Avatar 2 - The Way of Water (2022)

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shevek
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So, people waited for what - two decades? - for what is being acclaimed as a visually stunning immersive cinematic masterpiece.
They got what they waited for, but is it worth watching? No.
If you want "visually stunning", you can go watch Valerian and Laureline instead - that, or Fifth Element (just to sufficiently namedrop Luc Besson) is more visually stunning and a whole lot more interesting (even if the acting isn't that great). Dune was good, too, at least in that respect.

This movie stretches a predictable "rebel against the evil killer white guy" story into more than three hours, when it could have done it in less than two. The reviews that say this movie "holds your attention" are wrong. It does not. I was nodding off several times during the monotonous parts: probably one-third of the whole movie is sequences where the Na'vi natives are flying through the air on creatures, or speeding through the water on creatures, or leaping through the jungle inhabited by lots of creatures, etc. And the point is not to tell the story but to impress everyone with the current state of CGI. If I wanted that, I would watch a CGI demo instead of a movie.

The premise of the movie, which makes it as lengthy as it is, is lacking. Jake Sully wants to avoid his adopted tribe being destroyed by the colonist army, so he flees with his family to keep both his tribe and his family "safe". But then he simply joins up with *another* tribe, and then subsequently endangers both that new tribe *and* his family (lots of horrible things happen to them in the final act). So what was the point of running at all? (Obviously, the point is to be able to insert all those long impressive CGI sequences).

Furthermore, Sully doesn't get to kill the evil Marine mercenary who's been hunting him down relentlessly during the entire movie. This is because Cameron wants to make THREE more movies, and he's so lazy that instead of inventing new villains for Jake to fight, he has to keep resurrecting the same one over and over. This villain (Quaritch) is such a caricature that it's a chore to watch him do anything in *one* film, let alone three more
games of where in Pandora is Jake Sandiego.

However, with all of this being a major waste of time, there's still one thing I've got to commend about the Avatar production, and this came to my mind while thinking about the aquatic Metkayina tribe (very Polynesian, right down to the face tattoos and symbiosis with whale creatures etc, but colored blue). The Metkayina reminded me a lot of the terrible Mayan/Aztec mashup Atlanteans (led by Prince...uh...'Nahmorrrrr') from Black Panther 2, but done much better.

My point: almost every character in the film is some kind of blue-skinned Na'vi of one tribe or another. But they are played by white actors, black actors, and even a Maori actor (Cliff Curtis). Why? Because these are motion-captured CGI characters, and it doesn't at all matter what the race of any of them is, as long as they can voice-act the part (and if you can believe it, 73-year-old Sigourney Weaver acts the living hell out of the part of Kiri, a petulant half-breed Na'vi teenager!). Yet, in so many other of these animated and live-actions, there's somehow this incredible need for ultra-precise 'race-matching' (for example, making sure they found the only Pakistani-North American Muslim teenager who could play Kamala Khan, instead of probably a hundred Hindu/Indian teens who could have also played the part and nobody would have cared).

So, I guess the thing I liked best about this movie (other than all the lithe nearly-naked Na'vi females) is that to a large extent it preserves the old way of casting such blockbusters: hire the actor who has the most powerful agent....uh, I mean, the best actor for the part!

Avoid. Or at least, don't pay for this.
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Good to know that even when you get what you want, you'll still find a way to turn it into bitching.
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After the trailer(s), I'm not really hyped but I definitely will watch this one in the cinema in 3D, everything else would be ....wrong.
I guess I will watch it in early January.
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The trailer is mawkish, the aesthetic leaves me cold - fun for a short film maybe, but three hours?
Tempted to watch it for the 3D, and maybe it makes Alita 2 more likely.
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ivandobsky wrote:
1 year ago
The trailer is mawkish, the aesthetic leaves me cold - fun for a short film maybe, but three hours?
Tempted to watch it for the 3D, and maybe it makes Alita 2 more likely.
Hope that's the case. Then at least Cameron will fulfill the "blood oath" he claims he made with Rodriguez.

