My Avatar 2: The Way of Water review

The wife and I watched Avatar 2 (aka Avatar: The Way of Water) in 3D HFR yesterday and hated it.

Let’s start with the most celebrated thing about the movie - the visuals. To my eyes they seemed overdone. They were like a cross between a video game cutscene and one of those demo reels they run on giant TVs for sale in electronic stores.

Even the story had the depth and pathos of a demo reel meant to sell OLED TVs.

Avatar has always felt like a thinly veiled history of colonisation and settlement of North America. The sequel wasn’t any different. If anything, Avatar 2 solidified this notion (spoiler)1. The rest of the plot felt like a hodgepodge of pop culture tropes and set pieces from Moby Dick to Jaws to Free Willy.

I would’ve left the hall mid-way through the movie but did not out of respect for other people in our row. The hall was quite full for Christmas night and everyone stoically persisted through the movie’s 3h+ duration.

We are told there are 3 more sequels planned (Avatar 5 is scheduled to come in 2027!). I think I will pass. It feels like Star Wars all over again where the franchise is milked aggressively to the point that even the staunchest fans greet the newest release with indifference.

p.s. Me and some friends were distraught at the font choices they had made in the original - big, yellow Papyrus for subtitling dialog in Na’vi. This hasn’t changed in Avatar 2. However it did feel like they had cut down on the amount of dialog in Na’vi by quite a lot so one didn’t see it much. Since all English movies in Amsterdam carry Dutch subtitles, I was worried that some scenes would suffer from subtitle overload (Na’vi -> Papyrus in English -> Dutch). This didn’t come to pass because Na’vi here was directly translated into Dutch (Papyrus). Also the sub-titles (the regular Dutch ones they show here throughout the movie) didn’t distract, interfere with 3D, cause headaches/nausea etc.

  1. Due to worsening conditions on Earth, the star people” are coming to settle Pandora and not just for extracting unobtanium.↩︎

December 26, 2022