Dear Straight Talk: I have a grandnephew, 15, from Kentucky and a grandson, 16, from California. Both say "Avatar" is the best movie they've ever seen.
When I asked why, I expected to hear about the amazing graphics. But they surprised me saying it was the storyline.
Independently, they both mentioned the scene where the princess blesses the animal before killing it and the scene where Jake Sully is accepted into the tribe by all the linked hands. I'm interested in how other young people were impacted by this film.
— John Wood, Carmichael
Brie, 18, Ashland, Ore.: The humans were going to wipe out the Na'vi for resources much like we did to the Native Americans. I felt depressed after the movie because such repetitive history on Earth doesn't end well like it did in "Avatar." Would I move there? I would rather make Earth a better place.
Gregg, 18, Sacramento: At first I was really depressed because I wanted to live on Pandora and knew I couldn't. It was so real. I wanted to fly, ride horses, track things, hunt to survive, be able to "plug in" to all life and understand the whole environment. The scene that sticks out is when the princess kills that animal with honor and respect. I doubt a movie will have a lasting effect on people, but I plan to work toward living more like an avatar.
Lennon, 23, Fair Oaks: James Cameron's created world strikes a deep longing for a world that once existed on our planet. By comparison, today's world seems lifeless, full of amateur attempts to replace the longing. We envy the connection the Na'vi have with nature. It's a connection we could attain, too, if we would pull ourselves out of our technological tar pit and stop considering ourselves more important than the environment. Would I go live on Pandora? Duh.
Maureen, 17, Redding: "Avatar" was definitely one of my favorite movies. It showed a world where people are connected to each other and to nature. It demonstrated the importance of both loyalty and civil disobedience. It promoted diplomacy by showing the disaster war and corporate mentality causes. Would I move there? It's not right to damage our planet, then run.
Savannah, 16, Folsom: When the Na'vi connected with other life through their braids, it is similar to how we connect in the mental, inward way. Many people wish they could live on Pandora. I can see why.
Katelyn, 15, Huntington Beach: What made "Avatar" powerful was the stunning graphics and the terrible twisting of "God" into something like Mother Nature. It was like "Transformers," but with garbage messages.
Geoff, 24, Redding: I'm appalled by the younger generation's cash-infused bedazzlement with this film. "Avatar" is about moving beyond the guilt of white privilege — without losing the privilege. It's marketed by some of the largest companies on the planet that are thriving on a save-the-earth message, while feeding right back into the corporate machine. Want a real story of change? Watch "District 9."
Dear John: With a few exceptions, "Avatar's" storyline awakened a deep longing in youth — so deep that many felt depressed afterward. I believe the hero could have been any color. The insanity of the military-industrial-corporate machine is becoming clearer to mass culture. What depresses is that nobody knows how to dismantle it and live on this planet peacefully and sustainably.
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