What did you think of The Way of Water?

[SPOILERS]
im just confused how Neytiri turned on spider at the end of the movie. i know she just lost her son but spider was part of there family and sully's stick together or not...
also why did jake run away from his tribe to be with the water people he pretty much took down the sky people in the last movie but cant do it again and has to run away. i mean the movie was just full of bad plot holes.
im in love with all the new children and new characters. but i just walked out of the cinema with so many un answered questions. yes they may fill in the gaps in the next movie but i didnt feel this way about the first. also that part when they hunt down that poor whale was painful to watch.
I got goose bumps when neytiri went into beast mode and took out all of those soldiers. I believe she took Spider cuz she knew he was tagging along with Quaritch. It was a desperation act to get her kid back.


I also believe Jake got his family to leave the forest people because the RDA was after him and he did not want to put the forest people into harm again like in the first movie so he went into hiding but they were able to find him when Norm and them went to help Jake on the island. They tracked the aircraft.

I absolutely loved the movie. It was not like the first but had me on the edge of my seat with goosebumps many times. I already saw it twice and plan to see it four more times 😁. I am one who goes into movies with no expectations and I do not nit pick things so I can enjoy movies better than most people. I DO, however, wish there was more time spent in the forest but that's alright.
 

TxonTirea

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I liked it just fine. It didn't bring me back to the age that brought me to tree-of-souls in 2010, it didn't flood my mind with longing or sadness or depression, but I really enjoyed being back on Pandora.

That said, I think the film suffers from 'middle movie' syndrome. It has to pick up from AV1 and leaves all of its plot threads dangling for AV3 and beyond. I don't think a single thing that got started in this film was resolved by the end of it, which is an interesting decision. Some characters were ultimately far too shallow for me to feel very invested, and I disliked Neytiri and Jake's characterization.

Even with all that said, I'm still in love with the franchise, with the world, I still will see all of them. I'm just not at the age where I was going through so many changes and AV1 was there, so... yeah. Impossible for the film to measure up in that regard.
 
OK - I've seen TWOW three times now, and just rewatched Avatar 2009 yesterday, and had a good chance to digest it, so there's a few more thoughts, focusing more on story and themes than the cinematography / cinematics of TWOW. I did brave the waters of Reddit a bit as well... always a double edged sword, but I did...

Firstly, just circling back to a *very* good point by Wafflehouse Lo'ak:

"One of the things I've always appreciated about Avatar was how it sees violence as a legitimate and often necessary tool of anti-colonial resistance. We're shown that the RDA will take everything from Pandora if they're allowed to and that the only effective path our characters have is to fight back, violently if they have to."

This, for me, has *always* been one of the basic and fundamental messages of Avatar, and it's always been something I have been deeply appreciate and thankful to Cameron for presenting in an uncompromising way - both in the horrors that colonialism imposes, and the trauma that resistance has on the culture and peoples violently resisting colonialism - something that is often ignored (and I must admit, the Next Shadow comic/graphic novel actually covers this extremely well).

So...my thoughts after sitting on it for a while.

It is a brilliant film - no doubt. It's a polished production, and the character development is good. Every moment is made to count, and I don't feel any of the characters were simple drop-ins (unlike culture, which I'll come back to). They are all well-rounded people.

The fundamental messages of the violent and exploitative nature of our relationship and balance with Gaia / nature and of the colonialist mentality it both stems from and fosters is very clear and raw, as I feel it should be, as is the already mentioned point about the fundamental legitimacy and reality of violent resistance to colonialism, and how these two aspects are both brutal and traumatising yet also fundamentally different.

We are never left in any doubt that there is no moral equivalency here between the state-corporate sponsored terrorism and ethnic cleansing that Quaritch pursues, and the killing of RDA sec-ops troops by Neytiri and others. This is welcome. I've seen elsewhere many people attacking Neytiri's "blood lust" and arguing that Quaritch as a recom cannot be held responsible for the crimes of his human self. This is not an position I buy into . We accept that "harmless old men" in the 1970s and 1980s who were cogs in the holocaust machine of WW2 were indeed still every bit as responsible for those actions as their younger selves, and the same is true of Quaritch. These actions go beyond the "youthful stupidity" we all readily forgive ourselves and others for committing as younger versions of ourselves.

