Is 'Avatar' giving you the blues?

Reports are suggesting that those who go to see the movie "Avatar" are subject to deep-seated feelings of misery afterward. Is the idea of utopia making us unhappy with our real lives?

Chris Matyszczyk
2 min read

I haven't been to see "Avatar" because I have feared it would make me depressed. I have feared I would be depressed that so much money had been spent on a movie which, like "Titanic," made me manicure the fingernails of my right hand using the fingernails of my left.

It appears, however, that I am not alone in experiencing "Avatar"-related dysthymia. According to the erudite CNN discussion I have embedded, thousands of people have been flooding "Avatar" chat sites and saying that the movie did, indeed, depress them. But their reasons are somewhat different than mine.

They seem to feel miserable that the idyllic world of Pandora is nothing more than a box of 3D tricks. They want it to exist. They are sad that it doesn't.

CNN quoted one depressed post-"Avatar" poster who wrote: "It was like my whole life, everything I've done and worked for, lost its meaning." On the Facebook Avatar-Forums group, a wall poster called Paul Neumann wrote: "ALL I SAID WAS " I DON'T WANT TO BE ON EARTH AND HUMAN ANYMORE, I JUST WANT TO BE ON PANDORA WITH THE NA'VI!"!"

Jo Piazza, a CNN entertainment writer declared: "I think the depression is widespread enough that it is an actual phenomenon."

My de facto shrink, a man I met in a bar whom I consult regularly at the same bar every couple of weeks, once told me that the definition of depression is the distance between your life as it is and your life as you think it should be.

I am, therefore, entirely unsurprised that people are depressed at the end of "Avatar." They can't fly around. They can't save the world. They can't have blue faces. Ergo, they feel blue.

My own depression has many similar sources. It started quite a long time ago when I discovered that my uncle really wasn't my uncle. I was really down for quite a few years when I realized I was not, in fact, Pele, but that I might be David Beckham. I snapped out of it briefly when someone mistook me for Bruce Willis. But then I slipped straight back into it when the lady in question asked me where my toupee was.

Of course, depression is real. And of course movies can make you miserable. Any Ingmar Bergman movie can drive you to BevMo.

However, I have a small but insistent feeling that the 3D world of Pandora pales in the quality of its depressive effects when compared with unemployment, bosses from purgatory, personal relationships from hell, stinking hour-long rides in overcrowded commuter trains, the patois of a patronizing traffic cop, and "Keeping Up with the Kardashians."