It’s finally the big day! This Wednesday, December 14, 2022, the second film in the science fiction saga Avatar is finally projected in dark rooms. Since 2009, the public has been waiting for the sequel to the great 3D adventure thought up and designed by James Cameron. The first film was very inventive in many aspects.
First, there was the triumph of technology with never-before-seen 3D that offered depth of field and depth never before seen in cinema. Then there was the world: Pandora, this lush moon where fauna and flora are intimately linked, the Avatars, the Na’vi and their culture, their language… But on closer inspection, moviegoers discovered a sum of more or less direct inspirations in this new fictional universe.
In The Way of the Watera direct sequel to the first Avatar, we find some cult stories of the 7th art. The film even offers us new winks that will not fail to resonate in the hearts of the spectators.
Nature, a whale, a sinking boat…
– Princess Mononoke : the Ghibli studio film was one of cinema’s great ecological shocks. Like Avatar, the awareness of the heroes passes through an encounter between a young man and a young woman. The first is a child of technology, symbol of the industrial era. The second is a huntress who defends the natural order embodied by a divinity that is both visible and invisible. The hero, who comes from a very human world, will finally learn to listen to the fauna and flora and to fight for its preservation. Contrary to Avatar, Princess Mononoke maintains a relatively impassable border between the two protagonists who cannot definitively cut the bridges with their respective worlds. The character of “Spider” in The Way of the Water represents this idea.
– Pocahontas : who is a savage? Who is civilized? This is the main theme of the legend of Pocahontas whose most influential adaptation remains that of the Disney animated film. The discovery of the other, of the value of an apparently more “primitive” civilization, of the precious nature of the link between men, animals and flora… These are all common themes. Here again, it is through a romantic relationship that this discovery is fully expressed. Avatar 2 continues to exploit these broad universal themes. James Cameron even had to justify himself when the first Avatar was released that he had not been inspired too much by the story of Pocahontas to create his franchise. He has moreover won the lawsuits brought against him for plagiarism.
– Tarzan : Spider is an inverted Tarzan. This new character The Way of the Water even physically resembles the Tarzan we all know. Bouncing child preferring to live in contact with nature, teenager then young man with blond dreadlocks and a loincloth evolving bare-chested through the forest… His journey and his tension between humans and the Na’Vi is a main theme of Avatar 2. Unlike Tarzan, spider chooses to prefer the company of the Na’Vi but the absence of his parents, his meeting with the clone of his biological father, his conflict of loyalty… Everything is there to evoke the myth of the wild child. Will we see a new Jane in Avatar 3 Where 4 ?
“Spider” in “Avatar 2”
Credit: 20th Century Studios
– The jungle Book : between Tarzan and Mowgli, the “little man” created by Rudyard Kipling, there are many bridges. All the elements that we have put forward around the character of Spider (and Jake in a way) remain relevant. Wild life, bond with animals, confrontation of two totally different worlds… The big themes are still there. In La Voie de l’Eau, we even have the right to (sea) animals capable of expressing themselves and conversing with the Na’Vis… Less joyful than Baloo, but all the same…
– Moana: with its crystal clear turquoise waters, tattooed characters and sticking out their tongues in the face of enemies, James Cameron was clearly inspired by Polynesian culture when designing his new Na’Vi people. This civilization welcomes Jake and his little family after their forced exile from the forest. A new way for James Cameron to continue to do “world-building” at a lower cost by presenting us with another facet of Pandora and the diversity among the Na’Vis. Disney’s Moana is probably the most influential film on this little-known culture which combines ancestral traditions, warrior rites, animism and respect for an incarnated nature. In addition to the corals, the culture of surfing and fishing… The almost magical link between the ocean, its inhabitants and our heroes is an obvious reference.
New aquatic Na’Vis will be presented
Credit: 20th Century Fox
– Pinocchio : yes, another Disney movie. But Pinocchio is not that. Avatar remains a family work and Disney studios have adapted major stories from world literature. The Avatar scene that naturally evoked us Pinocchio is the (voluntary) entry into the mouth of a gigantic whale (or almost) from Pandora. A magical moment when one of our heroes discovers the secret of this majestic animal. A sequence that also demonstrates why humans hunt this animal in order to steal a precious substance that stops aging. When talking about entering the mouth of a cetacean, two stories immediately come to mind: the biblical legend of Jonah and its more recent adaptation with Pinocchio. In Avatarthe short stay of one of our heroes in the mouth of the animal is perceived as an intense spiritual moment, as for Jonas and Pinocchio, who achieved fundamental things there.
Pandora’s whales have a very important role in “Avatar 2”
Credit: 20th Century fox
– titanic : this is probably the most obvious reference. It will have escaped no one that James Cameron is a fan of underwater life. Diving and filming the seabed is a passion of the Canadian director. By focusing on an ocean world once again, James Cameron indulges. But if there’s something the director loves more than anything, it’s filming shipwrecks. As for his masterpiece titanic, it offers us once again a powerful scene of submersion. As for titanic, our heroes find themselves stuck in a labyrinth of metal that is leaking. Can they make it out without drowning? We are not going to spoil you here but, as for the 1997 film, you will remain in apnea for long minutes in front of The Way of the Water.