Movie Review – Green Lantern

OK, freaks and geeks, it is the summer of the super hero!

We’ve already seen Marvel take two shots with Thor and X-men: First Class (enjoyed the first one, haven’t seen the latter). Now it is DC Comics turn with the introduction of Green Lantern as a movie franchise.

If you’re not familiar with this character, there is an intergalactic peace-keeping force called the Green Lanterns, using the energy of willpower (manifested by the color green, naturally?) to watch over the universe. There are 3600 Lanterns divided by sectors.

On a small planet in sector 2814, there is a test pilot named Hal Jordan. He is a daredevil flyboy who works as a test pilot. When the Lantern Abin Sur crashes onto Earth, the ring is commissioned to find a replacement. Hal is chosen, and he’s inducted into the corps.

Green Lantern hasn’t gotten good reviews from the critics (scoring poorly according to Rotten Tomatoes). Well, the critics are the critics, and not necessarily the intended audience. As an all-around geek and fan of comic books, I found Lantern to be an enjoyable summer movie and launching point for this character.

The movie does a good job of establishing Hal Jordan and his childhood friend, on and off again flame Carol Ferris. The Corps are thinly drawn. We don’t get a good picture of why Abin Sur is considered so great. His close friend Sinestro is played well, but the writers don’t give him the best background to set up his character either.

The plot of the movie moves along well without much down time. The slower parts set up the conflict between Hal and Carol, one of the main antagonists Hector Hammond, and Sinestro’s quest for power. Some of the dialogue is wooden and forced, but the action scenes are better. Some of the previews made the CGI effects seem pretty cheesy, but they turned out well in the finished product. Even the maligned, fully-CGI rendered uniform of Green Lantern came across better than I thought it would. The comic book world openly scoffed when the first images came out. Perhaps the artists adjusted it based on the criticism, but it worked except for the face mask. Then again, looking at a comic book picture of Green Lantern, the mask looks a little silly there now!

I thought the movie was quite enjoyable. I liked Iron Man and The Dark Knight better, but it was on par with Thor. I hope people will see the movie and make up their own mind instead of going by the critics. I would like to see more movies in a series. Perhaps it could turn out like Spiderman 2. Many people didn’t think the first movie was all that special, but #2 is considered one of the best superhero movies ever.

We’ll see if it will be “brightest day” or “blackest night” for Green Lantern. I’m leaning toward the light.

Movie Review – Green Lantern

OK, freaks and geeks, it is the summer of the super hero!

We’ve already seen Marvel take two shots with Thor and X-men: First Class (enjoyed the first one, haven’t seen the latter). Now it is DC Comics turn with the introduction of Green Lantern as a movie franchise.

If you’re not familiar with this character, there is an intergalactic peace-keeping force called the Green Lanterns, using the energy of willpower (manifested by the color green, naturally?) to watch over the universe. There are 3600 Lanterns divided by sectors.

On a small planet in sector 2814, there is a test pilot named Hal Jordan. He is a daredevil flyboy who works as a test pilot. When the Lantern Abin Sur crashes onto Earth, the ring is commissioned to find a replacement. Hal is chosen, and he’s inducted into the corps.

Green Lantern hasn’t gotten good reviews from the critics (scoring poorly according to Rotten Tomatoes). Well, the critics are the critics, and not necessarily the intended audience. As an all-around geek and fan of comic books, I found Lantern to be an enjoyable summer movie and launching point for this character.

The movie does a good job of establishing Hal Jordan and his childhood friend, on and off again flame Carol Ferris. The Corps are thinly drawn. We don’t get a good picture of why Abin Sur is considered so great. His close friend Sinestro is played well, but the writers don’t give him the best background to set up his character either.

The plot of the movie moves along well without much down time. The slower parts set up the conflict between Hal and Carol, one of the main antagonists Hector Hammond, and Sinestro’s quest for power. Some of the dialogue is wooden and forced, but the action scenes are better. Some of the previews made the CGI effects seem pretty cheesy, but they turned out well in the finished product. Even the maligned, fully-CGI rendered uniform of Green Lantern came across better than I thought it would. The comic book world openly scoffed when the first images came out. Perhaps the artists adjusted it based on the criticism, but it worked except for the face mask. Then again, looking at a comic book picture of Green Lantern, the mask looks a little silly there now!

