Film Review — Avatar: The Way of Water
A decade after repelling the Na’vi’s human invaders, Jake Sully, Neytiri and his young children are forced to flee their home when a familiar foe returns.
It’s been four days since I sat down and took in James Cameron’s long-awaited follow-up to the most successful film of all time. In that time, I’ve struggled to collect my thoughts to adequately summarise what was a truly remarkable cinematic experience.
The technical achievement of The Way of Water is staggering. The first time we ventured to the entirely and impossibly CG Pandora thirteen years ago, the line between real and crafted was so fine you could barely see it. Here that line is gone. If the world was to end tomorrow and all that survived was a copy of this film, future civilisations would truly believe we were actually 9-foot-tall blue aliens. Such is the tangibility of Cameron’s technological marvel.
Much like the first, the story doesn’t match the quality of its visuals. How could it, after all? It’s simple, there’s no denying that fact, but it’s also effective in telling an emotionally resonant family drama set against an epic action-packed backdrop with a strong environmentalist undercurrent.
More than anything, Cameron wants to make you feel, to plug you into the heart and soul of his world, to make you feel the pain he feels, and to turn you into a staunch advocate for his ideals. It can be flimsy at times, but it works.
The quality of Avatar’s storytelling will be hotly debated until the next sequel arrives. What shouldn’t be, however, is Cameron’s unblemished reputation as one of the greatest action directors to ever do it.
The sequences here, particularly in the third act, are jaw-dropping in execution. So much so that my dreadfully-behaved fellow cinemagoers were almost entirely silent for much of the film’s final hour, save for someone in the third row who decided to take a selfie with the flash on.
Fuck that person.
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