Shared Experience: Our Review of ‘Avatar: The Way Of Water’

Posted in Movies, Theatrical by - December 16, 2022
Shared Experience: Our Review of ‘Avatar: The Way Of Water’

Even when it’s not perfect…game just has to recognize game when something completely epic gets put down in front of them.

Let’s be fair with one another; a movie like Avatar: The Way Of Water isn’t necessarily made for originality of story but rather to push the boundaries of spectacle, and while it does lack in some areas it certainly doesn’t skimp on some jaw dropping visuals.

Set more than a decade after the events of the first film, Avatar: The Way of Water begins to tell the story of the Sully family (Jake, Neytiri, and their kids), the trouble that follows them, the lengths they go to keep each other safe, the battles they fight to stay alive, and the tragedies they endure.

With it all slowly arcing out to a grander story dealing with issues around environmentalism and indigenous peoples issues;  Avatar: The Way Of Water is actually somewhat of an upgrade on the original because while the story does recycle some themes from the first film, it is unequivocally a visual stunner of a film.

While time has caused us to romanticize the films of James Cameron, we do need a reminder that as much as we love pretty much anything he has put his stamp, he writes popcorn movies.  VERY GOOD popcorn movies….but popcorn movies all the same, so no one here is going to be really winning any awards for acting or having us deep in intellectual discussion long after the credits roll.  What he does do here is craft some pretty spectacular worlds that will leave audiences jaws on the collective floor.

Rarely have we seen such a sumptuous visual feast thrown up on the big screen.  The VFX are next level lush while the use of HFR (High Frame Rate) is kept to a minimum to accentuate the action rather than all the time much like in Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit Trilogy or Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk and it’s shot in 3D (rather than crummy cash cow of up converting that we’d be come so used to so it all looks and feels pretty good).  You won’t want to claw your eyeballs out of your skull on this one; you’ll just be wanting more and more.

Sam Worthington never quite became the action hero that we had all anticipated after starring in the original and Terminator: Salvation back in 2009 but as Jake Sully he has a real handle on the weary every man solider who found purpose in love and family with Neytiri all those years ago as they try to raise a family in the wake of the sky people returning to Na’avi.  Zoe Saldana has ridden the movie star train a little better than her co-star but is fine enough being paired with her blue soul mate once again.

It’s the supporting players where we really get some interesting developments as they manage to bring back Stephen Lang (we won’t tell you how; same with Sigourney Weaver who finds her way back) while the likes of Cliff Curtis and Kate Winslet add some gravitas alongside a younger cast who will prove more and more important as these sequels (if they’re allowed to) as they roll on.

At the end of the day; Avatar: The Way of Water reminds us to appreciate the spectacle that the big screen experience can bring to audiences as we’d fully recommend that you see this in HFR with the IMAX 3D, but also remember that while these visual experiences can’t be recreated on the home viewing level, the art of cinema is so much more than the worlds that Cameron can put on the screen.  It’s all about the shared experience of story, and no matter what anyone says….that’s never going away.

This post was written by
David Voigt is a Toronto based writer with a problem and a passion for the moving image and all things cinema. Having moved from production to the critical side of the aisle for well over 10 years now at outlets like Examiner.com, Criticize This, Dork Shelf (Now That Shelf), to.Night Newspaper he’s been all across his city, the country and the continent in search of all the news and reviews that are fit to print from the world of cinema.
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