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Film REVIEW: Avatar: The Way of Water - ★★★★


The new Avatar movie is here and director James Cameron has topped his 2009 masterpiece with a sequel that is thrilling and beautiful. From incoming characters to the star-studded Avatar 2 cast, here’s everything you need to know.



Director: James Cameron


Writer: James Cameron, Rick Jaffa, Amanda Silver, Josh Friedman, Shane Salerno


Stars: Sam Worthington, Zoe Saldana, Sigourney Weaver, Stephen Lang, Kate Winslet


Genre: Action, Adventure, Fantasy

Themes: Sequel, Ocean, Jungle


Jake Sully lives with his newfound family formed on the extrasolar moon Pandora. Once a familiar threat returns to finish what was previously started, Jake must work with Neytiri and the army of the Na'vi race to protect their home.

It is the sequel to Avatar (2009) and the second installment in the Avatar film series.

The film received generally positive reviews from critics, who praised the film for its visual effects and technical achievements but criticized the plot and lengthy runtime.


In Cinemas Now



MIX UP REVIEWS:


Daniel (Age 12) - ★★★

"This was a good film. The cgi was absolutely amazing and the action was good but it was very long and after a while did start to feel boring. I also thought the dialogue was not great. My favourite character is Miles Quaritch because he was cool and a very good villain in my opinion.

Overall this was a good movie that looked and sounded amazing but I do think it was way to long and the dialogue could have been better"


Stewart - ★★★★★

"Excellent special effects once again, at first it's a little jarring having such a CGI overload but once the story gets started and characters are established it's a hell of a ride! The new young cast members bring a vibrant energy to proceedings and that includes an excellent turn from Sigourney Weaver (in her '70s playing a teen - makes sense when you see the film). The story isn't exactly the most original again and the running time is exhausting but still this is an action packed brilliant experience at the cinema."


Have you seen it yet?



 


Avatar 2 buildup - How big is the new Avatar movie?



It’s only the most anticipated sequel of all time. Think we’re exaggerating? Just look at the numbers. Released in 2009, the original Avatar was the biggest film of its age. In fact, it was the biggest film of any age, gobbling $3 billion at the global box office to become the highest-grossing film in history. True, Avengers: Endgame briefly swiped the crown in 2019 – but thanks to a China-only reissue two years later, Avatar swatted away Tony Stark and co to regain the top spot.


Following that kind of ker-ching, most film studios would have cashed in with a dashed-off and disappointing sequel. But after helming Aliens, Terminator 2 and Titanic, nobody rushes director James Cameron. Instead, displaying the same perfectionism that has defined his career, the Canadian action maestro let the anticipation marinate and the special effects technology develop, waiting a full 13 years to take us back to the planet of Pandora.


It's worked, because Avatar-mania is now at fever pitch. Last year, fans of the blues stampeded cinemas to watch the limited re-run of Avatar – sending the original movie to the top of the box office charts a full 13 years after release. But the main event is undoubtedly the Avatar 2 in cinemas now. Could this be the blockbuster to end them all?

 

Avatar 2 background - How does the new Avatar movie tie in to the first film?

Seeing as there are uncontacted Amazonian tribes who have seen the original Avatar, we’ll keep the recap brief. Disabled marine Jake Sully (Sam Worthington - Terminator Salvation) is given a virtual body known as an ‘avatar’ by the dastardly RDA mining corporation, allowing him to infiltrate the indigenous Na’vi people of Pandora and plunder their precious mineral, Unobtanium. But Jake turns against the humans after settling into the Na’vi way of life and falling for tribal princess Neytiri, played by Zoe Saldana.


Not only action-packed, Avatar was also beautiful, moving and symbolic of the real-life environmental plight facing our planet. Trouble is, Cameron was left with the challenge of following it up – and as he told The Times, he threw out an early Avatar 2 script after working on it for a full year!


