After 13 long years of waiting, the time has finally come: James Cameron’s “Avatar: The Way of Water” hits theaters on Dec. 16.
This is the sequel to “Avatar,” the highest-grossing film of all time. The original movie takes place on the planet Pandora. The planet is inhabited by an alien species known as Na’vi. A human, Jake Sully, has to link with a human and Na’vi body known as an Avatar to move around the planet due to its toxic environment. Jake Sully falls in love with a Na’vi woman, Ney’tiri, as well as her culture. Because of the bond they form, Jake Sully fights against his own kind to defend the Na’vi from a human threat.
The long-awaited sequel will feature the return of Jake Sully and Ney’tiri. It will also introduce their children and the family they have formed. All while the Na’vi prepare to fight yet another battle.
With excitement growing as the release date nears, the Canadian director found himself in the headlines regarding recent comments he made about another movie franchise and continued controversy over the initial release of “Avatar.”
During “Avatar’s” decade-plus absence, the Marvel Comics Universe, MCU, has grown in popularity. The MCU released 30 movies, 28 since “Avatar’s” 2009 premiere. With “Avengers: Endgame,” the only movie to close in on the box office numbers of “Avatar” in recent years, it’s only natural Cameron would be asked about his biggest competition. In an interview with the New York Times, he voiced his criticism for Marvel regarding the relationships and maturity of their characters.
“When I look at these big, spectacular films, I’m looking at you, Marvel and DC, it doesn’t matter how old the characters are, they all act like they’re in college. They have relationships, but they really don’t,” Cameron said. “They never hang up their spurs because of their kids. The things that really ground us and give us power, love, and a purpose? Those characters don’t experience it, and I think that’s not the way to make movies.”
He continued on with his criticism, this time targeting visual effects in the MCU, saying, “Weta Effects, as it’s now known, is the best. Right? I mean, ILM does great work, but when it comes to the kind of emotive facial stuff that we’re doing, I mean, Thanos? Come on. Give me a break.”
With his criticism of the fellow Disney-owned franchise, Twitter discourse ran rampant, with some begging Cameron to simply, “shut up.” However, the discourse didn’t begin, nor will it end with Cameron’s comments on the MCU.
Many people already noticed that the story of the original “Avatar” shares quite a few similarities to “Pocahontas.” In fact, Cameron has been called out by some who claim his movie stereotypes and dehumanizes Indigenous people.
Interest of Cabrini students
Despite the headlines and discourse surrounding this movie, some Cabrini students are still interested in seeing it, while others aren’t interested in the franchise at all. Some students are merely afraid they won’t have time to see it, as its run time is three hours and 10 minutes.
Those interested in the film believe it will be even better than the original, such as Ethan Miller, freshman business management major. “I think that [‘Avatar: The Way of the Water’] is going to be really good because I was really interested in the first one even though I didn’t have a sense of what was going to happen when I watched it,” Miller said. “I didn’t really know what it was but I really liked it, and I think the second one is going to be even better.
“I think [‘Avatar: The Way of the Water’] is going to be really good,” Josh Devine, freshman marketing major, said. “The first one was already very good and it’s the most profitable movie in history, so it’s good to have high hopes for it.”
So where does that leave moviegoers? Will the controversy deter individuals from seeing the movie? With movies like “Top Gun: Maverick” and “Jurassic World: Dominion” breaking the $1 billion mark at the box office this year, will “Avatar: The Way of Water” reclaim its former glory?
For some, this movie isn’t worth seeing, but plenty of others hope it will be worth the 13-year wait.