Returning to Pandora

Published 12:21 pm Tuesday, January 24, 2023

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

Transporting Tryon Theatre to a far-off world this week is “Avatar: The Way of Water,” the long-anticipated sequel to James Cameron’s “Avatar” (2009). The original “Avatar” arrived to rave receptions from audiences and produced record-breaking theatrical attendance. 


James Cameron as a director is no stranger to such theatrical records, as he has set them before with “Titanic” (1997), and very well may do so again with his Avatar sequel! This sequel takes the viewer back to the far-off world of its predecessor, the exoplanet known by humans as Pandora. While the setting may be familiar, the sequel introduces new conflicts and relationships between the characters as the combative relationship between humans and the native aliens, known as the Na’vi, comes to a new head. 

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The first “Avatar” film introduced viewers to both the planet of Pandora and its blue humanoid inhabitants, the Na’vi. This introduction was made through the eyes and experiences of the film’s protagonist, the human Jake Sully (Sam Worthington). Sully was a paraplegic marine, having suffered a traumatic injury in the line of duty, and volunteered his body for a novel scientific technique that would allow his consciousness to be transferred into an ‘avatar’, a remote physical body that he could manipulate. 


Like many of our real-world scientific breakthroughs, those in the world of “Avatar” are made in pursuit of profit. All the humans of “Avatar” are employed by the RDA, the Resources Development Association. The RDA has been tasked with procuring vital material resources from the galaxy to sustain humanity, in the wake of their already over-polluted and over-mined homeworld. 


The only obstacle to the RDA’s operations was the native peoples, the Na’vi. The RDA employed their ‘avatar’ program to provide the experimental subjects, like Sully, with a new Na’vi body, to be operated by their human mind. Soon after, Sully becomes disillusioned with his people’s colonizing efforts, and takes up the cause of the Na’vi, waging a violent uprising against the RDA’s ever-encroaching operation. 


“Avatar: The Way of Water” takes up 15 years after the events of the first film, as Sully, fully adapted to the Na’vi way of life, has raised a small family, with his partner, Neytiri. Despite the resolution of the first film’s plot and the tenuous peace established, the new film sees a return to the conflict between the RDA and the Na’vi, as RDA colonists come back to Pandora, with a new edge on their battle with the native peoples. 


This conflict finds Sully and his family seeking out the refuge of Pandora’s reef tribes, a different group of Na’vi, somewhat removed genetically from the Na’vi of the first film, separate both in appearance and culture. Sully must work to bridge boundaries on both sides, one with strangers who do not wish to join a fight, and one with enemies who refuse to give up the fight. And much like the first film, “Avatar: The Way of Water” provides an enthralling sci-fi adventure in a fully immersive alien world, brought to life by the most cutting-edge motion capture technology. We hope you join us to explore Pandora once more and join us in understanding “the way of water.” 


This film runs long at roughly three hours and has no post-credit scenes