Are We in the AVATAR Decade Now?


Sergio Rivera Leal, graphics artist

Sergio Rivera Leal, Contributor

James Cameron’s $2.8 billion powerhouse film Avatar, which released in 2009 and still remains as the highest-grossing movie of all time, has made its eagerly long-awaited return.

With a 13-year gap between the first and its sequel, some people were skeptical about this movie even doing the bare necessities, much less it being good. The conversation around Avatar has been polarized since its release with movie enthusiasts saying it’s the “movie of the century” or people saying it’s a “beautiful but plot-lacking mess.” 

In 2006, when asked about future projects, James Cameron said he would love to make Avatar sequels if the first one was successful; spoiler, it was. This is how long these movies have been in the brainstorming and development stages. The explanation of the gap between Avatar(2009) and Avatar: The Way of Water(2022) was the technology needed to make it. With The Way of Water, Cameron and his team had to deal with performance capture underwater, which has never been done before to this extent. Also, the film deals with water simulations and water physics. These were new visual effect processes created just for this film. Cameron’s goal for the franchise now is to consistently come out with a new movie with the same quality and length as the previous two. 

I polled several classes at Bob Jones about the movie’s release, and the students had interesting responses. Shockingly and in spite of enormous box office success, only three students both watched the new movie and liked it. Most students watched the original and liked the first movie, and several had never seen either movie. People who didn’t watch it agreed that the CGI was some of the most impressive they have ever seen. One fan said “he was bored to tears, though the effects were cool” and added “I don’t really remember the first film, so maybe I just didn’t get it.”

Currently, Avatar: The Way of Water sits at $2 billion at the Box Office, cementing itself as the highest-grossing movie of 2022 and confirming that the initial Avatar was not a fluke. Now movie watchers await to see the future of the franchise, but who knows how much time will pass before the next installment? Apparently, the third film is already in the can. On Digital Spy, James Cameron shared, “I’m sure that we’ll have a discussion soon with the top folks at Disney about the game plan going forward for Avatar 3, which is already in the can – we’ve already captured and photographed the whole film so we’re in extended post-production to do all that CG magic.”