Avatar: The Way of Water Review | An Immersive Visual Experience Backed by Generic Writing

Half the theaters in my city had changed their screens and projection setup before the release of James Cameron’s much-anticipated movie Avatar: The Way of Water. I am saying this because whether I recommend this movie or not is absolutely irrelevant, as there is no other film out there for me to draw comparisons in the way it has pushed the idea of visual storytelling. Even though the superior quality of the visuals makes this a once-in-a-lifetime theater experience, the exhausting and generic storytelling is dragging the movie backward.

It’s been almost a decade, and Jake Sully is now the clan’s leader. But the sky people haven’t really given up on their mission to squeeze out the best from Pandora. And this time, Colonel Quaritch and his team decide to attack using their Na’vi body. Sully and his family couldn’t really survive that attack completely. To protect his family, Jake flees to another side of Pandora, ruled by the Metkayina clan, who dominate seawater. The effort of the family to stay together is what we see in Avatar: The Way of Water.

As a filmmaker, James Cameron somewhere knows that by the time this movie gets released, the wow factor the first film managed to create wouldn’t be enough to make things exciting for a viewer. Because when Avatar was released, it revolutionized 3D as a tool for immersive viewing, and now every other movie from Hollywood is shot in 3D. In order to stay unique on being visually captivating, Cameron has used the 48 FPS extensively to make it a truly fantastic experience for the ones who have come to the cinemas expecting something magical. There is no denying the fact that the illuminating colors and the terrific sound design in that flowing frame rate make it visually unique.

Having said that, as much as it is visually breathtaking, the excruciating length of the film that can’t get into detail in a crispy tempo is a major demerit. Yes, Marvel and DC movies don’t really have the kind of grip they had a few years before, but they have subconsciously made the viewer root for content that are more well-written than just visual grandeur. On that aspect, James Cameron’s story struggles to enthrall us in setting the drama in the story. Even though some of us have jokingly said that Avatar is the costliest adaptation of Vietnam Colony, that narratable drama element in the story made it worth watching multiple times. That repeat watch quality is heavily missing in this second episode of the Avatar saga.

Sam Worthington and Zoe Saldana have reprised their roles from the first film as Jake Sully and Neytiri. Since Colonel Quaritch is in Na’vi body, Stephen Lang’s performance this time has him doing the performance capture bit along with Sigourney Weaver, who did the performance capture for the daughter of the character she played in the first part. Kate Winslet and Cliff Curtis are the other significant additions to the movie. Britain Dalton, Trinity Jo-Li Bliss, Jack Champion, etc., are there as the Sully family and will have a crucial role as the franchise expands.

Avatar: The Way of Water is a great leap in terms of technology, and personally, I am excited to know how other filmmakers will use this framerate idea in creating future blockbusters. As I already said, the amount of detail they have given to world-building is somewhat excessive. The story building has a familiarity which reduces the element of surprise. Avatar: The Way of Water is immersive but not compelling.

Final Thoughts

The story building has a familiarity which reduces the element of surprise. Avatar: The Way of Water is immersive but not compelling.


Green: Recommended Content

Orange: The In-Between Ones

Red: Not Recommended


By Aswin Bharadwaj

Founder and editor of Lensmen Reviews.