I respect how the director of Aliens, Terminator and Dark Angel (all good things) sticks to 80s/90s filmmaker-speak when talking about inspirations for his movie. (George Lucas' 'biomes as planets' transferred to the idea of introducing different Na'vi cultures in this LOTR-esque saga. So what if they can all instantly understand each other? We don't have time to create five different languages because we're too busy working on all the CGI.)
He doesn't kowtow to Current Year goalpost-shifting, and the so-called "boycott" was basically ignored.

I do think there's an inherent flaw in the concept that two alien species which evolved on two different planets can actually interbreed, but that's a trope that occurs in innumerable respected sci-fi franchises because they're all usually just allegories for the human experience, anyway (and all humans can interbreed).
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shevek wrote:
1 year ago
I do think there's an inherent flaw in the concept that two alien species which evolved on two different planets can actually interbreed,
I don't know the Avatar story, but sounds like "panspermia" - the aliens have common ancestors that came from outer space.
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Damselbinder wrote:
1 year ago
Good to know that even when you get what you want, you'll still find a way to turn it into bitching.
Not at all caustic and so unlike Damsel to avoid missing a chance to write a short post criticizing someone for wanting to vent.
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Never understood the appeal of Avatar. As we observed when it first came out, it’s just a trite plot of Pocahontas in space. The characters were entirely one-dimensional with no complexity and the plot was utterly predictable.
This second version is more of the same with over-simplistic messaging.
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Not sure I'd want to watch a 3 hour Unreal engine demo.
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Mr. X wrote:
1 year ago
Not sure I'd want to watch a 3 hour Unreal engine demo.
I'd happily watch that length of video about how to implement it.
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I can't wait to see the film. If I know going in that a particular film or show has a POV or political message or agenda, I can still go into the theatre and enjoy the film. One of my favorite shows of the aughts was NBC's The West Wing, and lord knows that show was tilted in a certain ideological direction.
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Its the 3 hour thing that would drive me away. That and no real compelling story. As for the ideological thing I don't mind if the story is good. The Boys comes to mind on that.
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The first one was shit. The future of mankind is that
Spoiler
We can't blow up a tree. We have precision guided missiles that can travel thousands of miles why bother with a task force - oh yeah because of a piss poor weak plot that has been done countless times before (soldier goes native? Never been done before oh apart from all the times it has) tarted up in visuals to hide the fact it hung together about aswell as a Russian invasion plan
Why waste more hours of your life for more of the same under water. The only thing that could save it for me would be Esther Williams making a cameo and she's dead.

Like something because it's good not because everyone else tells you it's good.

Right I won't rain on anyone's parade anymore I hope it's good and you enjoy it if it's your thing.
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tallyho wrote:
1 year ago
The first one was shit. The future of mankind is that
Spoiler
We can't blow up a tree. We have precision guided missiles that can travel thousands of miles why bother with a task force - oh yeah because of a piss poor weak plot that has been done countless times before (soldier goes native? Never been done before oh apart from all the times it has) tarted up in visuals to hide the fact it hung together about aswell as a Russian invasion plan
Why waste more hours of your life for more of the same under water. The only thing that could save it for me would be Esther Williams making a cameo and she's dead.

Like something because it's good not because everyone else tells you it's good.

Right I won't rain on anyone's parade anymore I hope it's good and you enjoy it if it's your thing.
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So what made the whale juice so valuable? Love how nothing in this world can be synthesized.
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I liked it, but it's definitely a middle movie in a series deal and not a main event like the first one.

One of those have a pee before you start movies too, even if you don't think you need one, you're going to with three hours of ocean malarkey ahead of you.
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tallyho wrote:
1 year ago
The first one was shit. The future of mankind is that
Spoiler
We can't blow up a tree. We have precision guided missiles that can travel thousands of miles why bother with a task force - oh yeah because of a piss poor weak plot that has been done countless times before (soldier goes native? Never been done before oh apart from all the times it has) tarted up in visuals to hide the fact it hung together about aswell as a Russian invasion plan

The military force in the first movie is not the US Marines or something big and governmentally backed (which presumably still exist as nation states still seem to and Sully was a marine). Seen a few people make this mistake. They are private security guys.

They're the futuristic equivalent of the guys that Brazilian companies hire to go into the Amazon and make villages of natives disappear, or in historical terms the Pinkertons (still around in some form) or East India Company. Which means they don't have the cruise missiles, they don't have the tanks, or the aircraft. They have that one big chungus command ship, some little half arsed gunship/transports and that's kind of it.

