Why Avatar: The Way of Water connects with audiences

Avatar: The Way of Water is a huge success, both critically and commercially. Once again, James Cameron has demonstrated his incredible ability to create big-budget spectacles that resonate with audiences. What is his secret? Why do people return to Pandora spite Avatars long gameplay, lack of superstars and simplistic narrative? I have some ideas.

Stunning visuals

It takes a lot to lure people from the comfort of their homes into a theater. In this age of endless streaming content, it’s easy (and cheaper) to sit back on the couch and enjoy the latest and greatest movie on an expensive 4K big screen TV, especially when most movies hit digital platforms a few weeks after release. Who wants to spend time and energy watching Babylon at the cinema when you could stay at home and watch the latest Knives out movie?

I am guilty of this mentality. I only ventured to the cinema a handful of times this year Batman, Doctor Strange, Top Gun, Jurassic World, Violent nightand … Downton Abbey … for the wife, I swear! That is it. I didn’t even see Steven Spielberg’s latest movie until it hit Google Play over Christmas.

Still, I happily shelled out the dough Avatar: The Way of Water. Why? Because it promised something bigger and bolder than I had ever seen. Fortunately, James Cameron was true to his word. AvatarChapter Two is a spectacle of epic proportions that absolutely must be seen on the biggest screen imaginable. Sure, it’ll look great on my TV at home, but the larger-than-life set pieces, stunning visuals, and incredible action are worth paying admission to see at Imax or AMC’s Dolby Cinema. The scene where the Resource Development Administration whaling ship jumps over a group of rocks is one of the most incredible images I have ever seen, and the grand finale, when Jake and Quaritch engage in a knife fight aboard a sinking ship, is one. for the ages. Seriously, even though the movie is getting a lot of praise from critics and audiences, I still don’t think it gets its due – this is incredible stuff, folks. In fact, I’d call it a one-of-a-kind movie experience if Avatar 3 didn’t linger just around the corner.

Many people feel the same way, which is why the picture quickly jumped to the top of the box office charts.

Put it this way: I wanted Cameron to dip his toes into other properties sooner The Way of the Water. Now I can’t wait to see what other goodies are in store for us at Pandora. I hope Disney Star wars pay attention: this is what that galaxy far, far away should look like.

Additionally, almost every one of my screenings has been packed, and rarely does anyone get up for refreshments or a bathroom break. Think about it for a moment: hundreds of people watch a movie of over three hours and stay in their seats for the entire duration. It’s incredible.


Many people found fault with the original Avatar borrow elements from ancient stories such as Pocahontas and Dances with Wolves, but I’ve always considered the film’s simplicity to be its greatest strength. Most moviegoers don’t want complicated. When you look back at some of the all-time box office hits – Star wars, JawsCameron’s own Titanic, Jurassic Park, Independence Day, or any of the Marvel movies – many have very simplistic plots: Boy teams up with a wizard to rescue a princess from the villains; a shark terrorizes a small island community; a boy and a girl from different classes fall in love on the doomed Titanic; dinosaurs run loose on an island; Aliens Attack Earth/Earth Fights Back; superheroes make jokes and fight [insert villain of the week].

There is a time and place for convoluted storylines, but less is more when appealing to a general audience eager to relax and have a good time. Yet you need to resonate on a deeper level with the audience. Visuals and spectacle alone will only carry a film part of the way; there must be more, which brings us to…

likable characters

What Cameron does better than any other writer/director (of the blockbuster variety) is create likable characters worth rooting for. While The Way of the Water doubling down on plot points established by its predecessor and keeping its storylines simple and relatively predictable (we all knew Neteyam was a goer, right?), the characters are infinitely more intriguing and relatable this go-round. Who hasn’t had to move to another city/town/school and start over? What father hasn’t fought to protect his children from outside dangers? What mother has not chastised her children for their mistakes? The characters of Avatar are giant blue aliens, but Cameron drops them into relatable stories.

Sure, it’s simple stuff, but part of the fun of a movie is finding a character that you can connect with. As a father, I appreciated Jake’s situation, while my daughter latched onto Kiri, my youngest daughter to Tuktirey. Younger audiences will likely dig Lo’ak’s relationship with Payakan, while older audiences will get a kick out of Neteyam’s numerous efforts to protect his brother. So there’s someone for everyone to connect with on a personal level, which is one of the main reasons why audiences of all ages keep going back to theaters to see this thing.

The Way of the Water doesn’t win points for originality (apart from its delicious visuals). Still very happy Titanic and the original Avatarthe characters do enough to tunnel into our hearts and make us care when the crap starts going down.

A meaningful message

Cameron’s films have always featured not-so-subtle politics. However, they are politicians, most will agree. Few would oppose a message to clean our oceans or save whales—a safe, simple statement that doesn’t rock the boat in either direction. Cameron puts together a message that everyone can get behind, which is refreshing in our current political landscape.

He also wags a finger at greedy Earthlings for trying to colonize Pandora, but at least gives them a reason for their actions: Earth fell into decay a long time ago, see? People need another place to pitch their tent, and Pandora has everything they need. Look at the match. Cameron never justifies the RDA’s actions, but raises an interesting question for the audience: would you welcome an anti-aging drink even if it meant slaughtering alien whales on a moon millions of miles away?

Avatar is more intricate than many are willing to give it credit for; its battles are more nuanced than good versus evil. The scene where a group of RDA whalers hunt down and kill a mother tulkun and her calf strikes hard enough to make us root for our species in the film’s final hour, a difficult feat for any writer/director to pull off successfully . Still, Quaritch’s mission is to bring Jake to justice for his complicity in the deaths of hundreds of human soldiers.

Cameron has already stated that he plans to introduce good people and bad Na’vi Avatar 3; you can see how The Way of the Water sets up this idea perfectly. Hopefully the payoff is worth it!


Another exciting thing about Cameron is the way he presents his stories. The Way of the Water the massive runtime flies by because he continuously introduces a unique new element every 30 minutes or so. Whenever a plot point starts to linger a little too long, we move on to a new conflict that immediately grabs our attention.

The film begins in the forests of Pandora, where we meet Sullys, our new Quaritch, and witness some spectacular scenes. Just as the forest becomes obsolete, Cameron moves the entire story to the Metkayina clan in the village of the sea, where the Sullys learn the ways of the water, meet new friends and engage in conflict with the inhabitants. After staring at fish for a while, Cameron introduces the Payakan/Lo’ak storyline, which kicks the picture into a whole new gear. Kiri’s seizure inadvertently lures Quaritch to Jake’s location, and our resident villain begins burning nearby villages. When the villagers refuse to surrender Jake, Quaritch orders the RDA to hunt down and kill a mother tulkun and her calf to draw out his enemy. Naturally, Lo’ak goes to help Payakan, who is marked for death, ushering in the exciting third act that finds unique ways to entertain even though it runs over 45 minutes.

Is there anyone else in Hollywood capable of structuring a three-hour-plus film more expertly than Cameron? He did the same with Titanic and Avatar, but the maestro outdoes himself here. From start to finish, The Way of the Water holds our attention, which is challenging in this age of cell phones and endless entertainment. Even terrific movies like Batman and Dune pull in certain parts — there are moments you have to go through to get to the best pieces.

Every scene in Avatar is fantastic; the last time i felt like that was a movie The return of the kingway back in 2003. Now I just talked myself into watching it again!

Related Posts