At last! The long awaited return of Avatar has arrived.
I’ve always been excited to view any project produced by James Cameron and Avatar holds a very special place in my heart. I have to say that it might just be my favorite James Cameron film on account of the lengths taken to create the world of Pandora. Computer-generated imagery (CGI) and visual effects technology in the film industry has made leaps and bounds over the years. Part of Avatar’s original 2009 success was due to the use of revolutionary CGI methods so I was excited to see how far the technology had come in the last 13 years. I was also looking forward to seeing how the film would explore Pandora further, especially since the film was centered around the moon’s oceans.
The film did not disappoint!
As Darryn King describes in his New York Times article: “How ‘Avatar: The Way of Water’ Solved the Problem of Computer-Generated H2O” (article link included below), James Cameron developed the next leap forward in visual effects technology; creating a way to capture the performance of an actor underneath the waves. Cameron accomplished this by simulating an ocean environment through a 90000 gallon tank, outfitted to produce waves and currents just like a mini ocean. The effort to create these visual effects paid off. The imagery of the film is stunning. Watching the performance of the actors as they spin amongst glowing minnows and frolic amongst the coral is just beautiful. The Na’vi have been brought to life in a whole new light!
The story line is complex and entertaining. I wasn’t sure how the sequel could do anything other than copy the same premise of its predecessor (humans trying to destroy Pandora and the Na’vi defending it). In some respects, the sequel does follow the same premise. Humans have returned, but they’ve grown far more fearsome, using new scientific methods to create the perfect soldiers. This new danger is the storm that spurs Jake Sully and his family to seek shelter with the Na’vi clan called the Metkayina; a semi aquatic group that inhabits the remote island villages of Pandora.
The attention to detail of the Metkayina clan is beautiful. As they are semi aquatic, they have wider forearms and tails in order to help them cut through the water with ease. The aquamarine sheen of their skin matches the ocean water perfectly and their eyes have an inner lid to protect them from the water. Jake Sully and his family have to learn to adapt to this semi aquatic lifestyle, protect themselves from their new enemies, and navigate the inner struggles of family. It’s a compelling story that’s reminiscent of it’s predecessor in all the right ways.
If you haven’t seen it already, I would highly recommend it!