Thirteen years after what, in just a few short days, became a worldwide phenomenon, Avatar 2 has hit the big screen to remind us of why we go to the movies. The film is a visual spectacle of dazzling beauty that’s capable of mesmerizing one and all. You are entranced by the movement of the sea, the creatures that inhabit it and also the local indigenous community. For over three hours, the movie inserts you into a light-filled, awe-inspiring azure world that you’ll wish could continue to exist after you walk through the exit. The 3D will draw you in even more than it did in the original film and certain shots will infuse you with serenity. You’ll appreciate first-hand just how much the technology has advanced in the last decade, such as in the image quality, the underwater motion capture – a never before achieved technique – and the sensation of immersion, with all the accompanying sounds and other rich details. This is a production that manages to return meaning to movie-going, that shows why we should not forsake theaters in favor of watching movies at home, and why true cinema is something that must be experienced on the big screen.
Avatar 2: The Way of Water, directed by James Cameron (Terminator, Titanic, Avatar), tells the story of Jake Sully, once more played by Sam Worthington, and his family, ten years after they first entered our lives. Now they have four children and are living in harmony, that is until the humans reappear. Their world, Pandora, is threatened yet again by a man who vows revenge and they must flee to a new place in order to protect themselves from evil. This is where the water, the jewel in the crown of the montage, comes into play. The destination of the six characters is an island inhabited by an indigenous community that worships the sea and all the life that it sustains. Their connection with animals is integral to their very existence. An example is the community’s relationship with the tulkuns, a hyper-intelligent species of whale. They use sea creatures as a means of transport and take care of them as if they were another member of the family in a coexistence James Cameron uses to transmit a message, one that gradually sinks in as the film unfolds – we have a wonderful planet but instead of nurturing it, we are destroying it.
In this second Avatar movie, the environmentalist message is even stronger. Earth is an extraordinary planet and one we share with thousands of different species, across countless breath-taking landscapes, a place where nature has sculpted astonishing works of art. And yet we prefer to hunt and kill its marvelous creatures and fell its grand trees for our own financial gain. The film is a critique of humankind. Instead of preserving the treasure in which we live, we have decided to plunder it. We should follow the example of the character played by Sigourney Weaver, who connects with the living beings of the island in a supremely sensitive and spiritual way, being careful not to harm them and all the while cherishing every cell of their splendor. The film also pays homage to the value of family – of creating lives in order to love and care for them through until death. As Sully says: “This family is our strength.”
Standing out in the lineup of this first Avatar sequel are four female characters each with a very distinctive personality. The first is the adopted daughter of the family, Kiri (Sigourney Weaver), who has special powers and is someone who will hopefully continue to evolve in at least one of the additional four Avatar sequels planned. The second is Ronal, played by Kate Winslet, who, in real life, had to learn freediving for her role and managed to spend up to seven minutes underwater. Her strong-willed character fails to comply when her husband tells her not to fight – she disobeys the order even though she is pregnant. In the same dynamic vein is Sully’s wife, Neytiri (Zoe Saldaña), who is seen unleashing all her fury on the battlefield. And then there is Ronal’s daughter, Tsireya, who is sensuality personified and has an above-average level of knowledge about her surroundings. She has studied all there is to learn about the sea and helps the Sully clan adapt to the aquatic environment. Perhaps we, as inhabitants of this amazing planet called Earth, should follow her lead and take a more passionate interest in all that surrounds us.