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“A stunning immersive experience,” says Rotten Tomatoes about James Cameron’s Avatar sequel. Agreed. If you love sea life, you’ll love the underwater magic Cameron delivers in his long-awaited sequel, The Way of Water

That said, at 3 hours and 12 minutes, it’s long.

The Way of Water does what a movie ought to. It plunges us into a different world while talking to us about our own. Cameron’s familiar themes of Earth-care, technology, colonization, and the wonder of sea life are evident once more. 

Viewers return to Pandora, where humans are the antagonists—except for a few like Jake Sully (Sam Worthington) who now serves as the Omaticaya chief and is with Neytiri (Zoe Saldana) as a couple. They are parents whose children stretch their hearts—and break them too. This family is fighting to stay together, a fight that intensifies when an ancient threat resurfaces and Jake must fight the humans. 

Cameron is a known name for early successes such as The Terminator, Rambo, Aliens, and Titanic. The Canadian was 28 when he wrote The Terminator and landed the wished-for job as director. 

Sam Worthington (The Clash of the Titans, The Shack, Hacksaw Ridge) returns as the voice for Jake Sully. As Hollywood legend has it, the Australian actor auditioned for the original Avatar (2009) while living in his car. The original, considered the highest-grossing film ever, catapulted him to fame. 

Cameron’s vision includes four Avatar sequels, if they earn out. Avatar 3 is slated for 2024.

This sequel supplies boatloads of wonder. I saw the movie in 3-D and recommend it. I swam with the tropical fish. But Avatar: The Way of Water isn’t a children’s movie. The disturbing kill of a whale-like creature—which seemed rather heavy handed—sent at least one viewer out the door. Viewer discretion is advised for animal violence. (20th Century Studios)

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