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Stephen Lang in Avatar: The Way of Water (IMDB)

Avatar: The Way of Water is the long-awaited first sequel to 2009’s Avatar. Viewers return to the Sully family to watch how trouble follows them and what they do to keep each other safe. Source: Jesuit Media.

Director James Cameron’s original Avatar was an award-winning science-fiction epic about the battle for natural resources between humans on Earth and the native Na’vi people who live on a distant moon called Pandora in the year 2154. It is the highest-grossing movie of all time and won three Academy awards. This film is the first of a number of planned sequels.

Seven cast members from the 2009 film, including Sam Worthington and Zoe Saldana, return to reprise their original roles. Sigourney Weaver comes back in a different role as Kiri, the adoptive daughter of Jake Sully (Worthington) and Neytiri (Saldana).

Kate Winslet enters as Ronal, the wife of Tonowari (Cliff Curtis), leader of the reef people.

The villain of the film is Colonel Miles Quaritch (Stephen Lang), who led the forces whose task it was to colonise Pandora. He seeks revenge against Jake Sully for deserting his military command and failing to pass back information to help relocate the Na’vi away from their mineral-rich land. He resents Jake forming an emotional bond with the Na’vi, and loves ‘the smell of napalm’. He is the antagonist in all the planned sequels.

The movie is partitioned into three sections. Sully and his family are first under attack by Quatrich in the forests of Pandora, before action is transferred to the ocean where the forest Na’vi are taught the way of water by their kindred ocean brethren; the photography where the Na’vi ‘learn’ the way of the water is quite extraordinary. The third section is an action spectacle where Quaritch attacks both the Forest and Ocean Na’vi on water. The final section emphasises family togetherness and parenthood as strong themes, but there is some animal cruelty en route which may disturb some viewers.

The dream-like imagery of the 2009 film is captured in the sequel, and it is visibly enhanced by the movie’s use of performance capture photography. This film focuses much more on character and relationship dynamics than did the 2009 film, but maintains the visual spectacle that distinguished the earlier movie.

Avatar: The Way of Water: Starring Sam Worthington, Zoe Saldana, Sigourney Weaver, Stephen Lang, Cliff Curtis and Kate Winslet. Also, Joel David Moore. Directed by James Cameron. Rated M (Science fiction themes, action violence, and coarse language) 192 min.


Avatar: The Way of Water (Jesuit Media via Australian Catholic)