What did you think of The Way of Water?

WARNING SPOILER OR TWO DONT READ THIS IF YOU HAVENT SEEN TWOW YET I saw it in IMAX 3D last night, and WOW my brain is still processing stuff, but overall I loved the film, the small things for me were it felt like they kind of just left the Omatikaya to the wind( a bit) and the (fairywing) sea creature that allows one to breathe underwater, just seemed more like magic than sci-fi. The action was insane!, the banter between the Sully kids was fun, T-Mak as a father was all awesome. As for Neytiri nearly killing Spider? I get it because she has always not liked Spider, and the RDA had just killed one of her children and threatening to kill another, the amount of pain and anger would be too much even for Neytiri imho. Irayo ma Avatar family for bringing us back to Eyweveng!
 

Woodsprite

One of the First
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**EXTENSIVE SPOILERS BELOW**


I'm very, very mixed about this film.

Here are the two top problems I had with this movie: it tried too hard to replicate the first film's feelings, and the "discovery" aspect of things was absent.

There wasn't anything about this movie that made me want to watch it again. Was it entertaining? Absolutely. But I was expecting to be returned to Pandora in the sense that I'd be returned to a Pandora that I'd recognize. This Pandora showed a completely different world that (in my opinion) went way too hard on the water story arcs. It's obsessively about this aspect that the story revolves around it, and not it around the story.

We get multiple shots in the first 20 minutes that are literally exactly framed and spoken to look like they're from the first film, attempting to get a nostalgia hit. It does this well, and the bit with Quaritch finding his own human corpse is intriguing to watch, but then there's composer Simon Franglen. He composes new themes, but he is no James Horner. By a mile. And when old themes are reintroduced, they aren't even slightly varying from the original cues: they're literally rehashes of the same cues we hear in the first film, as if old recordings are just being remixed.

I also just... found myself not really caring as much for the newer characters. I don't really know why... I just didn't care. Especially when Jake and Neytiri's firstborn dies. I had zero emotional reaction to this. Am I an emotionless sociopath?? Am I the only one who didn't care about the son's death?

Then there are little things, like: how does the Metkayina clan know how to speak English? How does making tsaheylu with a water-based butterfly creature make you able to breathe underwater? Why does mining for unobtainium somehow not matter anymore to humans after less than two decades have passed? Why does General Frances Ardmor completely disappear from the second half of the film? Do the Omaticaya no longer matter now that the Sullys have decided to stay with the Metkayina? So many other questions.

I know this just sounds like a list that exhibits me hating on the film-- don't get me wrong, I thought the film was fine, but that's the thing: it was just fine. It wasn't mind-bogglingly earth-shattering like the first film was. Maybe I was expecting too much. Maybe I thought I'd see something else.
 
how does the Metkayina clan know how to speak English?
I was wondering about the same thing, but I realized that the trope Translation Convention was in effect here. It came into effect the moment Jake narrated that to him the Na'vi language was now just like hearing English. It is practical in the sense of demanding less of the actors and not alienating the audience, but it felt a bit cheap.

How does making tsaheylu with a water-based butterfly creature make you able to breathe underwater?
I found this one to be hard to believe as well. I think the creature did wrap itself around the wearer's chest somewhat as if to transfer oxygen to the lungs. Still, the concept is a bit flimsy.

Why does mining for unobtainium somehow not matter anymore to humans after less than two decades have passed?
Again I found this hard to believe as well, but I think it had to do with the changed mindset of the RDA. It felt to me like they had abandoned trying to save Earth when they said Pandora would be the new home of humanity. I always interpreted the unobtainium to be needed to save the Earth - not humanity by itself if they plan on leaving Earth.

Why does General Frances Ardmor completely disappear from the second half of the film?
I think because she was actually inconsequential to the plot of the movie. I felt as tough the entire human operation was simply a side story so that Quaritch' return could be justified and to see to it that there were generic 'bad guys' to be taken out in this movie and the next.

Do the Omaticaya no longer matter now that the Sullys have decided to stay with the Metkayina?
I had not expected Jake to actually transfer the Olo'eyktan position to another Na'vi. My gut feeling is that in the next movie, which allegedly deals with the Na'vi living near a volcanic region, there will be just as little focus on the Omaticaya as in the Way of Water.
 

