James Cameron’s new blockbuster movie “Avatar” has been hailed by critics not only for its technological breakthroughs (and high price tag), but also for its moral lessons.
In a few recent interviews, James Cameron mentioned “nature deficit disorder”–a term coined by Richard Louv in his book Last Child in the Woods–as an inspiration for creating the film. In the movie, characters are more concerned with the avatar versions of themselves than with their own bodies. Louv writes about today’s younger generation, which is often more engaged with online portrayals on social networking sites, or video-game avatars, than with the outside, unplugged world.
From an interview with the movie’s director and writer, James Cameron:
“Q: What is the film saying to society at large?
A: “The innate ideas in the film were very appealing and I thought that they had a purpose right now. I think it’s also good for our entertainment to not be completely vacuous – it asks you questions about our relationship with each other, from culture to culture, and our relationship with the natural world at a time of nature deficit disorder.”