Friday, January 15, 2010

"Avatar" pulls heartstrings

I was pretty blown away by a recent CNN story on James Cameron's movie "Avatar." It seems thousands of people are feeling depressed and even suicidal after watching the movie, both as a result of not being able to live on the beautiful world of Pandora and lamenting what we, as a race, has done to the earth.

This is escapism at its finest. People get so immersed in a world that they'd rather live there? You can draw the lines to video games yourself.

I'm surprised; I didn't think the first major push for a 3D movie would have this sort of effect. This is the sort of thing science fiction writers write about virtual reality and true and complete sensory immersion.

I've seen the movie, and the 3D really does make you feel much closer to the scene, almost as if you are a part of it. But a world is a world, no matter how pretty. I get into movies for the characters and the story, and Avatar didn't cut it for me. Maybe I'm just a cynic.

Point is, I'm guessing few people saw this sort of fallout from a movie like Avatar. And as I'm guessing that we're going to see a major 3D push in the next 5 - 10 years, this sort of thing is only going to get worse as the technology gets better.

How can we cope with these newfound feelings of wanting to leave our real lives behind? "Within the fan community, suggestions for battling feelings of depression after seeing the movie include things like playing "Avatar" video games or downloading the movie soundtrack, in addition to encouraging members to relate to other people outside the virtual realm and to seek out positive and constructive activities."

So you can stop feeling so depressed by keeping inside the world as much as possible. Or you can, you know, go outside.

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