Avatar: The Way of Water (2022), Dir James Cameron, 20th Century Studios, 5*****: Matthew Alicoon

Avatar: The Way of Water

20th Century Studios

Running Time: 192 Minutes

Avatar: The Way of Water follows Jake Sully (Sam Worthington) and Neytiri (Zoe Saldaña) who have formed a family on Pandora. However, once a familiar threat returns, the war strikes again between the Na’Vi and the humans.

Avatar: The Way of Water will go down in history as one of the most defining achievements for cinema. James Cameron is a groundbreaking filmmaker who has consistently offered up distinctive and fresh sequels with Terminator: Judgement Day and Aliens. Avatar: The Way of Water is on the same level as these cinematic classics. James Cameron’s mindset is so critically and technically adept allowing the immersive experience of Avatar 2 to be one of a kind. The film demands to be seen on the biggest screen possible.

The character development is sharpened significantly in the film compared to the predecessor. Introducing Jake and Neytiri’s family was a smart move, as by having a strong core of family enabled the film to have heightened jeopardy and stakes. The tenacity and determination that bonds the family together is admirable. The dynamic between characters is consistently sympathetic and humane. The children are fantastically portrayed. The story is reminiscent of the original but thematically it is about families sticking together and fighting against adversity, therefore it is emotionally riveting throughout the entire runtime. The visuals never overpower the story either if anything the visuals benefit the story by giving you an examination into the lifestyle on Pandora.

Each performer importantly gets a sentimental moment at certain points throughout the film. Sigourney Weaver has an incredibly challenging role as an adopted teenage daughter (Kiri) but she embodies the character in such a realistic and warmth sense. Stephen Lang brilliantly shows a compassionate side to his character (Colonel Miles Quaritch). Britain Dalton is the standout in the film, as his character (Lo’ak) undergoes a huge adaptation in terms of adaptation to the world and being valued as a true member of the family. Dalton masterfully conveys an emotional dexterity throughout his character arc and it resounds to a fully reformed transformation at the end.

Insane feels too small of a word to describe the overall visual aesthetic. It is gorgeous to always watch. The underwater sequences feel like watching a tapestry being created in front of your eyes. Components of the film are utilised to make the 3D memorable. Shots from this film can be put into an art gallery. The film is a constant mind-boggling experience when you try to figure out how a film like this was produced. The world of Pandora is unbelievable, as the film starts with a quickly paced opening sequence where you sit back and relax, as you know you are in the safe hands of Cameron. The assurance James Cameron establishes early is bold and confident. The fact that the film was 12 years in the making is understandable, as the end result is sublime.

An apprehension audiences may have is the running time of 192 Minutes. It is a lot of film but it utilises the running time flawlessly by having an eloquent narrative structure. Thematically there is critical themes running in the first hour, second hour and third hour but you get the implications of what the film is saying. Everything amalgamates to an invigorating finale.

James Cameron has pulled off a miracle with Avatar: The Way of Water. It is smart, riveting and beautiful but most importantly heartfelt. 

Bring on Avatar 3.


Sam Worthington as Jake Sully

Zoe Saldaña as Neytiri

Sigourney Weaver as Kiri

Stephen Lang as Colonel Miles Quaritch

Jamie Flatters as Neteyam

Britain Dalton as Lo’ak

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