I thought the movie was quite enjoyable. I liked Iron Man and The Dark Knight better, but it was on par with Thor. I hope people will see the movie and make up their own mind instead of going by the critics. I would like to see more movies in a series. Perhaps it could turn out like Spiderman 2. Many people didn’t think the first movie was all that special, but #2 is considered one of the best superhero movies ever.

We’ll see if it will be “brightest day” or “blackest night” for Green Lantern. I’m leaning toward the light.

The Adjustment Bureau

The Adjustment Bureau is a stylish, romantic “what if” movie that doesn’t underestimate the importance of good headwear.
I’ve be trying to get my wife to the new thriller with Matt Damon, The Adjustment Bureau ever since it came out. I was interested anyway, then Breakpoint with Chuck Colson highlighted it as an intelligent movie that can open the door for conversation about God, sovereignty, and free will.
Yes, please!
Matt Damon is strong as David Norris, a young hot shot politician who almost nabs the New York Senate seat. Almost, because a picture of him mooning classmates at a reunion adds to his impulsive reputation and kills the election for him.
As he practices his concession speech in the men’s room, he is interrupted by Elise (Emily Blunt), a woman hiding after crashing a wedding at this hotel. There’s an instant connection, and after she flees the hotel staff, David throws out his canned talk and gives a candid performance that impresses the voters and pundits again.
He didn’t get Elise’s name, but he happens to run into her on the bus Monday morning. Coincidence? Well, according to snappily-dressed men in fedoras following David, it wasn’t supposed to happen. It wasn’t “part of the plan.”
These shadowy men kidnap David and reveal themselves as part of the Adjustment Bureau, a group dedicated to making sure things go according to the plan. Misplace your keys lately? Spill coffee on yourself (like me) recently? It may have been an accident – or it may have been the Bureau making slight adjustments to keep things flowing in the right way. David is informed that he can’t reveal them, and he should stay away from Elise.
Three years later, and David is still taking the same bus hoping to catch her. He manages a glimpse of her in the crowd, and chases her down. Against the plan. Now David must choose between pursuing a woman that has captivated him like no other, or let destiny play out the way it should.
I’m easy to please in a movie, admittedly. Well, maybe I should amend that. I’m picky about the movies I go to, so if I choose to go to one, I’m usually happy. Still, it is the rare movie that makes me giddy as certain elements come to pass. The Adjustment Bureau is one of those movies.

The plot is good, the suspense continues throughout the whole film, and I never felt sucked out of the world they were bringing. However, this movie shines through the main actors. Matt Damon carries himself believably as a young politician that is caught in the balance of using his youthful drive for his benefit and not letting it stumble his ambition. Emily Blunt is flirty and vulnerable as the contemporary dancer that makes David swoon. The two together have a palpable chemistry, and it is enjoyable to see the sparks on screen. I groaned once in the film, when they kiss after only meeting for a few minutes. Does this really happen? Ever? Without alcohol involved, I mean? Otherwise, the audience is rooting for their romance all along.

Some reviewers were tripped up by the plot device used by the Adjustment Bureau guys to bop around New York City – I enjoyed it though. Properly attired, these guys can travel through doorways and use secret passages to end up all over the city. Terence Stamp has a great voice and gravitas as the heavy brought in to rein in David, and the actor who plays the ultimately compassionate agent portrays a man conflicted.

Breakpoint was right – there aren’t a lot of movies that make people face questions about weighty topics like predestination, free will, and who really is in control. And highly entertaining to boot! The Adjustment Bureau manages both of these points, and I am looking forward to seeing it on blu-ray down the road.

Anyone else seen The Adjustment Bureau? Share your thoughts below!

