Over a Decade in the Making

‘Avatar: The Way of Water’ grosses $1.75 billion in the box office


Neytiri in 20th Century Studios’ AVATAR: THE WAY OF WATER. Photo courtesy of 20th Century Studios. © 2022 20th Century Studios. All Rights Reserved.

Diego Perez Palomino, Staff Reporter

Seeing the trailer for “Avatar: The Way of Water” in theaters before the showing of “Thor: Love and Thunder” all the way back in May of 2022 sparked an interest I would be obsessing over the following months. My family and I were ecstatic over the long awaited sequel to the 2009 masterpiece, “Avatar.” Fast forward to Dec. 16, we were sitting in a crowded room at Marcus Theatres, awaiting what director James Cameron had in store for us.

“Avatar: The Way of Water” follows Jake Sully (Sam Worthington), and Neytiri (Zoey Saldana), as they lead the fight against a new threat to the Na’vi people. The film begins where the first left off, with Jake finally integrated fully into the Na’vi species, so much so that he now has children. A group of humans interrupted their peaceful existence, once again led by Colonel Miles Quaritch (Stephen Lang), who arrived on the planet with the sole goal of hunting down Jake Sully. 

The sequel introduces new characters, such as Jake and Neyteri’s two sons, Neteyam, and Lo’ak, their daughter, Tuktirey; as well as their adopted children, Spider and Kiri. The movie’s focus turns to this new generation of Na’vi as they begin their own struggle to fit in with the natives. The majority of the movie is spent in the reefs, as the Sully’s seek refuge in the Metkayina Clan, a water based civilization. As they learn to integrate to this new way of life, Quaritch continues to hunt them down, stopping at nothing to achieve his goal, even if it means destroying the fragile ecosystem of Pandora. Overall, the film’s plot moves seamlessly from act to act, creating engaging timing that makes the three hour run time bly by.

 Still, three hours is a long time to be sitting in a movie theater. Personally, I refrained from getting up from my seat, despite the urge to or use the restroom or refill my popcorn. Regardless, the film takes advantage of every second, as every minor and major detail has fits into the overarching narrative. For example, the movie’s introduction to the reefs is accompanied by a collection of ocean scenes with colorful creatures, swaying coral reefs, and harmonic music; setting up the motif of finding life through water. One of the main reasons for the film’s length is the fact that it has a complex and layered story. The story is filled with twists, turns, and character development. In order to tell this story in a way that was satisfying and complete, the filmmakers needed to allocate a significant amount of time to each plot point and character arc. Another reason for the film’s length is the fact that it is a visual feast. The world of Pandora is a beautiful and immersive place, and I think the filmmakers wanted to give the audience plenty of time to take it all in. Pandora is filled with breathtaking landscapes, ocean scenes and creatures, and the filmmakers wanted to give the audience the opportunity to fully explore and experience these elements of the story.

Many question why it took over a decade to release, seeing as Avatar came out in 2009. One of the main reasons for the lengthy production process was the fact that the film was a groundbreaking technological achievement. Director James Cameron is known for pushing the boundaries of what is possible in film, and “Avatar” was no exception. The film required the development of new technology and techniques in order to bring the world of Pandora to life in a way that had never been seen before. This included the creation of new 3D cameras, motion capture technology, and CGI techniques. All of this technology took time to develop and refine, which contributed to the long production process. Another factor that contributed to the film’s lengthy production was the sheer scale of the project. Avatar: The Way of Water was a massive undertaking, with over 2,000 crew members working on the film at its peak. The film required the creation of hundreds of sets, costumes and props, as well as the hiring and training of actors, seeing as they had to play a different species. All of this took time and resources, which added to the length of the production process.

Overall, “Avatar: The Way of Water” is a film that is worth watching for anyone who is a fan of epic science fiction, thrilling action, or groundbreaking visuals. The film is a technical marvel that pushes the boundaries of what is possible in film, and it is a must-see experience for anyone who is looking for a truly immersive and unforgettable cinematic experience.