The reviews are in for James Cameron’s long-awaited sequel to his 2009 hit “Avatar.”
While some enjoyed the cinematic experience of “Avatar: The Way of Water,” others weren’t impressed. That said, the film received a respectable score of 80% on Rotten Tomatoes.
The Guardian’s Peter Bradshaw gave the film a lousy two out of five stars calling it a “three trillion dollar screensaver.”
“Drenching us with a disappointment that can hardly be admitted out loud, James Cameron’s soggy new digitised film has beached like a massive, pointless whale,” Bradshaw explained. “The story, which might fill a 30-minute cartoon, is stretched as if by some AI program into a three-hour movie of epic tweeness.”
While The Verge’s Charles Pulliam-Moore found the film “superior to its predecessor” and claimed it was “a filmmaking marvel that’s a testament to Cameron’s ability to craft immersive, breathtaking set pieces,” he still felt the film “ultimately plays like a by-the-numbers sequel that’s too focused on trying to feel relatable when what it needs is to be even more alien.”
There were some positive takes on the movie.
KTLA 5’s Sam Rubin enjoyed the film.
“I did not look at my watch once. If your family is adventure-oriented, and the kids are over 10, I think it’s great for the family,” he explained. “It’s this rollicking adventure. You want to see it in the big theater with the glasses. 3-D or IMAX for sure.”
The Hollywood Reporter’s David Rooney was pleased with the non-stop action, emotion and 3-D visuals. However, he did have some critiques.
“In terms of narrative sophistication and even more so dialogue, this $350 million sequel is almost as basic as its predecessor, even feeble at times,” he wrote. “But the expanded, bio-diverse world-building pulls you in, the visual spectacle keeps you mesmerized, the passion for environmental awareness is stirring and the warfare is as visceral and exciting as any multiplex audience could desire.”
“Even more than its predecessor, this is a work that successfully marries technology with imagination and meticulous contributions from every craft department. But ultimately, it’s the sincerity of Cameron’s belief in this fantastical world he’s created that makes it memorable.”
IndieWire gave the film a four out of five and claimed it was a “staggering improvement over the original ‘Avatar.'”
The site’s David Ehrlich called the movie “an out-of-body theatrical experience that makes its predecessor feel like a glorified proof-of-concept, ‘Avatar: The Way of Water‘ is such a staggering improvement over the original because its spectacle doesn’t have to compensate for its story; in vintage Cameron fashion, the movie’s spectacle is what allows its story to be told so well.”
“Avatar: The Way of Water” hits theaters on Dec. 16.