Film Review: Avatar – The Way Of Water (2022)

In 2009 James Cameron gave up filmmaking to create the most expensive video game ever to created Avatar. This was the man who gave us two of the best sequels to two of the greatest film franchises Alien and Terminator. For the last 13 years he’s been sharing cave with Gollum to bring us the long awaited first sequel of four, Avatar: The Way Of Water.

That sequel is now in cinemas here in the UK but also most of the world. How good or bad this maybe, think getting the worst Christmas present ever like the complete The 1975 discography. This is sadly a painful unengaged mess that makes Waterboarding look a more enticing option.

The question many of us should be asking “Are we still interested in a sequel for a film that came out so long ago?” . If you enjoyed the original Avatar yes, otherwise no you will be disappointed.

What’s Avatar: The Way Of Water all about? We pick up over a decade later back on Pandora Sully (Sam Worthington) has given up his humanity living as a Na’Vi avatar. Living in peace with Neytiri (Zoe Saldaña) raising their family, we see them growing up into teenagers. Like any teen, troublesome for their parents rebellious at any chance they can get. Next to their own children they foster parents to orphaned Spider (now played by Jack Champion), who was a infant in the first film.

That peace is shattered when the ‘Sky People’ (humans) return to Pandora, to once again claim the planet as their own. Which sees the Na’vi lead once again by Sully defending the planet. Those pesky humans have a plan to finally colonise the planet, take out the resistance leader Sully. Forcing Sully and his family to flee.

Abandoning that forest lifestyle to live off the sea and coral reefs of the The Metkayina tribe. Lead by Chief Tonowari (Cliff Curtis) and his partner, Ronal (Kate Winslet). Turquoise skinned and thicker tails, Sully’s family have to adapt to the new ways. Just when things start to look good, trouble follows them.

The original film was considered an industry breakthrough in the terms of technology. Cameron embraced every cinematic technology that was available to him. The final outcome to some degree was a success, he became an advocate for 3D. We cannot fault the visual quality of the film, even the 3D has improved. The image on the screen is sharper and the frame rate problem Peter Jackson had with The Hobbit films, James Cameron seems to have mastered it.

Any sane cinephile knows with quality you need to have quantity to make a great film. Avatar: The Way Of Water is neither, it wants to make you think you visually assaulting your eyes.

Financially this needs a big return to break even. If reports are true the slow painstaking production costing around alleged $2 billion. If we go by box office figures quoted for opening weekend there is a decent return on the cards. 20th Century Studios will be hoping cinephiles will opt for those ‘gimmicks’ rather than standard options.

With the astronomical costs for production that are getting mentioned, you want a strong story. Rick Jaffa and Amanda Silver, co -wrote the script with Cameron. It feels as if they scrapped the bottom of the Barrell only to find loose change. The narrative is simple, which is fine but this has the running time of 3 hours 12 minutes. What we get is something that’s exactly the same as the original, all about revenge. A metaphorical film which is all about anti-colonialism, the treatment of the indigenous populations (Maori people in this one). Not so much the eco-friendly story of the first film, For 2 hours of the running time we get is a lot of walking around beautiful landscapes, nothing much more. We even get one of Sully Kids feeling alienated bonding with a whale like creature.

The Way Of Water is not that cinematic event they have been promising. A visual treat for your eyes, also an intense test of your bladder . Will there still be interest in next three sequels?

There is many people loving this film, some going as far calling it a ‘masterpiece’. If Avatar: The Way Of Water is that ‘masterpiece’, then Jared Leto’s Morbius must be Citizen’s Kane.

★★

Action, Adventure | USA, 2022 | 12A | Cinema | 16th December 2022 | 20th Century Studios | Dir.James Cameron | Sam Worthington, Zoe Saldana, Sigourney Weaver, Stephen Lang, Cliff Curtis, Kate Winslet,

Originally posted at The Peoples Movies on 18th December 2022 | Original review link

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