Category Archives: Film

A Review of Avatar and Nature Spirituality by Bron Taylor

Avatar and Nature Spirtuality by Bron TaylorAvatar and Nature Spirituality
by Bron Taylor

Avatar was a magical movie for me. I saw it in 3D at a theatre soon after it was released. The 3D was so lifelike that I felt that it was real, not a movie . It pulled me into the film. I felt more a part of the action than I ever had. It was like I was spending a few hours of my life on Pandora. I walked out of the theater feeling that my life had changed. I just knew that Avatar would change the way people interacted with nature. When I saw that this book was being released and available for review, I jumped on it.
This book has 14 articles that were published around the world along with a Prologue, Introduction and Epilogue by the editor, Bron Taylor and  Afterword by Daniel Heath Justice. The book is divided into 3 parts. Part 1 is Bringing Avatar Into Focus. Part 2 is Popular Responses. Part 3 is Critical, Emotional & Spiritual Reflections.
Avatar has been many things to different people, and these articles discuss many of the reactions that people have had to the film. Two of the articles research responses to the film by visiting some of the web sites that have forums devoted to discussions of Avatar (avatar-forums.com, learnnavi.org, avatarprime.net, naviblue.com, tree-of-souls.com). In two other articles, the authors interviewed individuals or groups and based their articles on the feedback they received. Most of the rest of the articles draw their research from previously published articles, blogs, web sites or books. Most of the articles seem well researched and bring a thoughtful insight to this book. A couple of the articles were less valuable to me because they seemed to be pushing the author’s preconceived agenda and fitting the facts to that preconception.
On the whole this book is a interesting, if somewhat dry, discussion of current ideas concerning the various reactions to the film Avatar, the ecological impacts, and the controversies surrounding the treatment of indigenous people on our own planet. The authors present many interesting and thoughtful ideas in their articles. They make you examine your own ideas and prejudices. The articles are also very good springboards for discussions. This would be a valuable textbook for a high school or college setting.
I give this book 4 1/2 stars out of 5 and a Big Thumbs Up. If you have seen Avatar and had a connection to the film, then this book is for you. If you think that there needs to be a reevaluation of current trends of allowing corporations unfettered access to natural resources, no matter the cost to the environment or the people who live in the area being developed, then you need to watch Avatar and then read this book.
I received this Digital Review Copy for free from Edelweiss.com.

Book Description
Release date: July 1, 2013 | Series: Environmental Humanities
Avatar and Nature Spirituality explores the cultural and religious significance of James Cameron’s film Avatar (2010), one of the most commercially successful motion pictures of all time. Its success was due in no small measure to the beauty of the Pandora landscape and the dramatic, heart-wrenching plight of its nature-venerating inhabitants. To some audience members, the film was inspirational, leading them to express affinity with the film’s message of ecological interdependence and animistic spirituality. Some were moved to support the efforts of indigenous peoples, who were metaphorically and sympathetically depicted in the film, to protect their cultures and environments. To others, the film was politically, ethically, or spiritually dangerous. Indeed, the global reception to the film was intense, contested, and often confusing.
To illuminate the film and its reception, this book draws on an interdisciplinary team of scholars, experts in indigenous traditions, religious studies, anthropology, literature and film, and post-colonial studies. Readers will learn about the cultural and religious trends that gave rise to the film and the reasons these trends are feared, resisted, and criticized, enabling them to wrestle with their own views, not only about the film but about the controversy surrounding it. Like the film itself, Avatar and Nature Spirituality provides an opportunity for considering afresh the ongoing struggle to determine how we should live on our home planet, and what sorts of political, economic, and spiritual values and practices would best guide us.

Product Details
Paperback: 350 pages
Publisher: Wilfrid Laurier University Press (July 1, 2013)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 155458843X
ISBN-13: 978-1554588435
Product Dimensions: 9 x 6 x 1 inches
Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds

About the Author
Bron Taylor is a professor at the University of Florida and a fellow of the Rachel Carson Center in Munich, Germany. His books include Dark Green Religion: Nature Spirituality and the Planetary Future (2010), and he is the editor of the award-winning Encyclopedia of Religion and Nature (2005) and the Journal for the Study of Religion, Nature and Culture. His website is http://www.brontaylor.com.

