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AVATAR- the Movie: Pros & Cons? - Dhamma Wheel

AVATAR- the Movie: Pros & Cons?

Casual discussion amongst spiritual friends.
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christopher:::
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AVATAR- the Movie: Pros & Cons?

Postby christopher::: » Sun Jan 03, 2010 4:42 am

My sons and I saw Avatar last week and loved it. Not too sure how much it fits in with the dhamma-- The spiritual beliefs of the Na'vi seemed to have more similarities with Hinduism and Native American traditions. Still, we liked it, very much so. It was visually stunning, and there was a heart to the story. Way better then Transformers, which my youngest is crazy about.

While some critics complained about it, I especially appreciated how many old story themes and archetypes were reworked by Cameron. I think in this day and age its a good movie to have out there, if only to get people thinking and talking about topics like war, terrorism, materialism, imperialism, greed, interdependence of lifeforms, science & the environment, traditional spiritual systems, etc.

Have you seen it, and if so what did you think?

"As Buddhists, we should aim to develop relationships that are not predominated by grasping and clinging. Our relationships should be characterised by the brahmaviharas of metta (loving kindness), mudita (sympathetic joy), karuna (compassion), and upekkha (equanimity)."
~post by Ben, Jul 02, 2009

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Ben
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Re: AVATAR- the Movie: Pros & Cons?

Postby Ben » Sun Jan 03, 2010 5:12 am

Hi Christopher
I went to see it last week with my fourteen year old son. I was impressed though i am a bit of sucker for sci-fi. Visually, the movie is stunning.
As for the spiritual dimension of the movie - I think Cameron has drawn from the spiritual beliefs of indigenous cultures.
kind regards

Ben
“No lists of things to be done. The day providential to itself. The hour. There is no later. This is later. All things of grace and beauty such that one holds them to one's heart have a common provenance in pain. Their birth in grief and ashes.”
- Cormac McCarthy, The Road

Learn this from the waters:
in mountain clefts and chasms,
loud gush the streamlets,
but great rivers flow silently.
- Sutta Nipata 3.725

(Buddhist aid in Myanmar) • •

e: [email protected]..

phil
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Re: AVATAR- the Movie: Pros & Cons?

Postby phil » Sun Jan 03, 2010 6:02 am

Lovely and thrilling first half ruined by the last 30 minutes of endless battle scenes. (I doubt that is giving away anything.) Gave me a headache. And as for the 3D, very nice, but I took the glasses off once and realized the screen was filled with light that was lost due to the murk of the shades. I don't understand how a film-maker is willing to sacrifice that for special effects. Anyways, something really generous about Cameron's desire to create spectacular entertainments, and the message against imperialism is always welcome anywhere.

Metta,

Phil

p.s my favourite movie last year was Moon. I can't believe how little attention it is getting in Awards talk.
Kammalakkhano , bhikkhave, bālo, kammalakkhano pandito, apadānasobhanī paññāti
(The fool is characterized by his/her actions/the wise one is characterized by his/her actions/Wisdom shines forth in behaviour.)
(AN 3.2 Lakkhana Sutta)

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Monkey Mind
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Re: AVATAR- the Movie: Pros & Cons?

Postby Monkey Mind » Sun Jan 03, 2010 6:18 am

The plot reminded me a lot of a Kevin Costner film, "Dances With Wolves". My biggest criticism of both films: [well, I don't want to give away plot...]

Although the Dhamma is not immediately present in the movie, there are some good discussion points: consumerism leads to greed, which leads to sociopathic destructive behavior. A simpler lifestyle produces less suffering, and this is contrary to modern value systems that claim technological advancements should relieve suffering.
"As I am, so are others;
as others are, so am I."
Having thus identified self and others,
harm no one nor have them harmed.

Sutta Nipāta 3.710

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Ben
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Re: AVATAR- the Movie: Pros & Cons?

Postby Ben » Sun Jan 03, 2010 7:25 am

“No lists of things to be done. The day providential to itself. The hour. There is no later. This is later. All things of grace and beauty such that one holds them to one's heart have a common provenance in pain. Their birth in grief and ashes.”
- Cormac McCarthy, The Road

Learn this from the waters:
in mountain clefts and chasms,
loud gush the streamlets,
but great rivers flow silently.
- Sutta Nipata 3.725

(Buddhist aid in Myanmar) • •

e: [email protected]..

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christopher:::
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Re: AVATAR- the Movie: Pros & Cons?

