I woke up this morning, stood up, drenched in sweat from an unnamed nightmare.

This morning I thought about the movie Avatar existed.

Avatar, I whispered to myself. “Remember Avatar? The movie about the blue … stuff?”

Unobtanium … floating mountains … Sam Worthington as a Hollywood star …

Sex with hair.

Wait wait sex with hair?

My long-rooted memories were probably displaced by the release of the first trailer for the sequel, Avatar: The way of the water.

As part of the marketing flash for the upcoming sequel, a remastered theatrical reissue of the original Avatar is on the way. I suspect a reissue is planned to oppose the collective brainwashing of Avatar. To remind people, Avatar was something that existed.

Because Avatar is a forgotten movie story.

Do you remember Avatar?

If a temperamental volcano decides to erupt violently – in the style of Pompeii – to cover my entire suburb with lava, I bet future historians could reconstruct almost perfectly the culture of the 21st century, using the things around my house.

Remember when Sam Worthington was a Hollywood star?


Whip toy from Indiana Jones. When you hold down a button, it reproduces John Williams’ iconic score. When you do a crash, it generates an incredible crash noise. The best toy ever.

Iron Man costume. Is not indeed Iron Man costume, like a dress, for children. I need to know, I tried (and failed) to wear the thing several times.

Star Wars stuff. So many things from Star Wars: books, Lego, Blu-ray, posters, toys.

But historians, after spending months digging up dust and DVDs I refused to throw in the trash, will find nothing in my house to confirm that Avatar existed or had any cultural influence on this strange race with two pedals, which for some reason gathered folds.

This is crazy. How does a film that so many people have paid to watch have such a small imprint on our collective culture?

Scrolling through the list of the best performers at the box office, even the most casual movie fan can make connections. I think so Titanic, I think Celine and steam sex in a car. It’s Star Wars star Wars. It’s the avengers new Star Wars.

Adjust for inflation and the connections are even stronger. Gone with the Wind and “honestly, my dear, I don’t care.” ET, The sound of music. These films resonate in history in ways we will never be able to shake off.

In such a powerful list, Avatar feels drunk overnight.

Was Avatar a bad movie? I do not think so. Avatar was strange, postcolonial Pocahontas you could accuse yourself of being moderately racist – but it was almost too stupid to be racist in any truly harmful sense. It was a cinematic experience, raised from a heroic commitment to world-building and aesthetics, but brought back to earth with clumsy dialogues and a wooden performance by Sam Worthington.

But none of this prevented Star Wars from inspiring a broad sense of wonder and opportunity in a generation of children (and adults). My children dress like the Avengers every damn day. My oldest is still swinging around a lightsaber toy. The idea that one of my children can dress up as a Blue Avatar (what do you call them … Na’vi?) Is crazy.

Why did Avatar accumulate all this dough but keep nothing of the cultural cache?

Maybe because it is varieties sucked. Mediocre movies can make money – Aquaman took almost $ 1.2 billion – but average films rarely reach that $ 2 billion mark without word of mouth and re-watching. A film almost has to become a cultural event to make such a living.

And that’s almost certainly the key here, the reason Avatar made so much money, but lurking in the shadows like a weird uncle squatting on the ceiling of our subconscious is that Avatar wasn’t cultural event, it was a technological event.

Unlike most movies in the top 10 at the box office, Avatar was not a stunning epic entry into a history in which we have invested. Is not an epic conclusion to a brilliantly executed cinematic universe.

Avatar was to attach a set of 3D glasses to your face to see what all the fuss is about. The film was almost minor. It was not designed to be forgettable, but it was unforgettable nonetheless.

3D. Remember 3D? You may not remember Avatar, but you almost certainly remember 3D.

Don’t forget to pay extra to put on a set of sunglasses and suppress the vomiting of movies that there was 3D, but certainly not designed from the start to work in 3D. Remember the TVs that came with a pair of glasses so you could watch the World Cup in 3D, but your friends couldn’t?

Remember 3DS?

Remember the 3D Blu-ray that no one bought?

What a strange time.

The Trojan horse

It’s funny that in an article about Avatar it took me 700 words to mention its director.

James Cameron is undoubtedly one of the most successful directors in the history of Hollywood. His Terminator 2 and Aliens are two of the greatest action movies ever made, and the Titanic was a huge success. But Cameron’s films tend to be inseparable from the technology he pioneered to make them possible. No one has used cinema to push the boundaries of technology like Cameron.

But none of his films are related to their technology as Avatar.

3D. He has completely disappeared from television and is a walking shell in cinemas. An interesting trick at the time, but now hated by all. When you think of Avatar, you think of 3D glasses and try something because it was weird and worth doing once – like a train ride or virtual reality.

That’s why we forget Avatar. We remember 3D, the Trojan horse on which he appeared.

Now that the news about Avatar and its potential sequels is appearing on the Internet, I am rubbing my eyes with tired disbelief. Does this movie … exist? This happened?

Now Avatar is like Furby or Tamagotchi. This is a warning. A constant reminder that humanity as a species has the potential to go completely and collectively insane.


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