I fear we may see some kind of "redemption" arc for Quaritch in the future movies, I and personally feel this would be a wrong decision to take. Doing so, to me, is not only giving a message that we can aquit the "harmless old men" of any wrongdoing, but is also erecting a Captain Cook statue. Quaritch’s end should rather reflect the reality of Cook's own end - itself a clear testament to the brutal reality of colonial exploitation - at the end of an indigenous blade.

Moving on, I do still feel that the scenes with the Omatikaya in the forests of Pandora at the start of the movie were rushed, and this led to a very over-rushed presentation of the discussion around leaving. While it doesn't seem quite seem as rushed on re-watching, the discussion of leaving is itself is still very brief, and highlights that though we do clearly see the effect this decision has on Neytiri, we don't spend nearly enough time with her over the course of the film to really explore her feelings regarding it.

I felt this most profoundly at the other end of the film when Tonowari (talking to Jake) brings the family into the Metkayina. Though a sweet and clearly heartfelt gesture by Tonowari, what must this feel like to Neytiri? She was clearly absolutely agonised at leaving the Omatikaya, and was explicitly told by her father to protect them. Indeed, she still wields the bow of the Omatikaya Olo'eyktan that he left to her. How does she feel? I felt that a lot of thought has gone into Neytiri's emotional journey, but that a lot of it sits on the cutting room floor, and I really hope we get to see more of it in an extended cut.

Neteyam was absolutely lovely. I didn't really fully appreciate his development the first time round, but the more I see his story, the more I feel for him. An absolutely lovely character, and I feel genuinely sad we won't get to see him grow up into the wonderful, kind person he was set to become. Again, I hope we get to see more of him in an extended cut. As I said earlier in this thread, Neytiri and Jake's children are done really well, and Neteyam and Kiri in particular really shine.

Kiri is also a lovely soul, and I feel we got just the right amount of time with her. It was beautiful to see her awareness and the depth of her connection to Eywa and the life of Pandora, and I'm really excited and looking forward to seeing where this takes us in the future. The scenes of her with her parents and exploring the life of the reef still strike me on repeated watching as absolutely magical.

Lo'ak gets a bad rep as being "annoying" but I think his "disappointing other son" development was well done and the fact it gave him something to bond over and build a bridge with Aonung is a nice touch. I hope this relationship doesn't get overlooked in future, as I feel there's a lot of healing and confidence both could gain from that.

Spider is.... problematic. To be clear, I don't hate the character per se, but there are issues. Firstly, there is definitely a "cringe" factor, both in-universe and IRL. In universe, multiple characters explicitly point it out, but it never seems to register with Spider, or cause any emotional reaction at all. It seems clear he would dream of being able to get an avatar or recom body, but never expresses this (nor does Quaritch or Ardmore, even though it's assumedly something the RDA could offer as a bribe in return for info).

So yep, that all comes to a head with Spider saving the genocidal colonial officer in the form of Quartich. I don't go with this, and it runs contrary to the film's key message of anti-colonialism and sincere allyship, as represented so well in 2009 by characters like Trudy, Grace and also by Jake himself. Father-son or not, the idea that saving Quaritch is in any way an understandable or redeemable action is, to me, contrary to the very spirit of the Avatar universe, and the message Cameron was trying to convey. It felt like a jarring kludge of a plot device squeezed in so Quaritch can appear in the sequels, and the feared redemption arc.

The other thing that really hit me was the poor development of the Metkayina culture, on several levels. First and foremost, it felt quite lazily put together, compared to the truly exceptional degree of painstaking thought and development that went into the Omatikaya in Avatar 2009. Not only was the culture given real depth and exploration, but it was also fundamentally different and alien. The Omatikaya climb, run, hunt, rest and sleep on the most precarious tree branches, they squat close the ground, resting on their haunches. They posture, hiss, spit and snarl when warning off an enemy. They are very hands on, touching and feeling, and tasting the blood of the newcomer to learn and understand them. We are left in no doubt that these are not star-trek aliens with funny ears that are otherwise the same as us. The Na’vi of the Omatikaya look alien, but they also are.