The final battle of the first Avatar is them attempting a full on assault with what is clearly an improvised bomber made from a shuttle. They put like sandbags and stuff on it. I mean it's a spaceship in its own right, and they're stacking up sandbags, setting up MG nests and preparing to roll what looks like a big pallet of mining explosives off the back.

Baffled how people saw that and thought, "Yeap, that's definitely the best that the US military could have in this universe."

It's a light air mobile company and they do the full General Custer because the commander has big dick energy and a mech suit that can knife fight.


I imagine later in the series we might see the actual military, and I can't wait.
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Dogfish wrote:
1 year ago
They are private security guys.

They're the futuristic equivalent of the guys that Brazilian companies hire to go into the Amazon and make villages of natives disappear, or in historical terms the Pinkertons (still around in some form) or East India Company. Which means they don't have the cruise missiles, they don't have the tanks, or the aircraft. They have that one big chungus command ship, some little half arsed gunship/transports and that's kind of it.
Yes, that would explain why Quaritch is so obsessed with hunting down Jake. He doesn't have to follow military protocol.

The obvious real life example that I'm thinking of would be Blackwater. But there are lots of smaller PMCs out there.

BTW, at our shoot last week, actress Jess Z (who plays Chlorina) had a tattoo on her arm which said "We Never Sleep".
I'd seen those words and the "unblinking eye" graphic repeatedly over the past 30 years (for example, it's a record label from Denver)
but I never knew (until she told me) that it's the motto of the Pinkertons!
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Honestly never really cared for the first one, as big a fan of Cameron as I am from ALIENS and Terminator and the trailers for this looked pretty boring. I guess it's a visually stunning film, but Ridley Scott has been getting away with that same crap for awhile now making crap movies, lol. I also think way too much time has passed for there to be much hype about the sequel, especially during a time people are still pretty wary about going back to the movies and just waiting for streaming options.
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shevek wrote:
1 year ago
ivandobsky wrote:
1 year ago
The trailer is mawkish, the aesthetic leaves me cold - fun for a short film maybe, but three hours?
Tempted to watch it for the 3D, and maybe it makes Alita 2 more likely.
Hope that's the case. Then at least Cameron will fulfill the "blood oath" he claims he made with Rodriguez.

I respect how the director of Aliens, Terminator and Dark Angel (all good things) sticks to 80s/90s filmmaker-speak when talking about inspirations for his movie. (George Lucas' 'biomes as planets' transferred to the idea of introducing different Na'vi cultures in this LOTR-esque saga. So what if they can all instantly understand each other? We don't have time to create five different languages because we're too busy working on all the CGI.)
He doesn't kowtow to Current Year goalpost-shifting, and the so-called "boycott" was basically ignored.

I do think there's an inherent flaw in the concept that two alien species which evolved on two different planets can actually interbreed, but that's a trope that occurs in innumerable respected sci-fi franchises because they're all usually just allegories for the human experience, anyway (and all humans can interbreed).
There's no reason for them to have different languages as they're still functionally part of the same system. They all plug into the Big Planet God Hub at whatever point on the planet they are and then go from there. They're not developing language like humans do. I think this was highlighted by the fact that everybody was fine speaking normally above the water because that's how they think/communicate with the Big Planet God and so on, but when it came to the local sign language for diving the forest smurfs were stumped. You don't talk to the Big Planet God with underwater hand signals, so that was a language they didn't know, that hadn't come through the network.


The thing with the breeding is weirder, because the body that Scully had through the Avatar project was already a version of him fudged to pass as na'vi, so might have been close enough that things worked out.

Big Spoilers:
Spoiler
The thing is, Jake's now artificial alien body built on Earth (I think?) so his kids are not biologically 'his' in the sense of a connection to his ancestors, they're something new. This was an issue that the Colonel faced with his own son now that he's got a na'vi body of his own too. They spelled it out to him, he's not your biological kid any more. But that's clearly way more complicated than that. Quaritch has the potential for an extremely interesting arc of his own occupying at this point a kind of Darth Vader at the end of Empire position. Fatherhood has been acknowledged, then rejected. I don't think his next move is as easy as him just coming back all Captain Ahab looking for another go at Sully.
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shevek wrote:
1 year ago
Dogfish wrote:
1 year ago
They are private security guys.