Woodsprite

One of the First
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I was wondering about the same thing, but I realized that the trope Translation Convention was in effect here. It came into effect the moment Jake narrated that to him the Na'vi language was now just like hearing English. It is practical in the sense of demanding less of the actors and not alienating the audience, but it felt a bit cheap.
It took me out of the element. This wasn't done in the first film, so it felt off. Also: multiple na'vi have lesser accents, and some (especially Neytiri) have lost their accents entirely and just have traces. Granted, the explanation would be "Oh she's spoken English for so long now it makes sense". Well, maybe. But it takes you out of it, in addition to her apparently not losing her accent after all the years of knowing it in the first film. My dad, for example, has a thick Persian accent despite living in the US longer than he has in Iran. Accents stay with you.

Tsireya, also, had almost zero accent. And that wouldn't bother me if it had been a consistent thing from the first film. That's the point of all these things: immersion. That was another pivotal thing that gave the first film its magic. It was immersive with virtually everything.

Again I found this hard to believe as well, but I think it had to do with the changed mindset of the RDA. It felt to me like they had abandoned trying to save Earth when they said Pandora would be the new home of humanity. I always interpreted the unobtainium to be needed to save the Earth - not humanity by itself if they plan on leaving Earth.
I always interpreted unobtainium as a superconductor that was needed to fuel everything in the future. Kind of like how spice was used for interstellar travel (among other things) in Dune.

The reason I'm weary about this being thrown away isn't because I think the new reason for being on Pandora is bad, it's because the new reason for being on Pandora has completely changed in such a short time span. Take off 6 years (or a little less, given maybe people are able to travel faster through space since last we saw), that's still like... only 15 years time elapsed for humanity to make a completely altered state of priorities. And bear in mind: this takes place in the far future. It's not like they haven't had a ton of time to consider what route to go before.

I think because she was actually inconsequential to the plot of the movie. I felt as tough the entire human operation was simply a side story so that Quaritch' return could be justified and to see to it that there were generic 'bad guys' to be taken out in this movie and the next.
But that's terrible! Even Selfridge from the first film, who was a super small character, was still integral to the story. What happened to caring about the story??

I had not expected Jake to actually transfer the Olo'eyktan position to another Na'vi. My gut feeling is that in the next movie, which allegedly deals with the Na'vi living near a volcanic region, there will be just as little focus on the Omaticaya as in the Way of Water.
That's the equivalent of having an off-book sequel of Lord of the Rings where hobbits live in Gondor now instead of The Shire. It's like... no. Hobbits live in Hobbiton. You set us up in the first story that the Omaticaya were the tribe that we cared about. Sure there were other tribes and there's no harm in introducing others, but the first film set the standard up: the Omaticaya are the tribe we follow in the story of the Sullys. The Omaticaya is home. And I felt like that was retconned in TWoW.
 

Woodsprite

One of the First
Donator
I hate to say it but I did not enjoy it at all :(
I wanna know if you can quantify why you didn't like it. I'm very intrigued by my own thought process about this as well. When others ask me why I didn't like it as much, I always give this complex answer but never anything simple.
 
I guess my only regret is that nearly all of my Avatar fan fiction (several hundred thousand words) is now obsolete :)

You and me both. Your fan fiction as well as my fan novel (link is in my profile, if anyone is curious) have been supplanted by the sequel, along with much of the fan fiction on FF.net and AO3. However, I think a lot of the themes and ideas that were collectively part of the Avatar fan fiction community will still be broadly applicable to the Avatar universe. As the next sequel(s) show up in our theaters and we see the Avatar universe unfold before our eyes we will see some themes that were expressed in a lot of the fan fiction that came out after the first film.

I felt there were (very broadly) two schools of thought about how the sequel(s) would go with regards to the RDA and Pandora, in the fan fiction community.

Either the Na'vi kick the humans off Pandora and they never come back (They All Lived Happily Ever After, in other words) or, "The RDA Strikes Back"

It looks like James Cameron is going for the "RDA Strikes Back" end of the spectrum with the sequel and its succesors.

We shall see over the next few years.

