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The A-Listers Talk About Avatar: The Way of Water (2022)
From the couple who see a lot of movies because they have AMC A-List.
Patrick: After an unexpected hiatus, the A-Listers are back! And we must start, as we always do, by talking about how terrible AMC is and how we would never go there if it wasn't for A-List. Yes, the Holiday Snack Pack (a large popcorn, two ICEEs, and two candies) is the perfect treat for a long movie like Avatar: The Way of Water, but the app wouldn't show our tickets, people were talking the entire movie, and Prime 3D is not better than IMAX 3D, regardless of what they say.
Taylor: It's certainly been too long! I hope everyone's holiday season has been treating them well. Patrick, as always, I couldn't agree more about AMC. I thought we finally found a less busy, nicer AMC location to frequent, but old habits die hard. This new AMC even has heated seats, but not for Prime 3D?! What's up with that?!
Patrick: Speaking of long waits - Avatar: The Way of Water! After 13 long years, James Cameron brings this highly anticipated follow-up. We're not the biggest Avatar girlies, but was it worth the wait?
Taylor: Was it worth the wait... that is a difficult question to answer, personally. 13 years is a long, long time for a sequel to be made (though not as long a wait as Incredibles 2!) and normally I would say expectations were high because of that wait, but after rewatching the first film during its theatrical re-release, my expectations became much lower... which I think actually made this film better for me! I found it to be infinitely stronger than the first in almost every way - visuals, CGI, story, script. But that doesn't mean I'd be anxiously awaiting a third.
Patrick: The more the film got delayed, the easier it became to make fun of James Cameron. "Do you really need that much time? Are you really innovating that much or are you posturing?" Then this comes out and I go, "Yeah, I'm an idiot! Why did I doubt him!" Everything that they did technically with the 3D, frame rate changes, underwater sequences, motion capture - it was really stunning. See it in 3D on the biggest screen or don't see it. But yes, it feels like a sequel to a 2009 movie. Sam Worthington!
Taylor: It really was visually stunning. I saw Avatar for the first time over several class periods... during the last weeks of school... on a school projector... and didn't watch it again until the re-release. I think James Cameron would shrivel up and die if he knew that's how I watched the original film, so I feel like I righted my wrongs by watching this in Prime 3D. If you think you might see this movie at some point, but you don't think it's a priority, just suck it up and do it while it's in theaters. You'll thank me later. But yes, it is definitely still a 2009 movie. The whole cast, really, is stuck in the past with Sam Worthington being the most obvious. Even the dream-state Sigourney Weaver(s) feels odd and post-mortem (beyond the context of the movie).
Patrick: Cameron is a technical magician, he's like the next Georges Méliès. I'm glad that he brought some co-writers onto this project (Rick Jaffa and Amanda Silver of Planet of the Apes trilogy fame) to give the script that extra zhuzh. Cameron can be his own worst enemy when it comes to exposition - we talked about this during our appearance on Sivako: The Road to Avatar, where we talked to Shaun about The Terminator. Characters will literally stop running in the middle of a chase scene to YELL EXPOSITION! Because he already had a whole movie's worth of exposition, a five-minute monologue at the front gave us all we needed to know, and then we were off on our three-hour journey (it's too long! I understand what they are doing, trying to make the most movie possible, but it's too long!) This movie's story requires a step back, giving yourself over and trusting the filmmakers. If you do, it'll be worth it.
Taylor: I truly couldn't be happier with the outcome with the additional writers on board. It is too long... I've said this on every inch of the internet I can find, but I'm going to say it again - this version should be an extended cut. From the hour mark to roughly the next 45 minutes, it's just beautiful scenes of the water. Which was cool! But should be optional! Extended cuts are for people who want to dive deeper (no pun intended) into a film, and this is exactly what this feels like.
Patrick: I know that you said you weren't dying to see Avatar 3 (and 4 and 5 and 6), but I kind of am. I don't want to have to wait another 13 years. At the very least, I just want to see how the hell they're going to keep this up. How long will they keep reincarnating or not-quite-killing Stephen Lang's character, keeping him the primary villain? Will that get old or will his crazy fun performance keep it from ever being boring? How many more babies can the Sullys have? HOW MANY GIOVANNI RIBISI CAMEOS CAN WE GET?
Taylor: If a new one comes out, I'll continue to go. That said, I'm genuinely so impressed with this iteration that I kind of want James Cameron to take these two co-writers and explore a new adventure. I think Pandora could feel fatigued very quickly if it's overdone. And, not that you asked, but Stephen Lang's character is already fatigued for me.
Patrick: From my understanding, each film will have different billed co-writers, but they all worked on every movie. Planet of the Apes trilogy next? It does feature Andy Serkis as a freakin' ape.
Taylor: Interesting. I can't say no to an Andy Serkis performance. Anyway, I hate to pick the practicality of a fabricated world apart, and there are much more interesting parts of Avatar to discuss rather than logistics, but I have to ask: If Jake Sully has enough human blood in his Avatar form to cause a give finger birth defect... how do they otherwise look identical to all other Na'vi people?
Patrick: I'm sure they explained it and we're too stupid to get it. Isn't that probably the root cause of most of our dumb little problems with these movies?
Taylor: You may be right, or we're just too overwhelmed with things going on in this ginormous film to assume the answers weren't in plain sight.
Patrick: What's the AMC candy that people should get when they see Avatar: The Way of Water? Blue ICEEs, obviously.
Taylor: Blue ICEEs are the most on-theme, but it's always gonna be a Coke-Fanta Cherry blend for me. When it comes to candy, you have to go with the Nerds Gummy Clusters, or, if you're lucky and they have them, Sour Skittles. I'm salivating thinking about it.
Patrick: Your experience is not complete without an ICEE, some candy, and the guy behind you saying, "That's what a father gotta do!" anytime Jake Sully disciplined his kids.
Taylor: His commentary, at every moment throughout the movie, was much-needed comedic relief even when it felt endless and annoying. What a guy.
Patrick: Thanks for reading, folks.
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