Post-Pandoran Depression or Na'vi Sympathy: Avatar, Affect, and Audience Reception

Holtmeier, Matthew
December 2010
Journal for the Study of Religion, Nature & Culture;Dec2010, Vol. 4 Issue 4, p414
Academic Journal
Purporting to send an environmentally and spiritually healthy message, Avatar seems like an ideal candidate to impact positively upon audience members' positions toward the environment. Director James Cameron even expressed such an intention, stating that `Avatar asks us all to be warriors for the Earth'. Since Avatar was released in theaters, however, there have been two trends in response to the film that raise important issues in environmental ethics. One I label Na'vi Sympathy, namely, a seemingly immediate, productive change in the spectators' worldview. The other I call Post-Pandoran Depression, which results from an unachievable desire for the hyper-real techno-spiritual world of Pandora. These represent two relationships with nature, which the film evokes.


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