Avatar: The Way of Water Review- Marina Beacroft, Holy Cross
! CONTAINS SPOILERS !
Brought to life by the producer James Cameron, Avatar: The Way of Water, recently out in cinemas, was a much awaited and anticipated Sci-Fi film, starring actors such as Sam Worthington, Kate Winslet and Zoe Saldiña. Its setting has continued to stay within Pandora, following the family that Jake and Neytiri have created for themselves some years into the future. Yet interestingly, a new location is explored whilst Jake and his family go into hiding, this is where a seemingly different race is revealed within a site close to sea.
This sequel is based upon the idea of the antagonists of the first movie reviving from the dead within the form of the Na’vi and is centred around revenge and vengeance of Colonel Quaritch, upon Jake who had killed his human form within the first movie. The ‘sky people' also have the motive of inhabiting Pandora for themselves as Earth is dying, yet this is not explored much further than a comment. There are many sub-plots within the movie which distract the audience at times, and engage them with cinematic aesthetics through CGI and further loose-ends such as when we learn Kiri seems to have unnatural environmental abilities, and an intense connection with Ewya.
In terms of the acting and CGI, the movie was of exemplary standards, the scenes in which were supposed to evoke commiseration from the audience were powerful and effective in doing so. For instance, when the eldest brother of Jake Sully’s offspring was killed by the sky people, it was acted out skilfully and realistically in the portrayal of grief. In continuation, the CGI was arguably what added magic and fantasy to the screen, improvements in technology and the use of 3D have allowed this movie to be seamless in its life-like approach to special effects. The occasions where the focus was predominantly concentrated on learning the new ways of life from the ‘reef people’, becoming one with their nature and the sea creatures within it were exceptionally fascinating and enthralling to watch because of the picturesque manner in which it was edited. Another pleasant touch was that, whilst there was some bullying of the Sully children by the 'reef people' because of their differences in appearance, it was ultimately brushed off in the end and not made a fuss of, which is refreshing in the sense that race was not a significant issue.
Despite the charming characters and other-worldly cinematography the main criticism lies within the plot, the intensive focus being on revenge on Jake Sully from the same antagonists which appeared in the first movie. This felt repetitive and disappointing, as well as unrealistic in the sense that getting vengeance would not be the prime concern of the sky people in their return to Pandora, it would more likely be on re-inhabiting the planet for selfish use. Despite this, the principal conflict within the film was once again, between Jake Sully and the Colonel.
Moreover, whilst some loose-ends are vital in maintaining the interest of the viewer for upcoming sequels, there seemed to be a lack of closure and investigation on key moments within the plot, for example, Kiri being one with all elements of nature was not zoomed in on whatsoever, the romance between Lo'ak and Tsireya was also left hanging, as well as what becomes of the Colonel. Partly, some of these loose-ends can be brushed over because of the fact that there are two sequels to this movie, and it must be done to keep the audience engaged with the story-line. However, due to the immense focal point being on revenge, it felt unsatisfying towards the end, especially after the Colonel gets rescued by his lost son, leaving the impression that we may have to endure this same narrative once again.
Though Avatar: The Way of Water was an absorbing and cinematically beautiful film, critically, the overall plot felt somewhat lazy and lacking creativity. The 3D experience added a further layer of realism, and in all ways technological, realism was not the issue, it was the plot which felt most unrealistic at times.