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“An imposing, spectacular, supersized movie,” according to the review of Avatar: The Way of Water

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James Cameron was king of the bigger, better, and more contentious sequel blockbuster before he was crowned King of the World. Avatar: The Way of Water comes near enough to retain that reputation, even if his eagerly anticipated return to Pandora can’t rival Aliens or T2 for targeted tanker-weight efficiency. And it certainly knocks the flying fish off of Piranha II.

Will it become a $2 billion club member as Cameron suggests it must? We’ll see, but it’s undeniably flawed yet full of flavor (to paraphrase Guillermo del Toro(opens in new tab)). “MOVIE-MOVIE” is a sometimes strange, always magnificent sensory hit with a thematic thrust that is pleasingly genuine with an undercurrent of soft feeling. Untangling some of the story lines might require numerous viewings and three more movies. But Cameron is the best person to make the case for going to the movies again and again.

Cameron doesn’t spend much time setting the scene because the majority of people have already been to Pandora. The first scene quickly parachutes into Pandora’s rainforest, where Jake Sully (Sam Worthington) and Neytiri (Zoe Saldana), who have turned completely Na’vi, are now raising their growing family. They have three biological children: Tuktirey, Neteyam (Jamie Flatters), and Lo’ak (Trinity Bliss). Then there are the adoptees: Spider (Jack Champion), a feral human orphan orphaned by war, and Kiri (Sigourney Weaver), a type of offspring of Grace’s avatar (from the original Avatar).

Jake feels that defending his family gives him meaning. The Sully family seeks safety among Pandora’s sea clans when the evil Colonel Quaritch (Stephen Lang) reappears in (completely explained) “Recombinant” avatar form seeking “payback” for his demise. Jake hovers firmly over his tearaway brood in this instance. But how long can they evade Quaritch’s new blue marines? And isn’t knowing how to manage risk an important learning curve?

While Cameron’s bare-bones setup showcases his pulp punch as a writer, it also demonstrates his astounding skill as a world-builder. This time, Cameron doesn’t give much opportunity to pause and take in Pandora’s plant life. The lush jungle suddenly seems inhabited and alive. However, the RDA (Resources Development Administration) has grander plans for Pandora, even though life on Earth is hardly sustainable at this point. Their base of operations is a small metropolis with cutting-edge technology like robotic spider “swarm assemblers” that can create structures in a matter of days. Cameron makes sure you can sense the destruction left behind when humanity arrive on Pandora.

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The Way of Water definitely has the WOW factor in terms of CG. Thirteen years later, Avatar’s spectacle-cinema upgrade has been surpassed. Hair and skin gleam; flames and dust particles transfix. The great revelation this time is the reef, which is home to the Metkayina clan, just as Avatar took time to introduce viewers to Pandora’s funky wonderland. The aquatic realm is vivid, sensual, and tranquil. The sense of weightlessness immersed in the waves reveals a new, sensitive grace in Cameron’s direction as the 3D visuals shimmer in time with Simon Franglen’s ringing score. He instills respect for the ocean in addition to entranced love because the waves are both seductive and hazardous. And the sensation of anguish is overwhelming when their residents are mistreated.

Cameron expertly balances thematic, narrative, emotional, and character strands while dazzles your eyes. Jake’s instinctive need to save his children creates danger as a thematic pattern; from the opening monologue on, Cameron treats the theme like a dorsal fin to cling to through stormy story waters. This is somewhat reminiscent of Finding Nemo.

Casting-wise, Saldana and Kate Winslet (as Ronal, the co-leader of the Metkayina tribe) are a little too much in the background, but Worthington shines as the former Na’vi trainee turned training-on-the-job father. Weaver bridges the age gap between actor and character by touchingly projecting Kiri’s feelings of exclusion and sulky eye-rolls through the mo-cap. Dalton, one of the fantastic young actors, gives bonding scenes with the whale-like Tulkun heart when they otherwise may have seemed a bit Free Willy. Additionally, Champion dispatches the Newt-like Spider, whose subplot expands on Cameron’s family-related ideas.

Although it’s unfortunate that his toxic spiel (“science pukes,” etc.) sounds familiar, the returning Lang adds explosive wrath. Cameron doesn’t spend any time brushing up on Avatar, but he occasionally uses well-known beats. The Sully clan’s water-training reworks Jake’s previous Na’vi training, while marine animals like the “ilus” are reimaginings of the “ikrans” from Avatar. When a character moans, “Can’t believe I’m tied up again,” you wonder if a little editing could have been advised. Cameron even repeats himself a little bit within the movie.