Their life, culture and whole experience of the world is fundamentally different - and yet we travel alongside Neytiri and Jake, as she teaches him all of this. We also get to be her student, and we take our time doing so. We learn their language, their values, their skills, their social bonds, celebrations, rituals, their burials, and it is absolutely beautiful.

This is exactly what I was hoping we would get with the Metkayina, but instead we get….. Blue, somewhat bastardised Māori cultural elements with a few pseudo-philosphical soundbites. Not that it matters too much, as we spend pretty much zero time learning about any of it… which might be a blessing in disguise. The exclusive use of English instead of Na’vi in the script really doesn’t help, but my overwhelming feeling with the Metkayina was that they were almost like dreamwalkers trying to live as a Na’vi clan. I just didn’t really warm to them and it felt half-baked.

As an aside, yesterday I rewatched Avatar 2009 (extended, not theatrical), and I was blown away by just how much better developed the culture of the Omatikaya is - and how much trouble they went to with the language. It gives me no pleasure to say it, but it Avatar 2009 is the better film - in my personal opinion - and it certainly comes across much more as a true labour of love, and not a blockbuster.
 
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^ Very thoughtful post. I also hope that there is no redemption arc for Quaritch (who I consider to be the same person as the one from the prior movie). If he does get one then he had better really, really deserve it and...singlehandedly wipe out the entire RDA presence on Pandora, I dunno. I guess Spider's saving of his life is meant to show his own sense of compassion, but I wouldn't have blamed him if he had just left Quaritch in the water. (No - I would have preferred that happen.) I also felt it was a device meant to have Quaritch appear in the next movie, so from a narrative standpoint there had better be a really good reason for it.

Here's something I've been thinking about (though I've still only seen the movie once - too busy!). While watching Quaritch and his team try to "go Na'vi," I hoped that their bonding with ikrans would change them. I hoped that by experiencing the same connection with life that Jake and the Na'vi have, they would understand the preciousness of it all. I looked to see if they would doubt their actions and view Pandora in a more positive light, not as a world to be subjugated but one to be appreciated and preserved. But...no such thing happened. Despite their experience with tsaheylu, they still shot at creatures in the water and burned Na'vi homes down.

Hence, this newer Quaritch is even more horrifying than he was as a human. He can experience Pandora to its fullest (more than Spider can) but he is not moved by it.
 
As I'm not good at putting my thoughts into words, I'll “be quick”. I finally saw the movie today and I have mixed feelings. It definitely wasn't such a mind-blowing experience as I had when I saw the first movie. Still enjoyed it, though. Also, HFR sucks.
 
As I'm not good at putting my thoughts into words, I'll “be quick”. I finally saw the movie today and I have mixed feelings. It definitely wasn't such a mind-blowing experience as I had when I saw the first movie. Still enjoyed it, though. Also, HFR sucks.
I enjoyed HFR
 
It looks weird. IMO, it destroys what makes a movie… a movie.
I'm definitely gonna rewatch it when it comes out on Blu-ray in regular 24fps.
 

Eltu

Administrator
It's an interesting subject! Personally, I don't mind higher framerates at all if they are consistently higher. Then your mind just get used to it and you immerse yourself into the experience pretty quick.

What did ruin it in Way of Water for me, was that they kept changing framerates. That makes it super jarring and really takes you out of the experience (or at least it did for me). Had it been either 24fps or 48fps all the way through, either would have worked great, but the constant back-and-forth is really distracting. Still a bit baffled by that decision, I'm unsure as to why they wouldn't just do the whole thing in HFR... maybe some day some behind-the-scenes commentary will shed some light on that!
 
I watched the movie twelve times, most of those viewings in IMAX or RealD 3D and never even noticed the difference between standard and HFR frame rates.
 