The book description is from Amazon. Avatar and Nature Spirituality

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A Review of James Bond FAQ: All That’s Left to Know About Everyone’s Favorite Superspy by Tom DeMichael

James Bond FAQJames Bond FAQ: All That’s Left to Know About Everyone’s Favorite Superspy (FAQ Series) [Paperback]

by Tom DeMichael

Applause (February 1, 2013)

This book really isn’t what most people would call a FAQ, since most people think of FAQs as Frequently Asked Questions. The book is divided into chapters, each chapter is in chronological order. The information is presented both from the novels and from the films.

I will give a couple of examples. The second chapter covers all the actors who played James Bond, in order, from Sean Connery to Daniel Craig. It gives some history of the actors and how they came to play James Bond. The next chapter is on the villains. The first villain covered is Doctor Julius No. First the author gives us the whole story of Dr. No, as imagined by Ian Fleming. Then he gives us the differences in the film version. After that he tell us about the actor who portrayed Dr. No. He continues this pattern for each of the villains.

The other chapters cover Girls, Gadgets, Buddies, and Music for the James Bond films. Then there are additional chapters covering more in-depth information on the Films, and other “Unofficial” James Bond Projects. Finally the author finishes up with a chapter on the people behind the films, concentrating on the producers and directors.

The best way to read this book is just start at the beginning and read it straight though. After you have read it all, you will be able to jump around and get any specific facts that you are looking for. The book is written in a light-hearted manner and is very entertaining. This book is the perfect companion the new James Bond Box Set of films that came out last fall, Bond 50: The Complete 22 Film Collection, which I received as a Christmas present from my lovely wife! In fact as I was reading this book, I had to stop and watch Thunderball again.

The only gripe I have is that there aren’t enough pictures. I think that each of the major characters should have at least one picture. Having the films close at hand mitigated that problem for me, but you still might be googling some names, just to give a face to the story.

I give this book 4 stars out of 5 and would recommend it to anyone who is a real James Bond fan, especially if you have the Bond 50 box set.

I received this book for free from NetGalley.com.

Book Description

Publication Date: February 1, 2013 | Series: FAQ Series

A favorite of film followers for 50 years, James Bond is the hero loved by everyone: Men want to be just like him, women just want to be with him. Moviegoers around the world have spent more than $5 billion to watch his adventures across the last five decades. What’s not to enjoy about such a glorious multitude of gadgets, gals, grand locations, and grandiose schemes hatched by master villains and megalomaniacs? Now, James Bond FAQ is a book that takes on the iconic cinema franchise that’s lasted for so many years. Sometimes serious as SPECTRE, sometimes quirkier than Q, but always informative, this FAQ takes the reader behind-the-scenes, as well as in front of the silver screen. Everyone’s included: Connery, Lazenby, Moore, Dalton, Brosnan, and Craig; little-known facts about TV’s first shot at 007, the same Bond story that was made into two different films; whatever happened to those wonderful cars and gizmos that thrilled everyone; plus much more. It’s a book for the casual, as well as hardcore, James Bond fan. James Bond FAQ is filled with biographies, synopses, production stories, and images and illustrations seldom seen in print, leaving little else to be said about the world’s favorite secret agent. This book includes a foreword by Eunice Gayson.

Product Details

Paperback: 400 pages

Publisher: Applause (February 1, 2013)

Language: English

ISBN-10: 1557838569

ISBN-13: 978-1557838568

Product Dimensions: 6 x 1 x 9 inches

Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds

About the Author

A lifelong resident of the Chicagoland area, Tom DeMichael is degreed in US History and has published numerous books and magazine articles in subjects as diverse as American film, American firefighting, collectible toys, and television’s greatest game shows. He is also a former Top Ten finalist on Who Wants to Be A Millionaire?

The product descriptions and author information is from Amazon. James Bond FAQ: All That’s Left to Know About Everyone’s Favorite Superspy