The long awaited sequel to James Cameron’s Avatar is even more visually stunning and simple as the original, proving that even three-dimensional spectacle cannot hide two-dimensional characters and a stale story.
13 years is a long time, especially if we’re talking about sequel to the movie that blew up box offices, minds and the film industry back in 2009. James Cameron’s Pandora was a world so astonishing, that it was hard to believe it was possible to make it into “reality” at that time, even if its weak characters, dialogues and plot was carefully hidden behind the trees of the planet’s wilderness. “What an amazing world this is”, so we have thought, hoping that we could return to this strange place and learn more about its creatures and history. There was so much to build on and so much more to explore, which is exactly why fans were thrilled when not one, but four sequels were announced. Learning from what Marvel did with its cinematic universe during the past decade, how can you even mess this up, right? …right?
Trust me: you have seen this movie before. I don’t mean that in the “all superhero movies are the same” kind of way. This is the same movie you have seen in 2009, with minor adjustments to its characters and universe. Jake Sully, now leader of the Omaticaya Clan, is living a simple life with her wife Neytiri and four kids. As expected, their dream life is about to shatter, as sky people return, and the Sully family has to flee from their home, and hide among the Metkayina Clan, who live on the shores of the ocean.
Although that might sound like world building, it really isn’t. Members of the Metkayina Clan are doing the same things as the Na’vi of the forest. They ride strange creatures, they have sacred places, and the only true difference between the clans comes down to a slightly lighter shade of blue skin and their connection to water. If we are expecting some changes on the side of villains, we are out of luck, since Colonel Quaritch, the first movie’s bad guy and his team simply return, in the form of their own avatars.
What makes this return from the death even worse is that none of the characters from the previous film show any kind of development. The motivation and decisions of both heroes and villains often seem unreasonable, making most turning points of the movie completely nonsensical. Sully’s kids are just as archetypical as they can be, but two of them have their own storylines. There are moments when these side adventures seem to turn into something interesting, dare I say original, but they somehow manage to lead nowhere in the end.
I have to give credit where it’s due: they promised us amazing visuals, and they delivered. Pandora in 3D is once again vibrant in colors, rich in wildlife, presented in the highest quality that the industry is capable of. It is simply a breathtaking world and it is fun to be in it for a while. Unfortunately, the amazement lasts for maybe an hour, in the unnecessarily lengthy, 192 minutes long tech demo.
The Way of Water is a lazy attempt for another box office hit, but that won’t make it any less successful. The hype train is working flawlessly, and everyone wants a ticket. Despite of what you’ve read in the past few minutes, even I want to urge you to go and see The Way of Water at the movies, not only because that is the only place the film can shine, but because of the wait that you and everyone had to endure. However, without a serious change in direction, the success of The Way of Water certainly won’t be enough for the upcoming sequels – both from a financial and a creative aspect.
The Way of Water is a lazy attempt for another box office hit, but that won’t make it any less successful. The hype train is working flawlessly, and everyone wants a ticket. Despite of what you’ve read in the past few minutes, even I want to urge you to go and see The Way of Water at the movies, not only because that is the only place the film can shine, but because of the wait that you and everyone had to endure