A review of “Avatar: The Way Of Water”

When in 2009 I enjoyed the original “Avatar” in 3D and IMAX on the largest screen in Britain (the BFI’s flagship screen), I never imagined that it would take 13 years before I would be able to see the (first) sequel, but I made a point of seeing it in the same format on the same screen.

The lovers in the first movie, ex-marine Jake Sully (Sam Worthington) and Na’vi girl Neytiri (Zoe Saldaña), now have three biological children plus an adoptive daughter (voiced by Sigourney Weaver whose character died last time) and an adopted son who is actually a human. These five kids have so much screen time that, in a sense, this is a children’s movie as well as one for adults who are prepared to share the magic.

Director and co-writer James Cameron is very special in what he has brought to the screen world and his planet Pandora looks as luscious as ever as brilliant special effects present us with its glorious terrains and magnificent creatures.

So many of the Cameron tropes are here that one could even summarise “Avatar 2” as “Aliens” (with its endless endings) meets “Titanic” (with its trapped underwater scenes). It is all visually stunning and the introduction of the reef people the Metkayina allows for some fabulous water sequences.

Unsurprisingly, the bad guys – human marines in the form of giant avatars – are back, so there is plenty of action with Neytiri now displaying much skill with a bow and arrow. As last time, the plot is too thin and too new age, but the main problem is the length: at some three and a quarter hours, this film is half an hour longer than the last one and, when one factors in advertisements and trailers, this makes for a bladder-straining visit to the theatre.

In the end though, this is cinema at its best: big, bold, beautiful, and immensely entertaining. As my 12 year old granddaughter – who saw it even before me – declared, it is simply “wonderful”.


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