AVATAR : THE WAY OF WATER – MOVIE REVIEW
2 STARS / 5 (AVERAGE)
DIRECTOR : JAMES CAMERON
CAST : THE AVATARS OF SAM WORTHINGTON, ZOE SALDANA, STEPHEN LANG
AVATAR : THE WASTE OF WATER
Too elongated (like a Na’avi thing), too mechanical despite teeming with unique sea creatures, and too obsessed with protracted battle sequences instead of the striking narrative that made the first Avatar such a global success, Avatar : The Waste of Water is a billion dollar example of sequel fatigue that has finally killed the golden run of visionary director James Cameron. His first foray starring a distant moon inhabited by the giant blue nature-synced Na’vi people, charmed with forest-freaking special effects and a gripping yarn that eventually reeled in $ 2.9 billion to become the biggest moolah spinner of all time. This flick, set in the ocean and aquamarine shores, not only for a change of scenery but also to indulge Cameron’s deep love for marine fathoms, is too long to sustain focus, the humanoid interest scenes giving way increasingly to meaningless action, and suffers from 3D effects that make the giant Na’vi shrink to puppets.
The best review of the first film was from Srikanth Srinivasan of theseventhart.info who creamed it left and right for being formulaic underneath all the razzmatazz and for ultimately slinging victory to a well-disguised American, not the Na’vi. Well, Mr.Srinivasan, you are right but on the latter point, until other countries start making world-winning blockbusters, Cameron will have his blueberry cake and eat it too.
The 3D version, which I enjoyed in the first film, is mediocre here – I suspect the 2D version would have been much better, with brighter colours and the naturally bigger size of visuals. Not only is the depth of field not properly deployed to memorable effect in various scenes, but also this sequel’s 3D technique unwittingly shrinks the Na’vi to thin small figures robbing the film consistently of much of its visual grandeur.
The humans once again distinguish their status as global viruses by descending on the distant moon Pandora and drilling it dry of its multifarious treasures, while The Na’vi fight back. The long screenplay means that the editor feels forced to go into over-drive mode snipping various sequences to fit into the 3 hour 12 minute runtime – no wonder some sequences feel rushed and not properly developed for narrative immersion.
The best sequence involves Jake sully’s son Loak’s far-sea surprise encounter with powerful large fish. Very few other scenes match the creativity of that adventure. Little effort is expended in trying to make us care deeper for the characters. When a lady of the Metkayina reef clan loudly laments the death of a sea giant, it rings hollow for the fake and laboured emotion. The ecological concern which came through stronger in the first film, is over-wrought here.
For much of the run-time, Cameron is able to build a decent narrative but when it comes to the finale, save for a couple of inspired touches, it is one long slog between two warring factions. Pic was filmed in New Zealand but there are no Kiwis depicted – instead there is an Australian man who is insultingly portrayed and barbarically disposed of. After making memorable films like Terminator : Judgement Day, True Lies, Titanic and Avatar, I doubt Cameron would have been satisfied with the final cut of this one, commercial greed thus getting the better of a proven large-scale creator. I’ll skip the theatre release of the next installment and try to watch a limited budget boutique product in its place.
UPNWORLD welcomes your comments.