Written by Nic Fraraccio
My excitement was at an all-time high on Dec. 16, 2022. After 13 years, James Cameron and his team brought us “Avatar: The Way of Water.”
I loved the first movie released in 2009 — and the critics did, too. “Avatar” was one of the most successful movies to hit the box office in the 21st century. The movie reached $2.92 billion worth of earnings at the worldwide box office. Furthermore, “Avatar” had a successful trophy haul — winning three Academy Awards and receiving nine nominations.
Walking into the movie theater in December, I expected to watch another award-winning film. However, I left the theater knowing Cameron could have done a better job. (Warning: Spoilers ahead.)
Even though the storyline was enjoyable at face value, the sequel movie seemed to mimic the initial 2009 film using different elements. If you watched the movies side-by-side, you would slowly realize how similar the movies compare to each other.
I could rattle off a list of similarities between the two plot lines, but the one that stuck out the most came at the end of the film. The Resources Development Administration (RDA) slowly outnumbered the Avatar during the final battle on the water. However, Payakan began to attack the RDA vessel.
In the first movie, when all hope seemed to be lost, the animals began to fight off the RDA on the ground and through the air. Although both of these scenes are displayed in a magnificent manner, they are still too similar for my liking.
Despite the similar storyline, “Avatar: The Way of Water” offers interesting character development. I am glad Cameron and his team decided to put less emphasis on Jake’s story. Jake’s family and compatriots got to enjoy the spotlight more during this movie.
I thoroughly enjoyed watching the development of Spider and Kiri throughout the movie.
Spider, the son of the late Colonel Miles Quaritch, embraced the Avatar throughout the movie. He liked to fellowship and speak with the Avatar in their native language. Spider also dressed like the Na’vi tribe.
The development between Spider and his father’s avatar makes the audience ponder when watching the film. The conflicting senses of hope and disagreement made their story intriguing to watch. I hope Cameron utilizes Spider in a major way during the next movie.
Kiri, Jake’s child born from Grace Augustines’ deceased avatar, was easily my favorite character in the film. Watching Kiri fulfill her mother’s dream was heart-wrenching and inspiring. The way she gradually connected with the nature of the sea was truly fascinating.
The scenes involving Kiri’s developing connection with the sea were beautifully shown throughout the entire movie.
Along with character development, the cinematography was nothing short of stunning. The scenes set in the reef were beautiful and mind-blowing to witness in theater. I fully expect this movie to win an Academy Award for cinematography or visual effects.
Despite impressing on a visual scale, I honestly believe Cameron could have given the audience a better and more creative story. Moviegoers waited 13 years for the second edition of the “Avatar” series, and Cameron fell just short of my expectations.
To sum it up, “Avatar: The Way of Water” was beautifully shown but lacked a hint of creativity. Overall, I would rate the film a seven out of 10.