James Cameron, a genius director with multiple successful films
Cameron adds numerous familiar motifs into the narrative, despite continuing this unwritten story from the events of 2009’s Avatar. Unlike the previous picture, which borrowed heavily from other works in terms of its plot, Avatar: The Way of Water appears to mirror Cameron’s earlier films intentionally. Everything that can be found in Avatar: The Way of Water that is a reference to one of James Cameron’s other movies, from Titanic allusions to references to Aliens and Terminator 2: Judgment Day, is listed here.
The bond between Jake Sully’s family and Quaritch is one of how The Terminator Avatar: The Way of Water resembles Cameron’s The Terminator. After the backstory for Quaritch’s return is established, he returns to Pandora to get right with Jake and advance the RDA’s cause. The rest of the movie revolves around Quaritch’s pursuit of Jake and his family, during which he leaves a path of death and ruin in his wake. The plot of The Terminator, in which Arnold Schwarzenegger’s cyborg protagonist pursues Sarah Connor as an unstoppable force, is very similar to this scenario.
Except for Piranha II: The Spawning, which Cameron has publicly disavowed, The Terminator was Cameron’s debut picture, and it came out in 1984. As the film opens, the Terminator appears from the future and begins a murderous rampage to find Sarah Connor. This is like what happened to Quaritch in Avatar 2. In his efforts to find Jake, the Colonel destroys Metkayina dwellings and sacrifices sacred animals on Pandora. Like Sarah Connor and the Terminator in Cameron’s first film, Quaritch’s pursuit of the Sully family is an ever-present danger.
Judgment Day 2: Terminator 2
The showdown in Avatar 2 between Jake and Quaritch, who has been cloned into a Na’vi, is a nod to a sequence from another of Cameron’s films. At the film’s conclusion, the protagonist and antagonist enter a fistfight while trapped onboard the RDA ship, using chains, grates, and other obstacles as weapons. The fight has a much more realistic feel, with more grounded choreography and camerawork. This reminds me a lot of the showdown between the Terminator and the T-1000 at the end of T2. The climactic showdown between Jake and Quaritch in Avatar: The Way of Water also occurs in a steel mill, with identical machinery in the background.
The setting is one way these battles are similar to one another. However, the pivotal scenes in both stories share common themes. In both T2 and Avatar 2, the war is for the next generation’s sake. Jake fights Quaritch after he swears he’ll never stop looking for Sully and his family, while the Terminator battles the T-1000 to protect John Connor. Avatar: The Way of Water is similar to Cameron’s Terminator sequel in these respects.
The Abyss is both the most direct and most oblique reference to the original film in Avatar 2. Since most of the action in The Way of Water takes place on or near the water, the allusion is blatant. There are many underwater scenes involving humans and Na’vi, with the former using submarines and naval craft that appear as if they came straight out of The Abyss. The absence of specific scenes or moments from The Abyss makes these references the most oblique of all the films referenced by James Cameron. The similarity between these two movies lies mainly in their shared underwater settings.
Aliens, another major success for Cameron, is mentioned in Avatar: The Way of Water. With its sequel, Aliens, Ridley Scott shifted the Alien franchise from horror to action. So many action components were added to the sci-fi horror foundations of Alien, leading to the deployment of things like mech suits on an alien world. This also applies to Avatar: The Water Way.
The RDA, clad in enormous mech suits reminiscent of Ripley’s from Ridley Scott’s Alien, made a return appearance. Despite the widespread adoption of Recombinants, certain mechs continued to see service. In one scenario, the soldier wears an exoskeleton, and the massive robot mimics his every motion. This approach is quite reminiscent of Ripley’s from the movie Aliens. Even though Ripley’s suit in Aliens isn’t a replica, it does resemble both the bulkier mech suits seen in 2009’s Avatar and the more streamlined exoskeleton suits seen in Avatar 2.
The last act of Avatar 2 is arguably the biggest reference to James Cameron’s most acclaimed film, Titanic. The film’s climax occurs when Quaritch and the RDA begin an attack on the tulkun, a whale-like creature of Pandora that has formed a link with the Metkayina people. Quaritch and Jake’s showdown is staged on a massive navy vessel. Before this battle, however, there is a skirmish between the RDA and the Metkayina, with the latter receiving help from a tulkun named Payakan, who forms a strong attachment with Jake’s son Lo’ak.
The big ship began to take on water and sink due to Payakan’s participation in the war and the explosive clash. As the boat starts to sink, Jake and Quaritch battle, leaving Neytiri, Tuk, and themselves trapped. Quaritch’s Way of Water return is revealed in the film’s prologue. The tight, claustrophobic cinematography of both sinking vessels in this scene is reminiscent of the Titanic. There are several references to Cameron’s other works in Avatar: The Way of Water, but the most obvious is the Titanic allusions. Several scenes in which Neytiri and Tuk try to flee the encroaching water using different pieces of the ship have striking similarities to the sinking of the actual Titanic.