MOVIE REVIEW: Avatar: The Way Of Water
“The most dangerous thing about Pandora is that you might grow to love her too much.”
When it was announced that James Cameron would be returning to Pandora after thirteen years, I scoffed at the idea. I loved Avatar when it came out in 2009, but I hardly remembered the characters in the movie, let alone the plot outside of the environmental message. It wasn’t yet a franchise like Star Wars or Marvel where the nostalgia of the movies still linger in our head. But, I am happy to say that we are now seeing a franchise in the making. What I saw with Avatar: The Way Of Water was a visually stunning and surprisingly emotional film.
The movie starts almost where the first movie ended with the skylanders (aka humans) are driven off Pandora. Jake Sully (Sam Worthington), who has forsaken his human body to live his life as an avatar and live among the Na’vi, has made a life with Neytri (Zoe Saldana). Together, they have two boys and a girl as well as an adopted girl named Kiri (Sigourney Weaver) who’s mother was Dr. Grace Augustine who died in the first film and was also played by Weaver. They also took on a stray human nicknamed Spider (Jack Champion).
Together, they live in harmony for years until bright lights begin to appear in the sky. The Skylanders are back with a vengeance. A number of marines supplanted in avatars are charged with finding and killing Sully. They are led by Colonel Miles Quaritch (Stephen Lang) who also died in the first movie and whose memories were put into an avatar. Jake and his family must find refuge among a water based tribe of Na’vi called the Metkayina tribe led by Tonowari (Cliff Curtis) and his wife Ronal (Kate Winslet).
Once again, I must reiterate that this movie is just stunning. The world of Pandora has been expanded to include the denizens of its oceans and they are a sight to see. If there is any question as to whether you should watch Avatar: The Way Of Way on the big screen, you absolutely must just to get the scope and grandeur of this fabulous world.
I will admit that it took me a few minutes to get back into this world and remember what was going on. I do wish I had watched the first movie soon before we went to see this movie. But by the time we got to the Melkayina tribe, I was 100% invested. My sister told me when she passed by to go to the restroom (the runtime is 3 hours and 12 minutes long), she said I was on the edge of my seat grinning from ear to ear.
Speaking of runtime, we all worried if we would be able to make it through such a long movie. But, honestly, it doesn’t feel that way. For the most part, it breezed on by.
One of the things I am a sucker for is world building and mythology. James Cameron does an amazing job at building Pandora. In the culture of Na’vi is just beautiful. But it is the fantastic sea creatures that we are introduced to in this movie that just take your breath away.
Without giving anything away, the movie does open itself to another sequel. We already knew that three more sequels are in the works. That said, I would really like for them to move away from the conflict between the humans and the Na’vi. I feel like this world is big enough to tell stories without having humans hunt the Na’vi down.
I am hoping that they continue to expand upon The World of Pandora at Disney’s Animal Kingdom at Walt Disney World. I think there’s so much that they could do.
Even if you have the most remote interest in watching this film, I highly recommend watching it in the theater. You will not be disappointed.