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.
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.
Paperback: 350 pages
Publisher: Wilfrid Laurier University Press (July 1, 2013)
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