Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Appreciating Avatar

Okay, so I know everyone and their dog has seen Avatar at minimum one time. I'm probably late about talking about it, but oh well.

It impacted me. 

One thing i love about movies (and i LOVE movies), is that depending on where you're coming from in life, or your personality, or what happened 2 minutes before you sat down to watch the movie....we're all going to view the same thing a little differently.

Daniel and I went to see Avatar last friday nite. Both our first 3D movie. First, I was a little concerned about the glasses.....i mean, the person before me could have had swine flu, or worse, not washed their hands after their last trip to the bathroom....EWWWW GROSS!!! (i don't believe in washing your hands too much)

Also, i thought the glasses were going to be the cardboard red and white things that remind me of a cracker jack box. these weren't like that. these reminded me of what my mom wore as sunglasses when i was in jr high. i used to put them on when we picked up Sarah at high school and act like a dork on purpose, just to embarrass her. ahhhhh, memories!!

After I cleaned my glasses off as best i could and overdramatized it for Daniel, i settled in and waited ever so excitedly for it to start. We were really surprised to see how full the theater was since it had been out for a while. But because i'm ocd about the movies, we were in our seats with about 30 minutes to spare. There is nothing worse than walking into the movies and having to sit on the front row or on the side. i mean...why even go??? When people plan the movies with me and the movie starts at 7, i want to meet at least by 6:15. What if there's a line for tickets? a line at the snack counter? good grief, the person i'm meeting could be...dare we say it.....late?!?!?!

SO, the movie started and it took me a few minutes to adjust. It was just so much to take in! And of course i like to try and figure out everything about what is going on and where this is headed while the beginning credits are going. If i'm still unsure, i lean over to Daniel (or whoever got suckered into sitting next to me) and ask them. Depending on the movie i'm either a constant movie talker, (more of a movie question asker), or dead silent. It depends on my mood.

Sorry, back to the movie......

....Jake (main character guy) first starts entering the 'local' world (i say local because he is on their turf, he's the foreigner) and attempts to learn the way of the the Na'vi. I was FASCINATED!!! When Neytiri (Jake's girlfriend) started to teach him their language, i had to fight back the tears.

 (I literally told myself to get a grip, because i didn't want to bawl so early in the movie)

But she's teaching him some word in her local language, and he doesn't say it exactly right, so she keeps saying it and correcting him. Ummmmm....can we say flashbacks to language learning overseas??? I instantly went in my mind to my language tutor i had almost 2 years ago. There was one sound i couldn't say perfectly correct to save my life. We eventually moved on, blamed it on me being white, and honestly she had done all she could do with me  :)

One thing i love about Avatar was how it could be a picture of sharing cross-culturally.

(ok, i really don't want to be one of those people who has movie watching parties so we can all diagnose and find hidden theological themes in a movie that the writer had no intention of).

However, if you've ever worked with people who are have known nothing but their culture and have never heard of HIM, then this movies makes so much sense. The Na'vi have their own language, their own religion, and don't desire anything else. They don't even realize there could be something (or someone) else to believe in. It surprises me how some people try to share cross culturally by forcing other people groups to believe that they have been wrong their whole lives and need to change all that they've known. True, they may be following a false deity or religion, but it's ALL they've known. They don't need someone yelling at them and trying to show them their flaw in their belief system. They need HIM. They need to be loved.

Totally immersing yourself in a foreign (to you) cultural is fun, frustrating, hard, and joyful. It can be fun to learn that a handshake in our culture is repulsive or forbidden in another. Or when you ask for more tea-both hands are involved, it's not okay to just use one. who knew right? 

Another reason why i teared up is that you could sense that Jake was enjoying being with the Na'vi. He wanted to be there over anywhere else. He came to love them and long to protect them. What a beautiful picture of how we as believers can immerse ourselves in another culture and language, loving the locals in a way that tears us apart when we're not there.

I don't want to make everything deeper than maybe it was meant to be, this is just what i took from the movie.

On a lighter note, the colors were amazing. And amazing doesn't even say it right. The visual effects were mind blowingly beautiful. (i think the movie is a combo of Ferngully and Jurassic Park). Do ya'll remember Ferngully?? i think i was in 4th or 5th grade. 

that's all for now...would love to know ya'lls thoughts!

1 comment:

  1. I SO remember Fern Gully and unfortunately the embarrassing glasses moments outside my highschool. Uggh! Thanks Laura! Sidenote- the theater I went to sanitized the glasses, didn't they come in a plastic bag?