Avatar: The Way of Water

In 2009, filmmaker James Cameron warned us about the dangers of poor stewardship of our planet’s natural resources with his ground-breaking film, Avatar. And in the process, he not only created a world of extraordinary imagination and beauty, he also created the world’s highest grossing film in history with a staggering $3 billion worldwide box office.

Well, here we are thirteen years later and though filmmaking technology has advanced by leaps and bounds, sadly, we are not much further along on that climate problem. While that’s certainly a very disheartening reality for our planet, on the flip side, for Cameron, his environmental message remains as strong and relevant as it ever was. And he uses it to great effect with his return to Pandora in Avatar: The Way of Water. How’s that for playing the long con?

"truly a remarkable achievement in filmmaking … again"

The Way of Water picks up years after the events of Avatar where Sully (Sam Worthington, Hacksaw Ridge), a paraplegic Marine grieving the death of his twin brother, had his conscience implanted into that of a Na’vi, the ten-foot tall natives of Pandora. The plan was to lead an uprising, of sorts, against the invading humans who have plans on pillaging his planet for its valuable natural resources.

In The Way of Water, the human invaders have a new leader and enemy of the Na’vi, named Quaritch (Stephen Lang, Don’t Breathe) as well as a new – more extreme – goal: to take over Pandora because planet Earth is dying and becoming more and more uninhabitable due to unbridled environmental neglect.

The audience gets a less than flattering look at ourselves from the viewpoint of a different species. And the reality isn’t very pretty as humans have returned to Pandora with better guns, bigger weapons, and more powerful machinery that make quick work of jungle clearing and extermination of those pesky natives. Sound familiar?

Cameron has never been subtle with the handling of any of his themes – of which there are many in the Avatar films. And while that certainly holds true with his knock against the human species in The Way of Water, who cares if it’s over the top? The filmmaking spectacle on display here far outweighs any thematic or storytelling shortcomings. The breathtaking action sequences will have you on the edge of your seat as the under-equipped Na’vi fend off the highly mechanized invasion force.

Sully, in his Na’vi body, is now the happily married patriarch of his family and the head of the Omatikaya clan, so he wants nothing to do with the evil invaders. He gathers wife Neytiri (Zoe Saldana), sons Neteyam (Jamie Flatters) and Lo’ak (Britain Dalton), and daughters Tuk (Trinity Jo-Li Bliss), and Kiri (Sigourney Weaver) before bugging out for safe haven in the distant atolls of Pandora where they are welcomed, with some trepidation, by the Metkayina, a green-skinned reef clan whose tradition says they must welcome any refugee seeking sanctuary.Avatar: The Way of Water

But, of course, Sully’s disappearance doesn’t stop Quaritch and his search. When he receives intel that Sully and his family may be living among one of the reef clans, Quaritch’s pursuit leads to not only the land of the Omatikaya, but also to a personal confrontation with Sully. Buckle up, butter cup! It’s going to get wild in here.

As expected, Cameron takes on many admirable topics with The Way of Water, from environmentalism, to anti-colonialism, to bullying, animal welfare, honor, danger, and love. After all, he has always written movies that are far bigger than their genre, and that’s certainly the case with The Way of Water which is heavily steeped in the importance of family and doing what’s right for the greater good. Though he touched on that with the original, this time he’s all in. As a result, this one resonates much stronger with the audience.

Worthy themes and motifs are fine and all, but at just two films in, Cameron has already created a unique personality for his Avatar films – an Avatar avatar, if you will – which is all about the beauty and wonder of filmmaking. And while the original advanced the technology of its time, we take yet another giant leap forward with this new installment. It’s truly a remarkable achievement in filmmaking … again. Yet Cameron understands that technology and fantastical world building must never overwhelm a film’s emotion. And though it doesn’t carry quite the emotional impact he was shooting for, it’s clear Cameron paid better attention to storytelling and empathy this time around.

Taking on a sequel to the most successful film of all time is undoubtedly a daunting task, a foolhardy one, in fact. But if anyone is up for the task, the writer of two of the most successful sequels ever, Aliens and Terminator 2: Judgment Day, is your man. For economy of scale Cameron and crew filmed the four sequels which will continue the story of Sully, Neytiri, and their new family, all at once. James Cameron may not actually be the king of the world, but he is unquestionably the king of the sequel, and Avatar: The Way of Water certainly proves it.

