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Avatar: The Way Of Water

Farhad Dalal
By-
Farhad Dalal
Rating
4 Star popcorn reviewss

Introduction

The weekend biggie is here and I have finished watching probably the most anticipated visual spectacle of the year, Avatar – The Way Of Water which is a sequel to the 2009 film Avatar. Both the films are helmed and directed by visionary director James Cameron who had earlier also directed Titanic. An interesting part about Avatar was the 3D and VFX in more ways than one.

I still remember I was in college when the first Avatar was out and I was excited as everyone around me was raving about its 3D. Prior to that, 3D films were a rarity and I hadn’t watched too many of them either. But when I did venture into Avatar, it was one of the most beautiful worlds that I had witnessed on celluloid with the most amazing 3D ever. I remember having extended my hand to get a feel of the 3D object fluttering in the air, in what was one of my most memorable theatrical movie watching experiences. So almost a decade and a half later, when James Cameron had announced Avatar 2(working title), I was really excited to relive a part of my past through a much sharper theatre experience. Now that Avatar – The Way Of Water is out and I have finally finished watching it, here are my two cents on it.

Story & Screenplay

Set almost a decade after Avatar, Avatar – The Way Of Water is the story of the Sully family in their bid yo survive as a fresh set of challenges awaits them. The story is a one liner here and the plot is simplistic and wafer thin. But do not underestimate the visual spectacle that you are in for on the big screen. The screenplay standing at well above 180 minutes might seem daunting but it contributes to one of the most magical visual spectacles that I have seen all year. This film in no way can have the same impact on OTT. This needs to be be enjoyed on the Biggest Screen possible!

The drama is a slow burn particularly in the first hour where the writers have made an effort of rebuilding the world that the original drama was set in. So you are introduced to the protagonists who now have children and are leading a peaceful life of happiness. This until their happiness is short lived when another human invasion disrupts their lives for the worse. Because the drama is a slow burn, it allows the viewers that much more time to settle into the drama and be invested in the characters. This pacing was required to get a gist of the character dynamics particularly because there were a fresh set of characters introduced here. And so for a fulfilling impact towards the back end, the character building was equally important.

The drama here is a fine balance between art and the commercial aspects of cinema. The slow start not withstanding, there are some exciting action set pieces following which the drama shifts to the sea and towards a new clan. There are moments were nothing really transpires in terms of the story but these moments contribute to some of the most heartfelt and mesmerizing aspects of the screenplay. There are moments of the formation of a connection between the members of the clan and the sea creatures that formulates who a fuzzy embrace of sorts. This made me believe that these moments were written in the screenplay that did strike a chord with the audience as well. It was beautiful and breathtaking to witness the magic unfold onscreen.

The drama is fairly predictable but what I really did like was the layered approach particularly in the final act which did last for about 45 minutes. The battle that ensured was not before an emotionally moving moment of a sea creature getting killed while her baby was purring away. So the stakes in the drama was raised in a buildup to the visually charged final act. The equations between members of the two clans were well established and the lines and loyalties were clear from the viewers’ point of view as well. In an unexpected twist in the final act, the writers did not shy away from imposing a bittersweet moment that ultimately led to an emotional final scene that did touch me like none other. The underlying message of humans interfering with the environment was also nicely layed out at the end. So overall, despite the wafer thin plot, it was heartfelt moments like these that kept the drama floating and thereby keeping the audiences engaged throughout.

Dialogues, Music & Direction

The dialogues are conversational yet philosophical and thought provoking in many ways. The music is soulful and beautifully placed in the narrative. The BGM is heart touching especially in the emotional moments that made for a beautiful watch. The cinematography is brilliant here but the real hero is the VFX of the film. Almost the entire film was shot on a green screen but the end result was such that you couldn’t differentiate between the effects and reality, it was that well done. And to witness the magic on the big screen was wholesome experience like no other. The 3D was quite good too.

Director James Cameron is a visionary in every sense of the word. It must have taken so much effort to conceptualize each frame and imagine it unfolding onscreen. Years of research and understanding of water and its elements would have had to be done. But the end result was something that I will never forget. It was mesmerizing, almost transporting you in a world like no other where you wish you would never return to reality again. The direction was brilliant!

Performances

The performances are really good here. Sigourney Weaver as Kiri, Kate Winslet as Ronal, Jamie Flatters as Neteyam and Britain Dalton as Lo’ak all have their moments to shine. Zoe Saldana as Neytiri is brilliant. Stephen Lang as Colonel Miles does make for an intimidating nemesis to the protagonist. Sam Worthington as Jakes is understated and really good. All other actors do make their presence felt too.

Conclusion

Avatar – The Way Of Water is a magical visual spectacle that should be enjoyed on the Biggest Screen possible. Available in a theatre near you and Highly Recommended.

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