The Adjustment Bureau

The Adjustment Bureau is a stylish, romantic “what if” movie that doesn’t underestimate the importance of good headwear.
I’ve be trying to get my wife to the new thriller with Matt Damon, The Adjustment Bureau ever since it came out. I was interested anyway, then Breakpoint with Chuck Colson highlighted it as an intelligent movie that can open the door for conversation about God, sovereignty, and free will.
Yes, please!
Matt Damon is strong as David Norris, a young hot shot politician who almost nabs the New York Senate seat. Almost, because a picture of him mooning classmates at a reunion adds to his impulsive reputation and kills the election for him.
As he practices his concession speech in the men’s room, he is interrupted by Elise (Emily Blunt), a woman hiding after crashing a wedding at this hotel. There’s an instant connection, and after she flees the hotel staff, David throws out his canned talk and gives a candid performance that impresses the voters and pundits again.
He didn’t get Elise’s name, but he happens to run into her on the bus Monday morning. Coincidence? Well, according to snappily-dressed men in fedoras following David, it wasn’t supposed to happen. It wasn’t “part of the plan.”
These shadowy men kidnap David and reveal themselves as part of the Adjustment Bureau, a group dedicated to making sure things go according to the plan. Misplace your keys lately? Spill coffee on yourself (like me) recently? It may have been an accident – or it may have been the Bureau making slight adjustments to keep things flowing in the right way. David is informed that he can’t reveal them, and he should stay away from Elise.
Three years later, and David is still taking the same bus hoping to catch her. He manages a glimpse of her in the crowd, and chases her down. Against the plan. Now David must choose between pursuing a woman that has captivated him like no other, or let destiny play out the way it should.
I’m easy to please in a movie, admittedly. Well, maybe I should amend that. I’m picky about the movies I go to, so if I choose to go to one, I’m usually happy. Still, it is the rare movie that makes me giddy as certain elements come to pass. The Adjustment Bureau is one of those movies.

The plot is good, the suspense continues throughout the whole film, and I never felt sucked out of the world they were bringing. However, this movie shines through the main actors. Matt Damon carries himself believably as a young politician that is caught in the balance of using his youthful drive for his benefit and not letting it stumble his ambition. Emily Blunt is flirty and vulnerable as the contemporary dancer that makes David swoon. The two together have a palpable chemistry, and it is enjoyable to see the sparks on screen. I groaned once in the film, when they kiss after only meeting for a few minutes. Does this really happen? Ever? Without alcohol involved, I mean? Otherwise, the audience is rooting for their romance all along.

Some reviewers were tripped up by the plot device used by the Adjustment Bureau guys to bop around New York City – I enjoyed it though. Properly attired, these guys can travel through doorways and use secret passages to end up all over the city. Terence Stamp has a great voice and gravitas as the heavy brought in to rein in David, and the actor who plays the ultimately compassionate agent portrays a man conflicted.

Breakpoint was right – there aren’t a lot of movies that make people face questions about weighty topics like predestination, free will, and who really is in control. And highly entertaining to boot! The Adjustment Bureau manages both of these points, and I am looking forward to seeing it on blu-ray down the road.

Anyone else seen The Adjustment Bureau? Share your thoughts below!

Holiness and Leslie Nielsen

“Surely you can’t be serious!”

“I am serious. And don’t call me Shirley.”
The Net was abuzz this week with the sad passing of Leslie Nielsen, the actor who defined the slapstick genre of movies with Airplane!, the Naked Gun series, and numerous other movie spoofs. What a great story. The guy was in the movie machine back in the 50’s as a standard handsome leading man, and then was able to find success in his love of comedy after Airplane! took off (groan) in 1980. My mom’s name was Shirley, so we always loved that joke and played off of it and the irony for her saying it.

A child of the 80’s, I really enjoyed these movies. The slapstick and play on of words were great, but there were lots of things I didn’t get watching them initially as a teenager (I was rather naive, thankfully). There’s a ton of sexual innuendo, but I didn’t understand much of it. I thought they were harmless movies.

In 1991 I went on a Discipleship Training School with YWAM. We had three months of training in Montana, learning about the character and ways of God, the Bible, prayer, evangelism, worship, etc. Then we had a two month practical outreach in Thailand. It was a such an investment for me to make, right out of high school. It really changed so much of my perspective, from learning so much about God and who He is, to seeing the bigger world and all the needs out there. Quite a perspective for this Idaho boy.

