Avatar to soar through theaters one last time

Cian Ryback, Editorial Chief

A whopping 12 years after its initial release, the highest grossing movie to grace the big screen is coming back to theaters this September. James Cameron’s Avatar is set to have its highly anticipated sequel, Avatar: The Way of Water, hit the box office on Dec. 16. The theatrical re-release of the original seeks to jog viewers’ memories before the new piece of the story comes out on September 23.

The original picture collected over $2.84 billion in ticket sales worldwide, but even still, many cannot name a single character from the film. Cameron allows us to jump back into the world of Pandora and prepare for the next movie. We are not just getting the same film, with its 12 years of outdated VFX back in theaters; Avatar is getting a fresh coat of paint, with new 3D and 4k visuals and a higher framerate to bolster an already visually stunning feature.

September is generally a lackluster month for moviegoers, but this may make the cinemas worth visiting. While the blockbuster hit may not have the strongest plot, it is the visuals that drive it home, and it has the accolades to prove it. Avatar wound up with Academy Awards for best cinematography, production design, and visual effects back in 2009. Revisiting, however, it is hard to say whether or not the movie is worth your time. The original film has a runtime set just above two and a half hours, and outside of its visual brilliance, Avatar is– fine.

A sluggish plot, hamfisted acting, and pacing that barely beats watching paint dry bogs the movie down. It seems as though its ~$270 million budget was spent in places other than storytelling, so its redeeming features lie elsewhere. The viewer is sure to get lost in the world of Pandora, with jaw-dropping scenery and top-of-the-line sound design that bring James Cameron’s vision to life in the best way possible.

The lengths gone to for this film are indescribable, with Pandora’s natives being given their own learnable “Na’ vi” language, culture, instruments and regional dialects. Cameron hired staff of great speciality for multiple departments, including biologists and botanists that designed unique, otherworldly flora and fauna for the world of Pandora. Engineers were tasked with researching and designing practically working vehicles that humans would use to travel through the vibrant jungle planet. What went on behind the scenes for Avatar is almost as interesting as the movie itself, which unfortunately may be too complicated for its own good (after all, it did take over a decade to get a sequel).

While not a perfect movie by any means, Avatar grabs the attention of the visual-oriented moviegoer, and found its way into the hearts of a devout cult following, making it a necessary watch for anyone interested in the upcoming sequel. Avatar: The Way of Water goes to its own lengths in terms of innovation, developing new technology in order to film performance capture scenes underwater, a feat never accomplished before. Cameron stated that the sequel will “focus more on the jungle and ocean of Pandora… putting the environment into focus,” a good sign, considering the original film’s failure to produce memorable characters