Avatar: The Way of Water is a 2022 epic science fiction movie directed by James Cameron. It is the sequel to one of the biggest hits of all time, 2009’s Avatar.
Jake Sully and Neytiri have formed a family and are doing everything to stay together. However, they must leave their home and explore the regions of Pandora. When an ancient threat resurfaces, Jake must fight a difficult war against the humans. The first Avatar movie was hugely successful and an utter phenomenon, but one that when viewed in retrospect lacked a stronger story as it was very uninspired in that regard, though the effects and world-building were tremendous.
When it comes to this sequel that Cameron has been making for years, it builds upon its predecessor mostly successfully. Yes, it is still the case of spectacle over story, but at least this time around the storytelling is better and more interesting than it was before. Here is a film that actually develops its characters more than they ever were developed in the original.
Jake was quite boring in the original, but here he gets more to and his arc is more moving. Sigourney Weaver’s role is also strong. Cameron wanted to portray his own family issues and dynamics in this movie and he did that very well. The dialogue is much more nuanced this time around, though the kid characters are as expected of varied significance and quality.
The movie deals with themes ranging from survival to dependency to belonging, and it was a great thing that this sequel moved away from the previous film’s heavily underwritten and unsubtle colonialist overtones.
The highlights are still the technical aspects. This is after all the main driving point of this franchise and what Cameron set out to do with the new technology that he continues to push to newer and bolder heights. Watching this movie is more reminiscent of a video game, especially VR, or even some type of dreaming. That is how vivid the effects are and they came as a breath of fresh air after numerous dark and boring-looking superhero flicks.
The Way of Water is particularly impressive in the aquatic sequences. The first movie was all about the land, but this is about the oceans of Pandora, and here Cameron showcases newer technology in its finest assets. The motion capture looks astonishingly real while the action underwater is truly remarkable and groundbreaking in how it was filmed using water tanks. The world-building, the action set pieces and the utter ambitiousness of it all remind us of the way movies used to look and sound, something that we have lost in the age of streaming. The score is also terrific and the 3D is for once required viewing as it makes you think you are a part of this universe.
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