Avatar: A Sequel Success

by Netta Eisenstein and Jenna Kriensky, Opinions writers
graphic courtesy of IMDb

The first “Avatar” was the highest-grossing movie in 2009, earning over $2.74 billion. “Avatar” was a smash hit, so the buildup for its 2022 sequel, “Avatar: The Way of Water” was massive, as it took over 13 years for it to be released.

In the first Avatar movie, we meet Jake Sully, a paraplegic Marine living in the mid-22nd century, who is sent to the planet of Pandora on a mission to scope out the life of extraterrestrials on the planet and obtain their trust. 

Pandora is inhabited by the Na’vi, a humanoid species whose livelihoods are threatened by human presence. Because the Pandoran atmosphere is toxic to humans, humans are able to survive on Pandora by adopting Na’vi avatars. 

Director James Cameron does an excellent job of adding complexity to all the characters, and the movie is well-paced, amazingly animated and overall worth a watch. 

“Avatar: The Way Of Water,” takes a closer look at Jake and Neytiri’s post-marital life as well as the looming threat of human colonization. The film centers around their four children, Neteyam, Lo’ak, Tuk and Kiri, exploring the value of family and the lengths one would go to protect it. 

A threat surrounds Jake and his family, so they seek shelter from the water Na’vi, the Metkayina. “The Way Of Water”  also comments on the importance of respecting and preserving the environment and the creatures that inhabit it, describing the dangerous impact humans can have on their surroundings and the benefit of appreciating different cultures.

This moral was transmitted seamlessly in a mature connotation, unlike some other movies with cheesy dialogues. This depth renders the movie more likeable since the viewer feels like the message actually pertains to the plot and isn’t just randomly added. 

Overall, the characters are much more likable than in the first movie, especially the children. The script is much more entertaining, revolving around one world and central story; however, Cameron manages to balance multiple subplots, tying them together in a more ambitious and seamless way.

My main issue with the movie was its length. At three hours and 10 minutes long, it made sitting down to watch it take up an immense chunk of my day. Yes, it was thoroughly entertaining, but for people with short attention spans like myself, it was a bit trying at times.

Building on its predecessor’s impressive visual feats, the movie’s animation was incredible: Cameron is well known for his innovative use of special effects, and this film is no exception.

From stunning landscapes to spectacular underwater scenes and intricately-designed creatures, the animation far surpasses the first movie and any other film I’ve ever seen. Cameron’s use of motion capture technology is particularly noteworthy, as it adds a level of realism to the actors’ performances that is truly remarkable.

However, it’s hard to overlook Cameron’s enjoyment of the human hardware sequences, which have a rough physicality that starkly contrast with the light computer-game visuals of the rest of the film.

Despite minor flaws, like the run-time, “Avatar: The Way of Water” is truly a stunning and thought-provoking film that will leave a lasting impression on audiences. Its environmental messages, phenomenal use of visual effects and captivating storyline renders the movie a must-watch. 

It has been revealed that a third, fourth and fifth Avatar movies are in the making, with the third already filmed, as Cameron did not want the child actors to age too much. The script for the fourth and fifth have also been created. Cameron has stated that the first two movies set the stage for the next three, so if he keeps his promise and continues the precedent he has set, I’m very excited to see this franchise grow.