Movie Review: “Avatar: The Way of Water”

Imagine living in a constant state of war, every waking moment praying that your family will make it out safe. Additionally, imagine not being able to be a father to your children, and instead having to treat them like soldiers so they won’t get killed like so many of your friends. In Avatar: The Way of Water, this was exactly what one of our main characters, Jake Sully, had to deal with. 

The first movie, Avatar, came out 13 years prior to this new sequel. It has been said that this long wait was a result of their prolonged pre-production state, a result of James Cameron’s commitment to the special effects that set Avatar apart from other films of its time to begin with.

This is a story of Jake Sully and Ney’tiri (two of our main characters), having finally formed their family and doing everything to stay together. However, in doing this, they unfortunately must make a tough but ultimately right decision to protect the Sully family. After realizing that Jake is a target, Jake and Ney’tiri must flee their homeland and seek safe haven in the distant parts of Pandora. They travel to the home of the Metkayina clan, where they are taken in despite initially being viewed with suspicion.

Pandora is shown in a whole new light in this movie. The first movie, Avatar, is well-known for its beauty, but it pales in comparison to Avatar: The Way of Water. There are so many beautiful landscapes and creatures in this movie, and they have such striking details that they look downright real. This was achieved through Cameron’s use of motion capture in underwater scenes. The filmmakers discovered that during the production of this sequel, a portion of the real-life backdrop needed to be present in order to portray convincing CGI. This kept the fake computer-generated portions in proper sync. It also adds lighting, depth, and physics that are completely realistic. 

There were also many scenes where the Na’vi people wore things and had traditions similar to that of Native tribes. Also, many of the landscapes were also inspired by real places. The Bajo Tribe, a nomadic sea tribe that lived throughout the eastern Indonesian archipelago, served as the director’s source of inspiration. Additionally, the Maori culture was also one of the primary sources of inspiration for some of Avatar’s culture. A similarity was in the ritualistic dance that the Na’vi perform, which was styled after the traditional Haka dance; a scene that was shot but ultimately removed from the theatrical cut. Cameron also said that he had studied Maori when he was making the Na’vi language and dialect. Overall, Avatar: The Way of Water was heavily inspired by several Indigenous cultures around the world.

It also showcases major injustices that are similar to those of Native Americans. This is shown when humans come to this new world (Pandora) seeking materials to gain wealth. To get these things humans slaughter so many of the Natives of Pandora. The film’s depiction of the killing of the Na’vi is a clear allegory for the European colonizers’ genocide of indigenous people. James Cameron has never failed to state that there is an obvious connection. He stated bluntly that the film examines history between the European military aggressors and the indigenous peoples. He also mentions how this was never meant to be subtle.

Avatar: The Way of Water is a movie that really should be watched with family due to its beauty and intrigue. It shows the story of an outsider assimilating to an indigenous species and fighting against his former government. It has beauty, heartbreak, love, tragedy, and so much more. It also showcases major injustices that are similar to those of Native Americans, something important to note while watching. Overall, Avatar: The Way of Water is a film that does amazing to show that it is important to listen to and consider the perspectives of others, even if they are different. By doing so, you may gain a deeper understanding of the world and learn from others’ experiences.