Avatar: The Way of Water not only takes us back into this breathtaking world in spectacular fashion but earns the story line that goes along with it.
WRITTEN BY ELLIOT LINES / DECEMBER 13, 2022
Take yourself back 13 years, this is when we first visited the world of Pandora in James Cameron's Avatar. At the time a spectacle on screen, a film that blew away the public and box office records. Where there wasn't a clambering for a sequel, when Cameron announced there would be that and some, there certainly built intrigue in this world once again.
We begin by gliding through the building of Jake (Sam Worthington) and Neytiri's (Zoe Saldana) family. Once they send the "sky people" aka humans back to where they came from, the Na'vi can live in peace without the fear of outsiders threatening their ways. But when a familiar threat returns to the world they must learn new ways to protect their home and the people they love.
Going into this the big questions hanging over its release were about the story line. Realistically where could they go from the 2009 film? You needn't have to worry. The film quickly sets up where its going without having to really explain itself. In amongst a series of narrative scenes, Jakes family and situation is established without a flourish, with no need to get to know these characters straight away, just engulf us into this world once again. Once we get passed this the real story begins, with the return of the humans and our main threat, Colonel Quaritch (Stephen Lang), this time in Na'vi form.
A seemingly settled sully clan quickly realise the return of Quaritch means that they will have to up their life and move on. This brings them to the water tribes, a new way of life for this family, who are immediately seen as alien to their new home. Due to the need to set up this new part of Pandora, there is plenty of explanation to go through. A little like its predecessor Avatar: The Way of Water spends a lot of time world building without a lot actually happening. Now if you're happy to sit in this world and watch then this'll please you, but for others this could drag out the already long 192 minute runtime.
For me, sitting in the world of Pandora was a treat, a feast for the eyes (even if it was in 3D), the only thing missing was a David Attenborough voice over. The pictures captured here is like nothing you have ever seen before, bright, vibrant and quite frankly mind blowing. The way in which Cameron explores this world, no longer in the trees but in the water is gorgeous from beginning to end. Every single detail is meticulously designed to have a place in this world and to look stunning being there. Even when the big sci-fi machinery comes into play it doesn't look out of place. If I were being over critical there were times that the action scenes felt a little video-game like in delivery. But looking past those moments, visually, as expected, Avatar: The Way of Water went passed expectations in bringing the viewing right back into this universe.
There were various new characters introduced throughout the movie, and where none of them truly grabbed your attention there were none that didn't feel like they needed to be there, all serving a purpose in the end. A lot of focus was put on the kids (with more sequels coming this makes sense), who grow into their roles in this world gradually, finding their places and discovering who they are. This brings a gradual fondness for them throughout the run-time, and they'll most likely be the main focus in the future for this franchise.
Did this need to be made? No. Am I glad to be back in this world? Absolutely. James Cameron has created something here that didn't quite seem possible. Avatar: The Way of Water was always going to look incredible, but could the storyline hold up. Centered around family there is emotion aplenty, it may be slow for some at times but exploring the wonders of Pandora once again was a delight, a must see on the big screen.