They're the futuristic equivalent of the guys that Brazilian companies hire to go into the Amazon and make villages of natives disappear, or in historical terms the Pinkertons (still around in some form) or East India Company. Which means they don't have the cruise missiles, they don't have the tanks, or the aircraft. They have that one big chungus command ship, some little half arsed gunship/transports and that's kind of it.
Yes, that would explain why Quaritch is so obsessed with hunting down Jake. He doesn't have to follow military protocol.

The obvious real life example that I'm thinking of would be Blackwater. But there are lots of smaller PMCs out there.

BTW, at our shoot last week, actress Jess Z (who plays Chlorina) had a tattoo on her arm which said "We Never Sleep".
I'd seen those words and the "unblinking eye" graphic repeatedly over the past 30 years (for example, it's a record label from Denver)
but I never knew (until she told me) that it's the motto of the Pinkertons!
Yeah there's also the Wagner Group, the Russian mob who pop up all over Africa and Syria doing warcrimes on the cheap*. It's been a boom industry for a while now.

I didn't know that was the Pinkerton motto. Suitably creepy. Take a nap lads, maybe you'll mellow out some. Had a google, they're owned by Securitas AB now, so I presume all their strikebreakers now talk like that Muppet-show chef.




*Happily getting fed en masse into a Ukrainian wood chipper at the moment.
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Spoiler
so the whale brain fluid stops aging in humans.
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Dogfish wrote:
1 year ago


The military force in the first movie is not the US Marines or something big and governmentally backed (which presumably still exist as nation states still seem to and Sully was a marine). Seen a few people make this mistake. They are private security guys.

They're the futuristic equivalent of the guys that Brazilian companies hire to go into the Amazon and make villages of natives disappear, or in historical terms the Pinkertons (still around in some form) or East India Company. Which means they don't have the cruise missiles, they don't have the tanks, or the aircraft. They have that one big chungus command ship, some little half arsed gunship/transports and that's kind of it.

The final battle of the first Avatar is them attempting a full on assault with what is clearly an improvised bomber made from a shuttle. They put like sandbags and stuff on it. I mean it's a spaceship in its own right, and they're stacking up sandbags, setting up MG nests and preparing to roll what looks like a big pallet of mining explosives off the back.

Baffled how people saw that and thought, "Yeap, that's definitely the best that the US military could have in this universe."

It's a light air mobile company and they do the full General Custer because the commander has big dick energy and a mech suit that can knife fight.


I imagine later in the series we might see the actual military, and I can't wait.
They were employed by if not part of (I personally assumed they were part of) the richest corporation on the planet with a monopoly on the rarest item in the galaxy that can afford to send a colony to the far reaches of the universe but can't afford an ICBM? Or to retro Engineer one? And that's not a gaping plot hole for you? It's a tree FFS all you need is a delivery system a guidance system and a payload.

Equally if the bomber is what the natives have to worry about use their gunship to get in close and shoot it down with the element of surprise instead of buggering about with her former squadron members


I never pay much attention to the jingoistic booh ya bollocks in US films when ever they show pseudo military ops and by the end of the first dire offering I was paying even less attention than usual as everything happening was badly contrived for effect. I didn't think 'that's the best the US military can offer' as the 'story' had lost me long before, I wasnt wasting anymore time thinking about a plot that could be written on a postage stamp. But why have sandbags on the bomber at all when you have ranged weapons accurate at hundreds of yards if not a mile or two and you are up against guys with arrows and spears

So if it's a shuttle converted to drop bombs why doesn't it just fly high over the target and drop them if guided munitions are so impossible for them to get ? Or fly high and then swoop down low for the bomb run like most ground attack aircraft do when they don't have to worry about SAMs shooting them down? Oh yeah because then they wouldn't have been attacked. They don't use scouts, they don't use drones, they don't scan for heat signatures I mean it's like a Russian military op . Why bother sending in ground units at all in aerial assault

Dammit I wasn't gonna post again. Right if you wanna address any of those issues above PM me rather than derail a thread on Avatar 2 ( shouldn't it be Avatars?) by us going back and forth about Avatar 1. (No malice at my end this is just a discussion, it's the film I hate, not you)

But suffice to say I'm not a fan but I will leave this thread to A2 discussion from now on.

