Avatar 2: That’s how we feel about Avatar: The Way of Water
Avatar – isn’t there this cartoon about this boy and his friends who can kung fu tame water, air, fire and earth? Indeed, but there is also a film of the same name set on an alien planet and starring blue cat aliens. Behind him stood no one else but JamesCameron. Avatar: Pandora was released in 2009 and became the highest-grossing film of all time. After that, not much happened. Does it really need a sequel?
Source: Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures Germany
Definitely, according to James Cameron. And from the first shot of Avatar: The Way of Water you can tell that for him the film is more than just another sci-fi spectacle. The world of Pandora, where Na’vi and humans fight each other, is designed with so much attention to detail that at times it actually looks as if the film crew shot it on location on an extraterrestrial moon. There are only a few scenes where the CGI looks more like something out of a Playstation 5 game than a multi-million dollar production. But they are quickly forgotten, especially when the almost perfect pictures are accompanied by the great soundtrack, which is clearly based on the first Avatar film, but can absolutely stand on its own two feet.
Even the Na’vi, who looked a bit artificial next to the “real” humans in Avatar: Pandora, now come across as real flesh-and-blood aliens. Actually, the people who fight against the Na’vi are no longer needed – correspondingly little time is spent on them. Instead, you can watch the Na’vi gliding through the seas, going about their daily lives and communicating with alien whales. Had James Cameron sold Avatar: The Way of Water as a fictional documentary, it certainly wouldn’t have hurt the film.
Avatar: The Way of Water: Familiar History, Familiar Conflicts
Source: 20th Century Studios
That’s not so much because The Way of Water’s story is bad as because it’s more or less exactly the story of the first Avatar film. With the war between the humans and the Na’vi still raging, the Earth Military decides to bring none other than Colonel Quaritch back from the dead and give him a Na’vi body.
He and his team also manage to locate and route rebel leader Jake Sully and his family. Jake, Neytiri and their children set off to find shelter with another Na’vi tribe who live by and in the sea. There they must master the customs of the tribe, but of course there is also an incredible resource in the sea that humans want to appropriate. Finally, there’s Quaritch, who has a score to settle with Jake.
We summarize: Jake is torn from his familiar surroundings, has to adjust to a new environment and eventually becomes the leader of a fight against the bad people. There is also a lot of philosophy about the moon Pandora, the power of nature and why it is important to protect it. So you really shouldn’t watch Avatar: The Way of Water for an innovative story.
However – and one has to give James Cameron credit for this – it was clear from the start that the great fascination with Avatar, at least for him, was never the story but the alien world of the Na’vi. Thanks to Jake and Neytiri’s children, the film takes a fresh approach here.
Family duel among the Na’vi
Lo’ak, Neteyam, Tuk and foster daughter Kiri are also one of the film’s major focal points. The audience discovers the world of the underwater Na’vi through their eyes, gets to know the flora and fauna and the very own spirituality of this world. Lo’ak and Kiri in particular experience a kind of “coming of the age” story. Lo’ak learns to be independent and Kiri realizes that she has special powers that allow her to communicate with the world of Pandora itself. The nice thing is that even moviegoers who don’t like this kind of story may find Jake Sully’s children charming enough to root for them.
Things are more serious with Jake and his nemesis Colonel Quaritch. The latter not only has to make friends with his new Na’vi body, but also with his foster son Spider, who has learned the ways of the Na’vi. Similar to Kiri, the film hints that the Colonel may play an important role at some point, but that promise won’t be fulfilled until Avatar 3 at the earliest.
The rest of the film follows the Avatar 1 scheme, but does it so well that it’s still entertaining. Of course, there is also an environmental protection message that is delivered with a wooden mallet (save the whales), but James Cameron can’t really be mad at this either. Avatar: The Way of Water is too visually impressive and ultimately too much fun for that. The best proof of this: You only notice the almost 190 minutes that the film lasts if you have drunk too much.