Released: 16 December 2022
Director: James Cameron
Cast: Sam Worthington, Zoe Saldaña, Sigourney Weaver, Stephen Lang, Kate Winslet
We finally return to the world of Pandora and are once again stunned by the phenomenal environment that James Cameron has created, this time though more breathtaking than ever. Cameron’s imagination and creativity runs wild as viewers literally dive in to set pieces unlike nothing we have seen before.
A sequel to the highest grossing movie of all time was always going to have a lot of expectations but James Cameron is a visionary and whilst The Way of Water‘s story may be a struggle, its design and construction is what really sticks.
The movie’s storytelling suffers from a real case of déjà vu. I feel as though I have seen it all before. It doesn’t differ that much from Avatar in that Jake Sully (Sam Worthington) and the rest of his Na’vi clan are still caught in the battle with humans trying to takeover the planet Pandora. The only difference this time is Jake has a family and it is not only his homeland at stake but now his two sons and two daughters. All I could think about was how similar in tone it was with Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, in that Caesar’s main purpose is to ensure his family are kept safe, that’s pretty much Jake’s motives in this. His youngest son Lo’ak also strikes a strong resemblance to Blue Eyes from the Planet of the Apes movies, a kid always trying to win over his father’s acceptance by recklessly getting involved in things.
The Na’vi family is developed throughout and we get to see each of Jake’s children have their own moments to shine, most of them all in the beautiful underwater surroundings that the movie builds itself around. I can’t remember the last time I was that impressed with a movie’s special effects before The Way of Water, every bit of detail is fascinating to see. When you wait 13 years you expect to be amazed and I can honestly say that the look of this movie is groundbreaking from James Cameron once again.
Like I said the movie really does rely on its special effects to get you through to the end, its another one that falls victim to a tiresome runtime and the third act feels extremely anti-climactic. One its predecessor’s highlights was its antagonist and Stephen Lang makes a comeback as the malicious Colonel Quaritch, this time as a fully fledged avatar. Lang’s performance before was so menacing but here he feels wasted, he doesn’t bring the same type of threat as he did in Avatar. Although not every returning character disappoints, Zoe Saldaña returns as Neytiri, who has some great solo moments and her motherhood is explore frequently as her and Jake’s relationship is tested through their children.
I could feel myself getting invested in the first twenty minutes or so before my interest in the story quickly diminished, there was nothing in the way of action set pieces that had me excited. The movie’s final battle scene is pretty pointless but If I’m honest though I don’t think James Cameron matters much for the story, everyone has came out of this talking of astonishing the water sequences are and I think that’s all he really cares for.
It is nice to hear music of Avatar again however, Simon Fraglen does a superb job at enhancing the original movie’s score whilst creating a new world within. Listening to it only made me think of how wonderful James Horner was, his music will be cherished forever.
Overall, Avatar: The Way of Water is exactly what I thought it would be, it is a mediocre story that offers magnificent special effects, effects movie goers have to say as they have revolutionised the modern movie we know of today. Whilst Cameron’s characters and plot falls short, it his eye for technology and art that wins him over here. The water sequences really up the ante and captivates the audience with a mesmerising display. It is nowhere near the best movie ever written but it may well be the best looking movie ever made.
Rating – 7/10