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Avatar: The Way of Water - is it aging well?

Kelaru & Fulton rating: ★★★★

Available on Disney+ and Max | Runtime: 3 hrs 12 mins


The second epic instalment in the Pandora films has been on Disney+ since June after racking in $2.3 billion at the box office.

According to Samba TV, in the 5 days after the streaming on Disney+ and Max, the film has drawn 2.6 million views but does it still have the stamina to become a classic like its predecessor?

For the very few that have not seen this yet, a quick reminder of what it’s all about: we are back in the lush, alien landscapes and surrounded by the vibrant culture of the Na'vi, with Jake and Neytiri at the centre of the story again, this time with 4 children of their own. Those pesky humans of the RDA Corporation return in a more audacious and unrelenting form, compelling our family to forsake their familiar forest existence and embrace an unfamiliar coastal lifestyle as displaced immigrants, uprooted from their ancestral homes.

The original Avatar was a technological marvel that set new standards in 3D filmmaking, offering audiences an unprecedented visual spectacle. However, in the years since its release, the bar for visual effects and 3D technology has been raised by several notches, with many films attempting to replicate its success. Even so, with 80% of the film happening in and around water, the motion-capture technology used to film under water is simply stunning and gives the film an immersive feel especially when watched in IMAX. The technology had to be invented and tested for the film, one of the reasons there was a 13 years break between the first and second film.

In terms of storytelling, The Way of Water takes us on a new adventure with familiar characters, bringing us deeper into the ecological and spiritual themes that were central to the first film while following the family adapting to new way of living and dealing with the usual challenges of a family life. However, the true strength of the film lies in its ability to delve beyond the mesmerising visual effects. At its core, it's the intricate dynamics within the family that take centre stage, accentuating their disparities, personal growth, and the profound connections that weave the narrative together. While the original Avatar celebrated a tale of love, this sequel beautifully weaves a narrative that celebrates the concept of family.

While Avatar: The Way of Water may not have the same groundbreaking impact as its predecessor, it still manages to captivate audiences with its thoughtful story, gripping action and important environmental message.

In an era where sequels often struggle to recapture the magic of the originals, The Way of Water successfully extends the legacy of Avatar. It might not redefine filmmaking like the first one, but it retains its relevancy in an ever-changing cinematic landscape.

Well worth a second and a third watch!



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