- AVATAR: THE WAY OF WATER
- Starring: Sam Worthington, Zoe Saldana
- Directed by James Cameron
- Rating: PG-13
- Running time: 3 hrs 12 mins
- 20th Century Studios
When the director James Cameron’s “Avatar” was released in 2009 yours truly opinioned that while it was a visually stunning, epic popcorn movie, it was in essence a spin on 1990’s “Dances with Wolves,” albeit one on steroids. Under its gloss it spoke to anti-imperialist themes and the conquering of native peoples all in the name of greed. The recipient of four Oscar nominations and one win for Best Achievement in Visual Effects, “Avatar: The Way of Water,” which will be available June 7 on streaming.
The original was set in the year 2154 when all of Earth’s natural resources had been depleted. The Resources Development Administration (RDA) showed up on the moon of Pandora to mine a valuable mineral needed for humanity’s continued sustainability. Sixteen years after he helped repel the RDA’s invasion, Jake Sully/Na’vi (Sam Worthington) is now chief of the Omatikaya clan along with having a family with Neytiri (Zoe Saldana).
Their peaceful lives come to an end as the RDA arrives with a new invasion and plans to colonize, this time headed by the ruthless General Frances Ardmore (Eddie Falco). To enhance their chances to defeat Na’vi’s clan, the RDA employs recombinants implanted with the memories of deceased human soldiers including those of the tree hating Colonel Miles Quaritch (Stephen Lang). After a human boy is captured by Colonel Quaritch that proves to be his long-lost son, Na’vi and his family are forced to flee to Pandora’s eastern seaboard to ensure his clan’s safety.
Upon their arrival, Na’vi’s family seek refuge with the Metkayina clan, who reluctantly accept them in. Their haven is only temporary as Colonel Quaritch, with the help of his son, begins learning how to adapt to his surroundings, which leads to a relentless campaign to find Na’vi and destroy him.
That is a brief, cliff note version of the story without giving much away because the full story takes so long to get through that people have celebrated a couple of birthdays while watching the film. Visually it’s just as stunning if not even more so than the original. The story, which could be called “Dances with Wolves 2,” is entertaining although pacing is sluggish at times and requires caffeine and sugar to get through. The bringing back of Colonel Quaritch is okay as Lang plays a superb villain, but it demonstrates a sense of laziness with inability to create alternatively diabolical evildoer. Of course, if what seems like a 52-hour movie isn’t enough entertainment then no fear, there are three more sequels to be released beginning in 2024.
Overall, “Avatar: The Way of Water” is a terrific popcorn flick, that is if you have an entire weekend free to watch it.
“Avatar: The Way of Water” receives three stars out of five.