Avatar Speaks to Our Inner Science Geek
Flick appeals to humans' natural wonder at the weird world
By Harry Kimball,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 19, 2010 1:39 PM CST
The character Neytiri, voiced by Zoe Saldana, is shown in a scene from "Avatar."   (AP Photo)

(Newser) – Excuse Carol Kaesuk Yoon if she seems “a bit breathless,” but Avatar has reinvigorated the biologist’s awe of the natural world, and she suspects that effect is what’s really driving the flick’s blockbuster success. People love to puzzle over nature, and try to order it in their heads. “It cannot be anything but the intense wonder so powerfully elicited,” Yoon writes, “rather than merely the technical wizardry itself, that has people lining up to see it.”

In the theater, Yoon writes in the New York Times, “I felt as if someone had filmed my favorite dreams from those best nights of sleep where I wander and play through a landscape of familiar yet strange creatures.” All humans share a “deep desire and ability to really see life,” Yoon continues, and experience “the joy that comes with it.” But we’ve become “jaded,” and think we’ve seen everything. “Maybe Avatar is what we need to bring our inner taxonomist back to life, to get us to really see.”