That said, I only nodded off once during Avatar largely because, as everyone says (even the people who don't like the movie) it is spectacular eye candy. Specifically, I was entranced by the world of Pandora and the incredibly beautiful scenes of its rain forest. I appreciated the environmental message, sympathized with the good guys and was outraged at the bad guys, but the part that has stuck with me are those scenes of Jake and Neytiri playing in the forest, surrounded by all that lush, "natural" gorgeousness.
It was not lost on me that the Earthlings had brought "school" to the Na'vi as one of the tools they were hoping to barter for natural resources, but it was rejected, I hope because these more perfect, fictional indigenous people already had their education handled. All the scenes in which Jake Sully was being "trained" to become one of the Ne'vi were filled with laughter, exploration, and risk taking. You know, play. But that was just a little, intellectual eddy I briefly drifted into as scene after scene of animated forest beauty passed in front of me in 3-D.
Image of the Pandora rain forest
On Saturday, I took my two dogs for a walk in a patch of what's left of the Pacific Northwest rain forest. I live near Seward Park which is on a peninsula that curls into Lake Washington. Most people stick to the paved walking/biking path that runs along the water, but the dogs and I chose the less popular trails that crisscross the rest of the 270-acre park.
The images of Avatar were still fresh in my mind as we walked through this tamed forest and it suddenly hit me: Pandora's got nothing on this place.
These are a few of the pictures I snapped with my phone's camera.
I'm not much of a photographer and my phone's not much of a camera, but you get the idea. I walk here with my dogs several times a week. It's in my own back yard, but I was seeing it anew through the fresh eyes of having sat in that dark room watching a screen.
I've read that many people have reported feeling depressed after seeing Avatar, saying that they wish they could live on Pandora. I've got good news: we already do. Now, if we will only keep it.