What does this have to do with Leslie Nielsen? It’s not a cheap attempt to draw search engine traffic here. On the flight back from Thailand the movie was The Naked Gun 2 1/2 (gotta love the 1/2!). I had watched it prior to the DTS and thought it was hilarious. Something was different this time. I saw so much that went against God’s standards and ways. It was like I had a different lens to look through, and there was so much junk in it. Maybe it was that my internal lenses were cleaned, and I could see garbage for what it was.

I didn’t enjoy it the second time, and I think I ended up not watching the rest of the movie.

Leslie Nielsen was a remarkable comedic actor, with great timing and funny faces galore. Still, those movies too quickly went for lowest common denominator humor. As an immature 17 year old, it was awesome. After spending 5 months pursuing the Lord in a concentrated manner every day, it was repulsive. The show didn’t change. I did.

I think of that experience sometimes when I see what goes on in popular culture. I wasn’t trying to be holier-than-thou about it, but it was a natural response after getting close to Him. I’m sad to say that I probably am not bothered by a lot of things I watch anymore, because I have to live in “real life” and don’t have the time to dedicate to Jesus like I did in those days. When you get to live like that, then your spiritual sensitivity naturally goes up.

I have no excuse for not being there now. I could do a lot better in my relationship with the Lord, even though the DTS was a special time that is hard to replicate in the day to day of living.

So strange as it may seem, when I think of Leslie Nielsen, I think of holiness. I am reminded of such a wonderful time in my life. And I think of Shirley. A laugh, a tear, and a sigh mixed together.

Thanks for the chuckles, Mr. Nielsen, and for the memories. Here’s hoping God’s grace finds you.

Holiness and Leslie Nielsen

“Surely you can’t be serious!”

“I am serious. And don’t call me Shirley.”
The Net was abuzz this week with the sad passing of Leslie Nielsen, the actor who defined the slapstick genre of movies with Airplane!, the Naked Gun series, and numerous other movie spoofs. What a great story. The guy was in the movie machine back in the 50’s as a standard handsome leading man, and then was able to find success in his love of comedy after Airplane! took off (groan) in 1980. My mom’s name was Shirley, so we always loved that joke and played off of it and the irony for her saying it.

A child of the 80’s, I really enjoyed these movies. The slapstick and play on of words were great, but there were lots of things I didn’t get watching them initially as a teenager (I was rather naive, thankfully). There’s a ton of sexual innuendo, but I didn’t understand much of it. I thought they were harmless movies.

In 1991 I went on a Discipleship Training School with YWAM. We had three months of training in Montana, learning about the character and ways of God, the Bible, prayer, evangelism, worship, etc. Then we had a two month practical outreach in Thailand. It was a such an investment for me to make, right out of high school. It really changed so much of my perspective, from learning so much about God and who He is, to seeing the bigger world and all the needs out there. Quite a perspective for this Idaho boy.

What does this have to do with Leslie Nielsen? It’s not a cheap attempt to draw search engine traffic here. On the flight back from Thailand the movie was The Naked Gun 2 1/2 (gotta love the 1/2!). I had watched it prior to the DTS and thought it was hilarious. Something was different this time. I saw so much that went against God’s standards and ways. It was like I had a different lens to look through, and there was so much junk in it. Maybe it was that my internal lenses were cleaned, and I could see garbage for what it was.

I didn’t enjoy it the second time, and I think I ended up not watching the rest of the movie.

Leslie Nielsen was a remarkable comedic actor, with great timing and funny faces galore. Still, those movies too quickly went for lowest common denominator humor. As an immature 17 year old, it was awesome. After spending 5 months pursuing the Lord in a concentrated manner every day, it was repulsive. The show didn’t change. I did.

I think of that experience sometimes when I see what goes on in popular culture. I wasn’t trying to be holier-than-thou about it, but it was a natural response after getting close to Him. I’m sad to say that I probably am not bothered by a lot of things I watch anymore, because I have to live in “real life” and don’t have the time to dedicate to Jesus like I did in those days. When you get to live like that, then your spiritual sensitivity naturally goes up.

I have no excuse for not being there now. I could do a lot better in my relationship with the Lord, even though the DTS was a special time that is hard to replicate in the day to day of living.

So strange as it may seem, when I think of Leslie Nielsen, I think of holiness. I am reminded of such a wonderful time in my life. And I think of Shirley. A laugh, a tear, and a sigh mixed together.

