James Cameron’s sequel to Avatar has finally come to cinemas after 13 years of waiting. Can Avatar: The Way of Water live up to the spectacle of the first film? Will Stead went to find out.
Before commencing the main part of this review; i.e. the review itself, I encourage everyone to see this film in cinemas. It is simply an experience that cannot be had at home (unless you’re willing to fork out a couple of grand on equipment). And for anyone concerned about the length of the film, and its toll on their bladder: just go for a slash. No one is going to come after you, and if you are truly upset about missing a bit just buy another ticket or hide in the toilets until the next screening starts. That’s what I did (bought a ticket, I didn’t camp out in the can), I’ve seen it twice and intend to go for a third!
It is unsurprising some shots took up to three weeks to render when you consider the detail and scope of this film
Now, the review. Avatar 2: Aren’t We All Damp somehow suffers a more traumatic issue that the first suffered. The plot is painfully weak. While many have said the first Avatar had no cultural impact and that these sequels would fail, I’ve always been a firm believer in James Cameron. In fact I actually quite enjoy the plot of the first film, it’s always reminded me of an 80s action movie on a coked up budget. But the sequel unfortunately doesn’t offer much for story. Cameron’s biggest risk is that there are no risks. The 3-hour epic follows the rough formula of 20 minutes of stunning visuals, followed by 10 minutes of hitting obvious story beats. I will give Jim credit for making the finale to this movie also a sequel to Titanic, but that is for the viewer to experience not for me to spoil now.
“If the plot is so weak then why did you open this review telling me to go see it?”, I hear you ask, glaring at me as if I have spilt your pint. Well dear reader, the visuals. FX with James Cameron is a recipe for pioneering beauty. It is unsurprising some shots took up to three weeks to render when you consider the detail and scope of this film. Maybe companies such as Marvel should take notes, when a director understands the technology they seek to utilise and give the VFX artists appropriate time to do their job then incredible art can be produced.
Cameron’s biggest risk is that there are no risks
Truly, it cannot be overstated how fantastic this film looks. In both viewings, I caught myself fully immersed in the reality of the film simply because of how minute details subconsciously tricked me into thinking it was all live action. Phwoar are the water simulations good looking. The visuals do most of the heavy lifting in this film, the score unfortunately does not hold the same weight as it did in the first film, but I attribute that more to the passing of James Horner and his close relationship with James Cameron. Simon Franglen does do a fantastic job, and his career has been nothing short of impressive, but the score for Avatar 2 is just too passive.
The visuals overthrow my other issues like the plot and score. What they cannot overthrow, unfortunately, is the lessening of Neytiri’s role. She just cries every now and then and functions more as a stereotypical “naggy wife”. So, I leave you with this ultimatum Jimmy C: return Neytiri to her former glory in Avatar 3: Some like it Hot or I’ll only see it once, maybe twice if I have a job.
Featured image courtesy of Alex Watkin. Permission to use granted to Impact. No changes were made to this image.
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