Avatar 2 trailer breakdown – 8 key moments from James Cameron’s epic sci-fi sequel

Title treatment from Avatar: The Way Of Water

© 2022 Twentieth Century Studios. All Rights Reserved.

The Avatar 2 trailer drop has made a serious splash.

Let’s dive into the big moments you need to know about – and the secrets you might have missed.

Avatar: The Way Of Water release date: December 16th

Avatar 2 trailer – Back To The Planet (0:07)

Wow, we’ve missed Pandora. Back in 2009, James Cameron’s fantasy planet was like Endor meets David Attenborough, beautiful, deadly and strange. Now, the jump-off (literally) to the Avatar 2 trailer gives us all the old shivers, as Jake Sully, Neytiri and their Omaticaya family go ape in the treetops.

It seems the director is still riffing on Avatar’s man-versus-nature theme, and it feels timelier than ever.

“I hope that when people watch the Avatar sequels, they can say, I want to be part of that world, the world that is real’,” he told NBC, “and hopefully that translates into them camping in a redwood forest or snorkelling on a coral reef. You can’t feel that you are ready to make a sacrifice in your lifestyle to protect something unless you respect and love it.”

 

Avatar 2 trailer – How To Train Your Banshee (0:20)

Next, we see the Na’vi skim over holiday brochure seas on the backs of what look like ocean-going variants of the Banshees from the first film.

Underlining that film title – Avatar: The Way Of Water – we’re now introduced to a new semi-aquatic Na’vi tribe called the Metkayina, with whom Sully and the Omaticaya find refuge after fleeing their forest home.

Scene from Avatar: The Way Of Water

© 2022 Twentieth Century Studios. All Rights Reserved.

The Metkayina’s first reaction to their arriving guests looks like delight. But the stopover might not be as harmonious as it seems, with later scenes showing the two tribes apparently ready to clash and web commentators suggesting that Sully’s close ties with the human world is the flashpoint.

“The Omaticaya become the fish out of water," explains producer Jon Landau, “both culturally and environmentally.”

 


 

Avatar 2 trailer – Under The Sea (0:37)

As we plunge below sea level to find the Na’vi frolicking like dolphins, you’ll really start to appreciate where Cameron has blown his famously huge SFX budget for Avatar 2.

Despite the doubts of his crew, the director – whose passion outside filmmaking is ocean exploration – insisted on performance-capture filming in a specially made 900,000-gallon tank where the currents and light reflection were authentic. Animators at the acclaimed visual FX firm Weta Digital – who famously brought Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings saga to life – then went to work on the footage.

Behind the scenes of Avatar: The Way Of Water

© 2022 Twentieth Century Studios. All Rights Reserved. Photo: Mark Fellman

Respect to the director for pushing the envelope, but also to the Avatar 2 cast for their dedication to the shoot. Sigourney Weaver (who returns in this sequel) learnt to hold her breath for upwards of six minutes, while the director recalls that franchise newcomer Kate Winslet “blew everybody away when she did a seven-and-a-half-minute breath hold”.

It’s paid off. From the Banshee-surfing sequence at 0:58 to the poignant moment at 1:08 when a Na’vi reaches for a whale-like creature’s giant flipper, Avatar 2’s water world already looks extraordinary. When this movie hits the big screen on December 16th, it should feel so immersive that you’ll want to bring your swimming costume.

 


Avatar 2 trailer – Human Nature (0:43)

Sully and Neytiri seemed to have repelled the dastardly RDA mining corporation at the end of the first movie, and have offered an olive branch by adopting a human son (known as Spider).

Now, it appears that humanity has learnt nothing, with the Avatar 2 trailer heavily hinting that operations to extract the rare Unobtanium mineral are only stepping up.

 


 

Avatar 2 trailer – Rainforest Rumble (0:57)

There’s the mother of all battles brewing in the rainforest, with the Na’vi flexing their bows for a showdown. But who will be on the receiving end – humans or blue-skinned brethren?

Scene from Avatar: The Way Of Water.

© 2022 Twentieth Century Studios. All Rights Reserved.

Either way, the Avatar 2 cast are utterly convincing as tribal warriors, partly because Cameron organised a pre-shoot expedition to the wilds of Hawaii.

“We went to Kauai,” he told Variety.

“We lived in the rainforest for a few days. We cooked in underground fire pits. We drank water from the leaves. I said, ‘I want you to observe as much as you can. You're going to have to remember it, what it felt like, what it smelled like, and you're going to have to bring it back.’"

 


Avatar 2 trailer – Sacred Ceremony (1:10)

Starring in Avatar 2 as a Metkayina tribe member, Kate Winslet has hinted that the Na’vi’s sacred ceremonies will be key scenes in the movie. It seems the Avatar 2 trailer gives us a first glimpse, with the tribe stood in torchlight with upturned palms.

It’s yet another visually stunning moment in a trailer that already suggests Avatar 2 will demand the big screen treatment on December 16th. As Cameron himself says: “Let’s remember that a movie theatre is a sacred experience for all of us.”

Scene from Avatar: The Way Of Water

© 2022 Twentieth Century Studios. All Rights Reserved.

Avatar 2 trailer – On The Run (1:16)

In the Avatar 2 trailer’s most action-packed moment, Sully and Neytiri flee frantically from what appears to be a flooded mining station that they’ve possibly just sabotaged.

Calling to mind Cameron’s classic sci-fi horror Aliens with its sinister metallic corridors and shrieking klaxons, the scene is a welcome reminder that, for all its serene beauty, Avatar is also an action franchise at heart, helmed by an all-time master of the genre.

Scene from Avatar: The Way Of Water

© 2022 Twentieth Century Studios. All Rights Reserved.

Avatar 2 trailer – “This family is our fortress” (1:26)

The first Avatar movie pitted the Na’vi against the miners. It’s already clear the Avatar sequel will be knottier, with schisms between tribes compounding the threat from humanity.

In this uncertain world, Sully and Neytiri can only trust their family unit. But as Neytiri’s haunted expression at the end of the Avatar 2 trailer seems to tell us, that might not be enough.

© 2022 Twentieth Century Studios. All Rights Reserved.

“Ultimately, the Avatar sequels are a story about family, and the lengths parents will go through to keep that family together and keep them safe,” Jon Landau told Entertainment Weekly.

“I always say that Jim Cameron’s movies have universal themes – and really, there's no more universal theme than family.”

 


 

Avatar: The Way Of Water release date: December 16th

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