“Avatar: The Way of Water”

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8.5

If you enjoyed the first one, you’ll love this one.

The story itself isn’t much to write home about, but let’s be honest, that’s not why you’re here. We’re all here in front of the biggest screen we could find (preferably IMAX) to watch this in 3D because it’s the most beautiful film since “Interstellar.” Similarly, the special effects are scary good. The CGI water is so realistic it will have you questioning reality. It makes almost all other CGI since the original seem like a waste of time. In a word – breathtaking. So much so, you’ll forgive the director for wandering of for 45 minutes in the middle to just show off the technical capabilities of the special effects studio.

Story-wise, I couldn’t help but applaud the “homages” to other classic films such as (as quickly as I could mentally note): JAWS, Moby Dick, Fast and the Furious, Avatar, Titanic (including the exact score and shot of the flooding hallway), Blackfish, Interstellar, and so many more. But again, it’s so damn beautiful and well done, you’ll forgive it. In summary, it’s a story about family. Wrapped in a story about the importance of love as a cornerstone of humanity, similar to “Interstellar.”

The third act makes it all worth it, as Cameron revisits his action directing chops and delivers a superb final 45 minutes that leaves you on the edge of your seat cheering for number three. A true master of his craft, even if he only delivers one film per decade.

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