Review – Avatar: The Way of Water

sequel to the 2009 film

way of waterHere’s my problem when I watched Avatar: The Way of Water – I never saw the original 2009 film. So I didn’t know what supposedly terrible, traitorous thing Jake (Sam Worthington), the primary male character, did to trigger the massive military response. I’ve subsequently read a  summary of the first movie. Oh, THAT’S what was going on.

Nevertheless, I enjoyed trying to figure out the relationship among the primary family. Jake and his wife Neytiri (Zoe Saldaña) have sons Neteyam and Lo’ak and daughters Tuk and Kiri. There’s also a  human boy named Spider,  who relates more to the Na’vi culture.  Jake accepts him, but Neytiri is distrustful.

Their tranquility is broken when a spaceship of humans returns to Pandora to capture it. Quaritch (Stephen Lang) has been cloned into a Na’vi body. The attack, even out of context, reminded me of how powerful the military-industrial complex is. Even in this fictional space, it always seems to find a way to pay for heavy-duty armaments and technology.

Jake, Neytiri, and their family flee from the Omaticaya Clan and retreat to the coast of Metkayina. It’s at this point that not knowing what had happened previously didn’t much matter. There is a period of adjustment for both the sojourners and their hosts.  Eventually, the space invaders come looking for the family.


I found these worlds visually stunning, and even without the story were almost worth watching, irrespective of the narrative. This is probably a movie that is best seen in a cinema.

The story addressed imperialism, racism, and environmental injustice, sometimes with success and occasionally a bit hamfisted.  It was interesting to me that the parenting skills of Neytaki and especially Jake sounded very much like almost every parent I grew up around.

The movie, at 195 minutes, is LONG, maybe overlong. I assume James Cameron allows his editors to work.

Ultimately, I guess I need to watch the first film to ascertain whether Way Of Water has fixed the flaws of the original or if it is too much of the same thing. I’ve read multiple reviews with each point of view.

I saw the film at a weekday matinee at Madison Theatre in Albany, and as has happened twice before, I was the only person present.

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