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.

View Avatar trailers

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.

View Avatar images

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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  1. -.-02:55pm Thursday 21st January 2010 ESTReport Abuse

    Get a grip it's just a movie. Its not the movie itself that's making people depressed its the concepts in it. Concepts which are attainable even if actually living there isn't. There was this feeling of interconnectedness between everything and that was what sort of got to me. It highlights the flaws of our social structure where we failed and they succeeded.

  2. Roam LeRogue06:42pm Wednesday 20th January 2010 ESTReport Abuse

    Alrighty the people who Killed themselves over the movie were sick and needed to fix themselves

  3. Ja'aj02:13am Saturday 16th January 2010 ESTReport Abuse

    ? ? ? Seriously?

  4. Ian M07:31am Wednesday 13th January 2010 ESTReport Abuse

    (cont) ... be misusing the term. That's got to make it harder for people who genuinely suffer from clinical depression because this case trivialises it. It bothers me that Yahoo uses this article as a means to promote the movie. Promote it by all means, but not on the basis that it allegedly gives people depression.

  5. Ian M07:26am Wednesday 13th January 2010 ESTReport Abuse

    (cont) ... most telling thing about this article. I want to feel some sympathy for people who may have a genuine mental illness and have been adversely affected by something as basic as this, but I really struggle to do so. Most of the people who say they are 'depressed' over this will be misuing the term. That's got to make it hard for people who have been diagnosed with clinical depression because this case trivialises their problem.

  6. Ian M07:19am Wednesday 13th January 2010 ESTReport Abuse

    People who get depressed about this kind of stuff clearly need to stay away from the whole fantasy genre and need to learn how to manage their own expectations. Apparently, these people have never had to accept that they can not have something they have aspired to before. That's perhaps the most revealing aspect of this story!

  7. Ricky05:47am Wednesday 13th January 2010 ESTReport Abuse

    ...In realistic computer aided imagery. But, what is even sillier, is that this made the news... There are far greater things that ought to concern us. Global warming, illegal hunting of sharks & whales, fire warnings, extreme freezing, economic meltdowns, ice caps meltdowns... need I say more?

  8. Ricky05:37am Wednesday 13th January 2010 ESTReport Abuse

    Love the movie. And it's a little silly that people do get depressed about not being able to be in a fantasy world, and I do know the feeling - as I write stories, especially fantasy, for comic books (my own), and this yearning does get worse when one sees this utopia manifested in realistic computer aided imagery. But what is even sillier, is that this made the news. There are far greater things that should concern us...

  9. 05:34am Wednesday 13th January 2010 ESTReport Abuse

    so many closed and empty minds with no wonder the rest of us wish to escape.

  10. 05:19am Wednesday 13th January 2010 ESTReport Abuse

    oh well, fantasy is better than reality. kindly get a life though, or seek help for the depression. If you carry on like this, we won't get anymore fab movies like Avatar. Live it, love it, we are more than we are, and one day we will be.


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