Well, at my younger son’s urging, I finally broke down and went to the movie theater to watch Avatar 2 – The Way of Water. The first one had a tighter plot, and I didn’t have great expectations for the second, other than I was sure it would be a visual feast.
And even though I only got to watch it in 2D (I’ll bet the 3D version was unbelievable) it was still exactly that. The plot was notoriously weak, and was an obvious set-up for the next round coming out, theoretically around Christmas. But once you’ve 3D generated all those various space and land craft, as well as the animals, you’ve got to expect James Cameron might want to use them again. They are something to watch.
What is Avatar 2 really about in The Matrix? You can read plenty of plot summaries, but I’m assuming you’re coming here to understand how Agent Smith is attempting to manipulate you. Unlike the original version of Avatar, which was far more memetically complex, Avatar 2 really stays down in the Tribal v-Meme and below.
You can do a little Spiral Dynamics review and see the different colors matching to the different scenes in the original movie
Ostensibly, it’s about how women can be badass and ferocious (didn’t disappoint — and I can tell you, don’t mess with lower v-Meme society women, because they almost always are.) But it wasn’t made so much to play with audiences that might actually identify with the characters. We’re past that down the spiral drain of civilization.
Nope — it was a constant brain implant for a romanticized view of the nuclear family, and in particular a generalized form of ‘Father Hunger‘ — a term dating back at least to 1993. The roles of the kids in the family are pretty contrived — older, noble son, younger son as the one the dad looks down on, two munchkin kids, and a girl who fills in as the pagan sorceress. The best played role would have to be the young male human, Spider, who shows what happens when you attempt to separate someone from daddy. He actually captures the berserker spirit better than anything. And he does it with a personal respirator on, that I had to sit around and wonder how it kept working as anything but of a plot device. Pandora has an atmosphere that can kill people quickly, so they don’t get the latitude to just go outside and play.
The sad thing was as this contrivance was unrolling, all I could think of is how in the last ten years, things have really taken a dive for kids and both parents — but especially dads. Dads are really considered irrelevant, and I have 10 years of dealing with our own supposedly enlightened (boy, they sure aren’t) school system in the university town of Pullman, WA. After one particularly horrific incident, that I can’t go into detail about, involving my kids, I had finally won over the child’s therapist, after I had been attacked only two weeks earlier. The therapist looked at me and said “well, you know everyone in this town thinks you’re crazy. Everyone knows that when a successful man gets divorced, he goes out, finds a more suitable partner, and has kids with the new woman, and leaves the other children to the mother. It’s the way it works.” I kid you not.
Movies like Avatar 2 tap into that sentiment. Once again, I cannot give any potentially identifying details with my real life experience, but I see the results of less and less parenting, especially by dads, in my students. They’re 20 years into this crisis, and I spend more and more of my time demonstrating a kind, successful but tough masculine figure to my students, who simply have not had one in their lives. The obvious go-to statistic can be found in reports like this one — ~25% of kids are raised in single parent homes. But the problem, from my vantage point, is far worse than that. Many of the kids in my class — all seniors in engineering — have been (non) raised by emasculated, inactive fathers. It’s gotten to the point where I can identify the most affected after only two weeks. And these are relatively privileged kids. No manual skills, poor understanding of benevolent authority (they tend to have lots of experience with the other kind) and even the idea that behavior should be modeled upward.
What’s even more morbidly humorous is that James Cameron has recently come out against ‘manly men’ — making blanket statements about the evils of testosterone, all the while making a movie about how it’s a (blue) man’s job to protect his family. The mind reels.
But that’s how The Matrix works. And Avatar 2, as of February 19, 2023, has brought in some $2.25B in box office receipts. The desire the public possesses to see the movie is a jumble of emergent, incoherent philosophies (save the whales!) while being expected to be served a true visual adventure. The best part of the movie is the last part — the choreography of the action scenes is high art. But the sad part I walked away with is the utter destruction of the nuance of healthy, appropriately masculine/feminine family dynamics. That’s what postmodernism has served up to kids not raised by fathers, that’s for sure. Kids simply have no clue what it means to even have a dad.
What does that leave? Avatar 2 is really not much different than the cartoon Disney flick, Moana. Maybe with better, Maori-inspired face paint and hakas. Part of me would like to see the 3D version. But I just don’t think I could take it twice.
P.S. This piece that I wrote on Fatherless Young Men should be considered a must-read. Watch the embedded video as well. This is a civilization-ending crisis we’re facing.
One thought on “Quickie Post — Avatar 2 – The Way of Water”
Yet again, a brilliant take. And here I just moped about the lack of plot, overabundance of plot holes, and cheap distractions to make the viewer overlook them. Not to mention the three hours it took to accomplish those tasks.