Avatar December 30, 2009
I saw Avatar (in 2D), and although I understand why it has been criticized for engaging in a romantic orientalist (or perhaps even racist) view of the encounter between “primitive” and technologically advanced, the detail with which the beautiful world of Pandora was created largely made up for it, in my mind. (A recent carnival gives the perspectives of several anthropologists on the movie). I won’t discuss the plot (at least in part to avoid giving spoilers), but presumably I can delight in the experience of seeing a gas giant up in the sky on this moon without being accused of giving anything substantial away.
The religious background to the movie has been described as “pantheistic” but that doesn’t seem quite accurate. It is closer to the outlook of the Gaia hypothesis, but the characters in the film recognize that the collective entity that Pandora seems to be is distinctive, and not typical of moons and planets more generally, or even of inhabited ones.
Did you like Avatar? What thoughts and impressions do you have, if you’ve seen it? What do you think the most important issues and aspects are to discuss in my religion and science fiction class next semester?

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