James Cameron’s Avatar is comparable to his Terminator movies in that a so-so science fiction flick is followed by a sequel that totally blows it out of the ocean. The Way Of Water at the start seems underwhelming, too much like a visual and narrative rehash of its predecessor, until you’re spirited away to a new world and the brilliant title concept comes into play.
The gist is simple. Several years have passed. “The sky people”, led by a resurrected and vengeful Colonel Quaritch, have returned to Pandora. The Sully family; Jack and Neytiri now have three kids of their own and two they’ve adopted; are therefore forced to leave the Omatikaya in order to keep them safe from harm, which eventually endangers their new Metkayina friends.
Everything about this Avatar is better than the original. It’s an aquatic, ultimately Titanic, adventure. The characterization is especially improved. Jack and Neytiri are actually likable here and their daughters, along with their son’s potential girlfriend Tsireya, provide plenty moments of cuteness. It’s a tulkun (whale) named Payakan though who’ll steal your heart.
my rating : 5 of 5
The war-driven plot may be a racy historical metaphor, but that’s about as far out on an artistic limb James Cameron is willing to go. Everything else about Avatar, his first movie since the great Titanic, is safe and sound, often to the point of being cliché; a fact its surprisingly stodgy dialogue and cartoonish characterization give away right from the beginning.
In a future world where Earth people fly to other places in search of mineral goods, a marine named Jake Sully infiltrates moon Pandora; home of a race of tall blue cat-people with long tails and braided hair. He does so with a team of scientists via the Avatar program, which allows them to live on Pandora as Navi creatures without really being there.
It’s imaginative science fiction and the world of Pandora is a visual wonder. There are strange creatures, big and small, and awe-inspiring landscapes that sort of make you want to visit a place like that in real life. The story; a mythological fairy tale based around eye-rollingly unnecessary themes of religion and romance; never lives up to the hype.
my rating : 3 of 5
video review : Avatar : The Way Of Water
If you’re thinking of adopting a child, you may want to think twice, then a few more times, because some kids come home with more luggage than you bargained for. The orphan in this movie; a nine-year-old girl named Esther; is very bad. That’s part of the problem. She’s too bad too quick; a fact that, even given the big revelation at the end, strains the believability of a plot that is otherwise engaging and plausible.
My favorite character is the deaf girl; Ester’s new “sister”. She’s cute, but I also like the parents, particularly the father Ester plays the role of Daddy’s little girl to while former-alcoholic Mommy raises her eyebrows in suspicion. It’s a silly story in the sense that not enough reason is given for all the extreme things Ester does when she does them, but it works well for what it is; essentially a psycho killer thriller.
my rating : 4 of 5
video review : Orphan : First Kill