October 2, 2022

(certain points inspired by Sean Chandler)

Unofficial Poster

            In less than a week, Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness will hit theatres. Many fans are excited for all of the possible cameos the film has to offer, along with the return of Sam Raimi as a director for a comic book movie. I am among those people. However, there’s many speculations that the Avatar: The Way of Water teaser will screen in front of Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. Although this hasn’t been confirmed by DISNEY, MANY articles have been talking about this. If this is true, that makes even more excited to see it on May 6th. Regardless if this is true, I am so ready for this Avatar sequel. It is set to release this Christmas. That being said, I like many movie lovers am not a big fan of the original Avatar. So why is a sequel to a movie I don’t particularly love? And why do I think it’s not getting nearly as much hype as it deserves, well here’s why but first….

Context:

Why I don’t Love the First Avatar Film

            Like so many others, I am a massive fan of James Cameron’s filmography. He is one of the only directors working today whose name is just as, if not more famous than the actors in his movies. He is a genius and one of the kings of science fiction films. However, just like many of his fans I am extremely frustrated that he has decided to spend 30 years of his life to only make Avatar films. Out of the core films he has written and directed, I think that Avatar is by far his weakest film. I don’t think it’s a bad movie. There are many positive aspects in the film. Obviously, it is an INCREDIBLE achievement in technological filmmaking. I wasn’t old enough to go see it in a theatre in 2009 but watching it today, I can’t imagine just how beautiful it must’ve been to experience the world of Pandora on the big screen. There’s a reason it’s the highest grossing movie of all time. So many people saw it multiple times because it must’ve been a film that was so beautiful for its time that they couldn’t resist seeing it more than once.

            Speaking of Pandora, this film contains some of the best world building in any film period. The NAVI, the animals and plants, the “rules” of this place is incredible on a creative level. Yeah sure the animals are essentially hybrids of real species but still very impressive. Of course, it’s great in the main elements of a movie. Direction of the action, cinematography, a good score etc. However, 2 main aspects of this film that are very mediocre.

            I’ll cut to the chase, the characters and story are not good. On paper, the story is pretty good, but it’s been told so many times. It’s the same story template of films like Dances with Wolves, Pocahontas, Ferngully, The Last Samurai, A Man Called Horse and perhaps more than that.

A former defame military white man goes primitive, falls in love with the culture he’s ran into, and battles the advanced military that’s causing danger to the people who would’ve been screwed if it weren’t for the white man. It’s a common story structure, and it’s not really a negative. All films are influenced by already existing material in some way shape or form. The problem is that it’s too obvious in this movie that several scenes just remind me of other films that it takes me away from the experience. What it makes even more frustrating is that it makes it not as great as James’s 6 other films where he had more imagination in regard to the story and not be so laser-focused on the world he was creating.

            It’s the same case of the characters as well. Sure, their appearances are memorable, but every character’s personality is so generic and wooden. Do you remember a single character’s personality? Probably not.

            All of those issues I have, makes Avatar such a frustrating experience while watching it and after it’s over. It irritates me that James Cameron decided to make so many sequels to a film that’s not interesting. All of that said though there are reasons why I am excited for Avatar 2.

You NEVER underestimate James Cameron

            I mentioned early on that James Cameron is a genius and one of the kings of science fiction films. James Cameron has released 2 sequels in the past: Aliens and Terminator 2 Judgment Day. Both of those films are highly regarded as some of, if not the greatest sequels ever made! James Cameron is equally a master of handling sequels to films as he is with science fiction. I’m not going to discuss how he’s excellent with sequels. The YouTube channel, “Lessons from the Screenplay” made a great video on how James Cameron makes sequels.

            So, James Cameron is amazing at handling sequels. Is there more to say about his filmography? ABSOLUTELY! The last 2 movies he wrote and directed became the highest grossing movie ever made, until Avengers Endgame needed 22 movies and over a decade of buildup to temporarily beat James Cameron’s record! Avatar vs Titanic: Which James Cameron Movie Was More Influential?

            That’s the type of filmmaker James Cameron is. You never underestimate someone who can do what I had just mentioned. I am just as skeptical about Avatar 2 as anyone, but it’s James Cameron! And no other filmmaker has a better track record with sequels than James Cameron and Avatar 2 is his first sequel in 31 years!

On set of 20th Century Studios’ AVATAR 2. Photo by Mark Fellman.

            It is absolutely absurd that in the past 24 years, James Cameron has only made one movie. Now, his next 4 movies are all sequels to that one movie, which would make a 30-year time period where he only makes Avatar films. However, when you’re James Cameron and you’re “the king of the world” and you made back to back box office giants with Titanic and Avatar, you have permission to do whatever you want. I as a fan, will give you the benefit of the doubt, while ranting and complaining that I wish you did something different to do. I am worried that the script will be too outdated, and the film won’t do as well as many expect. HOWEVER, I GOT TO BE HONEST, I DESPERATELY WANT TO SEE THE FILM JAMES CAMERON HAS BEEN CRAFTING FOR THE LAST 13 YEARS WITH THIS AVATAR SEQUEL!!!!

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Ian Kim

I’m just a Gator who loves to talk about movies way too much

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