Waterway Moment
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Waterway Moment

owned by James Cameron Avatar: Waterway beat the box office, and with good reason: it’s an absolute blast from start to finish, full of emotion, drama, and heart-pumping action. I honestly didn’t know what to expect from the sequel, but now I can’t wait to see what King of the World has in store for his third, fourth, and fifth adventure on Pandora – which is insane.

Anyway, after enjoying a few trips to the movies Waterway (with more to come), I wanted to start a discussion detailing the film’s best moments. I’ve listed six of my favorite moments below, but I wanted to see which parts of this 3+ hour epic are your favorites too.

Rain Battle

Avatar: Waterway delivers some absolutely stunning action sequences. From the thrilling train attack to the climactic third act, Cameron is perpetually violent without losing sight of his character or story.

We get a feel for the action through the initial gun battle near the connecting hut where Jack, Neytiri, and Quaritch fought at the end of the original film. During that part, Quaritch (resurrected as a Na’vi) uses Jake’s children as bait to draw him out, resulting in a fierce, water-drenched firefight that looks jaw-dropping (especially in 3D). A fierce battle sparks conflict between Sully and Quaritch’s team, serving as the catalyst that keeps our heroes away from the forest and into the water, and separates Spider from his friends so he can bond with Quaritch. Good stuff!

Pay for free

There’s a bit of entry Waterway where Jake’s son Lo’ak befriends a tulkun space whale named Payakan. The pair swim together, jump in the air, and communicate via sign language… at one point, the whale even unfolds its flippers and holds hands with Lo’ak.

Writing that made me realize how crazy this plot point is, but somehow Cameron makes it all work. Yes, it’s a little cheesy, but thanks to strong visuals, strong acting, a compelling score, and sharp direction, we bought this ocean exploration storyline up to the moment Payakan jumps out of the water to save his friend from vicious humans — an amazing result commonplace in a film full of audience-pleasing moments.

Whale Hunt

Speaking of tulkuns, Avatar: Waterway changed dramatically when a group of Sky People (led by Quaritch) hunted a herd of beasts and ended up killing a mother and her cub. Expertly filmed and beautifully realized, the sequences are as thrilling as they are horrifying.

Cameron shows off an assortment of high-tech gadgets – including nifty, fist-slapping crab walkers – all of which serve the purpose of hunting, killing, and eventually gathering aquatic animals.

That bit also pushes us to the incredible final hour, where Cameron lets go of the spectacle.

Jake v Quaritch: Part II

We knew Jake would face Quaritch at some point, but somehow the pair’s second battle (or third, if you count their previous skimwing and banshee fights) proved to be even more exciting than the first.

Following an intense standoff between the two, in which Neytiri threatens to kill Spider, Quaritch threatens Jake with the “I’ll never stop chasing your family” ole. Our blue boy turned around, looked at Quaritch, and said, “Then let’s finish.” The two Na’vi soldiers engage in a knife fight aboard a sinking ship that is as intense as any sequence from Cameron’s filmography.

Meanwhile, Neytiri and Tuktirey are sucked into the ship, and Spider and Kiri scramble to save their comrades.

Composer Simon Franglen does his best James Horner impersonation during this sequence, borrowing cues from the likes of Aliens and Giant to create one of the most exhilarating moments in the entire film.

Neytiri’s anger

Neytiri takes a backseat for the most part Waterway but somehow managed to steal the show with some amazing movement at the end of the picture. Following the death of his eldest son, our Na’vi warrior fought Sarah Connor to his fullest and cleared the floor with dozens of RDA soldiers. At one point, he shot one of his huge arrows at a man’s dead body, causing oohs and aahs from the audience.

While not necessarily a heroic moment – he goes completely insane during that scene – it’s great to see our blue warrior go all out and display a natural inclination for violence. It will be interesting to see if his actions have any impact on future adventures.


For all the violence and chaos, Waterway works best when our characters are relaxing in the beautiful waters of Pandora. It took the Sully family a lot of time to dive into the sea. When they do, though, the film really comes to life and delivers the kind of colorful and vibrant imagery that’s usually reserved for the Discovery Channel.

While I enjoyed the third act, I always get giddy watching our characters learn the ways of the people of the reef. Every view reveals a new creature or incredible piece of scenery – I imagine one could see that Waterway dozens of times and still found some treasure hidden in the outskirts.

This is movie magic at its best – I can’t wait to see it again.

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