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‘Avatar: The Way of Water’ Review | An Immersive Motion Picture Spectacle

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“Avatar The Way of Water” is truly the motion picture event of a generation boasting an incredible, immense, and immersive 3D experience like no other seen on the big screen. James Cameron delivers an epic odyssey on a stunning scale showcasing breathtaking visuals, action, and a powerful, emotional story about family and discovering your identity.

Thirteen years ago, Academy Award®-winner James Cameron introduced us, moviegoers, to a whole new world unlike any we’d ever seen with his breathtaking epic “Avatar.” Now, the visionary filmmaker returns and invites us on a brand-new cinematic journey with the highly anticipated “Avatar: The Way of Water.”

Sam Worthington and Zoe Saldaña reprise their iconic roles, playing Jake Sully and Neytiri, alongside Sigourney Weaver, Stephen Lang, Cliff Curtis and Kate Winslet. The movie also introduces audiences to a group of talented young actors including Britain Dalton, Jamie Flatters, Trinity Jo-Li Bliss, Jack Champion and Bailey Bass.

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. However, they must leave their home and explore the regions of Pandora. They travel across the vast reaches, ultimately fleeing to a territory held by the Metkayina clan, who live in harmony with their surrounding oceans. There, the Sullys must learn to navigate both the dangerous water world and the uncomfortable dynamics of gaining acceptance from their new community. However when an ancient threat resurfaces, Jake must fight a difficult war against the humans.

Review

Making The Magic

“Avatar: The Way of Water certainly had 13 years of preparation to deliver a memorable cinematic experience and making a sequel to the most successful movie of all time seems like a daunting challenge but as the saying goes never doubt James Cameron who had before written and directed two of the most successful and beloved sequels of all-time: “Aliens” and “Terminator 2: Judgment Day.” This world of Pandora and its inhabitants has been with Cameron for quite a long time, originally he had written an early treatment in 1994, though the technology and means to bring his vision to life didn’t exist yet. The filmmaker brought wealths of Knowledge from his filmography and “The Abyss” creating a live-action film, transforming motion capture into performance capture and truly pushing the technology with visual effects which in turn has become truly revolutionary within Hollywood.

Cameron writes movies with themes that are bigger than their genre and that’s why his movies resonate with people. Back in 2010 Cameron, Landau, and a gathering contemplated a future on Pandora by exploring and expanding stories set on the lush alien moon and with more than 1,500 pages of notes on the story, they worked on not just one sequel but a series of subsequent movies all anchored around one central theme, the importance of family.

They had all screenplays for the four movies completed before moving on to production on the first sequel. This allowed him to map out all the stories and then get the scope and scale of the different stages of production such as capturing the actors across multiple films with performance capture, live-action, and then post-production. The success of 2009’s Avatar heavily influenced the direction of digital filmmaking and distribution,. The film includes 22 tracks, featuring music by Grammy Award-winning composer Simon Franglen, who worked alongside the late Jame Horner on the original Avatar film and spend much of the last three years composing the score for the highly anticipated sequel.

Photo courtesy of 20th Century Studios. © 2022 20th Century Studios. All Rights Reserved.

Family Is Our Fortress

Set approximately 15 years after the events of the original Avatar. In the forests of Pandora, Jake Sully, having begun “Avatar” as a paraplegic Marine grieving the death of his twin brother and desperately searching for a new path, now begins “The Way of Water” as the happily married patriarch of his family and the head of the Omatikaya clan, fully inhabiting his Na’vi body. “Family is our fortress,” he often reminds wife Neytiri and their children, Neteyam (Jamie Flatters), Lo’ak (Britain Dalton), Tuk (Trinity Jo-Li Bliss) and their adopted teenage daughter, Kiri (Sigourney Weaver). Much to Jake’s and Neytiri’s chagrin, their kids often hang out with Spider (Jack Champion), a human child orphaned by the war and too small at the time to return to Earth.

Sam Worthington returns to the leading role of Marine turned Na’vi leader Jake Sully. Zoe Saldaña once again is the Na’vi warrior Neytiri, now wrestling with her obligations and duties to her family and her clan. Sigourney Weaver plays their adopted teenage daughter Kiri, who’s the biological daughter of the avatar of Dr Grace Augustine, the deceased character Weaver played in the first film. Weaver truly gives one of her best performances throughout this film, she truly transcends through Kiri.

