|The Book Of Eli, Avatar & The Journey|
|Written by Ralph Winter - Filmmaker|
|Tuesday, 19 January 2010 12:18|
Recently took in two movies, BOOK OF ELI and AVATAR. One ostensibly religious, the other more vague.
BOOK OF ELI, set in a post apocalyptic world, shows a hero is driven against all odds to fulfill his mission. Not as much of an emotional journey as it could have been, except in approved sound bites that Christians might embrace. I enjoyed the movie but felt a little more self revelation by Eli would have created a deeper, resonating story.
Yet AVATAR, with no religious intentions, displays a world where the hero discovers an after life of sorts, finds a way to not just replace his destroyed legs, but receive a whole new body and existence. He literally passes through the gauntlet of death, and yes, past some well-worn story devices. Yet none of that seems to dissuade audiences from enjoying the ride.
Much is made of how Avatar is pantheistic, is anti-conservative, etc. But notice the yearnings in the story telling – the desire for something more than just conquering, and experiencing a world we can barely imagine, no doubt from Cameron’s underwater personal adventures. I think that is what audiences are responding to – a world where they want to go and live, and explore. They want to be around Jake, who figures out what is important and how the world works. Remind you of anything?
Dozens of movies are marketed to Christian audiences with mixed results; yet look at what moviegoers want to see. They want well-told stories. They will even come to hear old stories again, if they are well made, thoughtful, inspiring. No one went to see TITANIC thinking that the ship might not sink. It didn’t matter. The journey was compelling.