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The Avatar Blues Are Real And Fans Are Feeling Them Again After The Way Of Water

"Avatar: The Way of Water" premiered over the weekend and after more than a decade of waiting, movie goers can finally return to the world of Pandora. As the first of four planned sequels, the film quickly establishes that a lot has changed for Jake Sully (Sam Worthington) and Neytiri (Zoe Saldaña) since we last saw them. The pair are busy raising their children, including Neteyam (James Flatters), Lo'ak (Britain Dalton), and Tuk (Trinity Jo-Li Bliss), as well as an adopted daughter named Kiri (Sigourney Weaver) and a human boy called Spider (Jack Champion).

Jake is now the leader of the Omaticaya clan, who reside in the lush rainforests of Pandora that were explored in the previous installment. Despite these changes, the movie explores themes that feel like a natural extension of the story in the first film. While viewers learned about the plants and animals that live in the forest alongside Jake in "Avatar," the latest movie takes us to Pandora's coast, where the Metkayina clan has adapted to life by the water. Thanks to director James Cameron's love of the ocean, this new landscape offers a new array of creatures and plenty of underwater exploration.

Although the movie is clearly intended to be thought-provoking and entertaining, some viewers have found themselves leaving the theater disheartened. Let's take a look at how the film's stunning visuals and nature-centric plot are the source of what fans have dubbed the "Avatar Blues."

Viewers envy the Na'vi connection to nature

While "Avatar: The Way of Water” explores the bonds of family and the consequences of corporate greed, as well as Jake and Neytiri's old rivalry with Colonel Miles Quaritch (Stephen Lang), the movie devotes a significant amount of time to showing Jake and his family learn the Metkayina clan's connection to the ocean and its inhabitants. Whether they're in the woods or at the beach, the Na'vi strive to work in tandem with the natural world around them. It's an uplifting sentiment, though some viewers were left with a familiar sense of melancholy. In a Reddit thread discussing the so-called "Avatar blues," one fan admitted to feeling strangely sad after making the long awaited return to Pandora.

"Most people are so disconnected from each other and nature. I wish I could wake up everyday and be free, I don't want to work until I'm old and maybe then get to see the world and enjoy life ... our entire system is so messed up and it's like most people don't even realize it. Somehow the world of Pandora feels more real and alive than our world," u/Natli9 wrote. The Na'vi have an enviable link to their surroundings, a mutually beneficial relationship that seems to transcend the physical world. That sense of longing was clearly relatable, as other users began to chime in about how "Avatar: The Way of Water" similarly makes them crave a world where people have a closer connection to nature.

Avatar: The Way of Water makes fans long for something that feels out of reach

Even though Pandora is a fictional planet, it's not unrecognizable. Although the breathtakingly beautiful setting feels like it could be Earth-adjacent, the "Avatar blues" ties back to how the Na'vi devote their lives to communing with nature. Although the movies are simply entertaining for some fans, other viewers find that the franchise highlights how disconnected humanity is from the natural world. Adding to the discussion, u/glitters101 said "I feel you. I had the Avatar blues when I was 15 in 2009 watching the 1st movie. Seen it 1000 times since. Just saw the sequel [at] 28 and wow I feel sad, emotional and numb. Everything you wrote describes how I feel."

Other viewers expressed similar sentiments, like u/HelloWorld137, who said, "I feel the same way, when I saw the first one I was very young so I didn't even think about it too much to be honest, but since I saw the second one, I've been pretty depressed." The feeling makes a fair amount of sense. It's hard not to long for a world like Pandora, where the Metkayina spend their days free diving with intelligent, whale-like beings called tulkun. One Reddit user even came up with another name for the phenomenon, writing, "Going to start calling this feeling 'P.A.S.' for 'Post Avatar Sadness.'" For now, it will be interesting to see if the "Avatar blues" persists following the release of each installment.