Jamie Flatters is Neteyam, the eldest of Jake and Neytiri’s boys, and the somewhat golden child, who can do no wrong. Britain Dalton, is the proverbial second son, Lo’ak. desperate to win his father’s approval, Lo’ak was born with an extra finger, which makes him something of an outcast among his clan. Trinity Jo-Li Bliss portrays Tuk, another favourite character of mine as she is daring, mischievous and incredibly close to her mother Neytiri, her grandmother Mo’at (CCH Pounder reprising her “Avatar” role) and big sister Kiri.

The Sully family truly are a delight as we go on a journey across Pandora with them. Its the importance of family that makes this movie outstanding, this theme is universal as it shows on screen the bonds between a mother, father and their children whilst the sons try to live up to their fathers legacy. the film brings a dilemma to these characters as you’ve got to do what’s right for the greater good or to do your job and duty of what your heart tells you for your family.

Photo courtesy of 20th Century Studios. © 2022 20th Century Studios. All Rights Reserved.

Into The Water

After making the long journey across the vast oceans of Pandora, the Sullys arrive at the home of Metkayina clan, they’re oceanic Na’vi located on Pandora’s reefs in the village of Awa’atlu led by Ronal (Kate Winslet) and Tonowari (Cliff Curtis). Reluctantly welcoming their guests, Ronal and Tonowari instruct their children Tsireya (Bailey Bass) and Aonung (Filip Geljo) to attempt to help the Sully kids adapt to the water clan’s customs and traditions.

Reuniting with James Cameron for the first time since 1997’s “Titanic,” Kate Winslet portrays Ronal, the Tsahik, and Matriarch of the Metkayina clan, married to Tonowari (Cliff Curtis) the Olo’eyktan of the clan.

Photo courtesy of 20th Century Studios. © 2022 20th Century Studios. All Rights Reserved.

They live along the shores of the Pandoran oceans, housing in Mauri pods which are built into the roots of mangrove-like trees spanning the islands, these homes hang directly above the water. Massive seawall terraces that guard the village from strong waves and provide easy access for the clan to fish. The main village Awa’atlu has small docks for canoes, a centralised ilu pen and communal areas for gathering, eating and the telling of tales and singing of songs.

The characters themselves are a slightly different shade of blue than the Omatikaya, and they have a different physiology, with large hands, wider chests and rib cages, and thick protuberances of cartilage beneath skin, almost like fins, that extend down the sides of their arms and legs to help them swim. They also have wider tails to help propel their bodies through the water. 

The islands of the Metkayina and the waters surrounding them are home to many unique specimens of fauna and flora such as having a close relationship with tulkuns, sentient, whale-like creatures of Pandora, and are able to communicate with them. The Metkayina consider them to be their siblings, with each member having a tulkun “spirit brother/sister”. They have also domesticated ilus, using them as a mode of transport across the Pandoran oceans, much like direhorses of terrestrial Na’vi. During combat, skilled hunters of the Metkayina ride the skimwing; taming one is also a rite of passage into adulthood. most notably is the Cove of the Ancestors which is a sacred place.

Photo courtesy of 20th Century Studios. © 2022 20th Century Studios. All Rights Reserved.

The Metkayina have a unique and spiritual relationship with the tulkun, a species of sentient whale-like creatures that can grow to 300-feet long. the tulkun culture and the Na’vi culture are joined together with music, with singing, with dance. Jake and Neytiri’s son Lo’ak befriends Payakan an adolescent tulkun, somewhat of an outcast—the two communicate using sign language developed specially by actor and deaf-advocate CJ Jones for the production of the film.

Cameron’s world-building is absolutely phenomenal as he brings to life a new species of Na’vi that are accustomed to the way of water and enriched with such stunning landscape. The underwater sequences are truly a spectacle to behold especially in 3D.

Photo courtesy of 20th Century Studios. © 2022 20th Century Studios. All Rights Reserved.

