Zoe Saldana and Sam Worthington in Avatar: The Way of Water.

Top Gun: Maverick is a sequel to a movie I didn’t like. However, I thoroughly enjoyed the new chapter. I felt like I was in those airplanes with those guys, and while the story was a rehash, of sorts, the film found new ways to expand upon the premise and draw me in. It also had the year’s coolest extra-terrestrial, that being Tom Cruise. Bravo.

Avatar: The Way of Water is also a sequel to a movie I didn’t like … and it is ridiculously expensive, vapid, eye-candy trash. I hate it more than the original.

If you liked the original, then you’ll like this one. I realize I am in the minority here; two out of 10 people seem to truly hate Avatar and all things Avatar, and I sit among the two. We aren’t popular at parties.

I hate the Na’vi. I hate how they look; I hate how they sound; and I hate everything they do. Their eyes don’t look like they belong in their heads; they have weird butts; and they look like a combination plastic surgery and tattoo endeavor gone dreadfully wrong. Actually, they look kind of like modern-day Madonna.

If a Na’vi came up to me at a party, I would run away. There’s no way in hell I’d want to hang out with one of those hissing blue-cat weirdos for more than three hours. I also resent them, because James Cameron was one of my favorite film directors, and the universe of Pandora has completely swallowed him up since he made the great Titanic 25 years ago.

What happens in the three-hour-plus running time of Avatar: The Way of Water? Damn near next to nothing.

Stephen Lang’s evil military guy, the original villain from Avatar, has found a way to come back, despite being left for dead in the first film, and his motive is the same: Kill Sully (Sam Worthington). That’s the main thrust of the film’s so-called plot: Evil military guy must kill Sully.

To escape, Sully and his family, including his wife (Zoe Saldana), teenage daughter (Sigourney Weaver … WTF?!) and sons (there’s no point listing them, because you can’t tell them apart) run off to the equivalent of the Pandora Bahamas.

That’s how The Way of Water gets its title: There are endless sequences of blue, creepy, gangly avatars swimming around with non-distinctive water beasts. Also, if you are thinking there are monologues seemingly written by a 10-year old regarding The Way of the Water (“It flows through you … it’s the beginning and the end of everything!”), well, you would be absolutely right.

As with the prior film, the visuals impressed me for about 15 minutes. Then the derivative, almost nonexistent story kicked in. Again … nothing of substance happens in this movie for more than three, long, tedious, punishing hours.

I watched The Way of Water in a large IMAX theater in 3-D, and it was pretty full. I heard nothing but rustling and some snoring from the audience, but when it was over, there was a round of applause. So, that shows you what I know. Maybe they appreciated the nap time?

I liken my hatred of Avatar to other people hating The Beatles, a band I love. When I tell folks I hate Avatar, they are in shock, and they hit me with a long list of shit I should like—just like I do when somebody expresses Beatle hatred. I now realize I sound like an annoying bastard when I defend the Beatles.

To be clear, I wanted to like both of the Avatar movies. Hey, I want to have fun, too! Alas, this is apparently a sensibility and vibe I can’t get. It’s a nature documentary painted over with weird, LSD-inspired shit, along with with dopey, go-nowhere dialogue. It’s nothing but an overblown aquarium … AN AQUARIUM OF LIES, where you pay way too much and stay way too long while your kids bark for snacks and need naps.

Oh, wait … that would be me barking for snacks and needing naps.

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8 Comments

  1. Why you watch movies if you didnt like them.

    Watch movies what you like. You dont understant de movie, the magic end the story.. Its not you genre and that is oke.

    But dont crack a movie what you are not the target audience for. Its make your world happieer

  2. Finally! A film critic pointed out the Na’vi’s repulsive design! This is the thing I don’t like most about the original. Not the generic story, but this: their ugly design. And because of this it’s hard to root for them.

  3. I completely agree. Hated the first one. Honestly the only reason for the hype on either is because of Cameron. If either of these movies were released by a average director they would be ripped apart.

  4. you are not in as small a group as you think. I did not like the first one either and have NO intention of wasting money and time to see this one. No plot. No actual actors… an overgrown cartoon

  5. It sounds like sci-fi is not your area. Navi’s design is perfect; just because they don’t look like you doesn’t t make the design terrible. Also, don’t watch Nope, then.

  6. And them having an unappealing design has nothing to do with sci-fi. Their design is artistically ugly, that’s it. We can sympathise more with Caesar and his ape tribe.

  7. I liked the first Avatar to a point and for a specific reason. That reason? The world was fresh, the characters were fresh and we got to take the same wondrous rollercoaster ride along with Jake Sully as he got to explore his Pandora with all of it’s flora and fauna. The wonderment of Pandora all is what kept me interested, but not so much the story. Secondarily, Sully also got to pick a side and help out the underdog who needed his help. That secondary story subtext ended up decent and noble.

    With this second film, all of the newness and wonderment is gone. We don’t get the same joy out of exploring Pandora. What’s left is facility. Meaning, with the loss of that wonderment, this leaves the audience bereft of at least that hook. Lacking that, the second film must rely solely on story. Unfortunately, this second film’s story is thin, hollow and weak. That’s really the problem with Hollywood today. Producers settle on weak, hollow scripts to run their productions.

    The whole reason the humans arrived at Pandora was for the Unobtanium (that rare floating element). Humans (AKA, sky people) may have been mildly dissuaded after Jake’s crossover to the Neytiri and the ensuing battle that didn’t go well for them, but that certainly wouldn’t be the end of the need for Unobtanium. That element is still critical and needed.

    I’d expect that humans would amass an even bigger fleet to head back to Pandora to remove anyone and everything out of their way to finally gain access to that Unobtanium, bringing as much firepower as necessary this time around. That is the story that needs to be told, not a solo revenge tale by a lame single marine who got his panties in a bunch.

    Sure, that marine could surface as part of a bigger epic battle by the humans to reclaim the Unobtainium, while also helping try to squash Sully once again. A simplistic story about one solitary marine performing a solo revenge tale isn’t what an Avatar movie should become. Cameron has lost his way in this universe and this movie shows exactly how lost Cameron is.

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