PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) – In 2022, some movies hit the big screen that could be going home with a few awards – including three films that are Critic’s Choice Award nominees.

Film critic Lonita Cook joined Everyday Northwest to share her thoughts on Critic’s Choice nominees “Avatar: The Way of Water“, “Puss in Boots: The Last Wish'” and “Babylon.”

After Avatar fans waited for over a decade for the sophomore installment, Cook says “it’s worth the wait.”

The critic added, “I know that the first one was very controversial because of the dynamics between the two factions of people, kind of the colonizers and those being colonized, and I will say this one kind of tones that back a lot. And so, you still have that powerful commentary on the environment, you still have powerful commentary on the nature of consumption.”

Cook also compared the film’s “immersive” viewing experience to virtual reality furthering “this is the kind of movie, visually, that 3-D is made for.”

In terms of movies for “the full family” Cook says she’s seen the PG-rated “Puss in Boots: The Last Wish” four times.

“It’s really for the full family. It does really tackle some complex topics like facing your own mortality, like having your spiritual life out of balance with your material life…it’s a really great movie, I think, to open up conversations with your kids if you do need to broach those topics,” Cook explains.

According to Cook, the animation in the film is similar to that of “Spiderman: Into the Spider-Verse.”

Cook also discussed the nine-time Critic’s Choice Award-nominated film “Babylon.” The film, directed by Damien Chazelle, reminded Cook of his 2016 Oscar hit “La La Land.”

“I saw Babylon as a companion piece because it’s still a commentary on the Hollywood industry. ‘La La Land’ is more rose-colored, romantic. This one is going to be steely and cold. But it’s basically the same story where it’s about getting started in the business, making it in the business and then maybe having your dreams dashed a little bit,” Cook says.

Overall, for a film to be a hit, Cook says “for me, as a professional film critic, it has to have great narrative structure, it has to demonstrate that it understands how to work these universal themes, it has to have a great message.”

But as a movie-goer, Cook says “it has to be something that I can share with my family, share with my friends, have a communal feel. And so, I think those movies that do both well, those are your top winners.”