We continue to explore more of the moon Pandora itself, Pandora is another character in the movie ultimately being used as a metaphor for our world throughout the film explores new biomes and new cultures. And Cameron sets this story focusing on his love for the oceans. 

The production design is beautiful everything from the natural Pandora to the Na’vi Dylan Cole designed while Ben Procter designed the environments, vehicles and weapons of the human characters. Two worlds collide in “Avatar The Way of Water”, the human world which is highly advanced and technological, and then the world of Pandora, its inhabitants, the creatures, the plants.

Underwater Perfomance Capture

Captureing performances under water was something that had never been done before. They actually shot underwater and at the surface of the water so to capture that the actors were swimming properly, getting out of the water properly, and diving in properly, each underwater sequence is real because the motion was real. The filmmaker constructed an enormous tank at where Cameron and Landau’s production company, Lightstorm, is housed. The tank could hold enough water to allow the filmmaker to replicate real-world oceanic conditions. Standing 120 feet long, 60 feet wide and 30 feet deep and holding more than 250,000 gallons of water, the massive tank functioned as the films’ underwater performance capture stage.

For the performance capture technology to work underwater, however, the water had to be clear. The actors and crew of course, had to be holding their breath so to help them give compelling performances underwater, the cast studied free diving with internationally recognised expert Kirk Krack. Kate Winslet was able to do a static breath hold for 7 minutes and 20 seconds.

Photo courtesy of 20th Century Studios. © 2022 20th Century Studios. All Rights Reserved.

An Immersive, And Emotional, Theatrical Spectacle

Overall Thoughts

With “Avatar The Way of Water” James Cameron creates an immersive experience in which audiences will feel like they’re alongside the characters on their adventures. He pushes the boundaries of cinematic storytelling, by expertly utilising enhanced 3D technology, Cameron transports filmgoers inside the narrative, enabling them to truly experience the richly detailed environments of Pandora and allowing them the opportunity to traverse its majestic terrain alongside brave and bold heroes Jake and Neytiri.

Ultimately Cameron has delivered an epic! blockbuster that succeeds in taking us back to Pandora with such emotional weight, sheer scope, and incredible detail. It’s worth seeing on the biggest screen possible.

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Five Reasons To Love ‘The Amazing Spider-Man 2’ 

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Back in 2014, The Amazing Spider-Man 2 opened into theaters with a mixed reception from critics and audiences and has been deemed as the least desirable of the Spidey movies. In the film, Peter Parker (Andrew Garfield) must face off against another villain who has been given the name Electro. Moreover, our brave hero uncovers some bizarre mysteries surrounding his parents.

Many fans of the series view the film as an overcrowded mess, but I think it might be the most entertaining of all the Spidey films, until No Way Home arrived, and here are five reasons why that remains true.

Andrew Garfield

The Amazing Spider-Man 2 [Credit: Sony Pictures]

First and foremost, Garfield is always a delight to have in the Spidey outfit. His charisma and witty banter is almost what makes the film truly great. I have always said that he was the best Spider-Man and this movie proves it with his ability to elevate any scene from dull slog to a comedic venture. 

Spidey, in this particular movie, embodies the hero in the original comics with his incessant need to make a fast-talking quip to one of his enemies. There is nothing better than a comic-book character sticking true to his essence and spirit of its source material.

Electro

The Amazing Spider-Man 2 [Credit: Sony Pictures]

Despite what many people say about the villains, Jamie Foxx as the supercharged baddie Electro proves to be a formidable opponent for the web-head, with his omnipotent powers and overly-powered nature. More than that, Max Dillon is depicted as a quiet, shy loner who is invisible to other people. He is essentially a nobody, until he falls into a vat of electrically-charged eels and becomes the sinister villain Electro. 

To better understand a villain, you must understand their plight and Electro’s plight is that of a rags-to-riches success story and the visual effects are certainly something to marvel at. 

Action Sequences

The Amazing Spider-Man 2 [Credit: Sony Pictures]

This article wouldn’t be complete if I decided not to talk about the exhilarating action that embodied the film. Whether we see Spidey chasing down a truck with Oscorp’s product or a massive fight inside a grid that seems like a colossal feat for any Marvel film, the film can take a lot of pride in its action sequences. 

