Movie Night: Avatar (IMAX 3D)

    I don’t know why I go to IMAX 3D movies, ever. In principle it always seems like a great idea, but the reality is that I’m going to get motion sickness from it. The first one I ever went to was a view of the Egyptian desert (courtesy of the Luxor in Las Vegas) and I assumed I felt so sick because, well, they were trying to make me feel sick, with all the sudden camera motions and swooping-over-vistas action. Guess what? A movie does not have to be in 3D for my brain to follow the swooping motion and feel like I’m moving. That’s what’s cool about how we’re wired. But you add in the 3D effect, and that sensation of “moving with the film” is replaced, for me at least, with a generic woozy feeling.

    I figure that the issue is that my brain is better designed (yay, God!) than the 3D cameras, so something gets lost in translation. Because, c’mon, I manage to move around in a 3D world all the time without getting nauseated every time someone goes jogging across my field of vision. J thinks that the problem is that the 3D movie is a screen, with edges, and that break point in the action messes with the brain. I dunno. That seems like a good theory but I don’t get sick watching people out my window, after all.

    J told me afterward that he would like to go to a 3D movie that’s actually 360 surround, like a virtual reality experience of the movie… that, he said, would be cool. I went all “Matrix” on him and pointed out that maybe he is in one right now, since after all he’s already in a 3D reality. This could be a movie. A really boring movie, at times, and one that he doesn’t seem to be enjoying it all that much. The plot line is plodding at times, and hard to follow at others.

    So, yeah, anyway, I was at the 3D viewing of Avatar because J. wanted to see it. I felt safe going to see it with J, because I knew T. wasn’t going to ask me to see that with him. He likes movies, but is not a fan of SciFi.

    Observation: If you enter a strange new world with odd creatures with wondrous abilities, and mysterious and mystical powers at work … but it’s given some technical explanation for why you’re there (via a scientific experiment, space travel, alternate dimension, what have you) then it’s “SciFi.” If you have the Exact Same Experience but you encounter it some other way (the waving of a wand, being drawn through a mirror, or falling down a rabbit hole for example) then it’s “Fantasy.” This seems like an arbitrary way of distinguishing genres.

    But I digress.

    Anyway, J wanted to see Avatar, and he wanted to see it in 3D. Which was funny, because he started pulling his 3D glasses off periodically, even before I started looking away or “watching” with my eyes closed. He told me that watching without the glasses helped with the motion sickness, but then you’re watching it out of focus, which for me is a recipe for “headache” that can also turn into nausea.

    So yeah, all in all, 3D was a bad idea. Which is a shame, because whenever the scenery was most likely to bother me, was also when it was most gorgeous. I mean, they created a really, really beautiful virtual world.

    The movie itself was OK; an interesting story wrapped up in obvious and somewhat heavyhanded eco-military-political messages. Yes, yes, it’s wrong to destroy the planet to mine things out of it; beauty is a valuable commodity too. Yes, yes, it’s wrong to declare a people your enemy just because they have some resource that you want.

    And of course, to make it all very simple for the sake of a movie, the situation is just that clear-cut. There are no other, perhaps more complex, reasons for being there, and the evil greedy “Suit” wants the mineral at any price (including genocide if necessary, though preferrably without a lot of bad press about it) and the “General” (though it’s made clear early in the movie that the situation is mercenary rather than military, the villian himself is definitely a military man) is pure evil through and through, while the so-called “native savages” are really all kind and good and pure, as the humans who get to know and understand them and their ways come to realize.

    I sincerely hope I was not supposed to extrapolate out from the “bad guys” in this movie an anti-military feeling, because I think that the men and women who Serve deserve our thanks and our support. But I do wonder about the intent… am I supposed to consider the wars in which we have found ourselves of late, ignore the security issues and other complexities involved, and take away an oversimplified “No War for Oil” sentiment? (By the way, I find it especially amusing when this particular slogan is pasted on the bumper sticker of the biggest, baddest, gas-guzzlingest SUV on the road.) Am I supposed to feel white-middle-class guilt (oh, that’s too easy!) for what has been done to indigenous peoples here and elsewhere? Am I supposed to take away the quite reasonable thought that we shouldn’t prejudge or dismiss the beliefs of others before we at least take the time to understand something about them… or am I supposed to take away the “truth” of a spiritual earth-mother worldview?

    I don’t know. Maybe I’ll be clearer of thought, when my stomach stops feeling all squidgy. The movie was pretty to look at. Enjoy it on that level… if you can do it without getting ill.

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About aka gringita
Flotsam generator. Amateur photographer. Avid traveler. Christ follower.

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