By Bob Grimm
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.