“Avatar 2: The Way of Water” excites despite lengthy running time

The latest installation has drawn both praise and ire from fans and critics

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Photo courtesy of NPR.org

Trinity Bliss, as Tuk, in a scene from “Avatar 2”

Tra'Sean Nichols, Assistant Editor, Arts & Culture

What could possibly be worth waiting 13 years for? The newest Avatar installment “Avatar: The way of Water” finally premiered last month, right before the holidays, almost down to the exact date the first movie debuted December 18 in 2009. It wasn’t a mystery that this movie was soon to be released over the years prompting the question, what does this movie have that allowed it to maintain its hype for many years. 

“Avatar: The Way of Water” returns the audience back to the world of Pandora. It follows the character Jake Sully (played again by Sam Worthington) and his family as they escape to the world of water that is Metkayina, as a war breaks out in their home land. 

A defining aspect of both of the Avatar movies are the stunning visuals.  Back in 2009, the first movie was seen as groundbreaking for its beautiful landscape and breathtaking scenes, and 13 years later, the second movie tops them no doubt. With a movie like this one, there are virtually no limitations, as the majority of the movie is Computer-Generated Imagery (CGI).  CGI has greatly improved over the past few years allowing directors to better take advantage of it to develop more complex unique story lines. The director of “Avatar: The Way of Water” uses this to truly transport them to the world of Pandora.  

Although the scenes were encapsulating, they began to become the main premise for people seeing the movie. Junior Lyrique Aletus, however, disagreed.

“I was excited to see the first movie because I liked the first one,” she said. “Some people said it was about the graphics rather than the plot but I strongly disagree. I highly recommend watching it in 3D”.

Although I agree with Lyrique in the sense of being excited to see the movie after watching the first one, I disagree with the movie not being about the graphics.  At its core the movie plot didn’t have anything that a movie has done before.  In modern times it is hard to come up with new ideas that haven’t been done before as hundreds upon hundreds films are being produced yearly.  This installment was to play more on the nostalgic aspects, giving fans an opportunity to watch their beloved characters once again, rather than progressing the story that was established in the first movie, and because of this the story line got lost within the visuals.

The movie has drawn a number of critiques from critics and fans. While Rotten Tomatoes has given the film a 92% audience score, it only scored a 77% from critics.

Another big criticism is the portrayal of indigenous peoples. According to CNN, “Yuè Begay, a Navajo artist and activist, called for a boycott of the film in a tweet that’s since received more than 47,000 likes, while Autumn Asher Blackdeer, a scholar from the Southern Cheyenne Nation, compiled a widely shared list of Indigenous-led sci-fi films for viewers to watch instead.” These criticisms reflect many of the same attitudes that the first installation of “Avatar” encountered.

Despite “Avatar 2: The Way of Water” lacking a more appealing plot, I would still recommend seeing it.  The visuals in the film are beyond breathtaking and make the 13 year wait worth it.