Post-Pandoran Depression or Na'vi Sympathy: Avatar, Affect, and Audience Reception
Subject Areas: Religious Studies
Purporting to send an environmentally and spiritually healthy message, Avatar seems like an ideal candidate to positively impact audience members' positions towards the environment on a large scale. Indeed, director James Cameron said that “Avatar asks us all to be warriors for the Earth.” Since Avatar was released in theaters, however, there have been two overwhelming trends in response to the film: either, a seemingly immediate change in the spectators' worldview and relationship with the environment; or, the creation of an unachievable desire for the hyper-real techno-spiritual world of Pandora. These responses – environmentally proactive Na'vi sympathy and a debilitating post-Pandoran depression – offer examples of two, very different, relationships with the world. At the base of these relationships is the film's ability to provoke emotional response in audiences, which engenders positive or negative relationships with the environment.
Author: Matthew Alan Holtmeier