
do you think of all this Joseph Campbell???
You said we all have to work our own myth(1)
in our pentapolar, multicultural-dimensional
world with endless phantoms of our wrongly
informed imagination, with our tangled fears,
our pundits of error, ill-equipped to interpret
the social commotion tearing our world apart
and at play on planetizing-globalizing Earth.(2)

(1)Google Joseph Campbell for some contemporary insights into the individualized myth we all have to work out in our postmodern world.
(2)The Prophet-Founder of the Bahá'í Faith, Bahá'u'lláh, has been presented as an avatar in India beginning, arguably, in the 1960s. With only 1000 Baha’is in India in 1960 to more than 2 million by the year 2010. Baha’u’llah has been associated with the kalkin avatar who, according to a major Hindu holy text, will appear at the end of the kali yuga, one of the four main stages of history, for the purpose of reestablishing an era of righteousness. There are many examples of what one might call a quasi-cross-cultural messianistic approach to Bahá'í teaching in India.

This approach has included: (a) emphasizing the figures of Buddha and Krishna as past Manifestations of God or avatars; (b) making references to Hindu scriptures such as the Bhagavad Gita, © the substitution of Sanskrit-based terminology for Arabic and Persian where possible; for example, Bhagavan Baha for Bahá'u'lláh, (d) the incorporation in both song and literature of Hindu holy spots, hero-figures and poetic images and (e) using heavily Sanskritized-Hindi translations of Baha'i scriptures and prayers.

Ron Price
30 December 2009

Married for 42 years, a teacher for 35 and a Baha'i for 50Cool
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02-05-2010, 05:21 AM (This post was last modified: 02-05-2010 05:26 AM by Parousia.)
Post: #2
RE: Avatar: Some Personal Comments
(02-05-2010 01:28 AM)RonPrice Wrote:  Google Joseph Campbell for some contemporary insights into the individualized myth we all have to work out in our postmodern world.

No need to Google Campbell. I read The Hero with a Thousand Faces ages ago shortly after reading The Lord of the Rings (pre International edition), both hardcover library books. What immediately hit me was an aspect of the archetypal hero barely mentioned by Campbell: the return to the common world with the great boon - but at a correspondingly great cost to the hero. This applied not only to Frodo who was still fresh in my mind but to Christ. (My Catholicism was quickly slipping away and I was beginning to see it from the outside, so to speak.) And shortly afterwards, the shade of a young President would be wrapped in the cloak of sacrifice-hero by a generation that had to go find new myths.

My mother's brother never returned from the war in Europe and the word 'hero' was associated with his picture since my earliest memories. Before I was fully a man, I had my own war but it was not at all like the epic myth of defeating the great evil in Mordor/Germany. This time around there were no great heroes hailed by all those they saved. There was nothing even saved even though the sacrificial price was paid over and again.
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02-05-2010, 11:25 AM (This post was last modified: 02-05-2010 11:27 AM by MerryAtheist.)
Post: #3
RE: Avatar: Some Personal Comments
Meh.

I saw the film in 3D a couple weeks ago, and I must say that the technical achievements are impressive, but the story is completely underwhelming. I knew within the first 20 minutes exactly how the plot would play out, who would live, who would die, who would fall in love, and who would no longer care (that would be me). For a sweeping three-dimensional experience, it was ironic that all the characters without exception were strictly one-dimensional and completely predictable. Cameron has fallen into the same hole that swallowed Lucas - an obsessive fascination with shiny new toys and a marked dis-interest in character development.

The following is my one-sentence review which I offered on Facebook:

"Avatar 3D: Amazing multi-million dollar special effects wasted on a ten-cent script."

---------------
Not selling anything.
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02-27-2010, 02:07 AM
Post: #4
RE: Avatar: Some Personal Comments
To be honest... it really didn't look all that original... like Fern Gully and Pocohantas meshed together... i liked the movie... but it was more of a pain in the [censored] to sit through...

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02-27-2010, 05:51 AM
Post: #5
RE: Avatar: Some Personal Comments
The visual effects were simply stunning, awesome,beautiful, magical.

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04-19-2010, 04:04 AM
Post: #6
RE: Avatar: Some Personal Comments
Animations were the best ever. But seriously, the movie needs a lot more pep in the story and screen play
My favorite Cameron movie till date remains the Terminator series, and its mostly because of the terrific chase sequences. The fight between the hunter and the hunted was taken to a philosophical level and even today its hard to find a better chase sequence in any of the movies.
Somehow this chase sequence from Avatar looks very cliched. I mean there is no mind game involved in the above shown chase sequence. But still looking forward to this new product from the master craftsman. Hoping to have a good time watching this movie.
I liked the movie not just bcoz of the technology used but also the approach.

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06-19-2010, 07:21 AM
Post: #7
RE: Avatar: Some Personal Comments
(04-19-2010 04:04 AM)christenajenifer Wrote:  Animations were the best ever. But seriously, the movie needs a lot more pep in the story and screen play
My favorite Cameron movie till date remains the Terminator series, and its mostly because of the terrific chase sequences. The fight between the hunter and the hunted was taken to a philosophical level and even today its hard to find a better chase sequence in any of the movies.
Somehow this chase sequence from Avatar looks very cliched. I mean there is no mind game involved in the above shown chase sequence. But still looking forward to this new product from the master craftsman. Hoping to have a good time watching this movie.
I liked the movie not just bcoz of the technology used but also the approach.
----------------------
Interesting range of responses, folks. Thanks. I'll add one more prose-poem on the subjectof animation films.-Ron
----------------------------------
ANIMATION AND THE PLAN

The first cinematic environmental hero may have been in Walt Disney’s nine minute animated film Little Hiawatha released on 15 May 1937. This was at the very start of the first Bahá'í teaching plan; in fact, the film went into theatres as the delegates left the national convention in Chicago and arrived back in their homes. In the film an Indian boy is on a journey to become a hunter and he befriends the animals he had intended to kill. This film was released seven months before a second animated film Snow White. The Disney studio had begun its full artistic bloom. The extravagant artistry developed for Disney's first features was very evident in these debut films.

Hiawatha ventures forth with his little bow and arrow intent on emulating the mighty hunters of his village. It turned out that he was too soft-hearted to kill a rabbit. Later, when he was endangered by a ferocious bear, the rabbit rounded up an animal posse and saved him. Hiawatha rowed off in his canoe into the sunset safely back to his home, but empty-handed.

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs premiered in the week before Christmas in 1937, eight months to the day after the inception of the Seven Year Plan: 1937-1944. This animated film was based on Snow White, a fairy tale by the Brothers Grimm. It was the first full-length animated feature in motion picture history as well as the first animated feature film produced in America. It was the first animation produced in full colour by the Walt Disney team. It was the first to become part of the Walt Disney Animated Classics canon.

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs premiered at the Carthay Circle Theatre on December 21, 1937, and the film was released to theaters by RKO Radio Pictures on February 4, 1938. The noted filmmaker Sergei Eisenstein went so far as to call this animated film “the greatest film ever made.” -Ron Price with thanks to Wikipedia, 8 April 2010.

The mission they inaugurated
animated the world little-by-
little and day-by-day.....little
did that world know......This
new life, this animation, had
begun releasing the greatest
potentialities of the community
of the Greatest Name & lending
a lustre no-less-brilliant than the
immortal deeds that signalized
the birth of this emerging world
religion for humankind. Indeed
the animation was far, far, more
than Hiawatha & Snow White ever
produced & would be part of the...
greatest story ever to be told....!!!!

Ron Price
For Religion forums.org

Married for 42 years, a teacher for 35 and a Baha'i for 50Cool
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