Avatar: The Way of Water – The Thirteen Year Wait is Over

Isabella Bejarano

James Cameron’s second installation in the Avatar series hit theaters on December of 2022, a solid 13 years after the original Avatar was released. Avatar: the Way of Water is the second movie in the franchise, which will have five movies in total, and it is safe to say that the movie was well worth the wait.

Thanks to extensive research and worldbuilding, Cameron has brought the world of Pandora to life on the big screen with stunning visuals, a killer soundtrack, and interesting characters. Avatar: The Way of Water explores more of the world outside of the forest setting from the first movie, taking viewers to the beautiful white sandy beaches that are home to a new clan of Navi.  

The movie stars returning actors Sam Worthington reprising his role as Jake Sully, Zoe Saldaña reprising her role as Neytiri, Sigourney Weaver who plays the new character of Kiri, Joel David Moore reprising his role as Norm, and Stephen Lang who plays Colonel Quaritch. 

As always, Zoe Saldaña has delivered a perfectly heart wrenching performance with her portrayal of Neytiri´s grief and anger throughout the movie. She and Sam Worthington, as well as the rest of the cast, nail the intense emotions running throughout the movie and play the roles of worried parents perfectly. 

Cameron has been working on these movies since April of 2007 and uses a variety of special filming techniques according to Studio Binder, including filming in motion capture suits while underwater to create the specific effects he envisions. The end result is beautiful, and it immerses viewers in the movie and the lives of the characters so perfectly that it’s almost as if they are experiencing the adventure along with the characters.

Fun fact, every actor in the movie who had to shoot scenes underwater underwent extensive training to be able to hold their breath for extended periods of time. Kate Winslet set a record of 7 minutes and 15 of holding her breath underwater, beating the previous record of 6 minutes set by Tom Cruise on the set of Mission Impossible – Rogue Nation in 2015. 

The soundtrack itself lends a lot to the integrity of the movie, with scores that stir emotion and bring a sense of nostalgia for the first movie. According to Radio Times, the soundtrack is 22 scores of music composed by Simon Franglen, who is a Grammy- award winning composer. This includes the score “Knife Fight”, which goes with the terrifyingly awesome scene where Neytiri and Jake fight against human soldiers after the death of an important character.

As far as new characters, the movie introduced the four children of Jake and Neytiri, each with their own charming personality, and another Na’vi clan, the Metkayina clan. Each character brings something different to the screen, and the end result is an intriguing social network that viewers learn to navigate with the Sully family.

One scene in particular demonstrates how different this new clan is from what viewers have previously seen when they prepare to attack the humans in retaliation for hunting one of their sacred animals. The Metkayina warriors perform a war cry reminiscent of the Haka that the Maori people of New Zealand perform before going into battle. A chilling scene where the characters display their anger on a new level that also demonstrates James Cameron´s attention to detail and the level of research he put into the movie. 

Overall, the movie is visually stunning and keeps audiences interested in the lives of the characters. After such a long wait, Avatar: The Way of Water has definitely gone above and beyond viewer expectations to deliver an information and action packed sequel that is worth every minute.