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“Avatar: The Way of Water” — in theaters worldwide — has a tall order on its shoulders. (And I’m not even talking about the sequel needing to make more than $1 billion at the box office to be profitable.) James Cameron, the director, co-writer, co-editor, and co-producer of the second returning Avatar film, must submit to Viewers proved his world of Pandora was worth revisiting thirteen years later. The original Avatar was both a 3D movie and a showcase for otherworldly visuals. One of them is dying, and VFX and scale seem to be everywhere these days. Spectacle alone—Cameron had little to offer in terms of story and characters at the time—couldn’t carry Avatar: Way of Water. It needs more.

Plus, the first sequel is an audition for more Avatar sequels — scheduled to hit theaters every December between now and 2028 — one of which has already been filmed, one has a script and the other is fictional. idea. Cameron doesn’t just need your money for Avatar: Way of Water today. He has to sell you his grand plan that has been brewing for over a decade. But all of this is moot if this new chapter doesn’t work. (This is where the more commercial aspects come in, with Cameron trying to buy covers for himself ahead of release, noting that he’s prepared to end up with a trilogy if the new movie doesn’t do well.)

For better or worse, Avatar: Way of Water is crafted along the lines of its predecessor. Structurally built like the original, it started out as a heavy exhibition dump before being steeped in a new culture, leading to a major confrontation between humans and the natives of Pandora. The ending was better than everything that came before.There are even callbacks to the first film, not that anyone will spot them given the huge time gap avatarLack of rewatchability. The sequel’s visual effects are crucial, and Cameron seems to have spent more money on visual effects in some scenes than the entire of the Bollywood movie. Avatar: The Way of Water is a fascinating dive into alien waters where every aspect of the new world shines.

Everything You Need to Know About Avatar: The Way of Water

But “Avatar: Way of Water” also has some problems with the original. The story is paper thin, the dialogue clumsy and cringeworthy, the background soundtrack is utterly memorable, and the character development is downright ridiculous. Cameron paints such a wide range of subject matter that you wonder whether he is trying to make a global point of view, or lacks specific technique. (He co-wrote the screenplay with Rise of the Planet of the Apes duo Rick Jaffa and Amanda Silver. Two other scribes contributed to the story along with Jaffa, Silver and Cameron.) Most importantly, Returns avatar The director, known for his fascination with filmmaking techniques, made a choice that threatened to it all.

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For reasons beyond my comprehension, Cameron decided to present Avatar: Way of Water at a variable frame rate: 24fps on standard and 48fps on high. Most dialogue scenes use the former, while the action is all rendered in the latter. But at times, the Avatar sequels dynamically switch between the two in the same scene, unnecessary and jarring. The best way I’ve found to describe it is a computer on a struggling with a new age video game, dropping frames to maintain fidelity. Cameron thinks this solves a pain point for HFR, but I’m not convinced.

events ten years later avatarJack Sally (played by Sam Worthington) and Neytiri (played by Zoe Saldaña) have raised four children: the eldest son Neteyam (played by Jamie Flatters) ), second son Lo’ak (British Dalton), adopted son Kiri (Sigourney Weaver) and youngest Tooke (Trinity Jo-Lee Bliss). A fifth, a human boy spider (Jack Champion), is also of the team. But their family happiness is shattered when the Skymen return and establish a new massive base of operations in record time. Jake and Co. have always been the heartaches of humanity, and Commander-in-Chief General Ardmore (Edie Falco) brings old rogue Colonel Quaritch (Stephen Lang) and his company back from the dead by implanting their memories. into the body of the Avatar.

From Circus to Avatar: Way of Water, December’s Top Grossing Film

Kate Winslet as Ronal and Cliff Curtis as Tonowari – both of the Metkayina clan – in Avatar: Way of Water
Image credit: Disney/20th Century Studios

Realizing that he and his family are on target, Jack decides they must leave the forest, their adopted home, and seek refuge with the Metkayina, a tribe of coral reefs off a group of islands. Everyone and everything associated with the forest clan Omaticaya was discarded except Neytiri. It’s a clever reset in some ways, as both protagonist and audience are thrown into a new world. For the nearly 45 minutes or so after Sullys hits the water, Avatar: Way of Water becomes a mix of exhibits, oceanic wonders, and characters adapting to their new surroundings. It’s the longest second arc of its kind I’ve seen in a blockbuster in years — though that’s partly because Cameron has no real plot to offer.

