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Finding Pandora...

Earlier this week, the number one best selling movie, ever, was released on DVD and it appears that Avatar is going to blow the records away as much in the home theatre environment, as it did on the big screen. But why is this movie so appealing?

Of course, if you're one of the millions of people who have seen Avatar first hand, you already know the answer. But for those of you who have resisted the lure of the alien planet inhabited by "little blue monkeys" you might be wondering what the big deal really is? Well, in a single word... world-building.

Movies and novels are alike in many ways. Of course the main difference is the ability to actually 'see' your world come to life in a movie, versus an author, who has to create the right words, the perfect comparisons and nuances to make the alien planet jump off the pages. Well, hands down, the creator of Avatar has certainly accomplished this.

Avatar is a bounty of unique and astounding creatures and creations that leaves you breathless, and almost hollow that you aren't really part of that world. It draws you in until you aren't certain whether the world is make-believe, or if you're really standing in the midst of something so awe-inspirering, you hope the dream never ends.

Now you might be wondering why I'm chatting about a movie, when this is an author's post. Well, before a movie becomes a visual experience, a writer has thought it out and written it down on paper, or on a computer. Whether it's a screenplay or a full-length novel, it has to amaze people enough that they want to make the jump from written to video.

Many times, you'll hear folks saying... man that wasn't as good as the book... and I think that's where author's really shine. Unlike videos, books aren't limited by technology. Author's don't rely on someone else to bring their creation to make their world a reality. Their words... their descriptions are all that are necessary to immerse someone into a place they'd never dreamed of. They can transcend normal conventions and show the reader possibilities that are in the realm of the impossible, yet seem all too real on the written page.

But what's really amazing about Pandora is the extent at which viewers mourn their inability to become part of the imaginary world. It's been reported that depression is a common side effect of watching the movie, especially for those that are repeat viewers. Blogs have been created on the intricacies of the world and what it'd be like to be one of The People. I can only imagine that soon, we'll see Avatar conventions, with hundreds of people bathed in blue paint becoming the new version of "trekies" we saw and are still seeing. Avatar is fast becoming the fad of the 21st century.

Many times I see a review for a book, where the reviewer admitted they just didn't want the book to end. I think that might be the single best tell of whether an author has really done their job. If your readers can't stand the thought of losing touch with the characters and/or the world you've created, then you've succeeded in giving a reader an experience they won't soon forget.

But when you are successful... what happens next?

Reading about all these fans who are having trouble living in our world instead of the paradise of Pandora made me wonder what makes Pandora so appealing. Okay, let's forget the fact that Sam Worthington is too hot for words and concentrate on the less obvious. After all, there are more than a few creatures that would love to have you for lunch. So why the desire to live there?

I think the secret of Pandora is the depth of connection the People have with their environment. Many of us live in cities or work in office buildings where the only 'green' we see is the token tree amidst a sea of concrete. I think many of us are now mourning our departure from our native roots. So what's the solution?

Finding your own Pandora...

And it's far easier than you'd think. Everyone has a place, or a song, or a book that makes them feel connected in the most basic levels. Where they can block out the rest of the world and connect with what's important to them. That's what Pandora is really about. Finding your own peace and being true to it. For me, Pandora is in the forest on a run, or hidden in the pages of a great book. It might surprise me in the lyrics of a new song, or smile back at me in the eyes of my children. It's everywhere... we need only to open our eyes....and see.

Here's to finding your own Pandora. Do you have a special place, a certain song that always brings you back into focus? I'd love to hear about it. See you next month.

Romancing adventure at a time.


Lisabet Sarai said...

What a lovely post, Kris!

I didn't know that people got depressed because they couldn't visit Pandora. Fascinating. As I've blogged in several places, I think the reason Avatar is so compellingly real is that the creatures are not so different from the amazing beings one can find on earth. Pandora is familiar. All we need to do is open our eyes.


Kris Norris said...

Hi Lisabet,

Thanks for dropping by. While I don't get 'depressed' watching Avatar, it does make me long for those long rides and time to rediscover who you are and what's important.

Can't wait for the nest installment in the series.

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