‘The Way of Water,’ ‘Witcher,’ ‘Wonder Woman’ and more

The long-awaited sequel to James Cameron’s epic 2009 sci-fi/fantasy film “Avatar” is finally in theaters. We saw it last night, and we loved it! But not everyone had positive things to say about it. I’ve seen some less than favorable reviews, with critics complaining about the film not being original or deep enough, which I guess is a fair point? The plot is a recycled version of the plot from the first movie, and the characters are clichéd (rebellious teenagers, snarling Marine colonel, etc.).

If you’ve seen the first movie – one of the critics in question admitted she hadn’t – then you know the point is not the story. You aren’t going to see this CGI movie in IMAX 3D expecting to be blown away by the plot. You’re in it because it looks cool. It transports you for three hours to another planet. It’s not “Citizen Kane.”

I know everyone says “Avatar” is a glorified version of “FernGully” or “Pocahontas” but how glorious it is! It’s no wonder the villainous Earth people want to move to Pandora. Who wouldn’t? The water is clean and phosphorescent; the forest is lush and magical.

In this sequel, we are introduced to the reef people, a separate clan from the one in the first film, which introduced the forest people of Pandora. And I know I mentioned in my last post that I have an issue with mer-people but 1) these people don’t have underwater homes so it doesn’t count, and 2) Cameron has said that one of the reasons this was so long coming was because he wanted to get the underwater effects just right, and it looked amazing! It may not be award-winning writing, but visually, it’s just about perfect.

Having said that, I didn’t hate the plot. It’s not subtle in its messages about environmentalism and colonialism, but so what. They’re good messages and bear repeating.

It’s possible this sequel struck a chord because, like me, Jake and Neytiri are now parents of teenagers, so I related to their worries. I was invested; the stakes are high and the action sequences are intense. It was breathtaking but it also had humor, and heart. It’s not going to change your life, but it has everything you want in a sci-fi/fantasy/action movie. If you liked the first one, you won’t be disappointed.

“Avatar 3” is scheduled to be released in December 2024.

Under the Gunn
Patty and Gal

I think I speak for a lot of people when I say, “WTF, James Gunn?” First we find out that he’s not going to direct any more “Guardians of the Galaxy” movies, and now he’s taking over at DC, and the first order of business is apparently to ax the best things DC had going for it: Henry Cavill playing Superman and Patty Jenkins directing the Wonder Woman movies.

Jenkins has reportedly left the third Wonder Woman film over “creative differences.” This came as a shock as the first one was, in this fan’s opinion, DC’s best offering thus far. I can only hope Gal Gadot follows Jenkins to something bigger and better.

Cavill fans were already upset by the announcement in October that he will no longer be playing Geralt of Rivia after Season 3 of “The Witcher,” expected in mid-2023. (Season 4 will feature Liam Hemsworth in the role.) There have been many rumors, but an official explanation has not been given. It was suspected that his return to his Superman role could be the reason. But now we know this isn’t happening either, as Gunn is taking Superman in a different (younger) direction. Cavill announced last week he is working on a “Warhammer” franchise which will be on Amazon. Mystery (sort of) solved.

I don’t know much about “Warhammer” but as long as I get to see Henry in something, I’m happy.

More stuff …
Michelle Yeoh

In other Witcher news, a four-episode prequel miniseries, “The Witcher: Blood Origin,” starring Michelle Yeoh, will be released on Netflix on Dec. 25. I love Yeoh, so I will be watching this one. I was happy to see that she and her wacky sci-fi flick “Everything Everywhere All at Once” have been nominated for Golden Globe and Critics’ Choice Movie awards. Yeoh is also in the aforementioned third installment of “Avatar,” coming in 2024.

If you are looking for something to binge watch, check out the first season of the fantasy series “Shadow and Bone” before the second season comes out March 16. This one is also on Netflix.

One last thing I want to mention is the new trailer for “Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse.” Check it out.

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