After waiting over a decade for Avatar: The Way of Water (2022), I watched it on opening night and promptly put together my thoughts into a concise, spoiler-free review. Here are my thoughts on one of the year’s most anticipated films!
Although I enjoyed the original Avatar (2009) film when it first came out, I have a lot of complicated feelings towards it. I don’t mind that the story is an amalgamation of the same ones we’ve been telling for hundreds of years, with themes of forbidden love, war, and an ‘us versus them’ mindset.
Avatar’s story is an incredibly simple and predictable one-but with a film showcasing state-of-the-art visuals and undeniably beautiful music and scenery, the story doesn’t have to reinvent the wheel to be enjoyable.
However, I’ve always felt uncomfortable with the blatant display of the ‘white savior’ trope. Going into Avatar: The Way of Water, I already had expectations based on the first film in the series. I’m happy to say that the movie blew those expectations out of the water!
The music was the only aspect of this film that did not meet my expectations. Written by James Horner, Avatar’s soundtrack is iconic and masterful. I went into this film expecting more from the mind of James Horner but was devastated upon finding out that the composer passed away in a plane crash in 2015.
Simon Franglen, who wrote much of the music for Animal Kingdom’s Pandora: The World of Avatar area and attractions, took the helm for Avatar: The Way of Water.
Franglen refrains from reinventing the wheel, staying true to the motifs written by James Horner. At first, I was disappointed by this, but the music was still incredibly moving.
The visuals were stunningly beautiful, and in all honesty, I wasn’t expecting anything less from James Cameron. There were moments when I could have believed I was watching a 9-foot tall Na’vi in the flesh. The underwater sequences are genuinely breathtaking, and the sequences on land are as immersive as the first Avatar film.
This film will conjure images of the clearest, most crystalline water you’ve ever seen. It may have you thinking of your last vacation to a tropical destination, or of the last luxury resort pool you’ve swam in. Either way, this movie will leave you wanting to take a refreshing dip!
There isn’t much I can say about the visuals without giving away any spoilers, so I will leave readers with one thought: the use of CGI and animation in this film is so successful that it feels like a breath of fresh air in an industry that has begun to lean on CGI.
The acting in this film is phenomenal. Considering much of this movie follows the children of the Sully Family, a big chunk of the acting is done by child actors.
The younger actors and actresses interact as if they’ve known each other for their entire lives, and so much of it felt organic and natural. If you’re a parent or an older sibling, some moments will make you feel as if you’re watching your own family as they play, fight, and get into mischief.
The seasoned actors and actresses give the performance of a lifetime in this film.
Sam Worthington (Jake Sully), Zoe Saldaña (Neytiri), Sigourney Weaver (Kiri and Dr. Grace Augustine), Stephen Lang (Colonel Miles Quaritch), Kate Winslet and Cliff Curtis each bring their characters to life in a way that can only be described as unmatched. Each actor is perfect for their respective role.
Overall, Avatar: The Way of Water was a blast! The story being told is so exciting, and the pacing is so well-timed that you won’t even notice that the film’s run time is a whopping 3 hours and 12 minutes. As the credits began, I could only think, “James Cameron has done it again.” If you can handle sitting in theater seats for four hours (accounting time for the advertisements), I highly recommend catching a showing of this movie!
Please note that the views expressed in this article are those of the individual author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Disney Tips.