Thanks for the chuckles, Mr. Nielsen, and for the memories. Here’s hoping God’s grace finds you.

The Source of Life

Some movies are truer than we think.

Do you remember the part in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade when the bad guy drinks from what he thinks is the Holy Grail? Donovan hired the beautiful archeologist to help him find the Grail, thinking that it would give eternal life to anyone who drank from it.

Do you remember what happened next?

Yeah, it doesn’t end well for the guy.

It seems if one chooses “poorly,” it drains your life instead of restoring it. Donovan goes from Nazi tool to dust in the wind rather quickly.

Now Indiana Jones is faced with a choice, as his father is outside dying from a gunshot wound, and his only hope is the True Grail. Indy looks around at the plethora of gilded grails trying to choose. He settles on a very non-descript chalice, likely to be missed among all the glitter and glamour of the other cups. The only way to know if he got it right is to drink from it himself. It takes faith to believe in his choice, but he acts on it. And he is rewarded (though he is strangely aging in The Crystal Skull movie from a few years ago, suggesting to me that that movie shouldn’t have been made, but I digress…)
I was reminded of this movie today as I was praying. I realized I feel somewhat like the dusty bad guy. I’ve been walking in my own strength for a while now. Nothing dramatic, but I just haven’t been fully abiding in the Lord and His presence lately. I haven’t been praying for a quality amount of time. I haven’t been pursuing reading the Bible as much as I need. Consequently worship was becoming more rote.
As a result my life was becoming dry. I haven’t been in rebellion, but I wasn’t plugged into the Source. I wasn’t drinking in Living Water, but subsiding on the little bits I’d glean from my day-to-day plodding. Life is full of distractions. As I work in front of a computer, there is a whole world out there that can take me away from what I truly need in life. Of course, it doesn’t do so without my permission…

When I walk in a relationship with Jesus, then my life is transformed. I am no longer faint, weak in my bones, crumbling as I stumble along alone. I am renewed. My eyes have life in them. I see clearer, I love better, and I laugh longer. Jesus wasn’t kidding when He said He was “living water“. It is not by my own effort, but by faith in Jesus and letting His life flow into and through me that this happens. Just as Indy had to drink to test the Grail, we have to let Jesus in to have the healing and transformation He offers.

I’m tired of dining on dust. The world is passing away. Entropy is the law of thermodynamics that says everything proceeds from a highly-organized state to a less-organized state. Translation: everything decays. Donovan just had an accelerated taste of it, due to his own pride and misplaced faith. The world and all it offers cannot quench our thirst or give us life (no matter how much we call it “mother” Earth).

Don’t make the mistake I’ve been making lately. If life seems like dust in the wind, there is a Source of Life that can restore you. I’ve experienced it. I’d be happy to point the way, if you have questions.

Movies can be prophetic. As the Guardian of the Grail says, “Choose wisely.”

The Source of Life

Some movies are truer than we think.

Do you remember the part in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade when the bad guy drinks from what he thinks is the Holy Grail? Donovan hired the beautiful archeologist to help him find the Grail, thinking that it would give eternal life to anyone who drank from it.

Do you remember what happened next?

Yeah, it doesn’t end well for the guy.

It seems if one chooses “poorly,” it drains your life instead of restoring it. Donovan goes from Nazi tool to dust in the wind rather quickly.

Now Indiana Jones is faced with a choice, as his father is outside dying from a gunshot wound, and his only hope is the True Grail. Indy looks around at the plethora of gilded grails trying to choose. He settles on a very non-descript chalice, likely to be missed among all the glitter and glamour of the other cups. The only way to know if he got it right is to drink from it himself. It takes faith to believe in his choice, but he acts on it. And he is rewarded (though he is strangely aging in The Crystal Skull movie from a few years ago, suggesting to me that that movie shouldn’t have been made, but I digress…)
I was reminded of this movie today as I was praying. I realized I feel somewhat like the dusty bad guy. I’ve been walking in my own strength for a while now. Nothing dramatic, but I just haven’t been fully abiding in the Lord and His presence lately. I haven’t been praying for a quality amount of time. I haven’t been pursuing reading the Bible as much as I need. Consequently worship was becoming more rote.
As a result my life was becoming dry. I haven’t been in rebellion, but I wasn’t plugged into the Source. I wasn’t drinking in Living Water, but subsiding on the little bits I’d glean from my day-to-day plodding. Life is full of distractions. As I work in front of a computer, there is a whole world out there that can take me away from what I truly need in life. Of course, it doesn’t do so without my permission…