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Along the way, Avatar: Way of Water tries to explore what the sequel is trying to tell.Cameron notes he wrote first script avatar Back in 1995, when he was just a father.start the second avatar In 2012, as the father of multiple teenage children, he added more family elements to the story. But intent does not guarantee results. Cameron’s view of family is conventional, and his explorations of it are superficial. His descriptions of teenagers are unremarkable: They rebel, bicker, and get themselves into trouble. Heck, they’re kidnapped so often that the movie ends up leaning toward self-referential humor. (That said, the movie isn’t all that funny. It’s more interested in wowing you and pressing your emotional buttons.)

Cameron’s attempt at commentary was more successful. In the first movie, avatar The writer-director is somehow making a post-9-11 Iraq and Afghanistan movie — in addition to being inspired by a thousand other things, from Pocahontas to Princess Mononoke, from cyberpunk literature to Hindu gods. “Avatar: The Way of Water” is not founded on American interventionism, whether it be the botched two-decade American occupation of Afghanistan, the failed nation-building efforts of the Bush and Obama eras, or the disastrous withdrawal of troops by the Biden administration.

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Turkun, a whale-like sea creature, in Avatar: Way of Water
Image credit: Disney/20th Century Studios

nearest to new avatar For the film to make any meaningful comment, it’s about human attitudes toward other life forms. (In “Avatar: The Way of Water,” it’s said that the planet is desolate and humanity needs a new home.) We’ve hunted one endangered species after another—some lost forever—and while conservation efforts have borne fruit in recent years, We are in the sixth mass extinction driven by human activity, scientists have warned. Cameron’s depiction of our inhumane practices on the IMAX canvas included a lengthy, heartbreaking scene depicting the killing of a highly intelligent marine mammal.

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Cameron spends so much time with these Pandora creatures that one of them becomes the boisterous “hero” of the — albeit partially repetitive — third act of Avatar: Way of Water. It was the first time in a movie theater that I heard an audience cheering for the sea creature’s skill in action and intelligence on the battlefield. (take it, Neptune.) The coronation shot is the new part avatar The film’s best stretch, as it moves quickly and seamlessly between surfaces, showcases a fluidity and choreographic understanding that Black Panther: Forever Wakanda’s oceanic climax sorely lacks. For parts of the final stretch, Cameron’s embrace of technology meets his Terminator 2 heyday, washing you over in a way that’s almost enough to make you see the film’s flaws.

In those moments, the 48fps HFR demo shines in Avatar: Way of Water.But despite the quality of VFX since avatar — The original version is outdated. Watching this movie today, a lot of it feels fake — there is a problem. It’s nearly impossible to tell what’s real and what’s not in Cameron’s environment. The whole movie feels like CGI, whether it’s the sky, the water, the creatures, the battleships, or even the characters (their performances rely on motion capture).

Sure, it could technically be a live-action movie, but it’s more akin to lion king reboot. Except being rendered as a (24fps) movie. Avatar: The Way of Water is closer to a new-age PS5 game, as I’m only used to seeing such smooth graphics in said medium. Constant frame rate switching and Russell Carpenter’s cinematography (with quick zoom) accentuate the sense that you’re watching 192 minutes of video game cutscenes. Avatar: The Way of Water was in some ways the largest and most expensive “video game movie” in the world at the time.

We’ll probably see three more games like this — all Jake Sully vs. Colonel Quaritch. Oh Ava.

Avatar: The Way of Water opens worldwide on Friday, December 16. In India, the second Avatar film is available in English, Hindi, Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam and Kannada.

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By Rebecca French

Rebecca French writes books about Technology and smartwatches. Her books have received starred reviews in Technology Shout, Publishers Weekly, Library Journal, and Booklist. She is a New York Times and a USA Today Bestseller...