Avatar: The Way of Water makes a spectacular splash in the movie world

Sophia Pendergast, Staff Reporter

I’ll never forget the first time I watched the movie Avatar. It was on New Year’s Eve when I was around eleven years old. I reluctantly turned the movie on in an attempt to stay up until midnight. My expectations were low, and I was prepared for a less than enjoyable viewing experience. Instead, I was blown away by the world of Pandora, and intrigued by the heroic blue characters. 

The sense of awe that I felt the first time I watched the movie has never dissipated. Each time I rewatch the film, I am still just as mesmerized as the first time I watched it. So, you can imagine my excitement when the long awaited sequel came to theaters. After years of rewatching the original, I was eager to see how the journey progressed. But, does it compare? 

Avatar: The Way of Water follows Jake Sully and his family nearly fourteen years after a war with a human run research group nearly destroyed their home. After years of peace, Sully once again finds his life threatened, prompting him to move his family to other regions of Pandora. They find refuge with the Metkayina, a Na’vi tribe connected to the water, where the threat of war still remains, creating a lively, visually spectacular film. 

The visuals in the sequel are perhaps the best that I have ever seen. I was consistently mesmerized throughout the duration of the film. I felt transported into Pandora as I watched the Na’vi live on the vibrant, yet tranquil, island. Even when the action lulled, I was still hooked. In all honesty, the sequel captures the setting better than the original. Though this is likely due to improved CGI, it is clear that there was an incredible amount of work put in to capture every detail. I would happily watch the sequel again, simply for the visuals. 

Alongside stunning visuals, the film also includes a fair amount of action. The only problem, it is mainly condensed to the first half-hour and last 45-minutes of the film (keep in mind, the movie is over three hours long). After the initial fight, there is a long span of time simply spent watching the Na’vi exploring their new home. After a certain point, I found my mind wandering. I left the theater wishing there was about a half-hour less of “filler” scenes. Though there was a slight lull, the more exciting scenes were extremely well done. The filming style reminded me of that in the war film 1917. Like 1917, Avatar: The Way of Water  was filmed with  more of a POV style, where viewers feel as if they are watching from the eyes of a Na’vi warrior instead of through a camera lens. I found it to be a very engaging technique. It elevates the scene and makes up for the lacking excitement throughout the middle of the film. Die-hard action fans will likely not enjoy this movie, as there is not consistent excitement throughout; however, all who watch will be impressed by this sequel.

With impressive visuals and immersive action, Avatar: The Way of Water is not to be missed. Whether you have been waiting for the sequel for as long as you can remember, or are simply looking for a genuinely good film, this is the one for you! If you find yourself with a hefty amount of free time, make your way over to the theaters and check it out. You won’t be disappointed!