Postby christopher::: » Sun Jan 03, 2010 7:46 am

Last edited by christopher::: on Sun Jan 03, 2010 8:28 am, edited 2 times in total.
"As Buddhists, we should aim to develop relationships that are not predominated by grasping and clinging. Our relationships should be characterised by the brahmaviharas of metta (loving kindness), mudita (sympathetic joy), karuna (compassion), and upekkha (equanimity)."
~post by Ben, Jul 02, 2009

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Ben
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Re: AVATAR- the Movie: Pros & Cons?

Postby Ben » Sun Jan 03, 2010 8:27 am

I know Chris was planning on seeing this movie a couple of days ago, so I am looking forward to her thoughts...
“No lists of things to be done. The day providential to itself. The hour. There is no later. This is later. All things of grace and beauty such that one holds them to one's heart have a common provenance in pain. Their birth in grief and ashes.”
- Cormac McCarthy, The Road

Learn this from the waters:
in mountain clefts and chasms,
loud gush the streamlets,
but great rivers flow silently.
- Sutta Nipata 3.725

(Buddhist aid in Myanmar) • •

e: [email protected]..

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tiltbillings
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Re: AVATAR- the Movie: Pros & Cons?

Postby tiltbillings » Sun Jan 03, 2010 8:34 am


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christopher:::
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Re: AVATAR- the Movie: Pros & Cons?

Postby christopher::: » Sun Jan 03, 2010 8:54 am

"As Buddhists, we should aim to develop relationships that are not predominated by grasping and clinging. Our relationships should be characterised by the brahmaviharas of metta (loving kindness), mudita (sympathetic joy), karuna (compassion), and upekkha (equanimity)."
~post by Ben, Jul 02, 2009

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cooran
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Re: AVATAR- the Movie: Pros & Cons?

Postby cooran » Sun Jan 03, 2010 9:28 am

---The trouble is that you think you have time---
---Worry is the Interest, paid in advance, on a debt you may never owe---
---It's not what happens to you in life that is important ~ it's what you do with it ---

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Cittasanto
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Re: AVATAR- the Movie: Pros & Cons?

Postby Cittasanto » Sun Jan 03, 2010 9:49 am

I don't like the film, not seen it, or anything like that, but it stole its name from a nickelodian aname style cartoon which is being released as a film this year at some point.
it is based on eastern philosophies generally and the cartoon has many references to Dhamma so hopefully the Movie will.
it is being called the Last Air Bender, Aang - the last airbender, or Avatar, the former is the title of the movie and the cartoons can be called one of the three depending on where you are.

sorry for the off topic, but it is related in a loose sense.


He who knows only his own side of the case knows little of that. His reasons may be good, and no one may have been able to refute them.
But if he is equally unable to refute the reasons on the opposite side, if he does not so much as know what they are, he has no ground for preferring either opinion …
...
He must be able to hear them from persons who actually believe them … he must know them in their most plausible and persuasive form.

phil
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Re: AVATAR- the Movie: Pros & Cons?

Postby phil » Sun Jan 03, 2010 2:30 pm

Honestly, I can't think of anything that felt like Dhamma to me. Not the violent (natural enough, of course) response to the enemy forces, not the group magic rituals, not the worship of a creator goddess. Nice entertainment, sure. But for non-violent defeat of an enemy, "Witness" is my favourite. Amish pacifists rock! (I guess you heard the great story of the community of Amish who raised money to start an education fund for the children of the man who went on a shooting spree at an Amish school.)
Kammalakkhano , bhikkhave, bālo, kammalakkhano pandito, apadānasobhanī paññāti
(The fool is characterized by his/her actions/the wise one is characterized by his/her actions/Wisdom shines forth in behaviour.)
(AN 3.2 Lakkhana Sutta)

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salty-J
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Re: AVATAR- the Movie: Pros & Cons?

Postby salty-J » Sun Jan 03, 2010 4:36 pm

I enjoyed it very much, and think if it's watched for what it is, a sci-fi movie :alien:, it is fantastic. I think any cons regarding the films plot being unoriginal or overly simplistic characters or anything like that are easily outweighed by the pros of the amazing visual effects and all the cool details.....but I would highly recommend seeing the 3-D version, Christopher, it was so cool.....now that I am typing about it, it reminds me I wanted to go see it again on an IMAX in 3-D :tongue:
In fact, I've already been twice, my wife and I went that first Friday it'd come out, and then the following Sunday morning, when the family were sitting around, "What are we going to do today?", I thought, "Well, the kids haven't seen Avatar yet", so off we went again :popcorn: heheh. Now I want to be a 10 foot tall blue person with 3 fingers! :twothumbsup:
"It is what it is." -foreman infamous for throwing wrenches in fits of rage

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Re: AVATAR- the Movie: Pros & Cons?

