Avatar: The Way of Water

Avatar is an epic science fiction film produced in 2009. It stars Sam Worthington, a British-Australian actor who started his acting career in Australia where he received recognition in 2004 for his lead role in Somersault, a film that won every one of the 13 Australian Film Institute Awards. His international film career began with small roles in the Hollywood production of The Great Raid (2005). In 2009 he played cyborg Marcus Wright in Terminator Salvation (2009), and that same year he was recruited for Avatar.

In this film humans are colonizing Pandora, a habitable moon in the Alpha Centauri star systems, with the purpose of mining its valuable minerals. Unfortunately, the expansion of the mine threatens the existence of a local indigenous humanoid species called the Na’vi. The title of the film refers to a genetically engineered Na’vi whose brain is used to communicate with the local natives.

The plot revolves around a love affair between Jake Sully, a paraplegic U.S. marine who has been hired as a bodyguard for scientists working for a mining company, and a Pandoran girl.  The two lead an uprising against the greedy corporate interests bent on destroying the Na’vi. It is an action-packed, anti-colonialist, environmentally-friendly film that helped James Cameron sustain his reputation as a director of ground-breaking films. It has great special effects and became the highest grossing film up to 2010.

It is an important movie, with a decent supporting cast that includes Zoe Saldana, Stephen Lang, Michelle Rodriguez and Sigourney Weaver, but it is also terribly written with poorly drawn characters, a weak script, and a plot that seems to have been borrowed wholesale from Dances with Wolves.

Thirteen years later Cameron has essentially rewritten Avatar with its sequel Avatar: The Way of Water.

This film is beautiful to look at, with CGI that will undoubtedly change the way Hollywood looks at special effects. The evil Mega corporation introduced in the first film has returned to Pandora, this time intent on destroying the moon’s oceans. Sam Worthington returns as Jake Sully and Zoe Saldana is once again cast as his Pandoran love interest. The film features the distinguished Kate Winslet and Sigourney Weaver in supporting roles, but unfortunately their talents are wasted here.

The problem is that this new Avatar movie has most of the first film’s flaws. The characters are thinly written, with subpar dialogue and a script that once again, uses too many ideas from films like Dances with Wolves and Disney’s Pocahontas for me to be entirely comfortable with it.

Avatar: The Way of Water is also three hours and 12 minutes long, and unlike a quality film like The Fellowship of the Ring, I would venture to state that most viewers will find its length incredibly oppressive and too long for a substandard plot and script.

Folks, it is my recommendation that you watch something else. Unless you are a sucker for magnificent visual and special effects, don’t waste your time with this Avatar sequel.