It’s been close to 13 years since James Cameron’s Avatar premiered in cinemas and became the highest-grossing film of all time. That’s a title it still holds, even after a tussle for the top with Avengers: Endgame, and it seems unlikely that anything will come close to beating it over the next few years. Many a think-piece has been written on the strange lack of cultural footprint for this megahit (including a few by yours truly) but sequels were always guaranteed for Avatar. That’s how Hollywood works. After many years of waiting, reshoots, delays, and COVID stuff, we finally have a trailer for the second movie in this planned quintet, Avatar: The Way of Water.
A brief synopsis:
‘Set more than a decade after the events of the first film, “Avatar: The Way of Water” begins to tell the story of the Sully family (Jake, Neytiri, and their kids), the trouble that follows them, the lengths they go to keep each other safe, the battles they fight to stay alive, and the tragedies they endure. Directed by James Cameron and produced by Cameron and Jon Landau, the film stars Zoe Saldana, Sam Worthington, Sigourney Weaver, Stephen Lang, Cliff Curtis, Joel David Moore, CCH Pounder, Edie Falco, Jemaine Clement and Kate Winslet.’
A vague summary but this was never a movie that was going to be focused on plot, let’s be honest.
It looks pretty? Cameron has spent a lot of time talking up the advancements his team has made in photorealistic underwater CGI, including motion-capture done in water. His actors had to learn how to free-dive for the film and he certainly seems to be putting that to good use.
Betting against James Cameron making all of the money has always been a futile gesture. The man is a cash-printing machine and for good reason. But it does feel like the odds are stacked against him in many ways for Avatar 2. When Avatar came out, it was 2009. CGI was prevalent in cinema but not to the degree that this movie offered. It was a true experience in the cinema, a must-see 3D event that looked truly astounding. It’s now 2022 and every movie looks like that. We’ve been truly spoiled by hyper-realistic CGI and these high-concept blockbusters that have turned the unbelievable into the stuff of the every day. Without that core story for people to latch onto — or the grandeur of emotions and chemistry that Titanic offered — will viewers be amped up for this?
We’ll have to wait and see. Like I said, Cameron’s a profit king and I wouldn’t want to be the person who puts it all on him failing. Anyway, we’re supposed to be getting four sequels so strap in for Pandora’s expanded universe.
Avatar: The Way of Water will be in theaters this December.