Blue People Blues: A Critical Look at Avatar The Way of Water


Courtesy of Disney press kit

Lo’ak swims with the majestic Tulkun.

Cash Navarro, Staff Writer

The burning of the Library of Alexandria. The eruption of Mount Vesuvius. The great flood that wiped sunk Atlantis. All these great tragedies pale, in comparison to the disaster that was the release of the 2009 film “Avatar.” This mediocre movie managed to climb and grasp on to the  title of highest grossing film of all time. What does it have to show for it? Be honest, you have forgotten this wet blanket of a cinematic experience. 

Often when mentioning “Avatar” I have to clarify that I am not referring to the vastly better “Avatar the Last Airbender,” and that is to say, I don’t mention “Avatar” almost at all. Imagine, if you will, my shock and awe when director James Cameron announced that he was working on a sequel. All I could do is wait and be prepared for the absolute worst.

Wait, I did. 13 years, I waited. 13 years of agony. 13 years of war. 13 years of peace. 13 years of prosperity. 13 full rotations around the flaming inferno that we call the sun. I have grown old waiting. Time has truly taken a toll on me. I had since forgotten about “Avatar” as many level-headed individuals such as myself had. 

I had believed that the movie had been canceled at some point and its script had been thrown into a furnace. These were the best of times. I lived in blissful ignorance of evil that was being plotted in Hollywood.

It’s all like a foggy dream to me now. At this point, I have now seen “Avatar the Way of Water” twice. There was a 24-hour period of my life where I spent more time watching this movie than I did sleeping. It is such a strangely hypnotizing film. That’s not to say it’s a good movie, rather it is to say it’s truly an experience to behold.

It clocks in at over three hours long, being only a few minutes shorter than Cameron’s other hit film, “Titanic.” Despite its enormous run time, the movie itself follows a relatively simple plot. Jake Sully (the main blue guy) now has kids and a wife, and the villains from the last film are long gone. That is till a now Na’vi clone of Colonel Miles Quaritch alongside a small militia of other now Na’vi clones of the Marines from the first movie. Fearful for his family’s life, Jake Sully relocates his family to a water tribe far from his home tribe. 

Guys, this movie is weird. There are events and plot points that occur that make absolutely no sense. There are space whales in this movie that can talk to the Na’vi, which no one questions and it is not addressed how this is possible. You just have to accept it. Also the whales have a juice in their head that if removed and drunk can provide everlasting life. This is a fact that is mentioned all of two hours into the movie and never addressed or elaborated on after it is first introduced. 

As you may remember, actress Sigourney Weaver’s character died in the first film; however, if you have seen the trailer or other adverts then you know she is back. She does not come back to reprise her character from the first movie. No, rather 73-year-old Sigourney Weaver plays a teenager, a teenager that is the mystery child of the avatar of Sigourney Weaver character. This creates a constant uneasiness feeling as she, while surrounded by real teens, pretends to be nearly 55 years younger. Just like the talking whale and its magic head juice of everlasting life, you, the audience, are expected to just be fully accepting of what is on the  screen. 

What I’m about to say may be a little shocking, but this movie is not the terrible mess I thought it would be. I would say that it is fine. Just fine. Nothing terribly special. Is it worth the over three-hour run time? Sorta. Is it any good? It ain’t bad. Would I recommend that you watch it? I wouldn’t not recommend it. Was it worth the 13-year wait? Not really. Does it deserve its Best Picture Nomination at the Oscars? Not at all. 

But is it better than the original “Avatar?” It is a hundred times better than the first “Avatar.” Seeing as I am the resident “Avatar” hater, I would consider this opinion to be a win for the “Avatar” franchise. I may not understand “Avatar: The Way of Water” but man, I do have a new-found respect. I would give the movie a 7/10.