Eltu

Administrator
It's subjective for sure, I think different people just feel differently about frame rate. Same with games, I know people who are perfectly happy playing games at under 30 FPS, and others who feel it's really sluggish unless it's 120 FPS or higher. Likewise I'm sure that a lot of people don't think about the frame rate in Way of Water at all, while for others it's really noticeable!
 
^ Very thoughtful post. I also hope that there is no redemption arc for Quaritch (who I consider to be the same person as the one from the prior movie). If he does get one then he had better really, really deserve it and...singlehandedly wipe out the entire RDA presence on Pandora, I dunno. I guess Spider's saving of his life is meant to show his own sense of compassion, but I wouldn't have blamed him if he had just left Quaritch in the water. (No - I would have preferred that happen.) I also felt it was a device meant to have Quaritch appear in the next movie, so from a narrative standpoint there had better be a really good reason for it.

Same here. I regard him as the same person, with some additional experience which *should* make him a better person, but if anything seems to have done the opposite. The number of people I've seen online who seem to feel that him getting a new physical body completely absolves him of everything he's done is quite worrying.

Here's something I've been thinking about (though I've still only seen the movie once - too busy!). While watching Quaritch and his team try to "go Na'vi," I hoped that their bonding with ikrans would change them. I hoped that by experiencing the same connection with life that Jake and the Na'vi have, they would understand the preciousness of it all. I looked to see if they would doubt their actions and view Pandora in a more positive light, not as a world to be subjugated but one to be appreciated and preserved. But...no such thing happened. Despite their experience with tsaheylu, they still shot at creatures in the water and burned Na'vi homes down.

Hence, this newer Quaritch is even more horrifying than he was as a human. He can experience Pandora to its fullest (more than Spider can) but he is not moved by it.

100% this. I did make this exact same point on... hate to say it, Reddit... and it was not well received. It's one thing to be sat in a plane and press a button to launch a missile at people you've never seen in a settlement you've never been to. It's quite another to torture someone and wipe their village from the face of the world when you are looking right into their soul, talking their language to them, with your toes touching their land. That is another level of horror. Selfridge might be the banality of evil, but Quaritch is it's true and enthusiastic herald. Neytiri calls him vrrtep, and as usual she is completely right.

It's subjective for sure, I think different people just feel differently about frame rate. Same with games, I know people who are perfectly happy playing games at under 30 FPS, and others who feel it's really sluggish unless it's 120 FPS or higher. Likewise I'm sure that a lot of people don't think about the frame rate in Way of Water at all, while for others it's really noticeable!

I must admit, I haven't seen it in 3D or HDR at all, as my local cinema doesn't offer either. I'm not fussed about 3D anyway (it tends just to make me feel a bit nauseous) and I prefer 24fps as makes feel less video-gamey (or cheap TV soapy) and more elegant and beautiful. I did see Avatar 2009 in IMAX 2D, and it was *amazing* but I don't have any IMAX cinemas nearby.
 
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I actually miss Neteyam so much :(:(:( pls tell me I’m not the only one
Definitely not the only one. I'd argue his death is the emotional crux of the entire film.

It works because he's a likable guy you want to see more of. He looks out for his little brother. He wants to grow up to be a warrior like his dad. He makes mistakes and tries to do better. Then he dies before most (if not all) of that can happen. . . almost randomly.

Cameron is really sadistic. It's part of what makes him such a consistently good storyteller. He's knows you gotta make people feel bad to make them feel good.
 
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Definitely not the only one. I'd argue his death is the emotional crux of the entire film.

It works because he's a likable guy you want to see more of. He looks out for his little brother. He wants to grow up to be a warrior like his dad. He makes mistakes and tries to do better. Then he dies before most (if not all) of that can happen. . . almost randomly.

Cameron is really sadistic. It's part of what makes him such a consistently good storyteller. He's knows you gotta make people feel bad to make them feel good.
I've rarely even been touched this deeply by a movie. It was incredible.
I recently had an argue with my best friend about A2. He did not really like TWOW. The biggest point was it superficial telling of the Metkayinas culture compared to the first movie. I get it.....but the story developed to be different one. One more focused on characters. He is a big Star Wars fan, so I get what he means...
 
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