Another minor issue with the plot’s stop-start nature is how some characters’ difficulties seem to go away for long lengths of time. Cameron, though, harnesses prior career highs into a blast of full-bore, high-stakes extravaganza at the film’s climactic point to remind you who’s in charge. The Abyss’ strange wonder, Aliens’ kid danger, Titanic’s aquatic horror show, and T2’s technology are all there and have been enhanced for tension, action, and emotion. Some loose tale threads leave more questions than answers when the fire is out. However, there are three scheduled follow-ups. Even after three hours and more, Cameron’s return leaves you wanting more.

As Editor here at GeekReply, I'm a big fan of all things Geeky. Most of my contributions to the site are technology related, but I'm also a big fan of video games. My genres of choice include RPGs, MMOs, Grand Strategy, and Simulation. If I'm not chasing after the latest gear on my MMO of choice, I'm here at GeekReply reporting on the latest in Geek culture.

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Over 2,900 PS5 and PS4 games are now on sale at the Epic PS Store

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It’s that time again when Sony unleashes a flood of discounts, offering nearly 3,000 games and add-on packs to tempt your wallet. There is a wide variety of standout options available, such as Monster Hunter World, priced at just £7.99, and the Deluxe Edition of Lies of P, now at a reduced price of £44.99.

These are a few of the impressive deals we came across while exploring the PS Store:

  • Goat Simulator 3: £12.49
  • Insurgency Sandstorm Gold Edition: £35.99
  • Lost Judgment: £12.49
  • My Hero One’s Justice 2 Ultimate Edition: £13.19
  • Persona 5 Royal: £24.99
  • Resident Evil Village: £13.99
  • Riders Republic Skate Edition: £14.99
  • Watch Dogs Legion Gold Edition: £12.74

Several of these deals are at all-time low prices, and as you may have observed, many of these packages come with extra DLC packs and content. Kindly be advised that the article will be updated with US pricing once it is available.

Meanwhile, has anything piqued your interest? Check out the PS Store for any current discounts, and share your findings in the comments below.

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SMT 5: Vengeance Reveals Extended Trailer, Physical Pre-Orders Available for PS5

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The newly announced Shin Megami Tensei V: Vengeance will be available on PS5 and PS4 this June, offering PlayStation players the opportunity to delve into the demonic RPG that was previously only on Nintendo Switch. Atlus has unveiled the physical editions available for pre-order for PS5 (PS4 pre-orders will be digital only), along with an extended cut trailer.

The physical standard edition, priced at $59.99, will be offered in a SteelBook variant. Additionally, all pre-orders include two in-game items: a Gleam Grenade for dealing a small amount of damage and the Haraedo Bead for restoring a small amount of HP to all allies. Both have unlimited uses in combat.

Moreover, there will be a $69.99 Digital Deluxe Edition offered, featuring DLC aimed at providing a smoother start for players in this challenging game, along with a couple of Demon Subquests.

  • Shin Megami Tensei V: Vengeance base game
  • Downloadable Content: Mitama Dance of Wealth
  • Downloadable Content: Mitama Dance of EXP
  • Downloadable Content: Mitama Dance of Miracles
  • Demon Subquest: Sakura Cinders of the East
  • Demon Subquest: Holy Will and Profane Dissent

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What are your thoughts on SMT 5: Vengeance? Do you intend to purchase a copy? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments section below.

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Tekken 8’s upcoming Tekken Shop will offer a variety of paid and free content exclusively on PS5

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Bandai Namco has confirmed that the Tekken Shop in the upcoming Tekken 8 will offer a mix of paid and free content. Premium items will be purchasable using a currency known as Tekken Coins. The Tekken Shop will undergo monthly updates, with the developer emphasizing that the intention is to enhance the competitive fighter with new customization items rather than solely for financial gain. However, there is no reason why it cannot be both.

Revealed in a recent Tekken Talk Live stream, chief producer Yasuda Esports shared some of the upcoming features for the Tekken Shop, seemingly aiming to address any potential criticism proactively. “It has been reported that certain individuals may experience an adverse response upon encountering the term’shop”; however, the focus remains on enhancing the game by introducing new customization options to maintain its appeal.”

According to Mr. Esports, the format will be similar to Tekken 7, and the focus is on improving the game experience rather than just making a profit.

Do you think Bandai Namco is establishing the Tekken Shop to maintain the game’s appeal, generate revenue from microtransactions, or perhaps a combination of both? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments section below.

 

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