OK. Full disclosure.
When I saw the trailer for Avatar last month, I said to my wife: "That looks like the single worst movie ever made. You couldn't pay me to go see that."
(In fact, after watching this trailer again, I stick by those words. That trailer makes this look like the worst movie of all-time)But when you spend prolonged stretches of time in Peru, your choices of movies playing in the theatre are somewhat limited (most are either gruesome terror movies or dubbed-over cartoons). And one of my guilty pleasures in life is going to the movies and scarfing down popcorn and slugging back a gallon of Inca Kola. And also... I've never seen a movie in 3-D, and I've always secretly longed to put on a pair of those funky glasses.
And so it was. I went to see Avatar last night. And I loved it.
Yes, it was highly entertaining. Yes, it had a wonderful message. Yes, it was a convincing critique of latter-day imperialism. And yes, it was a stunning visual accomplishment, particularly in 3-D.
But above everything else, the reason I loved Avatar was because for stretches of the movie, I felt like I was under the influence of Ayahuasca.
There were so many aspects of this movie that drew upon the ayahuasca experience that upon immediately leaving the theatre, I first hugged a tree (literally), and then proclaimed that I'd be willing to bet anything that the person who wrote that script (James Cameron, apparently) has worked with ayahuasca.
From the way the lead character enters the mind and body of his avatar (laying down and fading into a trance-like state), to the flourescent trippy night-time colours enveloping everything, to the indecipherability between the two worlds, how the Na'vi people connect with nature, the healing powers of nature, and how the Na'vi people are able to communicate with the spirits of all things living past and present... Everything points to the types of things you see, feel, and experience while working with ayahuasca. Hell, even the giant tree that the Na'vi people live in resembles a gigantic ayahuasca vine.
So if you have ever wondered what it was like to experience the effects of ayahuasca, but, you know... you didn't want to travel to the Amazon for 9 days and drink a vile liquid that would ultimately make you feel like you were dying... Checking out Avatar in 3-D might be your best bet for a poor man's rendition.
But as they say, there's no substitute for the real thing.