Is Avatar’s Sequel Too Late?

SAC.Media reviews the new Avatar: The Way of Water trailer

Poster from Wikimedia Commons

Poster from Wikimedia Commons

The original “Avatar” was a blockbuster success that has topped the charts as the highest-grossing film in terms of lifetime gross for over a decade.

SAC.Media’s Andrew Garcia and Armando Sanchez discuss whether the sequel’s teaser is enough to bring back interest in a franchise that many have forgotten.

Andrew Garcia

“Avengers: Endgame (2019)”, “Star Wars: The Force Awakens (2015)”, and “Titanic (1997)”; two giants of pop culture and a James Cameron love story all have one thing in common: all three sit below Cameron’s 2009 visual spectacle “Avatar” in terms of lifetime gross.

Despite being visually appealing, Avatar never really had the social gravitas a lot of these other films have had.

I roughly remember the plot. There were humans colonizing another planet, an indingnous population already there called the Na’vi, and a cross romance between the two species. The movie was solid, but one I was bound to forget.

Despite all this, I find myself optimistic about this movie due to its roots and love of cinema.

Thirteen years later with the release of the teaser trailer for the long awaited sequel, Avatar: The Way of Water, me and moviegoes alike seem generally excited for this film despite the long wait and seemingly forgettable plot that came with the first movie.

Avatar: The Way of Water is a sequel that no one should be surprised took this long to make.

James Cameron does this, people waited seven years in between “The Terminator” and “Terminator 2: Judgment Day.” Titanic and Avatar came out roughly a decade apart. Despite delays in production, It is no secret that Cameron takes his time in his films and this trailer came out at the perfect time – albeit in a typical ’‘delayed’’ Cameron kind of way.

The trailer looks visually appealing of course, although I suspect many are excited to see this movie based on the nostalgia and the time its predecessor came out.

The first Avatar was a spectacle made to be experienced in a 3D, IMAX theater. Seeing this movie back in 2009 was an event. I remember cousins, people from my church, and even at school conversing about it. This aspect of movie-going has surely been missed.

The landscape of movie going and the cinematic experience has drastically changed. Streaming services, social media, overuse of certain entities (*cough**cough* Star Wars), and COVID-19 has caused the general population to have a bad taste in their mouth.

I am personally excited to see this movie despite my forgetfulness of the first.

Movies have become monopolized by the typical MCU movie. I still love Marvel, but after 14 years of the universe fatigue does kick in. Star Wars has been ruined, and there seems to be an overall lack of something new.

Maybe Avatar is the blast from the very distant past that we all need. Cameron is an award winning director and box office mogul, despite the success of The Batman and Spiderman: No Way Home, cinema feels empty at times.

Martin Scorcese, famed Hollywood director has voiced his opinion on that state of cinema, calling movies “systematically devalued” due to producers and CEO’s of these companies focusing more on getting the content out and not on the artistic aspect that is cinema.

I know this movie is all James Cameron, he might have had pushback from producers and his higher ups but everyone knows this is his movie.

If history serves us right we know this movie will be an experience, minimal corporate involvement and a man who you feel loves and knows how to make a great movie going experience is at the helm.

Even though this movie might not change the narrative on the decline of movie theaters, I am sure to be there opening night ready to be caught up in the experience that makes moviegoing so great.

Armando Sanchez

The real question about the release of the teaser for “Avatar: The Way of Water” is whether or not it has been too long for people to care about a sequel to the 2009 movie.

It is hard to grasp the answer for this question.

When the teaser was shown at 8:30 p.m. IMAX showing of “Doctor Strange In The Multiverse of Madness” that I went to at the Regal Edwards Ontario Palace, many groans and “what’s?” were spoken throughout the theater.

That being said, the teaser showed nothing more than the settings and tone of the new movie which all looked great on an IMAX screen. The teaser felt like one of those IMAX nature documentaries that they make every so often.

At the moment, thirteen years seems like a long time for a sequel or even a follow-up in Cameron’s filmography.

Although when looking in hindsight, “Titanic” came out in 1997 and Cameron’s next film “Avatar” came out in 2009. This would mean that Cameron made the highest grossing movie at the time, being “Titanic (1997)”, then took 12 years to make his next movie, “Avatar (2009)” which became the highest grossing movie of all time (only shortly being dethroned by “Avengers: Endgame (2019).”

There’s a good estimation that this sequel will make its money back but considering the story of the first one, it’s hard to warrant critical acclaim for this movie yet. While this teaser for the second entry in this franchise made me excitedly curious, I still feel like it is hard to tell if there should be five movies in total.

It is exciting to look forward to this new movie considering that many of the big blockbusters in the past couple of years feel like studio-controlled products whereas “The Way Of Water” looks like a Cameron-controlled movie.

Even with The Walt Disney Company overseeing the distribution of this movie, it doesn’t seem like there’s going to be an artistic powerplay between the director and distribution company like with other recent Disney movies.

In this day and age, it is hard to tell whether a movie will artistically be the vision that the writers and director wanted or if it will be a checklist from a studio. Seeing this teaser gave me a sigh of relief since I got the sense that this will one-hundred percent be a James Cameron movie.

So while it is hard to tell how this movie will perform both critically and financially, I feel like it is going to be the IMAX and theater experience of the year just as the first one was for 2009. Even though I don’t really know if we need three more sequels after this new one, I am still very much looking forward to seeing this in IMAX this December.