The sacred dimension of water is central to the philosophy of the film. © Prod.
We must be ready to experience a kind of digital epic, a dazzling visual spectacle that goes back to the origins of cinema and provokes the same sensations as those experienced by the first spectators discovering the films of the Lumière brothers. In London, we put on our 3D glasses and embarked on a world premiere in an Imax cinema in Leicester Square to enter Avatar: The Way of the Water – continuation of a virtual journey imagined by james cameron on the planet Pandora. Impossible to fight so much the show, sumptuous and exhausting, takes you for nearly three hours fifteen.
We left former soldier Jake Sully (Sam Worthington) to blend in with the Na’vi people and become one of them with Neytiri (Zoe Saldana), Cameron revisiting in his own way the myth of Pocahontas. Here we find the couple fifteen years later. Jake and Neytiri are the parents of four children. Two boys and two girls, including Kiri, an adopted teenager played by Sigourney Weaver, a sort of Na’vi reincarnation of Doctor Grace, whom she played in the first episode. But Pandora is once again under attack from humans who seek to colonize it under the leadership of the dreadful Colonel Quaritch (Stephen Lang), decked out in a Na’vi avatar determined to annihilate Jake and his family who find refuge in the aquatic worlds. of the Metkayina tribe.
Metkayina is run by Ronal (Kate Winslet) and her husband (Maori actor Cliff Curtis) who will introduce them to underwater life. Avatar: The Way of the Water is the first of four sequels planned for the franchise (the second is 80% shot) and filming for the third has begun, “before the kids get too old”, jokes Cameron who wanted to push the boundaries of the story here according to family dynamics. “I am the father of five children, he explains. Once you are a parent, life changes, our responsibilities are no longer the same, nor are our fears. I wanted family ties to be at the heart of the story.”
Technology and emotion
Family emotions at the rendezvous therefore with, in focus, the star of the film: the ocean of Pandora populated by fabulous creatures. Among them, the fantastic Tulkun, an extraordinary whale endowed with emotional intelligence and language, which the Na’vi consider as their sister and whose oil is the object of predation by men. We know that James Cameron and the ocean is a great story… The director of terminator, ofAlien 2 and of titanic is also that of Abyss, a 1989 SF masterpiece shot in the unfinished reactor of a nuclear power plant filled with millions of liters of water. To shoot the aquatic scenes ofAvatar: The Way of the Water, Cameron and Richard Baneham (director of special effects) therefore began filming the actors in 2017 in motion capture in an artificial supertank basin at Manhattan Beach Studios in California. The underwater scenes were integrated into the virtual sets of Weta FX in New Zealand (the home of Peter Jackson), under the supervision of Joe Letteri (in charge of the effects of the Lord of the Rings and of King Kong) who knew how to reconstruct the aquatic ecosystem of Pandora, its coral atolls and its underwater creatures inspired by manta rays and prehistoric cetaceans.
The actors had to shoot in apnea so that we better capture all the emotions written on their faces. “At this stage of my career, emotion is what interests me above all, says Cameron. In Avatar, beyond the show, I am dazzled by the acting of the actors and my great pride is to have preserved the depth of their acting.“So much so that the Na’vi appear more human than humans, dehumanized by their rapacity…”I’ve been freediving for twenty years and Kate Winslet has amazed me, Cameron continues. She lasted more than seven minutes underwater in a free dive, but of course that wasn’t a competition.“For young Bailey Bass (daughter of Kate Winslet in the film), it took”invent a way to play underwater, once the fear has been overcome”.
One family, one place, one world
If James Cameron does not renew the image of the family (the paternal and maternal roles remain very classic, even if mothers are also warriors, according to the credo “the family is a fortress”), Avatar shows the necessary switch of generations. “I had to find in me the awkwardness of adolescence, says Sigourney Weaver. Kiri is not a warrior, but she has a magical power that we will discover as the film progresses. A power that affects the identity of young girls and the different ways of being strong when you are a woman.”
As for the young actor Jamie Flatters who plays the eldest of the Sully family, he is very clear about his commitment to the film. “To develop survival techniques, he says, we went to Hawaii for a week in the forest with our knives. It was incredible… But James Cameron has this ability to see beauty in a sacred relationship with water which constitutes the philosophy of the film. This film is a way to connect all our emotions. Avatar is therefore a film that changes the way we see the world.” Vision shared by Kate Winslet who explains to us what to go and see Avatar,it is “entering a space charged with truth is a world in itself”. It remains for the public to dive into the rooms…
**** Directed by James Cameron. With Sam Worthington, Zoe Saldana, Kate Winslet – 192′.
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Avatar 2: The Way of the Water, a dazzling spectacle lasting almost 3h15
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