Avatar: 3-D images, 2-D message

by Lauren Ornelas     

As someone who has seen Avatar in both the 3D and non-3D, I can say without a doubt that the 3D version was much better.

 However, when you hear about something called the “Avatar Effect” when discussing how some companies are looking to create 3D televisions you realize that maybe some missed the point of the movie…

The movie is about corporations who are willing to sacrifice the planet and people for a mineral buried in the Earth. Now the movie is clearly an allegory for the quest for natural resources and the harm we have caused to ourselves and to other nations in our quest, but the underlying message is how we continue to ravage our planet and its people for the almighty dollar.

With the recent switchover from analog TVs to digital TVs, a need to extract rare metals buried in the earth to make new TVs and an influx of electronic waste (e-waste) are created as people tossed out their old analog TV.  This pattern will happen again when consumers get rid of their old digital and HD TV’s and purchase new 3D TVs.

Remember, TVs and computers contain hazardous chemicals which have been known to harm communities and workers in the production phase as well as in disposal. In the summer of 2008, a number of us from SVTC traveled to India and saw first-hand what happens when e-waste from the U.S. is dumped to other countries that do not have the infrastructure to take care of it. Men, women and children dismantled products without proper tools and were exposed to lead and carcinogens such as carbon black from printers. Children were covered in it.

I was really hopeful that the strong message from Avatar would make people understand the need to protect our planet and not simply purchase a new TV.  

Although I truly enjoyed the 3D version and felt the experience was amazing,  I would, without a doubt, prefer to experience parts of the world, such as Africa, without it being mined away to make new TV components or used as our dumping ground for those same TVs after a mere 1-2 years of use.

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Comments

Thank you for your thoughts on this issue.

I too left the cinema wondering how many people actually absorbed the deep and/or obvious messages portrayed in Avatar. It makes me sad to think that the real messages from this film are overwhelmed by the advanced technology used to make it.

In regards to the new desire for 3D televisions and e-waste your comments are thought provoking and almost frightening at the same time.

Thanks Again