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What to Watch This Weekend: Avatar: The Way of Water

Avatar: The Way Of Water reviews

Avatar: The Way of Water is a story of family. Over a decade has passed since Jake Sully (Sam Worthingon) successfully saved the forest dwelling Na’vi from the plundering humans who sought unobtainium. For years he has lived in relative peace with his family including wife Neytiri (Zoe Saldaña), sons Neteyam (Jamie Flatters) and Lo’ak (Britain Dalton), and daughters Tuk (Trinity Jo-Li Bliss) and Kiri (Sigourney Weaver) whom they’ve adopted after her biological human mother passed. When Colonel Miles Quaritch (Stephen Lang) returns to exact revenge for being killed by Neytiri, the Sully family makes the hard decision to leave their colony. They seek out sanctuary with a Na’vi water tribe and try adapting to their way of life.

What works in Avatar: The Way of Water is the revolutionary visual effects. Writer/director James Cameron (Aliens, Terminator 2: Judgement Day) raises his own bar and creates an immersive world through groundbreaking technology. Audiences will delight in an entirely new experience across two major vectors. First, for a premium viewing experience, theater patrons will don new state-of-the-art 3D glasses. These will allow their eyes to take full advantage of the incredible sharpened imagery played back at a higher-than-normal framerate. This results in the crispest, most realistic resolution people have likely ever seen. These technological strides reach their peak when Pandora’s oceans become the primary locale. To say the underwater action sequences are impressive would be almost reductive—they are spellbinding in their beauty. Simply put, Avatar: The Way of Water is gorgeous from beginning to end.

Audiences who prefer substance over style may not enjoy Avatar: The Way of Water as much as others. While the film is an absolute delight for the eyes, it tends to focus more on the visual grandeur than universe building or character development. While Cameron likely wanted to slow his story down in an attempt to make a 4 or 5 movie franchise, very little happens in this second installment in terms of narrative. Instead, Cameron appears to have strung together several wildly creative situations he wanted his performers to get into. These moments are unquestionably engrossing and sure to capture people’s attention. That said, some may find themselves wishing for a bit more from the writing in order to provide greater depth to the overall arc.

Avatar: The Way of Water is a spectacle best enjoyed on the big screen. It delivers on the promise of giving people a revolutionary moviemaking experience. The final product is such a marvel, the Academy Award race for Best Visual Effects is presumably over. However, the long runtime and lack of an original story may not appeal to everyone.

Recommended if you Enjoyed: Avatar, Alita: Battle Angel

Avatar: The Way of Water is available to watch exclusively in theaters starting on December 16th.

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