Avatar: The Way of Water ★★★★
Starring Sam Worthington, Zoe Saldana, Sigourney Weaver, Jamie Flatters, Trinity Bliss
After over a decade out of the spotlight, James Cameron finally takes us back to a species far far away. The original was a film that broke grounds but has strangely left no lasting cultural impact apart from a huge pile of 3D glasses in landfill the world over. Luckily I kept hold of mine, knowing that another trip to Pandora would some day materialise!
All of the team who were alive by the end of the first movie are here in force again, along with the return of some who met their demise. Jake Sully (Sam Worthington) and Neytiri (Zoe Saldaña) take a slightly backwards step to their offspring here, with the story focusing on how their children adapt to the new world they have escaped to. As the title suggests, we don’t spend much time in the forest this time. The sky people have returned, led by Colonel Miles Quaritch (Stephen Lang) who, through reasons of science that I can’t explain, has been reinstated as a Na’vi to seek his revenge on the Sully family.
As a result, the Sully’s relocate to a tribe by the sea. A luscious new world that deserves a rewatch simply in order to take it all in. The visuals are truly magical. Although CGI will never be perfect, some of the underwater scenes in this movie prove that Cameron can break ground in his sleep. The 3D is also intelligently implemented here; not in your face, but impactful. There hasn’t been a spectacle quite like this in a long time.
The story itself shares a lot of its elements with the original. The constant war and heavy battling felt at odds with the beauty of the marina. Rather than world building, the human revenge plot line felt uneccessary, not only within the story overall, but also with the way our world is today. 13 years ago, heightened masculinity and male dominance were commonplace in action movies, whereas now, the fact that the plot centres around these factors and reduces Neytiri to a dutiful mother is, thankfully, out of step.
The light within it all though is Sigourney Weaver’s Kiri. The iconic actor plays a teenager here and is a huge presence whenever on-screen. Kiri is obsessed with nature and is our gateway into the beauty of the new aquatic world. It’s the antidote to the war that we need and will be hopefully play a key role in any future Avatar sequels.
If any further movies are released, it will be interesting to see how this fits in to the overall arc. Although there are issues with the story, one thing is for sure, this is a cinematic epic that deserves to be watched on the biggest screen while you can.
Avatar: The Way of Water available in cinemas now