In the beginning, there was praise. This was prior to its date of release. Based on trailers and all that was available in various forms of media. Many around me were excited and I often wondered what it was about. I saw the trailer, thought must be interesting but also pre-judged the movie as another ‘special effects extravaganza’ with not much else to offer.
Then came the release. Everywhere you looked, James Cameron’s Avatar ruled. Whether it was the newspapers, television, or the senseless pseudo-intellectual talk at workplace – Avatar was the point in contention. Surprisingly, everyone had an opinion. Amusingly though, most of these were negative. The only positive response I heard was from those who were truly impressed by the special effects and were ready to let go the rest.
Initially I avoided Avatar. I am not a sucker for popular stuff and often dismiss them as nonsensical. The pre-release hoopla had put me off. I am not a sucker for science-fiction either, and therefore, I thought I could let go Avatar. However, three months and countless number of bad reviews later, I decided to watch it for myself yesterday.
There is no point debating that the plot of Avatar is neither unique nor awe-inspiring. If we can let that be, I can hardly find any faults with the movie. There is almost a consensus that the special effects are dazzling and have succeeded in portraying, to the awe of audience around the world, a unique wondrous and likable forests of Pandora.
The essence of Avatar, however, lies in symbolism. The genius of the movie and its maker is that despite some of the best use of metaphors, the movie was not complex to understand and was an entertainer throughout. Despite this, if people did not find it to be anything except special effects, I guess something is wrong somewhere.
In my opinion, the movie is pretty obvious about what it portrays. The inability of human beings to look beyond material profits and the total lack of sensitivity towards its own environs will eventually lead to total destruction. And till the last day, human beings won’t change their opinions and keep blaming everything except the way they chose to establish their societies as the reason for this destruction.
The dislike of Avatar by most of these human beings is therefore not surprising. The symbolism that was staring them in the face was unlikable and to avoid it, they developed a distaste towards it. This is not the first time, it happens very often in the way things go around in our species. Most of the times, the funny part is, these people do not know that their dislike is a part of psychological defence mechanism of their prejudices.
In a mad rush towards destruction and the propaganda to justify it, it was good to see an ‘avatar’ of sensibilities.