4/5 stars


Avatar: The Way of Water

4k details divider

4K Ultra HD + Blu-ray + Digital HD

Home Video Distributor: Disney/Buena Vista
Available on Blu-ray
- June 20, 2023
Screen Formats: 1.85:1
: English SDH; French; Japanese; Spanish
English: Dolby Atmos; English: Dolby TrueHD 7.1; English: DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0; English: Dolby Digital 5.1; Spanish: Dolby Digital Plus 7.1; Japanese: Dolby Digital Plus 7.1; French: Dolby Digital 5.1
Discs: 4K Ultra HD; Blu-ray Disc; Bonus Features disc; three-disc set
Region Encoding: 4K region-free; blu-ray locked to Region A

Disney/Buena Vista celebrates the home video release of James Cameron's blockbuster sci-fi film with a 3-disc 4K UHD + Blu-ray + Digital Code Ultimate Collector's Edition.

The experience begins with the black eco-case which comes housed in a cardboard slipcover featuring matte and glossy printing on an embossed surface. A dig inside reveals a 2160p transfer on the 4K UHD disc, a 1080p version on the blu-ray disc, a bonus features disc, and a digital redemption coupon.

Rather than including the third disc in a flapper, both the 4K UHD and bonus features disc are secured on the same hub. These types of cases always raise concern, and only time will tell if inadvertent rubbing will eventually cause damage. Our preference is the 2-disc flapper.


As expected, the Native 4k image is breathtaking. One for the ages as the live-action and CGI-filmed scenes are flawlessly integrated. This is exactly what the 4K UHD format was made for!

Detail and textures are plenty throughout. Hair, skin, water, foliage, earth, sky, and machinery are viewed through fog, water, smoke, and sun haze throughout. An unquestioned nightmare to get it all correct. But the HDR10 1.85:1 transfer is perfect.

Any questions of really how much difference there is between blu-ray and 4K UHD, will be answered. It's not night and day, but going forward, these quality transfers can be forever referenced to answer that question.


Included are English language Dolby Atmos, Dolby TrueHD 7.1 and DTS-HD AMster Audio 2.0, and Dolby Digital 5.1 tracks. We went with Dolby Atmos track and were quite impressed as the sound stage is your room. The surround and Atmos speakers rarely get a chance to settle down, and the lows become a character in themselves.



  • None

Special Features:

The film's fans will be delighted with the bonus material as nearly every aspect of the film's production gets plenty of attention.

Inside Pandora's Box

  • Building the World of Pandora (9:33)
  • Capturing Pandora (10:47)
  • The Undersea World of Pandora (11:30)
  • The Challenges of Pandora’s Waters (11:42)
  • Pandora’s Returning Characters (8:49)
  • Pandora’s Next Generation (10:47)
  • Spider’s Web (10:23)
  • Becoming Na’vi (10:51)
  • The Reef People of Pandora (11:47)
  • Bringing Pandora to Life (14:40)
  • The RDA Returns to Pandora (13:34)
  • The New Characters of Pandora (9:38)
  • The Sounds of Pandora (13:27)
  • New Zealand – Pandora’s Home (4:24)

More from Pandora’s Box

  • Casting (10:01)
  • Stunts (5:42)
  • The Lab (6:43)
  • The Troupe (5:38)

Marketing Materials & Music Video

  • The Weeknd’s Nothing Is Lost (You Give Me Strength) Music Video (4:41)
  • Theatrical Trailer 1 (1:39)
  • Theatrical Trailer 2 (2:30)

4k rating divider

  Movie 4/5 stars
  Video  5/5 stars
  Audio 5/5 stars
  Extras 5/5 stars

Composite Blu-ray Grade

5/5 stars


Film Details

Avatar: The Way of Water

MPAA Rating: PG-13 for sequences of strong violence and intense action, partial nudity and some strong language.
192 mins
: James Cameron
James Cameron; Rick Jaffa; Amanda Silver
Sam Worthington; Zoe Saldana; Sigourney Weaver
: Adventure | Fantasy | Action

Memorable Movie Quote: "I need you with me. And I need you to be strong. Strong heart!"
Theatrical Distributor:
Walt Disney Studio Motion Pictures
Official Site:
Release Date:
December 16, 2022
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date:
June 20, 2023
Synopsis: Jake Sully lives with his newfound family formed on the extrasolar moon Pandora. Once a familiar threat returns to finish what was previously started, Jake must work with Neytiri and the army of the Na'vi race to protect their home.


Avatar: The Way of Water