When I walk in a relationship with Jesus, then my life is transformed. I am no longer faint, weak in my bones, crumbling as I stumble along alone. I am renewed. My eyes have life in them. I see clearer, I love better, and I laugh longer. Jesus wasn’t kidding when He said He was “living water“. It is not by my own effort, but by faith in Jesus and letting His life flow into and through me that this happens. Just as Indy had to drink to test the Grail, we have to let Jesus in to have the healing and transformation He offers.

I’m tired of dining on dust. The world is passing away. Entropy is the law of thermodynamics that says everything proceeds from a highly-organized state to a less-organized state. Translation: everything decays. Donovan just had an accelerated taste of it, due to his own pride and misplaced faith. The world and all it offers cannot quench our thirst or give us life (no matter how much we call it “mother” Earth).

Don’t make the mistake I’ve been making lately. If life seems like dust in the wind, there is a Source of Life that can restore you. I’ve experienced it. I’d be happy to point the way, if you have questions.

Movies can be prophetic. As the Guardian of the Grail says, “Choose wisely.”

Is Avatar Eden?

Is he still talking about the movie Avatar?

Yeah, one more time. Sorry.

I posted a couple of times about it last week. It’s a fertile topic on the blogosphere. I didn’t think about writing on it until I saw the CNN article that described how some fans of the movie were depressed that life on Earth wasn’t as good as on the alien planet Pandora, and angry at our own race for ruining our planet.

It seems people are considering Pandora as equivalent to the Garden of Eden, or even heaven. A new CNN article talks about the eruption of new fan sites related to Avatar. A member on one forum encouraged people to get over their “Avatar blues” with this advice: “‘Start living like Neytiri: in touch with nature, the environment, and not being greedy and wasteful.’

I think God’s creation is wonderful. Watching the clouds envelope a snow covered butte in the desert sun this afternoon was breathtaking. I get mad when I am hiking and find garbage in streams (and I’m known to carry a bag to pick up trash). So I’m not against caring for creation and enjoying its simplicity.

Fiction and stories exist to light our imagination about other places, ways to live, viewpoints, and experiences. I can’t fault people for taking in Avatar and making fan forums and such. I’ve always enjoyed the Star Wars universe, and have been involved in similar internet activities.

Still, when people idealize the Na’vi and Pandora, and call it the new Eden, I think there’s some faulty thinking there.

The Na’vi are shown as warriors, but at peace with their environment, even one with it through the goddess All Mother, or Eywa. Pandora is a beautiful sight to behold, with the colors and luminescence shown throughout the film. Still, where did they develop their fighting skills, and why do they need them? Neytiri mourned the alien 6-legged canine-like creatures she killed, but she sure knew how to deal damage. We miss out on a lot of context – the movie is cut and edited in such a way that the Na’vi are shown in the best light compared to (most of) the humans. They sure exhibited human-like emotions like jealousy, aggression, and contempt. If those behaviors are present, then how can we expect that the Na’vi won’t mess things up like we have.

Becky Miller had a good insight into the artificiality of the movie when she commented on my first Avatar post. She said:

The article also made me think more about the Eden-like world of James Cameron.
Since we weren’t actually there, we experienced it as free of insects, snakes and spiders, though it was dense jungle. The temperature was a comfortable 72 degrees (or whatever the theater folks set it at), so Pandora never got too hot, or too cold, no matter how high in the clouds they went.

We were programmed to have an optimal experience, from comfortable chairs, ambient temperatures, and probably fattening snacks. How well would we enjoy Pandora with some of those critters after us?

Finally, there seems to be an inclination that we need to “return to Eden,” i.e., return to a simpler time. Native tribes that are still left are also idealized, although they may commit acts that the rest of the world finds barbarous, like the Amazon tribe that leaves any suspect baby out in the elements to die, considering it unfit.

