“Avatar. The Way of Water” by James Cameron: a great epic, ecological and spiritual tale | AgentSIR

With “Avatar. La via dell’acqua” director James Cameron surpasses himself with a work that narratively proves to be more mature, stratified and poetic, finding the trait of excellence in the visual dimension, so immersive and engaging. A magnificent viewing experience!

(Photo 20th Century Studios)

James Cameron is making his “Star Wars”: with “Avatar. La via dell’acqua” (“Avatar: The Way of Water”) the Canadian director scores the second chapter of the saga set on the planet Pandora by signing a great epic, family story with an ecological and spiritual matrix. Thirteen years after the first surprising title “Avatar” (2009), three Academy Awards but above all a record collection – over 2 billion and 900 million dollars, the highest in the history of cinema – Cameron surpasses himself with a work that narratively proves to be more mature, stratified and poetic, finding the trait of excellence in the visual dimension, so immersive and engaging. A magnificent viewing experience! “Avatars. La via dell’acqua” has been in Italian cinemas since 14 December on 1,200 screens, seriously applying not only to the title of party champion but above all to the “savior” of the cinema economy, which has gone through a burning autumn of profound disaffection. Point Cnvf-Sir.

From aerial expanses to the depths of the sea

A little over ten years have passed since the great battle on the planet Pandora between humans, the “Sky People”, and the indigenous Na’vi. Former Marine Jake Sully (Sam Worthington) has now changed his life, integrating into the indigenous population of Omaticaya and bonding with the warrior princess Neytiri (Zoe Saldaña). Together they formed a family, made up of three children: the eldest Neteyam (Jamie Flatters), the most responsible and sensible, the second Lo’ak (Britain Dalton), with an intrepid and rebellious spirit, and little Tuk (Trinity Jo-Li bliss). There is also a fourth daughter, Kiri (Sigourney Weaver), whom the Sullies have adopted; Kiri was biologically born of the scientist Grace Augustine (Weaver herself), who died at the end of the great conflict, and she has a strong spiritual drive. After a decade of great serenity, the Sullys once again feel the danger coming from the “Sky People”, so to protect the community of Omaticaya they decide to leave it and move towards new frontiers, finding refuge with the indigenous community that lives on the blue coasts, the clan of Metkayina, led by the couple Tonowari (Cliff Curtis) and Ronal (Kate Winslet).

Archetypes and suggestions of a great family saga

One of the elements that drives us to consider “Avatar. Above all, La via dell’acqua” is better than the first film in the articulation of the story, which is more complete, stratified and profound. There are many themes in the field in the script signed by James Cameron himself together with Rick Jaffa and Amanda Silver. First of all, we are talking about a story with an epic breadth, where roaring battles intertwine with whirling quarrels of the protagonists’ souls: the film runs through both a macro-narrative dimension, the valiant descent into battle attributable to literary models (we can go as far as Homeric tales) and films such as “Braveheart” (1995) or “The Last of the Mohicans” (1992), as much as a micro, intimate dimension, marked by an introspective dig or by a sounding out of family relationships, first of all the understanding father-son disagreement.
James Cameron draws a powerful, complex story that moves on several levels; certainly the close look at the Sully family is central, above all the affective-educational dynamic that exists between Jake and the two sons (evangelical, parabolic reference): the first Neteyam, the model son, always within the perimeter of the parental rules, the second Lo’ak, which gives life to the profile of the “different”, the rebel. He will be the one to open up problematic horizons but also to implement actions of great value.
The film also captures the archetypes of Greek tragedy, the Oedipus complex. An aspect that returns not only between Jake and the second son Lo’ak, but also in the contrast between the young Spider (Jack Champion), a wild human boy – who recovers the topos of the “Jungle Book” by Rudyard Kipling, the character Mowgli – godson who grew up with the Sullies, forced to process the cumbersome weight of his origins, the biological bond with his father Miles Quaritch (Stephen Lang), who lives with conviction the vertigo of Evil. Here is all of “Star Wars”, the encounter-clash between Luke and his father Anakin / Darth Vader. That rift, disagreement, between forgiveness and revenge.

The widespread spirituality that cloaks “Avatar”

Again, through Lo’ak and Kiri, Cameron explores the theme of respect for the environment and for creation, entrusting history with a powerful ecological message: it is at the hands of man that the world is on the brink of loss, especially when resource predator for interest and profit. The director uses vibrant suggestions, which seem to oscillate from Herman Melville’s “Moby Dick” (1851) to Pope Francis’ “Laudato si'” (2015). An environmentalist story, which borders on a horizon of spirituality: “Avatar. La via dell’acqua” is in fact punctuated by moments of inner research, by the relationship with a “creator god”; the Sully family, the entire indigenous community, demonstrate faith and respect for the gift of life received. There is also a recurring reference to prayer, to supplication, to the gestures of the rosary as well as a reflection on death, to the meaning of death not only as a loss, a laceration of existence, but also as a passage of meaning towards an “other” horizon ”.

Beyond disability, “Avatar 2” focuses on the values ​​of inclusion and equality

In the first “Avatar” one of the main themes of the story was disability, the condition of former marine Jake Sully. As Riccardo Benotti wrote on SIR in 2010: “Disability not as an object of investigation but as a condition of life, equal to that of any other character […] Cameron directs a film that integrates the figure of the disabled person through a process of ‘normalization’”. In “Avatars. La via dell’acqua” the director chooses not to repeat himself, taking a step forward: field of reflection becomes the value of equality and inclusion, overcoming mental barriers and racial prejudices. A film that revolves around acceptance, tolerance and forgiveness, electing the family at the top of the narrative universe. Living for the family, in the family.

(Photo 20th Century Studios)

James Cameron challenges himself, including the ‘Titanic’ feat

Finally, it is necessary to mention the direction of James Cameron and his production bet aimed at giving life to a surprising visual experience, of pure enchantment for the gaze. The director is not afraid to return to confront the success “Avatar” of 2009, which put him at the top of the Hollywood peaks. With “Avatar. La via dell’acqua” Cameron composes a visual fresco of sparkling beauty, where the landscape-natural dimension becomes the protagonist; an aspect that can be grasped above all if one experiences 3D vision. But there is not only the triumph of technique, of performance capture, because in “Avatar. La via dell’acqua” James Cameron reinterprets his own past, the success of “Titanic” (1997), dedicating a long sequence of the film inside a nacelle sinking into the sea, a claustrophobic struggle for survival which takes us back to that by Jake and Rose in the colossal record (11 Academy Awards, the 3rd collection in the history of the box office). Without forgetting that here in “Avatar 2” Kate Winslet also returns. In short, “Avatar. La via dell’acqua” is a work that conquers for its epic, pressing narrative flow, full of emotions and for its sumptuous visual dimension, of magnificent beauty. A film that cannot leave you indifferent. Advisable, problematic-poetic, for debates.

“Avatar. The Way of Water” by James Cameron: a great epic, ecological and spiritual tale | AgentSIR