Avatar: Some Personal Comments

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Avatar: Some Personal Comments

Postby RonPrice » Thu Feb 04, 2010 11:59 pm

I presume that this film, given its international success in the first two months of its release, is an appropriate topic here---especiually given the slant I have emphasized on the term "avatar" and "the Baha'i Faith," a religion with 300,000 adherents in Iran.-Ron Price, Tasmania
--------------------------------------
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, (c) 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 48 years, a teacher for 32, a student for 18, a writer and editor for 16 with several books published on the internet--and a Baha'i for 56 years(in 2015)
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Avatar

Postby Lawrence Of Persia » Tue Nov 22, 2011 3:25 am

Nice topic, Ron. :)

My flat-mate borrowed the DVD of Avatar from the library 2 months ago and I watched it.
Have you seen it by now?
If not, then you should. :)

Avatar is a wonderful movie.
  • Spectacular special effects (some by George Lucas' firm Industrial Magic).
  • A nice spiritually:
    If a person's awareness and personality can be projected from his/her human body into a genetically engineered alien body, then
    what is the essence of a person's being?
    Not purely his/her physical body. :)
  • A much deeper and more meaningful story than Star Wars:
    • A private company has established the human colony on the planet Avatar for the purpose of mining the valuable substance Unobtanium, found only Avatar, for profit.
    • The Company has made a substantial investment in this enterprise.
    • Avatar is a five years journey from Earth by human faster-than-light starship.
    • The military force on avatar is composed of mercenaries of the Company
    • The Company is not totally evil.
      • It has implemented the Avatar program to enable humans to interact peacefully with the Pandorans. The Avatar bodies look just like Pandoran native bodies.
      • It is prepared to offer the humanoid stone-age Avatar natives inducements not to hinder Company activities on Avatar:
        • Products and tools of human manufacture (but no modern weapons).
        • Medical services.
        • Education.
        • Etc.
      • But if the Pandorans cause the Company any trouble, then it has no scruples about dealing harshly with them.
    • And therefrom hangs the conflict in the movie. :)
HM
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Re: Avatar: Some Personal Comments

Postby RonPrice » Sun Mar 22, 2015 6:23 pm

A belated thanks, Lawrence of Persia, for your post more than 3 years ago. Since my post, I notice that in August 2013, it was announced that Steven Gould had been engaged to write four novels based on the films. In December 2013, Cameron announced that three sequels to the film would be made in New Zealand. He stated that performance capture would take place in the second half of 2014 and that as much post-production will be done in New Zealand as possible. A deal made with the New Zealand government requires that at least one world premiere be held in Wellington and that at least NZ$500 million (approximately US$410 million at December 2013 exchange rates) would be spent on production activity in New Zealand, including live-action filming and visuals effects by Weta Workshop. In tandem with this announcement, the New Zealand government announced it would raise its baseline tax rebate for filmmaking from 15% to 20%, with 25% available to international productions in some cases and 40% for New Zealand productions (as defined by section 18 of the New Zealand Film Commission Act 1978).

In April 2014 Cameron revealed that he was currently working on the three scripts for the sequels, which he expected to be finished within six weeks (late May). He confirmed that all three sequels would be into production simultaneously, slated for December 2016 to 2018 releases. He also confirmed that Sigourney Weaver would be featured in all three sequels and that her character Grace Augustine would be alive. As of November 2014, Pre-production had begun. I thank Wikipedia for this information and I look forward to continued discussion and activity in relation to Avatar and its film-and-book world.-Ron Price, Australia
married for 48 years, a teacher for 32, a student for 18, a writer and editor for 16 with several books published on the internet--and a Baha'i for 56 years(in 2015)
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