Avatar: The Way Of Water - Review And Fan Reaction
Avatar: The Way Of Water is probably one of the most anticipated sequels ever. It took only 13 years (!) for James Cameron to finally bring us back to Pandora and continue the story of Jake Sully. We have waited for what felt like forever. But now, it is finally here. Playing right now in cinemas worldwide, the beloved fantasy-adventure following the Na’vi looks to be another ground-breaking film to make cinema history. We have watched it. In this article, you’ll find a spoiler-free review of the movie and the early reaction from fans. Let’s dive in (yes, pun intended)!
Avatar: The Way Of Water feels familiar. Nostalgic even. Despite the fact that it's been more than a decade since the first movie, we never truly left Pandora. Those are initial feelings when the first scenes come and go. The plot line is simple. We follow Jake Sully as the sixth ‘Toruk Makto,’ the leader of the Na’vi, and his family. He is determined to raise his children to become strong and powerful just like him. His military background shines through in his family relationships, especially when his two sons, Neteyam and Lo’ak, are up to no good.
The Sully’s are easy to identify. As bastards of a former human being, they have five fingers instead of the natural four. Jake’s youngest son, Lo’ak, has a hard time finding his place in the world. His father’s high expectations are at times impossible to meet, leaving Lo’ak vulnerable and in constant fear of disappointing Jake. But that doesn’t mean he won’t disobey his fathers orders and venture deep into the forest where danger awaits.
The Sully family’s life is soon to be interrupted by a well-known threat. Although Colonel Miles Quaritch's body was killed in action in the first movie, his memory and DNA now lives in a recombinant - a specialized Avatar that has been embedded with the memories of a human driver. Together with his recom squad, they are sent to Pandora to infiltrate the Na’vi and terminate Jake Sully once and for all. Armed as Avatars and backed by an entire military force, the tables have turned in favor for the ‘skypeople.’ This time, family man Jake Sully must rely on his people to survive even though his own kin may lead the threat right to his doorstep.
The Way Of Water
The first Avatar was ground-breaking in its own right. Never mind the thrilling story, the extraordinary visual effects and CGI made Avatar special and breath-taking in the first place. In other words, the bar for the sequel was set fairly high. Did we doubt that the second movie was going to fail in this regard? Absolutely. Not.
Avatar: The Way Of Water is as beautiful as everybody claims. In fact, the visuals and cinematography is fascinating. Mind-boggling. Elegant and superb. There really isn’t anything like it. The 3 hour and 12 minutes long runtime should be seen as a testament to what is possible in today’s cinema. And it begs the question of what can be done in the future of animated and computer generated cinema. This is indeed a small step for man, but a giant leap for filmmaking.
One of the hardest elements to get right in animation is water. And as the second Avatar is set mostly around or in water, it had to be spot on. While watching the movie you start to understand why it took them so long to make it. And why it cost so much money to produce it. The water looks real. Feels real. Act like it is real. You have to constantly remind yourself that what you are watching is animated. VFX artists estimated that a short 2-second clip from the movie cost a whopping $100.000 to make. Crazy.
With a reported $350 to $400 million in budget, Avatar: The Way Of Water is not only the most expensive movie in Hollywood history, but also among the most expensive movies ever made. Luckily for James Cameron, the major part of the third Avatar (set to be released in 2024) was also shot while producing Avatar: The Way Of Water. Yes, we can expect to see Avatar three, four and five in the coming years.
The Fans Reaction
The fans seem to be quite unanimous in their initial reaction to the latest Avatar. It is definitely a “must-watch-in-cinemas” kinda movie. If you look past the visual effects, you’ll find a quite empty and predictable story, and to some the story is the movie’s Achilles’ heel. Others choose to appreciate the movie as an artistic and creative masterpiece before anything else, not worrying too much about the story.