‘Avatar: The Way of Water’ is an epic sci-fi film, sequel to James Cameron’s 2009 film ‘Avatar’. When Avatar was released, more than a decade after Titanic, it was a spectacle one wouldn’t want to miss for the world. It was a unique concept with an out of this world (literally) landscapes and characters, a subconscious reference to reincarnation. In Avatar: The Way of Water the whole idea of ‘Avatar’ – the artificially created body, remotely piloted into the unknown, which crucially formed a dramatic part, is left behind!
The basic premise of Avatar was set in 2154, the future, when the natural resources of Earth have been depleted. The Resources Development Administration (RDA) mines the valuable mineral unobtanium on Pandora, a moon in the Alpha Centauri star system, inhabited by the Na’vi, 10-foot-tall, blue-skinned, sapient humanoids that live in harmony with nature. To explore Pandora, genetically matched human scientists use Na’vi-human hybrids called ‘Avatars’.
Set more than a decade after the events of the first film, Avatar: The Way of Water tells the story of the Sully family, the new leaders of the Omaticaya tribe. The family includes – Neteyam (Jamie Flatters), Jake and Neytiri’s first son and oldest child, Lo’ak (Britain Dalton & Chloe Coleman), second son, Tuktirey/Tuk (Trinity Jo-Li Bliss) eight-year-old daughter and their youngest child, Kiri (Sigourney Weaver), adopted teenage daughter, and Miles ‘Spider’ Socorro (Jack Champion), a rescued and adopted teenager – becomes the driving force behind Jake Sully (Sam Worthington) and Neytiri’s (Zoe Saldaña) decision to exile themselves; just when they thought they were happy, the ‘sky people’ of planet Earth reappear. Sullys having to leave their rainforest habitat and hide amongst the far-off Metkayina, an amphibious reef-people led by Ronal (Kate Winslet) and Tonowari (Cliff Curtis). The Na’vis must learn their mystical art of existing underwater for long periods, the trouble that follows, the lengths they go to keep the family safe, the battles they fight to stay alive, and the tragedies they endure. While the first half is about Sullys becoming a part of their new home with the Metkayinas, the latter half is their battle with Colonel Miles Quaritch (Stephen Lang), a human who led the security forces of the RDA.
What’s in store
For audience who haven’t seen Cameron’s Abyss, Titanic or Avatar, the latest release could mean a whole new experience in cinema with a combination of the three. ‘Avatar: The Way of Water’, if seen independently without the baggage or expectations set the first time around, could spell blockbuster for its audience. The narrative begins with some brief time in the floating mountains, glowing fauna and flora, of ‘Avatar’, but most of ‘The Way of Water’ takes place in the territory of the seafaring Metkayina tribe. Their water rides on long neck creatures. The vibrant and dreamlike underwater ecosystem, the bioluminescent flora in the depths refract like the aurora, sunsets on the horizon of the thoughtfully designed Metkayina village and the marine life. How one would want to be part of such a ‘village resort’ in real! There are scenes that that take one back to Cameron’s Abyss and Titanic-like underwater struggle and action.
However, cinema buffs who have seen James Cameron’s earlier films wait eagerly for his presentation and narratives. With the last Avatar, the creative and storytelling benchmark set by Cameron remains unmatched. Though ‘Avatar: The way of Water’ could be termed a visual treat but even that is just the pre-interval narrative. In the second half, if one ignores the blue colour in the characters, then it is a routine action thriller with a couple of awesome scenes with the long necked and huge sea creatures that surprise. From filmmaking standpoint, such films prove to be extraordinary effort by the makers. Imagine the environment that Cameron and his team has designed with the most unique underwater flora and fauna and the huge creatures. Viewing the film in 3D with the latest high framerate technology, the audience easily becomes a part of Cameron’s world.
Avatar: The Way of Water offers its audience stunning visuals, an emotional story, incredible and far superior underwater sequences. A lot of work put into creating such spectacular, colourful, and unique panorama. The film’s technical achievements are one of the core strengths of the sequel. The habitat, creatures, the underwater scenes especially are immersive and magnificent. Each frame is more breathtaking and magical than the last.
Avatar: The Way of Water is a visual treat though it may not be the best of the narratives James Cameron has ever made. The story may appear cliché, but it does transport one into the world created by James Cameron and a very high bar for the filmmaking fraternity in terms of technology and visual spectacle. Watching the same on small screens would mar the mesmerising experience.
Movie: Avatar: The Way of Water
Director: James Cameron
Cast: Zoe Saldaña, Sam Worthington, Sigourney Weaver, Stephen Lang, Cliff Curtis, Joel David Moore, CCH Pounder, Edie Falco, Jemaine Clement, Kate Winslet
Duration: 192 Mins