“All films work on different levels,” said Cameron. “The first is surface, which is character, problem and resolution. The second is thematic. What is the movie trying to say? But Avatar also works on a third level, the subconscious. I wrote an entire script for the sequel, read it and realised that it did not get to level three. Boom. Start over. That took a year.”

 

Avatar 2 plot - What is the new Avatar about?


The next Avatar movie is part of an overarching story that will include two further sequels. “Set more than a decade after the events of the first film,” says the official synopsis, Avatar: The Way of Water tells the story of the Sully family, 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.”


It’s a little vague. But watch the Avatar 2 trailer – and do some digging – and a fistful of more concrete plot points emerge. It seems Sully and family will flee their rainforest home to seek refuge with a new semi-aquatic Na’vi tribe called the Metkayina, with footage suggesting the stopover won’t be harmonious.


Even more ominous, we saw in the footage at Disney’s D23 Expo 22 that original villain Colonel Miles Rick Quaritch (played by Stephen Lang - Mortal Engines) will return for the new Avatar movie, possibly in Na’vi form. It all suggests the RDA will once again be the primary antagonists in this Avatar sequel.

 

Avatar 2 cast - Who stars in the new Avatar movie?


The original Avatar leads have been busy since 2009, from Sam Worthington’s starring roles in Hacksaw Ridge and Everest, to Zoe Saldaña joining the MCU as a Guardian Of The Galaxy. But nobody is too big for Avatar, and both will return for Avatar: The Way Of Water.


“I’m a very small cog in this,” Worthington told Variety. “There’s a big creative team behind it, and from what I’ve seen, it’s mind-blowing and marvellous what they’re coming up with.”


You’ll remember, Sigourney Weaver (WALL-E)'s character Dr Grace Augustine died a hero in the first Avatar movie. Now, the iconic Aliens and Ghostbusters star returns to the cast of Avatar 2 in a new form, playing Jake and Neytiri’s adopted teenage daughter, Kiri. Cameron told Empire that the role awoke the inner adolescent of 73-year-old Weaver, whose preparation included workshopping with actual teenagers.


“Sigourney just became younger,” he says. “She looked younger, she had more energy, and she never quite stepped out of Kiri for our whole capture period. She had a glow on her face and lightness in her step and a fun spirit.”

 

Avatar 2 cast newcomers - Who should we look out for in the new Avatar movie?



Kate Winslet (Divergent) will also have a central role as Metkayina freediver Ronal, described by the British actress as “strong, deeply loyal, a fearless leader”. Of course, Cameron has put Winslet in the drink once before as Rose in 1997’s Titanic. But that movie was practically a hot bath compared to the sub-aquatic training she endured for Avatar: The Way Of Water – which saw the 46-year-old hold her breath for seven minutes and four seconds (breaking the record set by Tom Cruise for Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation).

 

Will Avatar 2 be in 3D - and can I watch this new Avatar movie at IMAX?



If you’ve followed the career of big Jim Cameron, you’ll know that special effects are kinda important to him. This is the guy who threw Arnie into the ring against a globlet of liquid metal in Terminator 2, gave us the insectoid xenomorph queen in Aliens – and held off making the original Avatar until SFX technology caught up with his concept.


Now, you only have to watch the Avatar 2 trailer to recognise this sequel as another giant leap for SFX. “We're getting really good data, beautiful character motion and great facial performance capture,” the director told Collider during production. “We've basically cracked the code.”


It goes without saying that Avatar 2 is born for the big screen – but serious cinephiles will want to go further and experience this movie in the IMAX format whose sound and vision is truly immersive.

 

Of course, this bona fide event movie will eventually trickle down to the small screen, but as James Cameron reminds us, it’s just not the same as settling down in Row A as the rainforest leaves brush your hair and azure-blue oceans lap at your toes.


Not that I have anything against streaming,” the 68-year-old director told Jimmy Fallon.

“But let’s remember that movie theatres are a sacred experience for all of us.”



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