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Old 07-22-2010, 11:30 PM
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Default Pandora - The Return Of Wonder To Sci-Fi.

This started out as a response to another thread. But since it got so long, I thought I'd make an article about it.

One of the scenes that affected me a lot was the very first time we see the planet Pandora.

It is strange. I have all seen hundreds of alien planets in the numerous sci-fi movies and series.

I have seen great civilisations, I have seen barbarian worlds, barren wastelands, garden worlds, war torn planets, cities in the clouds, city wide planets, dead planets and many more.

But nothing I have seen in any other sci-fi film was more wonderous than the sight of Pandora. With it's shades of green and blue it looked so like earth, and yet so different at the same time. Compared to Pandora, all these other planets we have seen appear almost mundane, uninteresting and above all else, souless.

Because Pandora has what no other sci-fi planet has. A true soul of its own.

When we see Pandora. We see it through the eyes of humans who are still exploring, like children in a big new world. In reality, Avatar represents what we always believed sci-fi should be. The excitement of coming across the unknown and the undiscovered. The beauty of a whole new living planet, which is yet so different a so dangerous. And the proof that we are not alone in the galaxy, whether we talk about Earth as a living planet or humans as a sentient being.

This was what sci-fi was meant to be. But somewhere along the line we lost our way. Star Trek started off "Going where no man has gone before". But with Star Trek and other sci-fi, we didn't discover anthing new. All we found were more great civilisations, many of which were one dimensional, and which are generally similar to the human race. Star Trek, and many that came later, go lost in technology and souless aliens without allowing us to experience the wonder of something truly new.

In the Utopian sci-fi we find that the human race is one of the most enlightened race in the galaxy. We discovered technology that allows humans to do whatever we want and go wherever we want. The aliens depend on us. They may hate us or they may love us, but in the end they will always respect us because we defeat them decisively. There is no beauty here. Only the satisfaction of being the best.

In the distopian, sci-fi all is dark and cruel, filled with only death and destruction. There is no beauty here either, only grim survival and the satisfaction of destroying your enemies.

In most sci-fi, there is no wonder. The truth is, there never has been. We are all two de-sensitized to admire an alien world any more. It is all too familiar. We have seen too many.

But Pandora has brought the wonder back. When we see Pandora we get an idea of what we would feel if we really did see an alien planet. In Avatar, we get to see what humanity may be like in the infancy of space exploration. Which is important, because it represents the infancy of human development as a whole.

In Avatar, humans are seen a petty, selfish and small. Despite being on a wonderous alien planet, humans are still self-obsessed. They have technology, but they do not have the wisdom to use it. The wonder and beauty of Pandora is all around, but they just don't "see" it. All they see is death and fear or an opportunity for greed and amition; a reflection of their own souls.

The truth is that the the average RDA employee feels as little wonder about being on Pandora as most of us feel when watching other sci-fi.

It is ironic that Pandora is full of mosters and ferocious beasts. Possibily some of the most convicing creatures ever shown in fantasy and sci-fi. But the biggest mosters on Pandora are the humans themselves. And it only demonstrates their ignorance, that none of the humans on Pandora actually realize this.

But there is hope. Some humans do recognise the wonder of Pandora and struggle to protect it. And that struggle represents the struggle for the human soul as a whole.

Pandora is beautiful. Pandora is magical. Pandora has a soul, and so much more. To such an extent, that for many of us Pandora almost seems real.

Even at the end of the movie, it is still mysterious. There is still so much we want to know. We want to find out more, both about Pandora and about ourselves.

There is no other planet that I know of in sci-fi that is so enigmatic and wonderous as Pandora. Pandora has brought wonder back to sci-fi. The way it should be.

Last edited by neytirifanboy; 07-23-2010 at 06:24 PM.
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