I saw Avatar today (in 3D). I actually wasn’t that interested, since I had seen a number of negative reactions about how the story was so predictable. But Kay really wanted to see it. We’ve been extremely busy with our kids’ events, so we are long overdue for a date: time for just the two of us. Well.
When our oldest heard that we were going, he expressed a desire to go. Then our youngest said she was interested. Kay shrugged and said we could say no and keep it to the two of us, and left it up to me. The same busy activities that cause us to miss just-us time are the same things that deprive us of just-family time. So we threw our middle child into the mix and went off on a family date instead.
The whole thing is practically a workshop in cross-cultural communication.
Here’s my one-word review of Avatar:
Now in more detail:
I told Kay that Mark Driscoll called Avatar, “the most demonic, satanic film I’ve ever seen.” Kay of course replied, “Who is this guy and why should I care what he says?” But now having seen the movie, here’s my reply to Mark:
Uh, did we see the same movie?
The whole thing is practically a workshop in cross-cultural communication. I mean, it’s incarnational. Literally.
Sure, everything is telegraphed: Almost from the get-go, you know how it’s going to end. But every cross-cultural story is a new story, because every cultural mixup has to be navigated on its own terms. And that makes each such story important, because it contains lessons we need to keep re-learning:
You are not received until you are helpless.
You cannot see until you are received.
You cannot speak until you can see.
Christians: If you are not willing to give this a try, do us all a favor and shut up.
Hey, I have no problems if you didn’t like the movie because of its predictable and familiar storyline. But part of the reason it’s familiar is that it is a re-telling of our ancient mythic stories. As C.S. Lewis says, these stories have power because they point to the larger Story into which we are all invited.
As we came home from the movie, Kay said mockingly, “Yeah, that was completely anti-Christian! Honestly, some people are way too uptight.”
And I still owe her a date.
What do you think? Is there a connection between Avatar and the Story of God? What missional / relational / incarnational lessons do you see?
Update: Here are a couple of thoughtful critiques of the movie:
- Michael Toy looks at the one-dimensional bad guy as a lost opportunity to identify with him.
- Jamie Arpin-Ricci was dissatisfied, but equally unhappy with the response of conservative Christians.