One should never ever doubt James Cameron, the maker of the most expected sequel ever, Avatar: The Way of Water. He was never in a hurry to release new films but pushed the boundaries of modern filmmaking every time he comes up with something new. And his latest is unlike anything,
A full 13 years after his first “Avatar” became a worldwide phenomenon and the highest-grossing film of all time, he comes with a sequel that is in every way bigger, richer, and technically more impressive.
It is not necessarily better, because it is difficult to trump the strong impressions from the first meeting with the lush planet Pandora, somewhere far in space.
However, the story from the original is expanded in new and exciting directions, told with a unique world-building that is a dream to be enveloped in. This is not a movie, it’s an experience.
Pandora Is Invaded Again
Just like in reality, several years have passed since we meet blue na’vi Jake Sully (Sam Worthington), and Ney’tiri (Zoe Saldana) again on Pandora.
They have started a family and have teenage sons Neteyam (Jamie Flatters), Lo’ak (Britain Dalton), and a little daughter Tuk (Trinity Jo-Li Bliss). In addition, they have adopted Kiri (Sigourney Weaver), a girl whose maternal origin they know.
However, the idyll is broken when the sky people, i.e. the humans, invade Pandora again, forcing Jake and his family to flee to the sailors of the Metkayina clan far to the north.
There they have to hide with the tribal chief Tonowari (Cliff Curtis) and his powerful wife Ronal (Kate Winslet) and have to learn completely new methods and techniques to be able to live in the water they are surrounded by.
They must also try to integrate into an environment where not everyone necessarily welcomes them, while dangerous enemies are looking for them. There is of course much more to the story than this outline, but you will have to experience the rest for yourself.
Essential And Valuable Message
Technically, this is an enormously complex film, where every means is used to create a complete world that looks alien, yet real.
And believe me, Pandora is also this time a living, breathing planet with a colorful and diverse flora and fauna that at all times appears 100% natural, even if everything is fantasy, created in the digital domain.
The Sky People’s harsh, metallic and destructive technology and parasitic values stand in stark contrast to the Na’vi’s pact with nature and their respectful attitude towards all life they surround themselves with.
The film can be perceived as a desire to treat our own earth in the same way, but it is difficult to say whether this is a sincere message on James Cameron’s part, or whether he is a calculating cynic who wants to exploit trends in public opinion in the age of the climate crisis.
In any case, it is an important and valuable message to promote in a blockbuster, which otherwise deals with family ties, upbringing, differences, greed, and exploitation of natural resources.
A Warm Heart for The Figures
The film contains significant amounts of inventive and intoxicating action on a large scale, with several intense situations both above and below water, where James Cameron gets good use of his experiences from previous blockbusters such as “The Terminator” (1984), “Aliens” (1986), “The Abyss” (1989) and “Titanic” (1997).
Behind the visual spectacle, a warm heart beats for the film’s characters. The script, which James Cameron has written together with Rick Jaffa and Amanda Silver, draws up many interesting story threads where each one faces different challenges. Unlike this years, Black Adams, Avatar: The Way of Water’s visual effects and scripting are so good, your brain will feel awe.
You care about all the characters, which makes their fates important to the film experience. We see how Jake tries to protect a family that means everything to him, but he does it in a very strict way through his military background.
It especially goes beyond the two sons Neteyam and Lo’ak, who constantly seek their father’s favor and recognition. Here you get recognizable family dynamics, with strict and boundary-setting parents and opposing and exploratory children.
The adopted daughter Kiri is one of the most interesting characters, a rather different girl who apparently has a very special bond with the all-god Eywa.
It’s funny that veteran Sigourney Weaver, who had the role of Dr. Grace Augustine in “Avatar”, plays Kiri in this movie, although it’s a little strange to hear a teenage girl speaking with a voice of over 70 years old.
Unforgettable 3D Experience That Feels Real
This review is based on the IMAX 3D version of the film, where the image size and sound pressure make the maximum impression.
The 3D experience is also unbeatable because even though most people usually dislike wearing 3D glasses, you almost immediately forget you’re wearing them here. The effect is simply too good to make you want to watch the film without them.
However, parts of it are filmed at 48 frames per second (High Frame Rate), just like Peter Jackson’s “The Hobbit” films.
It must be said that it takes time to get used to this, because, after a lifetime of watching movies with 24 frames per second as standard, HFR looks almost “fake”, as if the whole movie is a “cut scene”. From a computer game, seen on a TV screen, all image processing is turned up to 11.
This will not be the case on 2D screenings, but it may pay to be prepared for this if you watch the film in 3D (as you should). After a while, you forget this “problem” anyway, so that you can just immerse yourself in the wonderful world that reveals itself.
Unlike Anything Else Ever Watched
“Avatar: The Way of Water” is a phenomenal film, even if there are jarring individual scenes, where Cameron falls into clichés. However, there are so few of them that it is not worth getting attached to them.
The whole is so engrossing and engaging that any reservations evaporate, and you are left with a cinematic experience unlike anything else. If there’s anything the world’s cinemas need right now, it’s this film.
“Avatar: The Way of Water” is so good that you really want it to reach as many people as possible, so that James Cameron has a financial basis to also complete the next three planned sequels.
The unique world he has created is guaranteed to contain more incomparable wonders, wondrous visions, and exciting stories.