I haven’t written anything on this site about Avatar, for good reasons For one thing, I second everything Owen said in his fine review. And for another, I think that between Entertainment Weekly and ew.com, EW forces have pretty well covered every mile from Earth to Pandora, don’t you? But looking at this week’s pretty blue cover, I realize now that the main reason I haven’t jumped in to add to the discussion is because, as visually beautiful as Avatar is, and as snazzy, and as technologically innovative, the movie just doesn’t engage me emotionally as much as a movie about humans does.
You might say, well, what about hobbits and Wild Things and Wall-E and blockheaded Carl in Up? They’re not real people, either, and you’ve written about how much you love them. And I answer yes, I do. But I invest my heart differently when a character is human. I don’t care who’s fictional, who’s actual, and who’s just vaguely based-on-real-life. I do care that we share common traits of heart and soul. I know myself well enough to know that I particularly crave knowledge of how others of my species maneuver their ways in the world. And with all props to Neytiri, her ways are from another planet.
For me, the absence of human identification keeps me at a distance. As I say, for me. How about for you?