The Avatar Effect: Movie goers depressed at not being able to visit Pandora

Coco Caspersz January 12, 2010, 2:52 pm

Twentieth Century Fox © Enlarge photo

Movie goers are experiencing feelings of depression and in some cases even suicidal tendencies after seeing "Avatar."

Fans are upset at not being able to visit Pandora, the make believe planet that is nirvana for the Na'vi, the blue native humanoids that habitat Pandora.

Forums on the internet have been swamped with posts by fans not being able to cope after seeing the movie and experiencing feelings of depression that they can't visit the magical world of Pandora.

Avatar fan site, 'Avatar Forums' contains a thread titled 'Ways to cope with the depression of the dream of Pandora being intangible', which in itself contains nearly 1,000 posts.

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Forum administrator Philippe Baghdassarian said: 'I wasn't depressed myself. In fact the movie made me happy.

'But I can understand why it made people depressed. The movie was so beautiful and it showed something we don't have here on Earth. I think people saw we could be living in a completely different world and that caused them to be depressed.'

Forum user 'okoi' writes: 'After I watched "Avatar" at the first time, I truly felt depressed as I "wake" up in this world again.

'So after a few days, I went to cinema and watched it again for the second time to relieve the depression and hopeless feeling. Now I listen to the soundtrack and share my views in this forum. It really helps.'

User Mike wrote on another fan site 'Naviblue' that he considered suicide after watching the film.
Mike wrote: 'Ever since I went to see "Avatar" I have been depressed. Watching the wonderful world of Pandora and all the Na'vi made me want to be one of them. I can't stop thinking about all the things that happened in the film and all of the tears and shivers I got from it.'

'I even contemplate suicide thinking that if I do it I will be rebirthed in a world similar
to Pandora.'

The incredible visual realism of the film has caused viewers to become particularly attached.

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Dr. Stephan Quentzel, psychiatrist and Medical Director from the Beth Israel Medical Centre in New York told CNN: 'Virtual life is not real life and it never will be, but this is the pinnacle of what we can build in a virtual presentation so far.

'It has taken the best of our technology to create this virtual world and real life will never be as utopian as it seems onscreen. It makes real life seem more imperfect.'

Others are saying it's just a movie and are using the forums to cope with the depression and connect with other like minded individuals.

However, perhaps they are just feeling upset about all the racist undertones, with "Avatar" being criticized that it allegedly contains racist themes – that of the white hero saving the primitive natives.

Since being praised critically since the film opened and taking over $1 billion in box office receipts, hundreds of blog posts, newspaper articles, tweets and YouTube videos have said things such as the film is "a fantasy about race told from the point of view of white people" and that it reinforces "the white Messiah fable."

James Cameron, the film's writer and director however, has said the real theme is about respecting each other's differences.

What are your thoughts on Avatar?

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