The Aqua Wars

Avatar: The Way of Water

Director: James Cameron

Cast: Sam Worthington, Zoe Saldana, Sigourney Weaver, Kate Winslet, Stephen Lang, Jack Champion, Cliff Curtis, Edie Falco, CCH Pounder

Running Time: 3 hours and 12 minutes

Film Rating: 8 out of 10

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After a 13 year absence, director James Cameron returns with the highly anticipated sequel to the 2009 smash hit Avatar which is a mix up of the first film, with directorial flourishes from his earlier films including the Oscar winning Titanic and 1989’s The Abyss. Avatar: The Way of Water follows the Na’vi race to protect Pandora from the Sky People commonly known as humanity who have come to colonize Pandora as earth is becoming increasingly uninhabitable.

This epic fantasy adventure is over 3 hours long and can be viewed as a family orientated cinematic opera with a clear 3 act partition. The narrative focuses on Jake Sully and his family as they leave the rainforests and escape to the water people, Metkayina reef people headed up by TonoWari played by New Zealand actor Cliff Curtis (Once Were Warriors) and his wife Ronal played by Oscar winner Kate Winslet (The Reader) who reteams with James Cameron after the critical success of Titanic.

Act 1 of Avatar: The Way of the Water is establishing the family dynamics of Jake Sully and his wife Neytiri played by Zoe Saldana and their four children: two boys and two girls as they live blissfully in the lush rain forests of Pandora. Act 2 follows the family’s departure to the water people following an imminent threat by Quaritch played by Stephen Lang, a human space commando that has become an Avatar to track down Jake Sully and then Act 3 is the most spectacular as there are the Aqua Wars.

It is really in the critical scenes of Act 3 that director James Cameron excels as the gorgeous water scenes are extraordinary. However soon the water people and the ocean species are threatened by the arrival of Quaritch with humans, ammunition and extremely advanced technology which destabilizes the delicate balance of life that the Water people, wisely governed by TonoWari has fought so hard to maintain. The water sequences in Act 2 and 3 are truly phenomenal: dazzling and visually beautiful. For that reason alone it is worth seeing Avatar: The Way of Water. The second reason, besides the cutting edge visual effects, is the extraordinary production design, not only in scale but in imagination and interpretation.

The story of Avatar: The Way of Water could be an allegory for conservation, the climate crisis and rapid urbanisation. It could also be an allegorical tale about the colonizer trying to conquer the colonised to the point of extinction. Both allegorical reference points remain relevant and contemporary.

Visually lavish, Avatar: The Way of Water is truly amazing to behold, a vast and glimmering spectacle of oceanic wars, threatened species and unbelievable technology.

Avatar: The Way of Water gets a film rating of 8 out of 10 and should win an Oscar for Best Visual effects. It is a very long film, but highly recommended viewing, not so much for the storyline but for the cinematic spectacle.

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