Audiences experience 'Avatar' blues
By Jo Piazza, Special to CNN
January 11, 2010 8:06 a.m. EST
"Ever since I went to see 'Avatar' I have been depressed. Watching the wonderful world of Pandora and all the Na'vi made me want to be one of them. I can't stop thinking about all the things that happened in the film and all of the tears and shivers I got from it," Mike posted. "I even contemplate suicide thinking that if I do it I will be rebirthed in a world similar to Pandora and the everything is the same as in 'Avatar.' "
Yeah, buddy. You go right ahead. The world will likely not miss you since you are so self-absorbed into your own self-generated misery. Kill yourself instead of finding a way to make your world better - how much more self-indulgent can a person be? You have a total lack of sympathy from me, you selfish piece of garbage. Get some counseling.
First off, Avatar is a FICTIONAL WORK. Pandora DOES NOT EXIST.
It is a fairytale. Let's examine that point since it is easy to get caught caught up in wanting to be in that scenario.
A typical generic fairy tale involves: 1) a kingdom in danger, 2) a hero to rescue said kingdom, and 3) magic. These three elements can take many forms. In the movie Avatar, the kingdom was represented by the planet Pandora. Pandora was in danger of being strip mined by greedy industrialists supported by a trigger happy paramilitary organization. The hero is a paraplegic member of the paramilitary industrial complex. The magic comes in the form of advanced technology and a planet that is essentially one large brain.
Through a white-knuckle-edge-of-seat adventure full of physical and moral trials for our hero, he saves the day, rescues the "princess", saves the planet, and defeats the enemy. Blah. Blah. Blah.
Yeah. Sounds like fun.
Take a deeper look. Nope. Deeper still.
Our hero starts as a disadvantaged, self-interested human on a planet with a toxic atmosphere, an unwelcoming indigenous intelligent population, and the most deadly life forms known to humankind. Pandora is an inhospitable world. Period. Gradually our hero, Jake, is pulled into greater and greater violence and stress. We see very little of this reflected in him. We see snippets of him being haggard and his growing disillusionment with his employer - the evil industrial complex that offered him the "magic" of walking again. He is discovering the "good" magic of Pandora, all the while facing death by having his human body waste away in a computer controlled cylinder, attack from dog-like pack animals with three inch teeth, death from falling from a high precipice or tree, death from highly territorial hammer-headed ground pounders, death from having a six foot arrow shot through him, death by having his neural interface braid cut, death by two types of flying creatures, death by having humans shoot at him, death by having mining equipment run him down, death by toxic atmosphere, death by... and the list goes on. Yeah. Death at literally EVERY turn.
Does that not strike you as a horrible life to lead? It would be so stressful, you'd collapse under the weight of the role of hero - which has yet to have been fulfilled.
So that is Pandora: death planet. Home sweet home. No thank you! We romanticize adventure. The Chinese curse of "may you live in interesting times" wholly applies. It is a NASTY curse. There is never a moment's respite for a fairytale hero. Failure to fulfill the role means not only the death of the hero, but of everyone else, too. That is a terrible burden. Yet, we romanticize it and see the excitement and wish we were that hero.
So, as in all good fairy tales, our hero succeeds. He saves the planet, achieves redemption of his soul, regains his legs by killing his human body, and has the love of a good woman. But what is he left with?
No medicines. Primitive and unfamiliar culture. Grisly death at every turn. But wait, there's more! Tell him what else he's won, Don Pardo! All that and the mundane day-to-day existence of trying to raise a family in that world. The adventure is OVER. All that is left is the daily struggle to just stay alive.
I am thinking that given the HELL that the hero goes though, that the REAL fairy tale is NOT the adventure. No one in their right mind would want that existence on a continual basis. No. The real fairytale is the day-to-day banal living in relative safety, and comfort. The real fairy tale is knowing where your next meal is coming from and knowing that you didn't have to dig it up, fight for it, or hunt it. The real fairy tale is having a shelter to shield you from the elements. The real fairy tale is not filled with conflict. The real fairy tale is not fraught with death at every turn.
I am living in a fairy tale and I hope it NEVER ends. Pandora? Buddy, it is ALL yours.