Postby salty-J » Sun Jan 03, 2010 4:41 pm

"It is what it is." -foreman infamous for throwing wrenches in fits of rage

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Tex
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Re: AVATAR- the Movie: Pros & Cons?

Postby Tex » Sun Jan 03, 2010 5:22 pm

Thought it was terrific. Yes, the plot has been done before and a couple of the bad guy characters are completely over the top. I have no problem overlooking things like that. I didn't go for Shakespearean dialogue and character development; I went to be visually blown away, and I was. I've seen all the big time special effects CGI movies, and many of them are very impressive, but this one had something more. This is special effects as art.

And the plot is still important because every kid I know is seeing this movie, and there's no way we'd get them to sit through Dances With Wolves or anything similar.
"To reach beyond fear and danger we must sharpen and widen our vision. We have to pierce through the deceptions that lull us into a comfortable complacency, to take a straight look down into the depths of our existence, without turning away uneasily or running after distractions." -- Bhikkhu Bodhi

"No man ever steps in the same river twice, for it's not the same river and he's not the same man." -- Heraclitus

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Cittasanto
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Re: AVATAR- the Movie: Pros & Cons?

Postby Cittasanto » Sun Jan 03, 2010 5:32 pm



He who knows only his own side of the case knows little of that. His reasons may be good, and no one may have been able to refute them.
But if he is equally unable to refute the reasons on the opposite side, if he does not so much as know what they are, he has no ground for preferring either opinion …
...
He must be able to hear them from persons who actually believe them … he must know them in their most plausible and persuasive form.

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Kim OHara
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Re: AVATAR- the Movie: Pros & Cons?

Postby Kim OHara » Sun Jan 03, 2010 10:45 pm

I saw it last night, in 3D, and enjoyed it. I agree completely with those who have said the special effects were fantastic, and with those who saw more indigenous peoples' beliefs in it the story than dharma.
Congratulations to Tilt for the darkroastedblend link: the connections that article made were all great, too. (I'll just throw in a free plug here for Ursula Le Guin, whose 'Word for World' was mentioned there: she is one of the most deeply humane sf writers anywhere, anytime, and I recommend her books to everyone here. Can't recommend the movie of 'Earthsea', though - it misrepresents the book.)

But I now have another reason to like 'Avatar'. Someone I hardly know sent me a link in reply to something I said about (surprise!) climate change. Andrew Bolt is a prominent (am I allowed to say 'horribly prominent'?) right-wing Australian journalist and blogger. As far as I can see, he stands for absolutely everything I oppose, so I figure his response to 'Avatar' means its political message is right on target. :smile:
http://blogs.news.com.au/heraldsun/andrewbolt/index.php/heraldsun/comments/column_avatar_the_answer_to_a_copenhagens_dream/

Kim

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Ben
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Re: AVATAR- the Movie: Pros & Cons?

Postby Ben » Mon Jan 04, 2010 12:31 am

“No lists of things to be done. The day providential to itself. The hour. There is no later. This is later. All things of grace and beauty such that one holds them to one's heart have a common provenance in pain. Their birth in grief and ashes.”
- Cormac McCarthy, The Road

Learn this from the waters:
in mountain clefts and chasms,
loud gush the streamlets,
but great rivers flow silently.
- Sutta Nipata 3.725

(Buddhist aid in Myanmar) • •

e: [email protected]..

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christopher:::
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Re: AVATAR- the Movie: Pros & Cons?

Postby christopher::: » Mon Jan 04, 2010 1:47 am

Avatar just smashed all box office records, making it into the top five highest-grossing movies of all time in only 17 days. It took Dark Knight 33 weeks to get to that spot. The film just opened in China, yesterday and will probably be #2 by this time next week, right behind Titanic, lol...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_hi ... sing_films

So what is it with Cameron and his movies?
"As Buddhists, we should aim to develop relationships that are not predominated by grasping and clinging. Our relationships should be characterised by the brahmaviharas of metta (loving kindness), mudita (sympathetic joy), karuna (compassion), and upekkha (equanimity)."
~post by Ben, Jul 02, 2009

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cooran
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Re: AVATAR- the Movie: Pros & Cons?

Postby cooran » Mon Jan 04, 2010 7:32 am

Hello all,

It had to happen ... :tongue:

Is blue the new black? Why some people think Avatar is racist
http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters ... _some.html

metta
Chris
---The trouble is that you think you have time---
---Worry is the Interest, paid in advance, on a debt you may never owe---
---It's not what happens to you in life that is important ~ it's what you do with it ---


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