“Avatar 2: The Way of Water” Delivers

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“Avatar 2: The Way of Water” is playing in theaters.
Photo: Walt Disney Studios

By CHAZ PLAGER

James Cameron’s Avatar, if nothing else, is famous for being the highest grossing film of all time, grossing over $2.922 billion when it was released in 2009.

Outside of those facts, people really don’t seem to remember the film. I, who watched the first movie about seven years ago, had to explain to my parents during the opening monologue of Avatar 2 what the planet was, who the protagonist was, why the two sides were fighting, and who Quaritch was.

If your movie came out 14 years ago, I feel you owe it to the audience to quickly explain what happened in the last movie.

Avatar 2: The Way of Water is the second film of the Avatar quadrilogy. Director James Cameron has been hyping this movie and the two apparently supposed to come after it for over a decade now, so I came into the movie with mixed expectations. Would it really be that good?

Long story short– it’s not as good as the first. The overall story of Avatar is a conflict between humans, trying to colonize the alien planet Pandora after the Earth starts to die, and the native aliens of Pandora, the Na’vi, who just don’t want to get wiped out.

The protagonist, Jake Sully, is a human who undergoes an experimental procedure to be put into the mind of a Na’vi and take over its body. An Avatar. Get it? Jake realizes that the Na’vi probably don’t deserve to get colonized for resources and joins them in rebellion against humans. He manages to drive them back in the first movie, and they come back in the second seeking revenge.

The plot of the movie is where I have the most complaints. How much does Avatar 2 advance that overall story of rebellion…? It doesn’t. The difference between the start and the end of Avatar 2 consists of simply “an important character died and now Jake Sully lives somewhere else on Pandora.”

Is that oversimplifying it? Yes, but only slightly. There are only a few characters who I really found myself caring about through the movie, including the little brother Lo’ak and Spider.

However, you absolutely have to see this movie while it’s still in theaters. Why would I tell you that you absolutely have to see the film while it’s in theaters? Simple. This movie is absolutely perfect from a technical and performance standpoint. It is gorgeous.

It makes you feel like you are really there. The world is meticulously detailed and fight scenes are perfectly choreographed. With IMAX video and 3D, you feel so completely immersed in the world it’s almost scary. It is, without exaggeration, transcendent. Even my parents who didn’t understand what was going on were still moved by the insane underwater images.

The actors are also incredible. Not a single miss in the casting department– shoutouts to Zoe Saldana as Naytiri, who can scream so realistically I thought they might have killed her parents on set. That’s a joke, but this movie had a $500 million budget. Who knows what they did?

I spent a long time complaining about this movie, but I’m glad I spent those 3 hours and 12 minutes on it. It was a truly breathtaking experience.

 

 

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