Hope all you Avatar fans enjoy it.
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Dogfish wrote:
1 year ago
One of those have a pee before you start movies too, even if you don't think you need one, you're going to with three hours of ocean malarkey ahead of you.
Don't opt for the large drink is a lesson I learn at the cinema most times I go.
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ivandobsky wrote:
1 year ago
Dogfish wrote:
1 year ago
One of those have a pee before you start movies too, even if you don't think you need one, you're going to with three hours of ocean malarkey ahead of you.
Don't opt for the large drink is a lesson I learn at the cinema most times I go.
I flat out bring food in. They don't care, at least where I go. I've brought a small back pack with some diet cokes and snacks. Only thing I might buy is popcorn. But yeah a giant coke is going to make you go however supposedly you could walk out in parts of this movie and miss nothing but scenery. I wonder if its cheaper to run render farms than pay actors.
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Dogfish wrote:
1 year ago
There's no reason for them to have different languages as they're still functionally part of the same system. They all plug into the Big Planet God Hub at whatever point on the planet they are and then go from there. They're not developing language like humans do. I think this was highlighted by the fact that everybody was fine speaking normally above the water because that's how they think/communicate with the Big Planet God and so on, but when it came to the local sign language for diving the forest smurfs were stumped. You don't talk to the Big Planet God with underwater hand signals, so that was a language they didn't know, that hadn't come through the network.
This is yet another reason why I think Cameron is clearly riveted in the 80s/90s aesthetic of "save the world" liberal moviemaking, and why
the Current Year boycotters (who promote division through Marginalization Olympics, rather than unity) are having an as-yet-rather-unsuccessful go at him.

This whole thing about the Big Planet God - although to some it might seem like a reference to more recent climate change hysteria and political hivemind behavior - really does hearken back to all the post-hippie enviro trends of the Gen-X era roughly between Terminator and Titanic: Greenpeace protests, We Are the World, Captain Planet, Earth Day, Burning Man, PETA, Lilith Fair, the Gaia Hypothesis, etc.

The concept is played out, but sure, I suppose it does understand why the Na'vi from every biome on Pandora can instantly understand each other.
So somehow, they didn't "evolve" languages over time like humans do, even though time progresses on Pandora just like anywhere else, yet they did create words, grammar and syntax that sound and look very much like an "evolved" language from Earth. That's the limitation of being able to pull yourself out from under your own inherent preconceptions when world-building.

Tolkien wanted to create a mythical Europe; Cameron wants to create a mythical Hippie Humanity of Noble Savages. So be it.
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TLDR

James Cameron made another animated movie and it allowed him to take up residence in the heads of 90% of film goers
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shevek wrote:
1 year ago
Dogfish wrote:
1 year ago
There's no reason for them to have different languages as they're still functionally part of the same system. They all plug into the Big Planet God Hub at whatever point on the planet they are and then go from there. They're not developing language like humans do. I think this was highlighted by the fact that everybody was fine speaking normally above the water because that's how they think/communicate with the Big Planet God and so on, but when it came to the local sign language for diving the forest smurfs were stumped. You don't talk to the Big Planet God with underwater hand signals, so that was a language they didn't know, that hadn't come through the network.
This is yet another reason why I think Cameron is clearly riveted in the 80s/90s aesthetic of "save the world" liberal moviemaking, and why
the Current Year boycotters (who promote division through Marginalization Olympics, rather than unity) are having an as-yet-rather-unsuccessful go at him.

This whole thing about the Big Planet God - although to some it might seem like a reference to more recent climate change hysteria and political hivemind behavior - really does hearken back to all the post-hippie enviro trends of the Gen-X era roughly between Terminator and Titanic: Greenpeace protests, We Are the World, Captain Planet, Earth Day, Burning Man, PETA, Lilith Fair, the Gaia Hypothesis, etc.

The concept is played out, but sure, I suppose it does understand why the Na'vi from every biome on Pandora can instantly understand each other.
So somehow, they didn't "evolve" languages over time like humans do, even though time progresses on Pandora just like anywhere else, yet they did create words, grammar and syntax that sound and look very much like an "evolved" language from Earth. That's the limitation of being able to pull yourself out from under your own inherent preconceptions when world-building.

