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On Avatar – An old myth retold…beautifully

I watched Avatar this weekend. I was skeptical to be honest I wasn’t sure the show would live up to it’s hype. I had every intention of seeing it in IMAX 3D. I had gift cards and figured what the hell. Well IMAX 3D was sold out and I had to settle for the regular 3D. With my individually packaged 3D glasses I proceeded to the line I was to wait in just to get into the theater. This was the point that I knew that this had great potential. I realized that I was waiting in line to watch a movie at 7:30pm on a Sunday night In CA while it was pouring rain outside…

Once inside the theater I was immersed in a story that held my attention so tightly that I wasn’t paying attention to the excellent 3D effects. It is a story that rings true to that primal being within me. A story that mankind has been telling since time immemorial. It isn’t a perfect telling of the story, as no telling of this story ever is. There were themes that had more time devoted to development like the Na’vi’s connection to nature and the world around them; and there were some elements that too little time was given to develop like Colonel Miles Quaritch and why his character is motivated to act as he does.

The Hero myth is a great story and I think it is a very important story for our development. Which is why I am taking time to write about on a blog that has to do with fathering. The first time I can really remember being influenced by the Hero Myth was when I was between the ages of 10 and 12. We had rented “Star Wars” from a local video rental shop. I watched that movie 3 or 4 times in a row. It is so vivid in my memory watching Han and Luke march down the aisle of the grand rebel assembly to recieve their medals from princess Leia. the credits would roll and I hit rewind so that I could watch it all again.

I next encountered it when reading the Odyssey my sophomore year of high school. As a junior I read the Illiad and and was caught up in the myth. As a senior we read Beowulf. Making a study of these stories at such a critical time in my development had great effect on me. So much so that as a 28 year old man when I listened The Power of Myth interviews between Joseph Campbell and Bill Moyers I was moved in a way that is difficult for me to describe. The world was a little clearer to me, I understood why the mythologies of the world were so fascinating to me. It made perfect sense why the legends of Robin Hood and King Arthur were spellbinding.

A well told story and myth has always been important to the development of mankind. I know from experience as I suppose anyone that reads this does as well. I was glad to tap into that feeling again this weekend. It reminded me of the simple nature of who I am. What is important, and inspired me to continue as I have begun, to share the hero myth/story with my children.

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