Review by Michael W. McGowan
A View from the Inside: James Cameron’s Avatar
1. Currently, Avatar has grossed well over 700 million dollars in box office revenue and 2.6 billion dollars worldwide. If the viewing trends continue at their current rate with steady-but-slow declines in theater attendance, by mid-May the film could break the 800 million dollar mark in domestic box office revenue and over 3 billion dollars globally. (All three Lord of the Rings movies did not even do this well, together.) Avatar is poised to do the same exponential leaps, bypassing the 700 million dollar mark domestically and headed for 800; bypassing the 2 billion dollar mark worldwide and headed for over 3 billion dollars.
2. The christological interpretation would make more sense had Jake not come from the race of people who largely intends to exploit the Na’vi and if they refuse, destroy them. Pre-corporeal location matters for christology, as Christian theologians maintain that the Word was part of triune God who sought humanity’s good before the Word’s incarnation.
3. The predestination point could go back further, too. If Eywa chose Jake for the Na’vi salvation, then perhaps Eywa had a hand in the death of Jake’s brother, thereby opening the door for Jake’s involvement. Or it could go back further still to Jake’s paralysis… the regress is infinite. But this also means that Eywa is a deity not only on/for Pandora, but beyond.
4. E. Arweck and M. D. Stringer, eds., Theorizing Faith: The Insider/Outsider Problem in the Study of Religion (Birmingham: Birmingham University Press, 2002).
5. I will spare the reader of an extended discussion of how this connects to the aforementioned theme of predestination; suffice it to say that what humans intended for evil – using Jake as a means of diplomacy and subjugation – Eywa intended for good.