(my fan novel was a bit closer to the "Happily Ever After" end of the spectrum, sort of, and I know there were a lot more fan fiction stories that were much closer to that end, as well as stories about Jake and Neytiri, their relationship, family, etc.)

I'm still processing my feelings and thoughts about the film. I think it is pretty good, overall. It's not quite up to the first film, but it comes very close. I am very intrigued by the direction the story will go with the upcoming sequel(s) and look forward to seeing what JC has in store for us.

I'll be posting more thoughts later, but I just wanted to put this idea out there. I think a fair number of fan fiction writers got the general idea of the the direction JC would take the story right in their fan fics.
 
The thing about the Way of Water that I had not expected, was its relatively small scale. Not on the visuals, just on the happenings. The final battle was no huge all-out humans versus Na'vi to determine the future of Pandora. Rather it was a small scale personal battle for the Sully family and the Metkayina. I think that is completely in line with what the movie was actually about (whether we like this or not). It wasn't about Pandora, it wasn't about the Omaticaya, it wasn't about the humans and what they were really doing (mining unobtanium or not). It was about the Sully family and their struggles.

Especially when Jake and Neytiri's firstborn dies. I had zero emotional reaction to this. Am I an emotionless sociopath?? Am I the only one who didn't care about the son's death?
I also didn't have much of a reaction immediately when Neteyam died. I did feel something when Neytiri started wailing. It only really hit home for me during the funeral. It is also during the funeral scene that I believe Simon Franglen finally hit the nail on its head with the soundtrack. I think Neteyam was the only one of the Sully children who could die from a story telling perspective without alienating the audience or messing up the story. Imagine if Lo'ak, Kiri or Tuk had died instead. Lo'ak and Kiri's story arcs would have been for nothing. And Tuk dying... people would be storming out of the cinema.

I think most of us who followed the trailers, news and theories knew in the back of our heads that Neteyam was going to die. Call it a predictable plot point if you want, but I understand why Cameron did this. Neteyam was the golden son and he had to die to move the story forward. We didn't need to care for him personally all that much. His death served another purpose: affecting the lives of those family members left behind, whose lives will go on without him.

Your fan fiction as well as my fan novel (link is in my profile, if anyone is curious) have been supplanted by the sequel, along with much of the fan fiction on FF.net and AO3.

I recognize your pain, but this was kind of inevitable unless you had planned around this. I recently reached 100.000 words with my most recent story on FF.net and I do think I will be able to let the story segue into the plot of the Way of Water with minimal canon deviations. There will just have been additional happenings between the end of the first movie and the beginning of the comic The High Ground. It will not be the "RDA Strikes Back", but more like "the humans that are most fed up with the crappy situation on Earth supersede the RDA and make their own plan"

This is possible because I have my story focus on a group of OCs. None of the human OCs have a personal vendetta with Jake, so they're not interested in hunting him or his family. In fact, the humans simply want to mine unobtanium to save humanity on Earth, and have peace, while running some side projects. They brought with them a super weapon that is mostly for deterrence. Jake and Neytiri's children, meanwhile, are approximately 6 years younger at the time the story starts (the humans wanted to restore unobtanium mining ASAP). Jake chooses his family over starting an insurrection and then disappears from the focus of the story. So the entire Sully family arc of WoW can be "welded" onto my FF story.
 
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I liked it, alot!! Am I the only one that got Titanic vibes when the family was trying to get out of the sinking hovercraft? I love Kiri, she's probably my favorite character in this movie. Really liked Lo'ak and Payakan's relationship. I believe that "brotherhood/sisterhood" is what the tulkun and the Metkayina people share, as evidence Ronal and Roa's relationship.
 

Aaron

Member
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I liked it, alot!! Am I the only one that got Titanic vibes when the family was trying to get out of the sinking hovercraft? I love Kiri, she's probably my favorite character in this movie. Really liked Lo'ak and Payakan's relationship. I believe that "brotherhood/sisterhood" is what the tulkun and the Metkayina people share, as evidence Ronal and Roa's relationship.
Kiri was probably my favorite character, which was a very welcome surprise because I went in with low expectations for her. I really didn't want to see Quaritch and Grace return in any capacity. But Kiri wasn't what I'd expected, and when the movie ended I felt a bit bummed that we hadn't gotten to see more of her "powers." Clearly she has a larger role to play.
 
