To say that Avatar (2009) made an impact is an understatement. The highest-grossing movie of all time, it became an instant classic and a fan favorite.
The sequel, Avatar: The Way of Water, was released in theaters last weekend. Jake (Sam Worthington) and Neytiri (Zoe Saldana) are happily settled down and are raising their children. When Quaritch (Stephen Lang) comes back in Na’vi form, he has one thing in mind: revenge.
Jake and Neytiri leave their home and find refuge with another Na’vi tribe. Led by Tonowari (Cliff Curtis) and Ronal (Kate Winslet), they rely on the sea for everything. While their children try to fit in and learn the ways of their hosts, Quaritch gets closer. Eventually, it becomes obvious that the only way to stop him is for Jake and the Na’vi to take him head-on.
This movie is incredible. The 13-year wait and the 3+ hours run time are completely worth it. Balancing narrative, special effects, and climate change, James Cameron tells a story that is both effective and powerful.
As he did in the first film, he used the allegory of the Na’vi and the destruction of their world as a warning about ours. I have had to hand it to Cameron. A film of this type, with all of the disparate elements, could have easily failed. The special effects might have overtaken the story, the filmmakers could have gotten on their soapboxes, etc. But they all blend seamlessly together.
What I loved was that at its heart, it is the tale of a family. Parents doing their best to raise their kids, young people trying to find themselves, learning from our mistakes, etc. Cameron also continues with the tradition of strong female characters. Ronal and Neytiri do not wait for their mates to rescue them. They are just as badass and in charge as their partners.
Do I recommend it? Absolutely.
Avatar: The Way of Water is presently in theaters.
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