STARRING: SAM WORTHINGTON, ZOE SALDANA, SIGOURNEY WEAVER, STEPHEN LANG
DIRECTED BY: JAMES CAMERON
RELEASE DATE: DECEMBER 16, 2022
After 13 long years since the release of the 2009 film Avatar, fans began to lose hope that a sequel would ever follow. Serving as director, writer and producer of the film, James Cameron brought Avatar: The Way of Water to theaters across America on December 16, 2022. The Canadian filmmaker is known for directing big films such as the first Avatar, Titanic, The Terminator series, and will direct the next three Avatar movies set to release in the next few years. Directed by 20th Century Studios, Lightstorm Entertainment and TSG Entertainment II are credited as the production companies for this film. Returning stars such as Sam Worthington, Zoe Saldana, Sigourney Weaver, and Stephen Lang deliver an experience that makes viewers feel as if they were on Pandora themselves. After news broke that there would be a sequel, the
film’s running time is what caught the most attention as it is over 3 hours long. In addition, Avatar: The Way of Life became the highest-grossing film of 2022, surpassing Top Gun’s $1.5 billion in the box office with $2.2 billion. The film’s budget was between $350 to $460 million.
The sequel starts off 16 years after the RDA annexation of Pandora. A lot has changed since then as Jake Sully (Sam Worthington) leads the Na’vi people as Chief of the Omatikaya clan. However, the biggest change from the previous film is Sully’s new family. He, alongside his wife, Neytiri (Zoe Saldana) raise five children of which consist of his two sons Neteyam and Lo’ak (Jamie Flatters and Britain Dalton), adopted daughter of the deceased avatar of Grace Augustine (Sigourney Weaver) named Kiri (also played by Sigourney Weaver), Tuk (Trinity Bliss), and Spider (Jack Champion), adopted son of the late Colonel Miles Quaritch (Stephen Lang). Life is what it should be for the Na’vi people until the RDA return to make a second attempt at colonizing Pandora. Sully and his family must stick together as they traverse new regions of Pandora. As the RDA searches for Sully, he must fight against the humans all while keeping his family together and safe.
Although this is a fictional film and none of what occurs on Pandora is actually true, I can’t help but notice a common theme both of the Avatar movies possess. One word: colonization. Can you guess what race the majority of the RDA aka colonizers are? The Na’vi people, indigenous to Pandora, coexist with the other inhabitants of the planet. Those other inhabitants include native animal species, plants, and other tribes/clans. In the film, Earth is dying, and the RDA has come back to have another chance at colonizing Pandora. They don’t want to coexist; they want to control. In Avatar: The Way of Water, viewers get to see a whole new region of Pandora that wasn’t shown in the first film. New and old ideologies, such as the greeting “I see you”, all showcase the respect and love these indigenous people have for life, energy, the environment, and each other. It is something so beautiful that it makes viewers think how could anyone ever want to ruin this?
In spite of the fact that the film is 3 hours long, watching it felt like it needed to be. Any questions before the film started were eventually answered and the film had a lot of explaining to do. James Cameron really takes the audience on an adventure through Pandora. This adventure is fun and thrilling, but it is also heartbreaking and emotional. All of these emotional elements allude to the history of colonization and the importance of family. These elements also call attention to environmental awareness and diversity. It truly is a beautiful film just like the beauty of Pandora.