Dear Jim,

Can I call you Jim? How are you? I’m fine…well, that’s not true. I’ve actually been feeling rather blue ever since I saw your new movie, “Avatar.” As I watched in awe at the magnificent beauty of Pandora, I couldn’t help but realize how gray, dull and disgusting Earth is. I feel like my life has no meaning anymore. I’ve seen the movie twelve times, desperate to spend another three hours with the Na’vi. But then I go home and slip back into this state of depression. I don’t think there’s a reason to live anymore. Do you think you could help? If it’s not too much to ask, could you maybe create a real life Pandora for people like me to live in? I would truly appreciate it.


Little Boy Blue

P.S. I also loved Titanic, but it was a bit too predictable.

If reading this left you a bit perplexed, then you are feeling a lot like I did after hearing thousands of people have posted to the topic thread “Ways to cope with the depression of the dream of Pandora being intangible” on the fan forum site, “Avatar Forums,” describing how they have been experiencing depression and suicidal thoughts since seeing James Cameron’s latest film.

While the letter above is not a real example of the posts on this forum, I’ve modeled it after what people are actually saying. Now, I’m not writing this column to make fun of these people. Having suicidal thoughts clearly isn’t something to laugh at. What I’m trying to understand, though, is why this movie is leaving people so depressed. Sure, I understand Pandora is a beautiful place and all, but there are also a lot of terrible things going on there.

First, there’s the fact that people are always attacking you there. The Na’vi may have won at the end of the film, but who’s to say that someone new won’t come and start blowing tree houses up? I mean unobtanium is some pretty awesome stuff. I don’t know much about it, but if it’s worth killing hundreds of innocent creatures it’s got to be good.

Then there’s the issue of sex. From the way the infamous sex scene in the movie looked, all the act involves is attaching your braid to another person’s braid. Where’s the fun in that? This topic also brings up numerous other questions, the most disturbing being, “Aren’t the Na’vi essentially raping the pterodactyl-like creatures when they forcibly attach their braids?” Who wants to live in a world where people rape and have sex with animals?

Furthermore, Pandora is essentially still living in the Stone Age. Sure, they discovered how to turn off gravity so their mountains can float in the air, but they still use bow and arrows and there isn’t a whole lot to do there as far as entertainment. You can only admire Pandora’s beauty and rape animals for so long. At some point you need something else to do. I mean, back on Earth they have apparently discovered a way to restore a paralyzed person’s legs, so you can only imagine what kind of fun stuff there is to do there.

What I really don’t get, though, is why “Avatar”? You want to know a movie that made me depressed? “WALL-E.” And not just because I didn’t care much for the film. For starters, the Earth is just a giant trash heap and no longer occupied by humans. At least Earth still exists in the “Avatar” world. Then there’s the fact that the people in “WALL-E” are all fat and living on a spaceship. That’s far more depressing than simply not being able to live on Pandora.

There are also plenty of films that feature magnificent utopias just as stunning as Pandora. Why is it this one is causing such a reaction? My best guess is it has to do with how lifelike the film is. Using revolutionary technology specifically developed for the movie, Cameron has created something unlike any other film as far as visual effects ago. Pandora actually looks like a real place, not to mention the fact that the film is in 3D, further enhancing the feeling of actually being there.

Regardless of the reason, the fact that people have such strong feelings for a fictional planet is still beyond me. The solutions these people are giving each other are also just as baffling. For example, some of the suggestions include playing the “Avatar” video game or downloading the soundtrack. I’m not an expert at this type of thing, but wouldn’t it make more sense to try to pull these people away from this world rather than having them dive deeper into it? I mean, the last thing you want is these people treating the video game like Second Life.

In the end, while it’s sad to hear people are wanting to live on Pandora to these extremes, it does bring up an interesting question of whether the advancements in filmmaking technology will start causing more situations similar to this — or was this just a one time thing? We may find out sooner than later if Cameron stays true to his word and creates two sequels to “Avatar.” God knows he has the money.

Tony Lewis is a senior majoring in journalism and legal studies. Were you singing the blues after seeing “Avatar,” or are you one of the few people who also hated “WALL-E”? Let him know at [email protected]