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15th Dec 2022

Bizarre phenomenon leaves Avatar viewers with ‘depression and suicidal thoughts’

Charlie Herbert


A word of warning before you watch the sequel…

A number of Avatar viewers were left with a weird feeling after watching the movie when it was released in 2009, with some saying they felt depressed.

James Cameron’s science-fiction epic became the highest-grossing film off all time after its release 13 years ago, as people flocked to cinemas to be transported to the beautiful moon of Pandora.

This week, the sequel, Avatar: The Way of Water, hits the big screen. But some fans may want to take a word of warning from those who went to watch the first film and were left feeling bluer than a Na-vi.

According to a report from CNN in 2010, fans of the film grew depressed because they longed to visit the fictional Pandora themselves but realised that could never happen.

A fan forum website, Avatar Forums, featured a thread entitled ‘Ways to cope with the depression of the dream of Pandora being intangible.’

The thread has racked up more than 1,000 posts and became so popular that the site’s administrator Philippe Baghdassarian had to create another to meet the demand of depressed Avatar fans.

Baghdassarian told CNN: “I wasn’t depressed myself. In fact the movie made me happy. But I can understand why it made people depressed.

“The movie was so beautiful and it showed something we don’t have here on Earth. I think people saw we could be living in a completely different world and that caused them to be depressed.”

One post on the forum said: “That’s all I have been doing as of late, searching the Internet for more info about ‘Avatar.’ I guess that helps.

“It’s so hard I can’t force myself to think that it’s just a movie, and to get over it, that living like the Na’vi will never happen. I think I need a rebound movie.”

On another fan forum, one viewer said they had even experienced suicidal thoughts, writing: “Ever since I went to see ‘Avatar’ I have been depressed. Watching the wonderful world of Pandora and all the Na’vi made me want to be one of them.

“I can’t stop thinking about all the things that happened in the film and all of the tears and shivers I got from it.

“I even contemplate suicide thinking that if I do it I will be rebirthed in a world similar to Pandora and the everything is the same as in Avatar.”

Speaking to Variety, Max Perrin, who didn’t see the movie until 2017, revealed he had also felt depressed and says a ‘lot’ of fans did.

He explained: “A lot of people have experienced this in the community. It really made me rethink a few things. I had no idea that I could be so deeply influenced by something like this. I had no idea just how deeply it was going to change me.”

If you or anyone you know is struggling with mental health or suicidal thoughts you can get help and advice at the following places:

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