Avatar: The Way of Water was finally unveiled to some members of the media on Tuesday as the film premiered in London.
The Avatar sequel comes 13 years after James Cameron’s original record-breaking epic and if the first reviews are anything to go by, fans will feel it was worth the wait.
IndieWire Chief Film Critic David Ehrlich wrote on Twitter: “lol imagine being dumb enough to bet against James Cameron. or teen alien Sigourney Weaver. or giant whales subtitled in papyrus. light years better than the first & easily one of the best theatrical experiences in ages. streaming found dead in a ditch.”
Uproxx writer Mike Ryan raved: “Yeah never bet against James Cameron. Trying to spare hyperbole, but I’ve never seen anything like this from a technical, visual standpoint. It’s overwhelming. Maybe too overwhelming. Sometimes I’d miss plot points because I’m staring at a Pandora fish.”
Happy Sad Confused host Josh Horowitz wrote: “James Cameron once again shows filmmakers how it’s done. I’ve said it a thousand times. Never doubt him. Avatar: The Way of Water is how you do epic blockbuster-ing. Emotional, visceral, and as big as movies get.”
“I had faith James Cameron would raise the bar with the effects but these visuals are mind-blowing,” Collider’s Peri Nemiroff added. “One stunning frame after the next.”
However, there was at least one voice who wasn’t so impressed – Peter Bradshaw from The Guardian. Going against the grain, Bradshaw tweeted: “Avatar: The Way Of Water is a silly, soggy, motion-smoothed epic of solemnity without a single interesting visual image.”
Avatar: The Way Of Water is a silly, soggy, motion-smoothed epic of solemnity without a single interesting visual image
— Peter Bradshaw (@PeterBradshaw1) December 6, 2022
The first wave of feedback comes a few days after the film’s first review was delivered by Oscar-winning director Guillermo Del Toro.
The Spanish filmmaker called Avatar: The Way of Water “a staggering achievement” after seeing it last month.
“It is chockfull of majestic Vistas and emotions at an epic, epic scale,” he tweeted, calling Cameron “a master at the peak of his powers”.
The film’s running time is three hours, 10 minutes, and is reported to be one of the three most expensive films of all time.
It will tell the story of the Sully family, ranging from “the trouble that follows them, the lengths they go to keep each other safe, the battles they fight to stay alive and the tragedies they endure”.
The Way of Water is the first of four planned Avatar sequels that Cameron will release every other year until 2028.
It will be released in cinemas – in 3D – on 16 December.