One can also never forget the massive and iconic battle sequence between Electro and Spidey in Time Square that seems impossible to be made. 

Green Goblin

The Amazing Spider-Man 2 [Credit: Sony Pictures]

While he remains a secondary villain, Dane Dehaan’s Green Goblin is still noteworthy. Dehaan portrays Harry Osborne who is left with his dead father Norman’s life work and stumbles upon a Goblin serum that enhances his speed, strength, and intelligence. 

His little spat with Spider-Man is certainly befitting for the dark, moody tone of the film and entertaining for plenty of comic fans with zippy action and certified intensity. In the end, he is also responsible for the death of Spidey’s girlfriend Gwen Stacy. 

Gwen Stacy Death

The Amazing Spider-Man 2 [Credit: Sony Pictures]

Speaking of Gwen Stacy, this is the only Spidey film that features his love interest dying. As he battles the Green Goblin, Spidey attempts to hold on to Stacy, literally, by a thread in the clocktower. However, when the thread snaps, Spidey is able to snag her in mid-air but the whiplash of the fall snaps her neck, killing her. 

What might be the saddest moment in any Spider-Man film, was brought to life in this extraordinary scene that silenced an entire generation of Spider-Man fans. 

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‘1883’ Spinoff Series ‘Bass Reeves’ Adds Dennis Quaid to Cast

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Dennis Quaid (Far from Heaven, The Day After Tomorrow) is the latest star to join the cast of Bass Reeves, a new drama series coming from Taylor Sheridan (Yellowstone, Tulsa King) and Paramount+, according to DeadlineBass Reeves was announced as a spinoff to the Yellowstone prequel, 1883 back in May 2022 with David Oyelowo (Selma, A Wrinkle in Time) attached to star as the legendary lawman.

Bass Reeves will follow Oyelowo as someone who is known to many as “the greatest frontier hero” in American history in his own series on Paramount+. The streamer already houses so many Sheridan-fronted programs, most recently, Mayor of Kingstown starring Jeremy Renner returned for its second season while CIA drama, Lioness added to its cast with Nicole Kidman and Morgan Freeman. Some believe that Reeves served inspiration to “The Lone Ranger” having worked as a peace officer for Indian territory capturing over 3,000 criminals on that land. Quaid will play Sherrill Lynn, a Deputy U.S. Marshall within the show.

Quaid most recently voiced the character Jaeger Clade in Disney’s animated feature Strange World which is currently available to stream on Disney+. He’ll also star in Steven Soderbergh’s upcoming HBO Max series Full Circle alongside Zazie Beetz, Claire Danes and Emmy-winner Jharrel Jerome. 

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Anthony Hopkins to Lead Peacock Gladiator Drama ‘Those About to Die’

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Peacock is one of the streamers that has yet to break through in terms of their original content getting recognized for awards contention. One such series that might change that fate for the streaming service is Those About to Die and it’s starting to build out its cast. According to Variety, 2-time Oscar winner Anthony Hopkins (The Silence of the Lambs, The Father) is the first to join the drama series which comes from Roland Emmerich (Independence Day, The Day After Tomorrow). Saving Private Ryan screenwriter Robert Rodat will script the series.

Hopkins will play the character known as Emperor Vespasian in the series which is set in the world of gladiatorial battle. It will be an ensemble drama following many different Roman characters that will set forth for violent affairs in the arena among other complexities such as political power and corruption so expect a starry cast for this Peacock drama. Hopkins’ character is described as “despised by the Patricians jockeying for position in the Empire and looking to supplant his heirs to the throne the first chance they get. Vespasian became the Roman emperor after a ten-year civil war. We expect to get more casting news soon as the show will begin filming in Rome in March.

Anthony Hopkins is coming off a terrific performance in James Gray’s Armageddon Time in 2022 after winning his second Academy Award for his role in The Father the year prior. He’ll next voice a character in Zack Snyder’s Rebel Moon for Netflix and also will star in British drama One Life alongside Helena Bonham Carter and Jonathan Pryce. Emmerich is coming off directing the sci-fi disaster film, Moonfall in 2022.

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