Nerdlocker Movie Review: Avatar: The Way of Water


“Home isn’t where you’re from, it’s where you find light when all grows dark.” – Pierce Brown

The time between Bad Boys and Bad Boys II was eight years. From the sequel to part 3 it was even longer, a lengthy seventeen years. From Blade Runner to Blade Runner 2049 it was a staggering thirty-five years. My point is that extended amounts of time between sequels are nothing new. The time between Avatar and Avatar: The Way of Water is thirteen years. It’s nowhere the longest period of time between movies but the difference, where the Avatar franchise stands alone is in the budgets and expectations for their box office returns. The first film’s budget was $237 million and its sequel, $250 million.

To say the returns of the first needed to be exceptional and its sequel even more is an understatement. Of course we know what became of the first, but now it’s the time of The Way of Water and the expectations are astronomical. Another major difference, and what will likely be the catalyst for a successful release is the creator of this whole new world, James Cameron. I think we’ve all been guilty of it over these last few years about what Cameron is really capable of but I think we’re all about to be reminded. In case anyone forgot he created Titanic, a monumental success both at the box office and awards season taking home 11 out of 11 Oscar nominations including Best Picture. His very next project was Avatar which would become the highest grossing film of all-time. To believe in Cameron is to bet on a horse of a different breed entirely.

I’m here having witnessed Avatar: The Way of Water to say I think he’s done it again. They say epics like this come once in a lifetime but in the same year we’ve been given Top Gun: Maverick and now The Way of Water. How lucky are we?

If I can tell you anything about The Way of Water to entice you to see this thing on the biggest screen possible it’s that every second of this adventure was created for the cinematic, silver screen experience. Its very existence is only truly felt in every regard on a screen several stories tall. It should be heard with surround sound enveloping your auditory senses combined with a 3D visual journey that not only benefits the movie overall, the 3D aspect adds a new level of immersion that only Cameron can find the perfect balance for. I haven’t seen a 3D movie in years, needless to say I haven’t missed it. The Way of Water is proof that in the right hands it can be an asset.

I’m not sure I could oversell this movie if I tried. It is the reason we go to theaters. It’s the reason we deal with outrageous concession prices and potentially noisy people in the seats next to us. It is an unbelievably immersive experience that reminds us that cinema is something truly magical. More than just a visual and auditory feast, The Way of Water possesses a heart and soul to propel its complex characters to a place of relatability despite being an alien race. The themes of family and community are ingrained throughout its lengthy three hour runtime.

Jake Sully and his kin are weary of war. As life has returned to Pandora, so too has its enemies. The sky people have regathered and made a terroristic resurgence. In hopes of protecting his people from another potential war, he takes his family and flees to a place unlike anything they know. In the farthest reaches of Pandora is a massive collection of islands with numerous thriving tribes. Seeking asylum, they promise the inhabitants of their new watery home they will learn their ways and adapt. The Way of Water is about the Sully family finding its place in an entirely new environment while hoping the brutalities of war have long since passed them by. Of course with such a determined enemy, no one on Pandora with a blue complexion is safe. War is imminent no matter how much Jake or Neytiri try to evade it. This time however the stakes are raised as it is no longer just Jake and Neytiri, but their four children in tow. They must now find safety for their children and deal with the guilt of bringing an unwanted war to the shores of a people at one time long distanced from the dangers of the sky people.

Avatar: The Way of Water is the essence of cinematic magic. It’s epic in visual scale and story expanse. The sounds of a made up world both above and below the watery surface is something wholly unique and unsurpassed. It is a promise that everything about it is exceptional. That promise is most assuredly kept and these days that’s an unfortunate rarity. The guarantee of experiencing something unlike anything else is upheld to the fullest extent. This is a three hour, otherworldly adventure that immerses the audience into a story that is visually stunning and completely engaging from start to finish. Avatar: The Way of Water is glorious. It is the epitome of the cinematic experience.

Rated PG-13 For: sequences of strong violence and intense action, partial nudity and some strong language
Runtime: 192 minutes
After Credits Scene: No
Genre: Action, Adventure, Fantasy
Starring: Sam Worthington, Zoe Saldana, Stephen Lang, Sigourney Weaver
Directed By: James Cameron

Out of 10 Nerdskulls
Story: 9/ Acting: 9.5/ Directing: 10/ Visuals: 10
OVERALL: 9.5 Nerdskulls

Buy to Own: Yes

Check out the trailer below:

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Chase Gifford

"Cinema is the most beautiful fraud in the world"-Jean-Luc Godard