Monday, December 27, 2010

Avatar - The Movie

A review of the movie "Avatar"
Sometime last year I read a review of the movie “Avatar” by Mark Driscoll, an emergent pastor from Seattle. He claimed it was the most Satanic movie he had ever seen and decried almost every part of it. Now I have not gone to a movie theatre in many years, but since "Avatar" came out on television I decided to watch it and see what all the hypertension was about.

To be honest, I TiVo’d it so I could fast forward through the scenes that I did not desire to watch. Those scenes were many and I found it a dull and predictable movie with little more than some new image technology. I find it difficult to see how this could have been the all time box office movie. But that is beside the point. Basically the plot is this: There is a new mineral that conducts energy in A.D. 2154 and it costs 20 million dollars an ounce. It is found in great quantity on a planet called Pandora that is inhabited by a humanoid species called the Na’vi. (I do not believe in aliens.) The mining company from Earth, who look and talk like Americans (they probably were) travel to the planet in order to mine this precious mineral.

They attempt to entice the Na’vi into helping them at first, but when the indigenous inhabitants refuse the mining company uses force. The Na’vi are pagans and have some connection to nature, but the mining company workers never exhibits any particular religious manifestations. There is a love story between a crippled war veteran who visits Pandora with a Na’vi body and a female Na’vi. As I said, the Na’vi are pagans and worship nature. OK, we get it. But Driscoll rants and raves over their paganism while refusing to criticize the hedonism and violence of the humans. The entire movie is a glorified cartoon, however it seems to have struck a nerve with American capitalists.

The scenario in the movie is perhaps too close to some scenarios that have actually played out upon the earth, and that is what has some hyperventilating over it. But if you listened to Driscoll’s rant, you may have noticed the absence of correction for the attitudes and actions of the mining company. Their lack of compassion and concern for the native inhabitants is breathtaking. And even when their own spies return with new that is incongruent with their overall plan, they ignore it.

Driscoll states that he loves theatre, and in fact, has two home theatre systems and three TiVo systems at home. That is curious in and of itself. He claims that Satan is using the technology in Avatar to lure you into his way of thinking. He also claims that the movie is attempting to suggest that primitive is good and that advancement is bad. Wow. Where did he get that from in that movie?

What I took away from that movie was how insensitive human beings can be when faced with a challenge to their lifestyle. Even if it means obliterating a species, technology marches on. And as a believer in Jesus, I would have to view others as lost pagans. (This is all fiction since Jesus died for mankind and not other aliens.) I can see why Americans would recoil at such a caricature, but why would believers?

But to put the entire thing in context let me reveal who Mark Driscoll is and where he is coming from. He is an aggressive person who is boldly American and profoundly capitalist. He has advocated violence when an elder acts out of line. And Mark sees God teaching oral sex in the Song of Solomon. He also suggests that a woman offer her anus to her husband during menstruation if he so desires. His favorite movie is “Fight Club” and as I said, he has no problems with violence.

He was roundly criticized for using profanity in the pulpit (You can imagine what language he uses in private.). He presents Christ as a rugged macho man who lusted after woman as a normal 30 year old male. And he rules his church with an iron fist, and insists that anyone who questions his authority is sinning against God. Alright, enough about Driscoll.

But I wanted you to see how easy it is to view things as American capitalists and not as followers of Jesus. I did not like the movie “Avatar”, but not because it maligned capitalism, but because it was not a good movie in my opinion. I do not have a home theatre system, and I have one TiVo setup. I prefer non-fiction movies, especially documentaries. But I refuse to watch them as an American. I will always attempt to see things as a believer.

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