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By Oscar van den Boogaard
January 8, 2010
Douglas Coupland describes in Lara's Book, dedicated to Lara Croft, the heroin of the computer game Tomb Raider, how our dreams become reality. In 1900, young people read the stories of Jules Verne and fantasized of building airships and ultra-fast vehicles. When they got older, of course, they built airplanes and cars. In the thirties and forties, many young people were obsessed with science fiction stories about space, space travel and rockets, so when these young people grew up of course, they built the NASA space program, satellite TV and jumbo jets.
In the fifties and sixties, young people read about robots, government conspiracies, miniature James Bond-style espionage contraptions and mutants. And now we live in a world of robots, clones, microchips and computer games. In 2010, humanity watches the movie Avatar, about a mission to a paradise-like planet called Pandora where humans, via their virtual alter ego, make contact with the natives. Will this too become reality as well?
The world is swept up in this three-dimensional science fiction story. In Belgium, 600,000 people in two weeks went to see the blockbuster. I've never had the experience of having to reserve a movie ticket three days in advance. For the first time in my life, I'm sitting in a packed cinema. And never have I seen such a mixed audience in a move theater. Grandmothers, body builders, adolescents and intellectuals, all with 3D glasses on. It's quite an event. It's as if at the start of the second decade of the 21st century, we're really arriving in a new world. I feel like a Neanderthal who has seen his first aircraft.
Of course, a movie that cost so much and was made to appeal to the widest possible audience can count on the revenge of movie critics and snobs saying the story was stale and flat. I think it better to absorb the movie and try to imagine what it means to you. It's about the brutality of man, who shamelessly takes what isn't his. He destroys what's foreign to him. He cannot see the sensitivity of others because he lacks it in himself. The parallel between the invasion of Iraq and Pandora is abundantly clear, and makes the comparison no less striking.
And then there's the phenomenon of the Avatar. The virtual alter ego isn't just a product of science fiction or Hinduism, but a psychological reality. Every human being has a secret inner world invisible to others. The Avatar is part of the human story. Which side of ourselves do we show? All men or women who have to tell their parents about their homosexuality makes a choice of avatar. Will they still be loved? Can two beings from different planets love one another intensely and even fall in love? In this film it works.
Bring the story back to this earth and suddenly it's about the here and now. It's good to think about an idyllic world where everything is harmoniously connected. If we're really honest, how much affinity do we have for such a world? How do we look at the other and the unknown?
On Pandora, the indigenous warriors fly on pre-historic animals. You must choose the animal most dangerous to you - that wants to attack you most. To bring about harmony, you have to make a connection with it by intertwining your braid with its tail. Your enemy can be your ally if you really connect with him. Avatar shows how far humans have strayed from mysticism and spirituality on this earth.
The search for life in the cosmos continues unabated. Every once in awhile we read reports of planets where life could exist. In December it was reported that 42 light years away, a super-earth with water and ice may exist. But by focusing on the cosmos, we often forget to observe ourselves. Here too, there is life and inspiration. Pandora is here. It is alive and it thrives. There is life on the earth. And in fact, you don't even need glasses to perceive it in three dimensions.
Source: worldmeets.us via avatarmoviezone.com