Age Rating (UK/US): 12A / PG-13
Avatar: The Way Of Water has been one of the biggest movie events of 2022 and I finally went to see it two weeks ago in the cinema. It is of course the hotly anticipated sequel to Avatar which was released 13 years ago in 2009.
I have to admit I was one of the few people who didn’t see the first Avatar in cinemas and watched it only when it came out on DVD. I thought it was ok but it isn’t a movie I’ve seen more than a couple of times and when this second movie was announced I didn’t feel all that excited about it and it was only as it became more of a topic of conversation I decided to go and watch it.
The movie is set a decade on from the events of the first movie with the Na’vi race in a peaceful co-existence with the human beings who were allowed to stay on the planet for helping them in the first movie. Jake Scully (Sam Worthington) and Neytiri (Zoë Saldana) now have children, sons Neteyam and Lo’ak, daughter Tuk, and adopted children Kiri (born from Grace Augustine’s inert avatar) and Spider, the Pandora-born human son of the late Colonel Miles Quaritch.
However one day the Na’vi people see the return of the humans, who have come back to Pandora as Earth is no longer a sustainable place to live. Among them is an Avatar version of Colonel Miles Quaritch, whose consciousness was captured before he died and has been uploaded to it. The Na’vi people, led by Jake try to defend their homes but eventually Jake and Neytiri decide that Colonel Quaritch is after them in particular and the best thing for them to do is to flee east to the Metkayina tribe or water people.
Once there the family begin to adjust but as Colonel Quaritch is on their tail they may eventually have to do battle.
Now I will start with the film’s biggest draw which is it’s visuals and it is truly a stunning film. I mentioned the first Avatar in the opening paragraph as at the time when that film was released in 2009, the visuals were cutting edge and it was the movie that really popularised the 3D trend at the time. However 13 years on, some naysayers did wonder whether James Cameron could truly live up to these expectations and it is arguable he has surpassed them. This movie will at least until the sequels come out be seen as a real benchmark for special effects in Hollywood movies as it is breathtakingly beautiful.
However it is sad for me to say that the movie is very much a case of style over substance for me. The story and dialogue were very predictable and not really all that memorable – most of the plot above I have taken from the movies Wikipedia page as I genuinely couldn’t remember most of the films events.
There are also scenes throughout the movie which are meant to have big emotional payoffs such as deaths of characters but genuinely I didn’t feel anything and couldn’t even remember the characters names to tell you who they were and the movie also ends virtually where the movie started without any real progression from the first movie which set sit up for the next two sequels in a very MCU like way.
The movie is also very very long, clocking in at 3hrs 12mins and whilst I would say there was enough to distract me during that time there is a good hour of this movie where the family arrive at the water tribe that could be cut out as it is just wasted time and really serves as a way for James Cameron to show us more pretty things on screen.
Whilst I would say the movie’s visuals are astounding and it is definitely worth seeing on the big screen once to get the full benefit of those visuals. It does also entertain for the most part whilst you are in the theatre and given the long runtime it does offer value for money on the ticket prices but I wouldn’t expect to come out of the movie with a wonderful thought-provoking piece of entertainment as you will probably forget half of what happened within a couple of hours of watching it.
If you have seen Avatar 2 and disagree with my review then I would love to here your thoughts down below.