It was not won. In 2009, when the first Avatar was released in theaters, from the height of my 16 years and all shame drunk, I did not go to the theaters to see the new James Cameron film. Not out of activism, but more out of laziness. My cinephilia was not yet heightened, and as much as I loved the first two Terminators, I was not yet a fan of Alien. I had not yet seen Abyss, True Lies, and Titanic for me, was only a beautiful moving film, nothing more. Moreover, I was one of the slanderers claiming that “gnagnagna, it’s Pocahontas with aliens bruises, it’s not original”. The worst is that I kept this stupid idea for several years. Mea culpa. As time passed, my love of cinema growing, my admiration for James Cameron only growing, I ended up watching Avatar, the first of the name. And by regretting not having seen it in 3D at the time. See also on Konbini We have classified (objectively) all James Cameron’s films, from worst to best I did not see it when it was released, but with my basic Blu-ray. But it was enough to make my head spin. To understand what I missed for years, to grasp the magnitude of the work provided, to understand that this is not just a love story between an oppressor and an oppressed woman, but something much richer, much more beautiful. With an unpublished bestiary. With an incredible graphic universe. In short, I was wrong, and I readily admit it. 13 years after my original snobbery, a sequel arrives, which I’ve been waiting for – for much less time than ordinary mortals. So I approach the film differently, but the conclusion is the same as for the rest of the press: the new Avatar is exceptional. Perhaps even more than the first — and I’m not saying that because I missed the first in theaters. An ode to nature, aided by an unprecedented technical revolution The mission was impossible: to return, after having done the most great success in the history of cinema (well, since we had Avengers: Endgame, but briefly), for a sequel and especially after having imposed 3D for years on a sector that has never understood as well as this film this technology. By imposing another new technology. While offering a three-hour film (!), the first of a future saga of a total of five films. The first great quality of The Way of the Water is that it is, strangely, more serene and more quiet in his place. While Cameron has to prove everything again, he allows himself just beautiful lengths. The first Avatar had to show the full power of its technology, and it sometimes overwhelmed the storyline and the characters, compressing any form of subtlety. La Voie de l’eau is one-upmanship, but never shouts it in the viewer’s face. A feat, knowing that Cameron reproduces the same pattern; to understand, to propose a new universe, a fauna, a flora, in a brand new setting – here, the UFR, which makes it possible to give more than 24 images per second, 48 in this case. Nothing forced him to exceed his limits, but Jim being Jim, it was necessary to push back the limits of the possible. The first Avatar impressed by the creation of his universe, so rich and unique. When the second film starts, quite quickly, the question of the exile of this family hunted down by the Terran army is essential, and the smala goes to aquatic lands, where James Cameron has had to reinvent everything. Animals, vegetation, inhabitants, habits, traditions, objects, outfits. All. Or how to avoid the spectator having a feeling of deja vu. This goes hand in hand with this UFR therefore. Because as much as The Hobbit by Peter Jackson or Gemini Man by Ang Lee had already given a glimpse of this increase in frames per second, The Way of the Water goes further. More than 48 frames per second, James Cameron has developed a camera capturing as many frames, while filming directly in 3D, and underwater. The reality is above all that behind the technical side, Cameron understands this innovation better. Because the reality is that it is extremely disturbing to have a flow that changes, and that alternates 24/48 images fairly regularly. When we are at 48, the film seems to be accelerated. When we are in 24, reality seems very slow to us. The result is not equal. Under water, the sensation of fluidity is incredible. On Earth, we have the impression of having activated the motion smoothing, unbearable soap opera effect of modern televisions. But despite all this, this pressure to follow up one of the greatest successes in history with an original story , with all this part of Pandora to discover, and with this technology, La Voie de l’eau takes the time to wander, to stroll. The duration of the film is one of its great qualities. Rather than rushing and going for the most efficient, Cameron lets us explore the seabed. Because that’s the idea of the film, of course: to transform the political message into a defense of the seabed, he who has visited them several times over the last decade. To do this, we must show the beauty of the nature. This is how we have almost silent segments lasting several minutes where a character just swims, observes, admires what surrounds him. Spectator, just like us, of this so immersive Pandora (the work on 3D helps enormously on this). James Cameron, who loved filming water so much, whether it came to life in Abyss or whether it came to life in Titanic, has never done it so well. If he does it, it’s good to accentuate the avatar eco friendly message. Here, the defense of the seabed, of the coral, of life under water, which is so close to Cameron’s heart (he who has explored the bowels of the planet more than anyone else), is at the heart of the project. This involves sublimating reality on the one hand, with one of the most magnificent natures, but also fighting to preserve it. to whale equivalents. It may seem laughable summed up like this, but it is nevertheless nicely done and more believable than it looks. But Cameron pushes the cursor further than on the first, since the will not to be in the confrontation of the Na’vis is undermined. Less Manichean, more realistic perhaps. In any case, less in diplomacy and more in confrontation. And it feels good.Problems in the writing of the charactersStrangely, the film is less cliché and less binary than the first, even though it touches on themes like “the family“, “protecting one’s own“. By giving scope to the descendants of Sully and Neytiri, James Cameron gives voice to youth and to different types of behavior in the face of authority and danger. James Cameron tells it very willingly: The Way of the Water is very intimate to him. Because between 2009 and 2022, his children grew up and Cameron experienced his offspring’s adolescence as an ordeal which he transcribed here. This is one of the film’s great weaknesses: by multiplying the characters, Cameron cannot escape failures. The character of Spider, a sort of teenage Tarzan son of the big bad Quaritch, who has a badly brought, badly constructed, and terribly clichéd narrative arc – leading to an absolutely incomprehensible resolution. In the same way, the film is intended to be quite progressive. The character played by Kate Winslet, Ronal, is a pregnant matriarch who does not hesitate to mark her territory and go to the front lines to fight and defend her tribe. But besides that, Neytiri is non-existent, we see her very little – and when we see her, either she cries or she gets angry. The film also wants to question the muscular and stupid masculinity of the Navy, which does not is not uninteresting, or deals with the competition between teenagers, between who will puff out the chest the most. But Cameron does not escape a form of patriarchy, around Sully, of the figure of the father who protects the family at all costs. which provides what most viewers are looking for, which is escapism. But it’s a shame to see technological perfection so close, a company of such ambition and so important for this industry, and to roll your eyes at certain dialogues or characters. Is the slap weaker for as much ? No. Is it stronger than the first? Without a shadow of a doubt. Maybe that’s what you need to remember.
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