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Archive for the "Avatar" Category

Titles of Interest: Avatar and Nature Spirituality

Previously TheoFantastique has engaged various facets of Avatar, including its incorporation of psychedelics and shamanism, its similarities to a new religious movement, utopianism, and its involvement with Dark Green Religion. In regards to the latter element I interacted with the work of Bron Taylor, and with this post I am pleased to mention a new […]

TheoFantastique Podcast: Erik Davis on Modern Esoterica in Popular Culture

TheoFantastique Podcast 2.3 is available, an interview with Erik Davis, author of Nomad Codes: Adventures in Modern Esoterica (YETI/Verse Chorus Press, 2010). Davis defines “modern esoterica” in his preface as “a no-man’s land located somewhere between anthropology and mystical pulp, between the zendo and the metal club, between cultural criticism and extraordinary experience, whether psychedelic, […]

James Cameron Interview: Avatar Canon, Pandora Depression, and “Geek Cred”

There was an interview with James Cameron in August in Entertainment Weekly that just came to my attention. I found three items in the piece of interest. First, an interesting question is asked about what may be referred to as the “cinematic canon.” The interviewer, Benjamin Svetkey, asked about the new version of Avatar with […]

Avatar: Psychedelics and Shamanism

In our age of re-enchantment in response to decades of secularization it is common for elements of ancient religion and spirituality to surface in pop culture, many times shaped into new forms. Erik Davis comments of this in his book Techgnosis: myth, magic + mysticism in the age of information (Three Rivers Press, 1998): The […]

Avatar, Hollywood, and Warring Worldviews

In my previous post I commented on Hollywood’s lack of public recognition of the significance of films of the fantastic as demonstrated through the Academy Awards. Although three such genre films were nominated, including District Nine, Star Trek, and Avatar, predictably none of them won in major categories, and Avatar did not win Best Picture. […]

Na’vi Religion and the Damanhurians

A lot of commentary has been offered on the religious aspects of Avatar. I have offered my own thoughts on this in a previous post. But with this entry I draw the attention of readers to the suggestion of Massimo Introvigne of the Center for Studies on New Religions that James Cameron may have been […]

Avatar’s Success: Romantic Narratives and Dark Green Religion

Earlier this week various news outlets reported that Avatar has surpassed Titanic as the highest grossing film in history. (For a different take on its place in cinema box office see this article.) This tremendous response by viewing audiences might have gone the other direction. With all the pre-release hype coming from James Cameron, and […]

Avatar Surpasses Star Wars in Domestic Box Office

It had to happen eventually given the increasing and continued popularity of the fantastic in popular culture, and advances in special effects and digital wizardry on screen. MSN Entertainment is reporting that Avatar has now surpassed Star Wars for all-time domestic box office receipts at $491.8 million, moving into the number three spot. This means […]

Avatar’s Pandora Depresses Some Viewers: Utopia, Escape and the Realized Ideal

A recent article at CNN Entertainment presents some disturbing viewer reactions to James Cameron’s Avatar. In a piece titled “Audiences experience ‘Avatar’ blues,” Jo Piazza reports that some audience members have become seriously depressed and even suicidal after watching the film when contrasting the real-world situation of Earth with the beauty of the science fiction/fantasy […]

AVATAR: Probing Beyond Visuals to Culture and Identity

My latest article for Cinefantastique Online is now available at this link, a review and commentary on AVATAR. Following is an excerpt: In regards to Na’vi religion, some commentators have referred to it as pantheism, but this is technically inaccurate. The Na’vi believe that Eywa, the divine “All Mother,” is connected to and in some […]

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