We think pristine wilderness is ideal. It is beautiful, but also, by definition, WILD. There’s a reason we call it that. It is hard to survive nature in comfy chairs and soft pillows padding us.

Christians should understand that we are not actually heading back to an Eden-type lifestyle. The book Revelation tells us that God is preparing a New Jerusalem for us. We are moving into a grand city, a heavenly community, that is our final destination for those who trust in Jesus. We are not going back to a primitive state. We are moving into a new ideal, where we join together like we were always meant to be, with trees whose leaves provide healing for the nations (Revelation 22:2).

I have no problem with people enjoying a movie and a created universe so much that they bond together in forums and groups to kindle their shared interest. I just think Avatar is not the high and holy standard that some are making it out to be.

Is Avatar Eden?

Is he still talking about the movie Avatar?

Yeah, one more time. Sorry.

I posted a couple of times about it last week. It’s a fertile topic on the blogosphere. I didn’t think about writing on it until I saw the CNN article that described how some fans of the movie were depressed that life on Earth wasn’t as good as on the alien planet Pandora, and angry at our own race for ruining our planet.

It seems people are considering Pandora as equivalent to the Garden of Eden, or even heaven. A new CNN article talks about the eruption of new fan sites related to Avatar. A member on one forum encouraged people to get over their “Avatar blues” with this advice: “‘Start living like Neytiri: in touch with nature, the environment, and not being greedy and wasteful.’

I think God’s creation is wonderful. Watching the clouds envelope a snow covered butte in the desert sun this afternoon was breathtaking. I get mad when I am hiking and find garbage in streams (and I’m known to carry a bag to pick up trash). So I’m not against caring for creation and enjoying its simplicity.

Fiction and stories exist to light our imagination about other places, ways to live, viewpoints, and experiences. I can’t fault people for taking in Avatar and making fan forums and such. I’ve always enjoyed the Star Wars universe, and have been involved in similar internet activities.

Still, when people idealize the Na’vi and Pandora, and call it the new Eden, I think there’s some faulty thinking there.

The Na’vi are shown as warriors, but at peace with their environment, even one with it through the goddess All Mother, or Eywa. Pandora is a beautiful sight to behold, with the colors and luminescence shown throughout the film. Still, where did they develop their fighting skills, and why do they need them? Neytiri mourned the alien 6-legged canine-like creatures she killed, but she sure knew how to deal damage. We miss out on a lot of context – the movie is cut and edited in such a way that the Na’vi are shown in the best light compared to (most of) the humans. They sure exhibited human-like emotions like jealousy, aggression, and contempt. If those behaviors are present, then how can we expect that the Na’vi won’t mess things up like we have.

Becky Miller had a good insight into the artificiality of the movie when she commented on my first Avatar post. She said:

The article also made me think more about the Eden-like world of James Cameron.
Since we weren’t actually there, we experienced it as free of insects, snakes and spiders, though it was dense jungle. The temperature was a comfortable 72 degrees (or whatever the theater folks set it at), so Pandora never got too hot, or too cold, no matter how high in the clouds they went.

We were programmed to have an optimal experience, from comfortable chairs, ambient temperatures, and probably fattening snacks. How well would we enjoy Pandora with some of those critters after us?

Finally, there seems to be an inclination that we need to “return to Eden,” i.e., return to a simpler time. Native tribes that are still left are also idealized, although they may commit acts that the rest of the world finds barbarous, like the Amazon tribe that leaves any suspect baby out in the elements to die, considering it unfit.

We think pristine wilderness is ideal. It is beautiful, but also, by definition, WILD. There’s a reason we call it that. It is hard to survive nature in comfy chairs and soft pillows padding us.

Christians should understand that we are not actually heading back to an Eden-type lifestyle. The book Revelation tells us that God is preparing a New Jerusalem for us. We are moving into a grand city, a heavenly community, that is our final destination for those who trust in Jesus. We are not going back to a primitive state. We are moving into a new ideal, where we join together like we were always meant to be, with trees whose leaves provide healing for the nations (Revelation 22:2).

I have no problem with people enjoying a movie and a created universe so much that they bond together in forums and groups to kindle their shared interest. I just think Avatar is not the high and holy standard that some are making it out to be.