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I started writing (but never finished) a number of fanfics about the goings on at Hell's Gate after the events of the first movie, most of them centering on Norm. Thanks to how little of that is addressed in this second movie, pretty much none of what I wrote was obsoleted. Maybe I should dust it off and finish it! :)
I wrote quite a lot about what was going on at Hell's Gate. If you are interested you can find my stories on fan fiction . net under my name.
 
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On the question of Unobtainium, I think the RDA is still there mining it. We saw pictures of the enormous base they built and then there was the big train that was ambushed early in the movie. I suspect that the RDA rebuilt Hell's Gate (on a vastly larger scale) and then finished the rail line to the new mine that they had planned under Hometree. So they are still mining Unobtainium, but they've also found other valuable things they can rape the planet for.
 
I was reminded mostly of the fanfictions by Xenobia, Between Worlds and Tiger's Hunt. The other fanfiction I got deja vu of was Just a Copy by WriterDragon. It's all I kept thinking seeing the film. Like someone blended them into one film.
 
The other thing about the various fanfics that are now "obsolete" is that really they have just beome AU fanfics set in the Avatar universe.

I have an idea for a couple short follow-ups to my fan novel, which will incorporate some things from the sequel, but will be standalone in that they are still set in the universe of my fan novel.

AU fanfics are kind of their own little world.

(and yeah, I got a little of the same vibe Neyfan got while watching the film)(

And now the sequel will generate its own set of fan fiction stories, I am sure.

I also think Blazil hit it on the head with respect to the scale of the film. It really is about the Sully family and their struggles. We shall see how that will play out over the course of the next films.

Neteyam's death and Neytiri's reaction to his death are the two biggest emotional hits to the gut I took watching the film.

I could feel Neytiri's pain right through the screen,
 
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Right?? I feel it was COMPLETELY out of her character to threaten/harm an innocent being. And the scene just prior where she literally looks feral and spider looks scared? I'M scared, it felt surreal.

And they way they shoehorned "oh it's not Quaritch it's just Quaritch Lite" felt like such a sequel grab... AND THEN TO HAVE SPIDER BE LIKE "nah I can't let him die, he's my dad" SUCH A THIRD SEQUEL GRAB.
The beginning of the film made it abundantly clear that Neytiri neither liked nor trusted Spider: he was an alien, never a part of their family, it was just the kids that liked him. Her son had just been killed, and the entire rest of ther family was under immediate threat. It made perfect sense for her to threaten and even kill him if necessary.
 
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About language and accent... the early scenes also make it very clear that they are speaking Na'vi all the time (Jake speaks about how it was difficult to learn, but then *bam* the Na'vi turns to English, as he says it was like it had been his first language all along).
There is no conceivable way they could have spoken Na'vi through the entire film, because not only would it be so much more work for the conlanger/s and the actors, it would be frustrating and annoying to 99% of audiences, who didn't come to read subtitles on an alien language (no matter if any of us would find that 100% amazing and immersive - and I don't know that i would).

I see a lot of complaining about the accents - why would they have accents? Again, they are speaking Na'vi all the time, it's just "translated" into English so we can understand.

I think humans throwing away unobtanium all of a sudden (16 years) was strange. Not only did they succeed in destroying the Omaticaya's hometree and surrounding forest in the first movie, now they destroyed tons and tons more forest when landing, so couldn't they just mine these areas? Unobtanium not being interesting anymore was not explained.

Regarding little emotional impact of Neteyam's death, I felt the same. I was just wondering, around the time of the battle, why he had almost no character or story around him. Lo'ak had the tulkun and the girl, and the complex of looking more human than the others. Kiri had the confusion of her origins, and clearly seems to have a special connection with Eywa (and a special reason behind her conception, I imagine). Neteyam was just there to be an older brother. (Obviously a film like this would never kill a little kid, so Tuk was always going to be safe.)

So I thought, "maybe a future film will focus more on him". And then he died fifteen minutes later, and it seemed obvious. As a character, he existed mainly as a pay-off, "someone close to the main characters has to die". So that was a bit of a shame, I wish he had more "substance".

