Avatar: The Way of Water
Jake Sully in 20th Century Studios' AVATAR: THE WAY OF WATER. Photo courtesy of 20th Century Studios. ©2022 20th Century Studios. All Rights Reserved.

#Review: Avatar: The Way of Water

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It’s been 13 years in the making and now it is here ladies and gentlemen. Avatar: The Way of Water is hitting cinemas this week. Was it worth the wait? Was there even a wait?

Avatar: The Way of Water is set several years after the first film and sees Jake Sully (Sam Worthington) and his family living on Pandora. Having completely acclimated Jake loves his life and has found peace. Unfortunately the ‘sky people’ return and this time they want to fully colonise Pandora. So a war ensues for the fate of the planet with Sully at first leading the charge.

Through a series of unfortunate events Sully and his family have to leave their tribe and find refuge elsewhere on Pandora with a whole new tribe of N’avi known as the Metkayina tribe. These water dwellers are a new breed of N’avi and they come with their own beliefs, strengths, weaknesses and flora and fauna to gawk at. Sully and his family have to try and acclimate to this new way of life while hoping that they can stay hidden from the watchful eyes of predatory humans.

As deep as a paddling pool

Avatar: The Way of Water is a technically wonderful film. The cinematic technology on show here is phenomenal. This is the reason why 3D was invented. The world of Pandora has never looked so impressive. The new islands and the oceans of Pandora are quite beautiful. Also, the N’avi look impressive, particularly at night when their bioluminescent freckles light up. This impressive cinematography is also reflected in the battles, watching the N’avi butt heads with the humans is still a lot of fun.

And that is it, ladies and gentlemen. Avatar: The Way of Water is a completely shallow and unimpressive story that is filled with broad and unremarkable character archetypes. The characters done dirtiest are the women, both Zoe Saldana and Kate Winslet have two modes in this film: crying and screaming. That’s all these actors are given. After watching this film I now completely understand why Zoe Saldana laments just being a part of blockbusters over the last couple of years. They may be financially lucrative but they are creatively vapid.

Sully is relegated to a supporting character simply showing up to give out to his children. Every now and then he does do something visually impressive, it’s usually riding a Pandoran dolphin well. If there are any interesting elements within the film there is a subplot involving a Pandoran whale that is genuinely quite moving. That is only 15 minutes of a 3-hour 10-minute film. There are also sporadic moments of warmth dotted throughout the film that centre around Sully’s children. Weirdly there is not enough time to feel like you really know these characters.

With this much time, Cameron should have focused on the many new characters he has introduced. Instead, he’s too caught up in making a video brochure for the beaches of Pandora. Also, the core of the story has a major plot hole that you could fill an ocean with.

I could go on about all the other issues I have, but I don’t want to waste your time. With Avatar: The Way of Water Cameron has doubled down on everything from the original. Unfortunately what that means is if you didn’t like the first one you will likely despise this film.

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