Avatar (2009), Neytiri (Zoe Saldana), 20th Century Fox

AVATAR (2009): The Thing I Missed…

I wasn’t sure what to expect when I decided to re-watch Avatar (2009), writer/director James Cameron’s action/adventure/fantasy about a paraplegic Marine dispatched on a unique mission to the moon Pandora.

Perhaps even more so than the impressive special effects Avatar is most known for, I particularly remember how strongly Cameron’s film reminded me of how easily evil wins when those who oppose it do nothing. And post second viewing, I can confirm that said message still rings clearly for me today. I mean, it is a recurrent theme in the human experience.

There is one other thing that stood out ever so clearly to me this time around. And it’s something that barely registered back in 2009, Zoe Saldana’s emotional performance as Neytiri. The visuals must have been too stunning for me to notice her contribution the first time around. But, as they say, better late than never, right? I certainly have a brand new respect for Saldana as an actor now.

As cliché as some feel the Avatar story is, for me, the thought never crossed my mind as I took in the movie. Perhaps I was too engaged with all the arresting audio-visual events happening before my eyes at the time. Whatever the case, I’m glad Avatar exists, and I was here to watch, even if Avatar may not end up in my list of top ten favourite movies.

I’m sure that by now, several of you have already re-watched Avatar and the follow-up Avatar – The Way of Water. And based on what many have said, both films are as impressive and epic as James Cameron movies are known to be. I’ll likely agree with this sentiment when I finally see The Way of Water before this month ends. I wonder what I’ll miss and only notice when I watch it again several years later. 

Did you also rewatch Avatar before the new release? And if so, how do you feel upon second viewing? Perhaps you also missed something the first time around.

Happy Film Loving

30 thoughts on “AVATAR (2009): The Thing I Missed…”

      1. I believe so. I’m hoping that the difference between the versions is just the ending. That way I won’t have to commit another 3+ hours to Avatar for the third time. 🤞🤞I mean, it still wouldn’t be the worst way to spend my time but I get busy. 😁

      2. It’s been a while since I’ve seen it but the beginning is extended. We get to know Jake a bit better and how his avatar was made for his brother a successful soldier but then he died and the company offered the position to him to not lose the investment into the avatar body. I’m writing from memory so I’m not sure how much of that was in the original version.😅 This extended beginning did remind me a bit of special edition of Aliens.

      3. That would be quite interesting. The non-extended version basically outlines Jake’s story instead of ‘filling it in with colour’. I guess Cameron is committed to telling a full story while also understanding the need to ‘slice and dice’ a story where needed.

        I’m kind of curious about Jake’s extended story now. I wonder if the pacing still feels right.

  1. I didn’t watch the first one before going to see the 2nd one. The new one is just as amazing with the special effects as the first one, probably even more. I liked most of the plot lines but some of them became belabored by the end, namely all of war, shoot-em-up stuff.

    1. Thanks for sharing. 🤓 I’m not surprised by how you feel about the war scenes in the second film. Too much of a good thing doesn’t always equal to great. I have to wonder about what more Cameron has to say with the other upcoming Avatar movies already made.Fingers crossed it will still be ‘refreshing.’

  2. Cameron planned Avatar 2-5. To cust the production costs they decided to film 2 and 3 together. Due to heavy VFX it takes years of post-production for each film anyway, so they are already working on post-production of Avatar 3. I believe they are also already in production of 4 and 5 to be released in 2026 and 2028 respectively. This is not a novel practice on big-budget productions if you manage to secure enough fund upfront. The first one I recall was Back to the Future 2 and 3. Peter Jackson did the same with the LOTR and Hobbit trilogies.
    More info: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Back-to-back_film_production

  3. We really enjoyed the new Avatar, knowing Cameron would wallop it with war, which has been the underlying statement to the enterprise; humankind’s disrespect for and control over the natural realm (in this case, a virtual-natural realm) and flagrant pillaging. One thing the Way of Water told me is that Cameron is infatuated with sinking boat dramatics and that Titanic had hardly satiated him, lol…

    1. Thank you for sharing your thoughts, Ray. Reading it put a smile on my face. Especially the part about Cameron’s penchant for ‘sinking boat dramatics.’ The reference to man’s disrespect for our planet’s natural resources is exactly right. Now I’m even more excited to see how he communicates this further with the second film. You’re the second person to reference the ‘walloping with war’, perhaps not using the same fun phrasing. 😁 I’m guessing he wait for the 4th and maybe fifth Avatar film to sink more boats. Something to look forward to I think. 🤓🛥️

      1. Aww, I appreciate your kind words. Have fun whenever you see it. It’s worth the 3 hour investment and moves along briskly, I think, war and ship sinking all the way, lol. I am curious where the franchise heads next, especially since Cameron is forking over the director’s helm for 4 and 5.

  4. After thinking I would rewatch Avatar before seeing The Way of Water, I decided not to. I think what I should have done was go see the original when it was re-released for a short time last Fall since I never saw the original in a theatrical setting. In any event, I am curious to see if I “missed” anything from the first picture when I do re-watch it.

    1. My brother re-watched the first one at iMax. I think that does make sense especially if the special effects are big draw. I was mainly after a ‘story refresher’ so I just hit ‘play’ on Disney Plus. Also, rewatching means spending 3 hours of your day. so perhaps it takes some consideration. 😁

      1. Yes, and I would volunteer a view of Babylon certainly should include such cautionary consideration of time as well. Saw it over the holidays, and my one sentence review would be watch the first half of the film and stop. The second half of that marathon really flew off the rails as far as I was concerned. 😁

      2. Thank you for sharing your view on Babylon. 😁 It does look like a lot! I guess it’s just tough to make a good film about movie-making during early Hollywood. Should the chance to watch Babylon come up some time soon, I’ll remember to dedicate only half the time. 👍

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