I started a second Avatar thread because I wanted to get down and criticize some of the plot elements, which would spoil the movie for too many people if I put it in the regular thread. So... a few days ago we went back to see Avatar: The Way of Water again over the weekend, this time in IMAX 4K 3D HDR HFR, over at AMC Theater #1 at The Grove in the Beverly Grove area of West LA. Sound and picture quality were exemplary (it's a brand-new installation). Some thoughts: • Jake Sully and his kids (and wife) are using wireless throat walkie talkies throughout the movie -- and it's a major plot point, because they can't communicate long distances any other way. How do they charge the batteries? [this is a big problem on movie sets, and there's not exactly any AC power among the primitive villagers] • particularly in the last hour of the movie, Jake and the family are shooting a spitload of bullets. Where do they get more ammunition? [don't tell me they're stealing it all from the dead guys they're fighting. Too many clips, too many magazines, lots of automatic weapon fire.] • [a bit of a spoiler] Why did they call the human technicians to arrive by helicopter to take care of injured Kiri when they knew they could be tracked? [and of course, this mistake leads to the entire end confrontation] • what happened to Edie Falco's character? She's basically the Big Bad of the entire movie, the head commander from Earth in charge of the force trying to crush the Nav'i. <spoiler> The big enemy ship sinks at the end [strong echos of Titanic], but we never see her. • there's way, way, way too many incidents of "the kids run off on their own, get caught by the bad guys, get threatened, then manage to escape again... only to get captured again by the bad guys 10 minutes later." I swear, this happens at least 3-4 times. I lost track of the number of "lucky coincidences" in the film, where characters separated by great distances somehow managed to find each other, against impossible odds, and survive various situations. 2 or 3 times, I can forgive; 9 or 10 times, it strains credulity. • Didn’t Spider the kid get his throat cut by the mother? Nobody references this injury, and he doesn't seem to take offense at it, which is baffling. Clearly she's willing to sacrifice a little boy who is NOT her actual son, but has nonetheless been a connected part of her family for his entire life. It's a strange story issue... but it leads to what happens with his birth father, Col. Quaritch. • speaking of Spider, the kid: they explain that he couldn't return to Earth when he was born 10-12 years ago because they couldn't put babies in cryo for the long space journey. I get that. But he's clearly blended in with the Nav'i culture... why not put him through the process and make him a human/alien hybrid? Why does he remain a human, forced to wear an oxygen mask for pretty much the entire film, constantly in danger of being poisoned by the atmosphere of Pandora? This is a loose end that doesn't make a lot of sense to me. • How much time went on in this story? They have several montages of the kids in Metkayina (the another tribe on the planet) trying desperately to learn to swim and dive and hold their breath and communicate with giant sea creatures, but we don't really know if they were there a week... a month... months? It's a little cloudy. As for visual issues: I was *conscious* of the much-criticized 24fps vs. 48fps HFR speed changes, but it didn't kill me. My take is they didn't just do the entire film at 48fps because then (as many have noted) it would basically look like a CGI video game. Since "most" of it is at 24fps, a lot of it "feels like a movie," which is fine. But in the last hour, the number of times they switched frame-rates gave me whiplash. I'm baffled as to why they didn't just give up and leave it at 48fps for the entire battle until the ship sinks. BTW, not a lot of people ask *why* they changed to 48fps at all. The problem is: when you combine 3D with HDR (high dynamic range, a much brighter image), it exaggerates the flicker inherent in 24fps (even assuming they showed each frame twice or three times, which is a trick going back to film projectors to minimize flicker). The 48fps does reduce the problem but I think adds to the "unreality" of the experience, which is not good in a movie that's maybe 80% CGI. I understand why they did it, but I'm not entirely sure I agree with it. I wonder whether more motion blur might have helped... and yet I don't doubt they experimented for months (hell, years) trying to crack that formula. We went through that with The Hobbit back in 2012, and I thought it was haaaaarible... but the later Hobbit films were fine for me. Last issue: I'm not sure why more people don't call out Avatar 2 as being an animated movie. It's photorealistic animation, and I think they achieve some incredibly-believable looks while avoiding The Uncanny Valley with the characters, but I wonder why all the hoopla, shooting with 4K 3D cameras with actors in live sets, when basically all that was doing was capturing VFX references for the animated aliens that populate the movie. BTW, I looked very carefully at the VFX scenes with the human characters (like Spider the kid) and the "recombinant" aliens (human/Nav'i hybrids), and they were flawless. It's a stunning film and despite all my technical criticism, I got caught up again with the story and the characters' emotions. It's a beautiful, beautiful film that takes you to another world and makes you believe it's real, which is all you want in an epic action/SF film. BTW, to me, Sigourney Weaver's character Kiri steals the show, as does Spider the kid -- I would guarantee there's a whole story just with those two. Four stars from me, and this was the second time we saw it. Not a dull moment in the entire 192-minute film. Why Does Avatar: The Way of Water Look Like That?