“Avatar: the Way of Water,” Reviewed: An Island Fit for the King of the World?

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Avatar the Way of Water Review

Avatar: The Way of Water is a 2022 American epic science fiction film directed by James Cameron from a screenplay co-written by Cameron, Rick Jaffa, and Amanda Silver, based on a story written by the trio with Josh Friedman and Shane Salerno.

It is the sequel to Avatar (2009) and the second film in the Avatar franchise, produced by Lightstorm Entertainment and TSG Entertainment and distributed by 20th Century Studios.

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‘Avatar 2: The Way of Water Review: a Major Disappointment, Bro

I didn’t see Avatar: The Way Of Water on an IMAX 3D screen because the closest IMAX to where I live is at the Grand Canyon, and they don’t show this kind of movie on that screen (and even if they did, it would be closed until next Spring).

Avatar the Way of Water Review

The nearest IMAX is two and a half hours away, and while I’m willing to drive to Phoenix to get out of the snow, it’s a bit far to travel for a movie.

So I made a deal with myself. If I liked Way Of Water enough on a smaller screen—I saw it in 48 frames per second 3D—I’d take the kids down to the Valley over Christmas Break and watch it again on the biggest, bestest screen we could find.

So, put those plans on hold. I doubt I’ll see Avatar 2 again unless James Cameron pays my travel expenses, buys my tickets, and maybe takes me out to dinner first. That’s what it would take to entice me back to the theatres to watch this 3-hour and 12-minute cartoon again. A few thoughts:

  • Yes, this is a cartoon. It’s almost entirely CGI. When live-action characters (humans) enter the picture, which isn’t often, you’re reminded that you’re watching an expensive cartoon, which is a little jarring. There’s some uncanny valley stuff here, but mostly the Navi just look super fake compared to the humans, and the humans feel super out of place surrounded by Navi. Who Framed Roger Rabbit did it better.
  • Sure, the graphics in this video game are fantastic, but what about the story? Eh. Not at all.
  • 3D at 48fps is abysmal. I despise it. It’s too clear, too sharp, and too fake-looking. You know the TruMotion “smoothing” you can do on your TV at home? That’s how it goes. I read that you get used to it after a few minutes, but this is a complete lie. It’s a nice 3D effect, but it just doesn’t look right. The soap opera effect’ drives me insane.

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“Avatar: the Way of Water,” Reviewed: an Island Fit for the King of the World

“The Godfather Part II” and “The Godfather Part III” were separated by fifteen years, and the years showed.

Francis Ford Coppola, the series’ director, enriched the latter film with both his life experience (much of it painful) and his work on other, often daring and distinctive films with which he filled the intervening time.

By contrast, James Cameron, who directed the original “Avatar” in 2009, has directed its sequel, “Avatar: The Way of Water,” thirteen years later, during which time he has directed no other feature films—and, though he has doubtless lived, the only experience that the new film suggests is a vacation on an island resort so remote that few outside visitors have found it.

Avatar the Way of Water Review

“The Way of Water” is a regimented and formalized excursion to an exclusive natural paradise that its select guests fight tooth and nail to keep for themselves, despite its sententious grandiosity and metaphorical politics.

The film’s bland aesthetics and banal emotions elevate it to the level of a Club Med of effects-driven extravaganzas.

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