Avatar: The Way of Water is a 2022 American epic science fiction film directed and produced by James Cameron. It is the sequel to Avatar (2009), the third highest-grossing film of all time. The film is set more than a decade after the events of the first film and follows the story of Jake Sully, Neytiri, and their children as they face new threats and challenges on the moon Pandora. The film features new Na’vi cultures and exotic sea creatures that inhabit the oceans of Pandora. The film stars Sam Worthington, Zoe Saldana, Sigourney Weaver, Stephen Lang, Kate Winslet, Cliff Curtis, and others. The film was released on December 16th, 2022 and received positive reviews from critics. It also won an Academy Award for Best Visual Effects.
The Basic Plot
Set more than a decade after the events of the first film, The Way of Water tells the story of the Sully family (Jake, Neytiri, and their five children), who live in harmony with the Na’vi on Pandora. However, a familiar threat from Earth returns to finish what they started and forces the Sullys to flee their home. They seek refuge among the Metkayina clan, who live in the oceans of Pandora. There, they encounter new Na’vi cultures and exotic sea creatures. Jake and Neytiri must fight to protect their family and their world from destruction.
Cameron said that he wanted to explore the oceans of Pandora and create a new world that was as rich and diverse as the forests of the first film. He also said that he wanted to show the beauty and fragility of nature and the importance of protecting it.
Cameron said that he was inspired by Native American history and culture for writing the story of Avatar: The Way of Water. He said that he felt a connection with the Na’vi and their struggle against colonization and oppression.
Challenges of Underwater Shooting
Since a large amount of shooting was done underwater, the cast and crew also had to deal with the challenges, such as water pressure, visibility, temperature, and safety. They had to wear wetsuits, weights, and harnesses to stay submerged and balanced. There was extensive training and preparation for the underwater scenes, like holding their breath for long periods, using special masks and regulators, and communicating with hand signals.
Winslet plays Ronal, the leader of the Metkayina clan, who lives in the oceans of Pandora. She had to learn how to speak Na’vi and perform underwater stunts for her role. Winslet broke Tom Cruise’s underwater filming record of six minutes by holding her breath for seven minutes and 15 seconds. She joked that she thought she was dead after coming up for air.
There was plenty of new technology and methods used in the film, such as a newly developed DeepX 3D camera system. The production team used a 900,000-gallon water tank that was specially designed to create realistic ocean currents and waves. The tank also had LED screens that projected images of Pandora’s underwater environment.
Most critics praised the visual effects and the underwater scenes of the film, calling them stunning, immersive, and groundbreaking. They also appreciated the environmental message and the exploration of Pandora’s oceans.
However, some critics also criticized the story and the characters of the film, calling them predictable, clichéd, shallow, and underdeveloped. They also complained about the long runtime and the lack of emotional depth.
Overall, the film received positive reviews from critics, with a 76% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. The film was also nominated for an Academy Award for Best Visual Effects
Most audience members were impressed by the visual effects and the underwater scenes of the film, calling them mind-blowing, immersive, and spectacular. They also enjoyed the action sequences and the new creatures of Pandora.
However, some audience members also criticized the story and the characters of the film, calling them predictable, clichéd, shallow, and underdeveloped. They also complained about the long runtime and the lack of emotional depth.
Overall, the film received positive feedback from audiences, with a 92% rating on Rotten Tomatoes and a high box office performance. The film also sparked a lot of discussion and debate among fans of the franchise.
Box Office Performance
Avatar: The Way of Water has grossed over $2.3 billion worldwide as of April 14th, making it the sixth highest-grossing film of all time.
It opened with $134.1 million in North America, setting a new record for the biggest December opening ever. It also broke several international records, such as the highest-grossing film in China with $1.1 billion.
Our verdict on the movie is that it is a visually stunning and technically impressive sequel that expands the world of Pandora and delivers thrilling action and spectacle. However, it also suffers from a weak and predictable story, bland and underdeveloped characters, and a long and tedious runtime. We would recommend it to fans of the first film and to anyone who enjoys immersive 3D cinema, but I would also advise them to lower their expectations for the plot and the emotional depth.