- Colin Fraser
AVATAR: THE WAY OF WATER
TWO STARS 'Sky people' return to colonise Pandora. Former marine Jake Sully has other ideas.
SCI-FI DRAMA USA English #AVATAR
Starring Sam Worthington, Stephen Lang
A decade in the wings, this sequel to the world’s biggest film has landed. Or should I say ‘splashed-down’? Or more accurately, ‘crash-landed’. While there’s no doubt that this three-and-a-quarter-hour epic will clean up at the box office this Christmas without any block-busting competition, it remains a water-logged story of no consequence, and where’s the fun in that?
After ten years in development and production, you’d expect James Cameron (he of TERMINATOR, TITANIC and THE ABYSS) might have found time to write a story to wrap around his lavish visuals. And to be fair, AVATAR: THE WAY OF WATER is a gorgeous film. He’s remained true to the ground-breaking 3D, high-frame rate technology that made AVATAR the sensational eye-candy block-buster it was. This is no less appealing.
But when it comes to narrative development, and it’s not like Cameron doesn’t give himself plenty of screen-time to craft a soaring story, this is just a thin, soggy and over long tale of a father protecting his family. Dressed as an eco-warning about destructive humans (ie, a repeat of the first story), it’s actually a thinly green-washed revenge flick of man vs the noble savage. And one that would barely fill a twenty minute episode of Love, Death + Robots on Netflix.
It’s also deeply, profoundly and annoyingly illogical. Questions abound, like interspecies procreation, communication and what happened to the human boss lady. Best not to go down these rabbit holes, you’ll be there for days. So with any hope of stimulating discourse quickly slaughtered by war rhetoric and ‘human’ drama overwhelmed by military action, all that’s left is to watch each side beat the crap out of one another. So much for peace, love and eco-harmony.
In between many protracted scenes of CGI carnage AVATAR: THE WAY OF WATER is very, very pretty to look at. But then so is an Apple TV screen-saver.