Thursday, January 7, 2010

Filmed Imagination

I have not seen the new movie Avatar yet, but I plan to, and having read some of the reviews, and they pose a fascinating question.

Notice how typical it is that when humans encounter some other species that the response is always a fight.

When movies are about UFOs or creatures from other planets, a movie that shows some kind of peaceful, creative interaction is rare. Most often, we end up at war with each other.

Is this just a failure of imagination?

No doubt, from what I have gleaned thus far, Avatar is technically superior in terms of the visual effects. It is just the latest to continue to advance the craft of movie making through computer generated special effects.

But I wonder when we will see more movies that have a story at the center of them that shows people interacting with new tribes or species in some kind of creative, peaceful way.

True, in the history of our planet we see wave after wave of one ethnic group or tribe overpowering another, fighting for control of land and resources, or picking fights with each other over differences based political or religious opinions, race or ethnicity. A logical extension of that would be that when we do land on other planets this pattern will continue.

All I am asking is one question. What if movie makers, our large scale story tellers, were to expend as much of their creative energy imagining scenarios where encounters between different groups of characters were not violent? Is it possible?

Think about the differences between movies like ET, Cocoon and Contact and movies like Independence Day, Aliens and Terminator?

Doesn't our future begin with our imagining it?

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