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Written By:

Jack Bottomley
Avatar The Way of Water Starburst Magazine Review

Very often we get movies that come and go. Other times you get ones that remain. Every now and then you even get a film that comes along and shakes things up. Then you get an Avatar. Whatever your opinion on James Cameron’s 2009 blockbuster, it is a film that not only attained legendary box office status, but one that ingrained itself into a modern generation’s cinema language. To the point that even those who haven’t seen it, know it fairly well. So, 13 years later, following up such a lightening in a bottle film Goliath would be no easy task.

It is somewhat crazy to call Avatar: The Way Of Water a risk, considering James Cameron’s legacy and results but that is precisely what it is. A mega budgeted, long awaited, sequel that has the unenviable task of following up a movie that many thought should have received a sequel far earlier and is one of the largest films ever made. Time will tell (probably quite quickly) if this film will recapture the box office magic, especially at a time when that is considerably harder to accomplish, but does the film itself manage to justify the return to this dazzling CGI world? 

Yes. It. Does. 

Catching up with Jake (Sam Worthington) and Neytiri (Zoe Saldaña), as they now have a family together and live as proud, fierce, Na’vi warriors and leaders. But the threat of humanity is returning and in a way that is far nastier, more deceptive and more deadly, as Jake’s family and Pandora itself, will be tested in far greater ways than they could ever imagine.

Avatar: The Way of Water is seriously spectacular on every conceivable level. So many doubted what we would see, and you might say we were foolish to doubt that James Cameron could do it all again…let alone do it bigger, deeper and better. After all Terminator 2 and Aliens are the sequel blueprints for a reason, are they not? 

This sequel improves upon the mighty first film in every single way, with recent Planet of the Apes trilogy scribes Rick Jaffa and Amanda Silver’s fingerprints clearly felt on Cameron’s already ambitious screenplay. 

Thematically timely and powerful, The Way Of Water has a story that expands characters old and new, and in turn opens out this breathtaking world of Pandora. Fatherhood, grief, culture and companionship are all aspects to this story which play a vital part, amidst the prevailing eco-identity of this massive motion picture.

Using the latest tech to reconnect audiences with the power and joy of nature, The Way of Water is a very spiritual film, with a great big green heart beneath its gorgeous exterior and its comes with the biggest jump out of chair moment of comeuppance we can recall in quite some time onscreen. In a sequence clearly intended to call out mankind’s abuses of the sea and the intelligent creatures beneath the waves.

Meanwhile those above the waves onscreen very much standout too. The characters and cast are excellent, with the returning players being most welcome and more importantly necessary to many developing plot lines. While some of the fresh faces make a very important imprint on the franchise immediately and – fingers crossed – going forward. No spoilers here folks!

Visually never less than astounding and groundbreaking, you can see and more importantly feel where every cent has gone here, in this film’s painstaking decade plus construction. This is assuredly a 3D HFR showcase (boy is it) but even without the added dimension, it is an environmental blockbuster that sees a legendary filmmaker using technology unlike any other director out there.

This is a pure cinema experience, not to be missed, and Cameron never resists the urge to throw absolutely everything he has into this clear work of passion. As do all involved along with him. 

Avatar: The Way Of Water is emotional, exciting, immersive spectacle certainly, but with way more than just amazing audio-visual punch to wow you and connect with you.

The wait was worth it. Now breathe. And take it all in.

Jack Bottomley

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