Tolkien wanted to create a mythical Europe; Cameron wants to create a mythical Hippie Humanity of Noble Savages. So be it.
The folks pushing for boycotts and stuff badly missed the point I think.

There were folks complaining about native representation and so on, but the thing is, the na'vi aren't representing all natives. Cameron found out that there were tribes in the Amazon fighting against bulldozers and mercenaries with bows and arrows to protect the rainforest, and this was clearly the most baller shit he'd ever heard of, and so he made Avatar. And because he thought these little jungle scrappers were the coolest people he ever saw, he put them up on screen as eight foot tall Giga-Chad Smurfs.

The movies are about the contemporary destruction of the environment, not past colonial injustices. Which is why folks from north American native tribes and others have been told to take a number and sit.

Not sure I buy that view of the Na'vi much either. They're not distinct from the ecosystem, which is a huge difference to most alien species folks come up with. Any given na'vi can enter a state of symbiosis with any given large creature on the planet. They were not world-built as a bunch of lads on a weird planet, they were designed as part of the planet. Their motivations are more interesting too. Instead of dicking around deciding who is in charge or who gets to name any given piece of ground, they're basically gardeners.

That motivation is perfect for what they are, and explains the huge problem with nearly all fantasy races and societies which is "Lads, how come you've been living at a Ren Faire for literally thousands of years?"

The other very interesting quirk of the Avatar worldbuilding is the nature of the creatures. No mammals, no birds, no bugs, they often have vertical symmetry but there's no default number of limbs. They do seem to have fish. Like, actual, by the numbers, recognisable fish. But are fish the universal ancestor like on Earth, or are fish just there because fish are probably the first vertebrates to evolve anywhere?

The lack of insects and small birds is interesting, because if those were under the control of a hivemind they'd be the most dangerous thing on the planet. Bird strikes are no joke. Nor is having every single vent, exhaust, intake or other orifice packed solid with flies.
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I think the complaint is about the "white savior complex" theme hollywood puts out.
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Meh, not going to sour this thread.
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As far as I am aware of, no one is being forced at gunpoint to go out and see this film. I hope everybody is enjoying their Christmas and focusing on the positive aspects in their lives. Merry Christmas everyone!
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I removed a post on political discussion, let's keep it about the movie gents

Merry Christmas
How strange are the ways of the gods ...........and how cruel.

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Dogfish
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Mr. X wrote:
1 year ago
I think the complaint is about the "white savior complex" theme hollywood puts out.
See that's why I don't buy it. That saviour complex is extremely common. Now it's a problem? Meh. Some people just live to find reasons to be mad about popular things.
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Mr. X
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Dogfish wrote:
1 year ago
Mr. X wrote:
1 year ago
I think the complaint is about the "white savior complex" theme hollywood puts out.
See that's why I don't buy it. That saviour complex is extremely common. Now it's a problem? Meh. Some people just live to find reasons to be mad about popular things.
How about we just talk about the movie. ;)
Dogfish
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The big fish was cool.
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Mr. X
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Dogfish wrote:
1 year ago
The big fish was cool.
Fishes are cool and magical.
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tallyho
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Mr. X wrote:
1 year ago
Dogfish wrote:
1 year ago
The big fish was cool.
Fishes are cool and magical.
You're thinking of Magicians
How strange are the ways of the gods ...........and how cruel.

I am here to help one and all enjoy this site, so if you have any questions or feel you are being trolled please contact me (Hit the 'CONTACT' little speech bubble below my Avatar).
Lurkndog
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I felt that the first Avatar was worth seeing, on sheer spectacle and technical artistry alone. And I do mean alone, because the story was 100% recycled material.

I think the second movie will be the same. I plan to see it at some point, when it is convenient and inexpensive to do so.

I'm keeping my expectations low.
bushwackerbob
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I finally got around to seeing Avatar 2 last week. I enjoyed it, I had a good time, although I think any film at three hours plus is going to drag a bit. Thumbs up for me. Seeing Cameron's visually cinematic masterpiece was a treat, this is one of those films that I don't think translates to a big screen TV scale.
Chhow
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I love the first avatar, so I don't want to watch the second part. I'm afraid it might ruin the experience. Not yet ready to immerse myself in this film for three hours
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