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Movie Review: "Avatar: The Way of Water" Returns to a Fan Favorite Storyline

The promotional cover art for "Avatar: Way of the Water" shows a half-profile view of Ney'tiri, the female lead from the first movie. (Photo Used Under the Fair Use Provision of the U.S. Copyright Code)

By Sarah Rafael-- Eagle Staff Writer

13 years ago, Avatar hit the big screens with a bang, becoming one of the most popular movies of all time. Ever since, fans of the film have been begging for a sequel, and their wishes are finally coming true as Avatar: The Way of Water is coming to theatres this December.

The original film was directed by James Cameron and features Sam Worthington, Zoe Saldana, and Stephen Lang.

The first movie is about an alien world called Pandora where beings called the Na’vi live. Because of the planet's poisonous atmosphere, human/Na’vi hybrids, called Avatars, must link to human minds to allow for free movement on Pandora. Jake Sully (Sam Worthington) a paralyzed former marine, becomes mobile again through one such Avatar and falls in love with a Na’vi Woman (Zoe Saldana). As the bond grows with her, he falls into a battle for the survival of her world.

The movie was a big success, earning $760 million domestically and shattering the worldwide box office record, bringing in a global total of $2.79 billion and making Avatar the highest grossing film of all time. The sequel Avatar: The Way of Water should no doubt be one of the biggest releases of the year, costing a whopping $250 million to make, with groundbreaking special effects and underwater filming technologies.

James Cameron, the director of Titanic, True Lies and the Terminator, has worked for 13 years on the sequel to the first film, and ahead of its premiere, he wanted to make sure he understood why the first movie was as successful as it was. In an interview with The Times UK Cameron said, “When I sat down with my writers to start Avatar 2, I said we cannot do the next one until we understand why the first one did so well.”

He also added that there was a kind of trifecta of success that Avatar perfected. “Well, all films work on different levels. The first is surface, which is character, problem and resolution. The second is thematic: what is the movie trying to say? But Avatar also works on the third level, the subconscious.”

Avatar: The Way of Water catches up with Jake Sully and Ney’Tiri, who have formed a family and are doing everything to stay together. However, they must leave their home and explore the regions of Pandora. When an ancient threat resurfaces, Jake must fight a difficult war against the humans.

To help reacquaint audiences with Avatar - and with the 3-D filmmaking that dazzled audiences in 2009- the first film was rereleased in theaters on September 23. It’s a strategy that is, of course, intended to prime ticket buyers for the impending follow-up, but also to remind them of what was special about the original.

Also, Avatar 2's box predictions only account for the North American market, but the original Avatar movie made more than $2 billion of its gross internationally. It wasn't just Avatar's first theatrical run that drove it to $2.9 billion at the box office.

The release date is on December 16, 2022, so be ready to be the first person in theaters.

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