I See You
I’m not a big fan of movies over 2 hours. The last one I saw – The Curious Case of Benjamin Button – seemed to last two or three days (yeah, we get it – he was born old and he’s getting younger). So I wasn’t enthusiastic about seeing Avatar, which was listed at 2 hours and 41 minutes. In addition, Entertainment Weekly had noted that it was long on graphics, short on story. I’m kind of a story person myself.
So it was with that attitude I reluctantly agreed to go with friends to see Avatar, 3-D glasses and all. The theater was packed, so we had to find single seats. Mine was next to a 6-year-old with a soft drink as big as her head perched on the armrest we shared. I figured it was only a matter of time before I was wearing it.
Despite my bad attitude, it took me about 10 minutes to be totally into this movie. Unbelievable.
You’ve already read about (or seen) all the spectacular computer generated animation, and it is, well, spectacular. The story itself is a stock piece – soldier sent to reconnoiter enemy falls in love with the alien culture and an alien herself, goes native, and watches his former colleagues destroy most of the alien culture. But the good guys win in the end. It’s an allegory worth seeing. I wouldn’t say the time flew by, but I wasn’t looking at my watch after an hour.
Here’s the small detail that will stay with me after the graphics and the story have faded: “I see you.”
The Na’vi tribe of Pandora do not say, “I love you.” They say, “I see you,” which means “I see inside you; I know you.” It reminds me of the Buddhist “namaste” -- roughly, “my soul recognizes and salutes your soul”. It’s less about love, more about respect. It’s about trying to understand who people are and why they do what they do.
By the way, the drink didn’t spill. But this is not a movie for little kids. The six-year old next to me wavered between being bored and being terrified. But she and her mom stayed the entire 2 hours and 40 minutes. I don’t think her mom “saw” her.