“Kaltxì! Oeru lu fpom, slä oel tspìyang ngati fa swizaw oeyä! Ngaru tut?” In case you’re not yet fluent in the language of the future, I just said, “Hello! I am well, but I am about to kill you with my arrow. And you?” in Na’vi.
Eight weeks into its release, and extreme fandom for [movie id="301495"]“Avatar”[/movie] is still feverish. But not all “Avatar” fans are created equal. One growing group of superfans is trying to perfect “lucid dreaming” in an effort to transport themselves to Pandora. And while we all wish we had a little distance from our parents, when moms and dads express a deep desire to live on Pandora, that’s a whole new set of family issues.
So what’s the checklist for extreme fandom? Well, seeing the movie 15 times (or 40 hours’ worth), poring over a 600-page version of the script, reading “Avatar: An Activist Survival Guide” and taking a crack at learning Na’vi are all on the list. You will need a flexible schedule, a forgiving and sympathetic boss/teacher and little need for sleep.
But that’s exactly the case with Jason Beojekian, a 19-year-old New Yorker whose life now revolves around “Avatar.” How does he explain his impressive level of devotion?
“I have a lot of free time,” he deadpans.
Though Beojekian can be categorized as an avid fan in anyone’s book, he knows how to self-regulate. After 15 screenings, he knew it was time to quit. “I was starting to recite the lines just before they were happening, and that’s no way to watch a movie, in my opinion.”
Thank goodness for sites like NaviBlue.com, the brainchild of Justin Kloth. The 33-year-old from San Jose has been enjoying his moment in the sun — cultivating a solid fanbase for his site and garnering 33,000 daily page views — and instead of enduring the typical digital dissonance from readers, he sees only harmony. (Hmm, remind you of some faraway neon land much?) Twenty-four percent of members on his site lump themselves as “obsessed beyond belief” — meaning they’ve seen the film more than nine times, an estimate that doesn’t surprise Kloth.
“There’s a large contingent of fans that have seen it in the double-digit range,” he said. One of his most active members defies the stereotype of a “typical Avatard”: She’s 57, a moderator on the site, and is believed to have read all “Avatar”-related literature known to man and Na’vi alike and even creates her own fan fiction. Kloth sent along a sampling of “Avatar”-inspired creative expression.
Not all obsessive fandom breeds the same inspirations. While the above example works to dig into and expand on James Cameron’s universe, others are simply content with multiple viewings. Lots of them. Matthew Welich plans to see the movie 100 times in his lifetime “at the very least,” said the 23-year-old fan from Maple Heights, Ohio.
While most fans have fun with it, what’s not funny is when emotional highs and lows run so extreme that withdrawal symptoms are palpable. Some fans say “Avatar” is all they can think about or talk about, and just knowing that there are other equally invested fans out there make them feel less isolated.
Vickie Puckett is a wife and mother of three. She’s of sound mind, and she also happens to want to live on Pandora, have an avatar body and fly a dragon. Puckett, like many in the devoted “Avatar” fanbase, said she fell in love with the planet and its people and culture and wishes we humanoids could capture and emulate the Na’vi sense of spirituality and serenity here on Earth. Like many, the Spearfish, South Dakota, mom considers Pandora to be a perfect reality.
Jonathon Dobbs, 27, feels a special kinship to the film. As an administrator for James Cameron’s “Avatar” Wikia site, which boasts nearly 2 million registered members, Dobbs hails from Dobbs Rockingham, Western Australia, the same place where star Sam Worthington was born, cementing Dobbs’ special attachment to the film.
The ripple effects of “Avatar” are felt in the most unlikely of places; even fashionistas have caught “blue fever,” as a recent Valentino runway show nodded unquestionably to our Na’vi counterparts as style icons, to the delight and horror of the fashion community. Reviews blared ” ‘Avatar’ was the theme yet again.”
And as with most things in life, once something hits the fashion world, the common folk just can’t seem to get enough of it.
Check out everything we’ve got on “Avatar.”
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