James Cameron is armed and ready to paralyze the world with the long-awaited Avatar 2. After 13 years, the film that crashed the box office, reigned as the highest-grossing film of all time for a decade, became a metaphor for humanity’s affinity toward destroying its natural reserves, and made a lasting impression on the world’s socio-political phenomenon quickly got called in for a sequel. As deserving as the follow-up was to an expansively constructed and visually stunning Avatar, time and popular culture were not kind to the sensationalism of the first movie.
James Cameron then smartly waited out the decade before testing the waters (pun intended) and found the world opening up its senses to the incredulity of escapist sci-fi epics and the imaginative grandeur of world-building with a touch of realism now more than ever.
James Cameron Details Filming Avatar 2‘s Underwater Scene
As early as 2016, James Cameron picked up his gear and equipment and started the long trek to bring the Avatar sequel home. During the formative stages of pre-production, the stars who were cast to be in Avatar 2 were exposed to the harsh and grueling process of making a film helmed by a director of Cameron’s vision and caliber. Since Avatar 2 was intended to explore the vast and unexplored oceanscapes of Pandora, there were scenes that were meant to be filmed underwater.
In an interview with Collider 5 years ago, the Titanic director reveals the then-ensuing process of how the young actors had been trained to film underwater.
“We’ve done a tremendous amount of testing. We’ve got six teenagers and one 7-year-old, and they’re all playing a scene underwater. We’ve been training them for six months now, with how to hold their breath, and they’re all up in the two-to-four-minute range. They’re all perfectly capable of acting underwater, very calmly while holding their breath. We’re not doing any of this on scuba. And we’re getting really good data, beautiful character motion and great facial performance capture. We’ve basically cracked the code.”
As fascinating as all of this sounds, it still leaves one’s mind frazzled with the boundaries that were pushed to bring a film that has been too long in the making to the epitome of perfection. James Cameron’s ambition has often been beyond his time and era but that never stopped the director as was proven by his 1997 masterpiece Titanic and the indescribable impact of 2009’s technologically-advanced Avatar.
Guillermo del Toro Heaps Praises on Avatar 2‘s Execution
The worldly, decisive, and brilliant Mexican director, Guillermo del Toro has made a niche career for himself in Hollywood — an industry both saturated and overflowing with ideas at the same time. When a director such as del Toro verbosely praises a work, it is predetermined to hold a level of critical goodness that is unmatched in the project and its creator’s contemporary time. That is what Avatar: The Way of Water promises to be in the understanding of Guillermo del Toro.
“A staggering achievement. [‘Avatar: The Way of Water’ is chockful] of majestic Vistas and emotions at an epic, epic scale.
A master at the peak of his powers…”
The first peek into the vast expanse of Avatar 2 has proved the film as a work of art that is visually breathtaking and looks ready to topple the records set by its predecessor. The star-studded cast consists of returning leads Sam Worthington and Zoe Saldaña, along with Sigourney Weaver, Kate Winslet, Stephen Lang, Vin Diesel, Michelle Yeoh, Joely Richardson, David Thewlis, Edie Falco, Giovanni Ribisi, Oona Chaplin, and Michelle Rodriguez.
Avatar: The Way of Water with its 3 hours 12 minutes runtime makes its premiere on December 16, 2022.