I second the soundtrack "meh". Lo'ak being chased by the akula (actually the name of that species?) = Jake chased by Thanator music.
Riding Ilu for the first time = Jake riding Ikran for the first time music.
That was the one thing I would call "cheap" in this film. Perhaps they wanted to honor James Horner, but Iiidon'tknow...

The film was really about family, and I definitely don't mind that, it's the expectation I got from the trailers as well.
But I did expect "more" in terms of personal stories around all the characters, especially with such a long film, but so much focus was put on the Quaritch revenge plot. But that's more nitpicking and my expectations than anything.

Question... where did the Metkayina go during the final battle? As soon as the battle becomes about the big ship being trashed, they just seem to vaporize and not come to help.
 
Finally, after 12 years of waiting, I watched Avatar 2! My expectations were met! Watching the movie, I didn't know what to expect. It's definitely not a repeat of the first movie. Everything here was so new and fresh! I expected the plot to be trivial, but no, it's better than I imagined. It was naive to think that people would leave Pandora and not come back. They're back with full force! At first, I thought I was watching an atomic bomb explode as a wall of fire destroyed the forest! I was in shock! Jake and Neytiri's children played a major role in this film. But Kiri was the best. Her first connection with Eywa was quite a shock for me to see what happened to her. Who is her father? That's a good question! Did I cry? Yes! :D :D :D
 

Raptor

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  • #39
While I think that The Way of Water is a decent film, I think it's fine to discuss some of its flaws. Now, as I understand it, Avatar 2, 3, and a part of 4 were filmed all at once, and James Cameron stated that the box office performance of 2 will determine if 4 and 5 will be released, or if the story concludes with 3. Perhaps this might explain why so many plot lines and characters remain unresolved, although in my mind, the film is still too thin on some of the characterizations compared to the original Avatar.

The film didn't quite strike the same emotional chord for me as the original, and as many have pointed out here, Neteyam's character was simply too underdeveloped for his death to really have an impact. I'm frankly also not sure how I feel about Neytiri's character seemingly shift to be more "aggressive" and "compulsive", as now it seems like the character lost some of her associated "wisdom" from the original film. The recoms also felt almost like a non-threat, as they were dispatched far too easily almost like cannon fodder. Again this circles back to how this movie seems to dispense with the portrayal of RDA's frugal approach to resources in the original. The stakes definitely didn't feel as grave this time around.

One part of the film that I really didn't like, however, was the sequence where they were trying to revive Kiri from her apparent coma or seizure. Norm and Max, the "avatars" of science in both the original film as well as this one, were simply dismissed as useless while some kind of "spiritual" process brought her back. At a time when we're currently facing dangerous waves of anti-science and anti-medicine sentiments (just see the virulent anti-vaccine movement, some of it sponsored by Russia to deliberately harm other countries' populace) in the real world, I was quite dismayed by this seeming push towards pseudoscience. I understand that Pandora has the fantastical element of Eywa, and the original film had its plot points that were dependent on that, but it wasn't spiteful towards scientific medicine like this scene was. To me it's a poor choice.

Also, when it comes to set designs, I noticed that in terms of weapons, they seemed to have abandoned the more futuristic designs from the original Avatar and settled on essentially a futuristic M4-type rifle with an LPVO, which is the primary weapon for both Jake and Quaritch. Granted, the ergonomics and manual of arms of the M4/AR-15 has stood the test of time with most modern militaries moving to that pattern, but it was definitely a bit odd seeing something so "contemporary" show up on Pandora; it instantly made me think of my issued weapon.

I'll also note about audience reactions from my experience. The reactions from my viewing are for the most part muted, a few chuckles here and there. Keep in mind that the theater also had my squad of Marines, who can be pretty rowdy, but most of them are junior PFCs and lance corporals, so they might not have been inclined to be too disruptive when officers (me) and SNCOs were around. Their opinions were quite variable, but the consensus definitely seems to be that the middle part of the film had too much filler, while the action sequences at the end were great. They did get a laugh at Lo'ak's cheesy military lingo.
 
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I thought it was amazing! the graphics were beautiful, I've been waiting for this sequel for years so it's hard for me to say anything bad about it :P I did notice a few plot holes though, such as the end when the Metkayina clan disappeared during the war ship part
 
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