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January 19, 2010

Avatar 'What Moviegoers Want to See'

Ralph Winter, a Christian producer, says blockbuster delivers more than most 'religious' films

Our friend Ralph Winter, producer of the X-Men and Fantastic Four films, recently checked out The Book of Eli and Avatar in the theaters. And though he notes that one (Eli) is more intentionally religious than the other, he found more depth and meaning in the more secular film.

"Avatar, with no religious intentions, displays a world where the hero discovers an after life of sorts, finds a way to not just replace his destroyed legs, but receive a whole new body and existence," Winter writes at The Bully Pulpit. "Much is made of how Avatar is pantheistic, is anti-conservative, etc. But notice the yearnings in the storytelling – the desire for something more than just conquering, and experiencing a world we can barely imagine. . . . I think that is what audiences are responding to – a world where they want to go and live, and explore. They want to be around Jake, who figures out what is important and how the world works. Remind you of anything?"

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While Bart has not seen 'The Book Of Eli', he did see 'Avatar' on the weekend and thoroughly enjoyed it. Much like Ralph, the Wang had a positive view of 'Avatar' and felt encouraged by the movie. He felt hopeful in seeing the meaningful relationships between the Na'vi, nature and Eywa (however you spell their deity's name). Bart was given insight into what the Body Of Christ should be. Redeem culture rathe than reject it.

Avatar had some great special affects but promoting its religious values is a huge stretch. First the way they were dressed was embarrassing. The women were mostly nude. I know it wasn't actual bodies but it was still very lifelike and at times no attempt to hide any part of the breast should have brought an R rating. The week nature goddess that couldn't heal some and barely was able to defeat the bad human beings gives us a horrible view of God. The blatant worship was evil as far as Christians should believe. I am dumbfounded that Winter could say that Avatar had "no religious intentions." Did he actually see the movie? I hope it is still ok in our politically correct world to speak negatively in a Christian magazine about false religions.

Larry, if we go to the movies to see our worldview affirmed, we are wasting our time. It is entertainment. If you are embarassed by 'mostly nude' breasts, you should have left the theatre. And avoid beaches in Europe and south America. Isn't it interesting that you speak negatively of the film because it did not present a God that you agreed with - but Bart could take the same points and view them positively. For example, God is not 'weak' and unable to heal but chooses to intervene at some times and not others. Besides all that, the 'religion' presented in 'Avatar' was made up!! It's not false - it doesn't exist!

There was depth in Avatar? Must've missed it. Probably because I've the story two or three times before in other movies, but without Smurfs.

I go to movies like Avatar for a rip-roaring good time, and Avatar delivers. Just a superb piece of entertainment. Yes, some of my Christian relatives turned up their noses at the pantheistic and pro-environment (horrors!) themes. Ironically, these same relatives are big Star Wars fans. Lighten up and enjoy!

As a CHRISTIAN, why would I waste my time and money on a movie where the Lord's name is taken in vain. We say we love God, that we follow him but then pay to hear his name blaphemed. Wake up Church, Jesus is coming and he is coming for a church without spot or wrinkle. Get into the word of God and get to know the God you claim to follow. I highly doubt Jesus would waste his time or money on the likes of Avatar.

I am dumbstruck: "Avatar without any religious intentions"?? Don't get me wrong, I am a great fan of the sci-fi and fantasy genre, and this movie is a masterpiece. But I don't get it how one can miss the obvious shamanism and animism (that deity and the ancestors reside in nature)that is so obviously being portrayed here. This is not fantasy -- it is very real in (especially)Africa where I live. Let's say I produce a sci-fi movie and build into my storyline the basic gospel message of redemption through substitution -- anyone who then says my movie does not have any religious motives, must be either dishonest or extremely naive. The apparent effort to draw parallels with the Christian yearning for a better hereafter does not convince at all. It comes closer to the false, utopian "new world" envisaged by many new Age writers such as Eckhard Tolle, where everybody is "one" with "Mother Nature".

It's a feel-good movie and I liked it. Thanks for your review. I guess it would interest you too to have a movie forum of your own for free. Good luck!