Avatar: The Way Of Water 4K Ultra HD

Featured In Issue 267, May/June 2023

WSR Score5
Basic Information on new release titles is posted as soon as titles are announced. Once reviewed, additional data is added to the database.
20th Century Fox Home Entertainment
(Catalog Number):
(MPAA Rating):
(Rating Reason):
Intense epic battle sequences and warfare, sexuality, language and some smoking
(Retail Price):
(Disc Type):
Single Side, Dual Layer (BD-100)
(Widescreen Edition):
(Full Screen Edition):
(Running Time In Minutes):
(Color Type):
(Chaptered/Scene Access):
(Closed Captioned):
(Regional Coding):
(Theatrical Year):
(Theatrical Release):
(Direct-To-Video Release):
(Disc Release Date):
(THX® Digitally Mastered):
James Cameron
(Screenplay/Written By):
(Director Of Photography):
(Production Designer):
(Visual Effects):
(Costume Designer):
(Supervising Sound Editors):
(Re-Recording Mixers):
(Executive Producers):
(Academy Awards):
(Principal Photography):
(Theatrical Aspect Ratio):
(Measured Disc Aspect Ratio):
(Disc Soundtrack):
Dolby Atmos, Dolby TrueHD 7.1
(Theatrical Sound):
(Theatrical Re-Issue Soundtrack):
(DTS Bit Rate):
(Dolby Digital Bit Rate):
(Additional Languages):
(French Language):
(Spanish Language):
(Chinese Language):
(Cantonese Language):
(Mandarin Language):
(Japanese Language):
(Italian Language):
(German Language):
(Portuguese Language):

"Avatar: The Way Of Water" is set 15 years after the events of "Avatar." Jake Sully (Sam Worthington) lives with his newfound family formed on the extrasolar moon Pandora. Once a familiar threat returns to finish what was previously started, Jake must work with Neytiri (Zoé Saldana) and the army of the Na'vi race to protect their home. (Gary Reber)

Special features include 17 featurettes: "Building The World Of Pandora" (HD 09:33), "Capturing Pandora" (HD 10:47), "The Undersea World Of Pandora" (HD 11:30), "The Challenges Of Pandora's Waters" (HD 11:42), "Pandora’s Returning Characters" (HD 09:00), "Pandora’s Next Generation" (HD 10:47), "Spider's Web" (HD 10:23), "Becoming Na’vi" (HD 10:51), "The Reef People Of Pandora" (HD 11:47), "Bring Pandora To Life" (HD 14:40), "The RDA Returns To Pandora" (HD 13:34), "The New Characters Of Pandora" (HD 09:38), "The Sounds Of Pandora" (HD 13:32), "New Zealand –– Pandora’s Home" ) HD 04;24), "Casting" (HD 10:01), "Stunts" (HD 05:42), "The Lab" (HD 06:43), "The Troupe" (HD 05:58); The Weekend's "Nothing Is Lost" (You Give Me Strength) music video (HD 04:42) and a Movies Anywhere digital copy.

The movie was produced in the PACE/Cameron Fusion 3D camera format and originally released theatrically in the IMAX® DMR dual-strip blow-up 3D and D-Cinema 3D formats. The 1.85:1 2160p HEVC/H.265 4K Ultra HD picture, reviewed on a VIZIO Quantum X P85QX-JI UHD/HDR display, was photographed digitally in native 4K using the Sony CineAlta Venice Rialto 3D camera system and sourced from a 4K Digital Intermediate. The film's live shots and VFX were all captured natively in native 3D. The 2D picture is reference quality and sure to establish standards in resolution for other filmmakers to emulate. As with the original Avatar the picture delivers an engaging new filmmaking technology. The technology used has been in development for the better part of a decade. The visual design is dimensional throughout, as would be expected in a production designed and shot for 3D. Clarity and sharpness are exemplary. Every nuance is descriptive in intricate detail. Everything looks perfectly real and naturally organic. The CGI creatures and animals deliver real-to-life details in skin textures and hair that are photo-realistic. Some scenes are exceptionally vivid and real. The color palette is comprised of a vast array of shaded nuanced hues and primaries that pop. Color is lush throughout, with a perfectly natural palette of varied hues that often ignite the screen with bursts of intense and rich color. Pandora's color palette is contrasted against the gunmetal grays of the invading military forces and the man-made machinery and weaponry. HDR contrast reveals strong black levels with excellent shadows and and white levels for a three-dimensional appearance The rich and warm colors of Pandora are beautiful. Murky underwater scenes preserve fine details while bright, not overblown, daylight scenes virtually pop off the screen. Where the sequel excels is in its photorealistic visual effects created once again by the team at Weta, especially its underwater sequences that James Cameron insisted be shot using performance capture shot in a water tank. Colors are bold and vivid without appearing overly saturated. Orange hues are brilliant such as the orange in explosions and fires. The portrayal of sea life is compelling with imaginative sea creatures. Closeups are revealing of textural and compositional structure. The detail is superb. The imaging characteristics are very much the same as the original Avatar, especially the forested scenes Facial features of humans and the Na'vi reveal skin pores and lines. The dull light blue of the natives is distinctive. The various CGI creations exhibit unprecedented naturalism and realism with impressive resolution quality. The technology used in "Avatar" epic has been in development for the better part of a decade. The visual design is dimensional throughout, as would be expected in a production designed and shot for 3D. Again, "Avatar: The Way Of Water" has set a new bar of performance expectation. (Gary Reber)

The Dolby Atmos/Dolby TrueHD 7.1-channel soundtrack perfectly complements the visually stunning picture. There’s barely a second of the film that doesn’t offer some sort of fully-packed surround soundscape with overhead dimensional support. The surround channels are constantly engaged with, at times, subtle low-level sounds and at other times aggressively directional sound effects and music. The ambiance is dimensional and establishes the diversity of soundscapes, making the experience feel alive and believable. Atmospheric effects and other sound effects range from minute sounds of habitat rustlings and oceanic sounds to heavy explosions with directionally accurate cues. Pans are all around as well and descriptive of flying arrows, gunships, and helicopter rotors. The action sequences obviously deliver the most excitement but even the simple scenes of Sully’s kids swimming underwater provides a fully engaged front/center, surround, and height sonic experience. The water sonics are so real. The last hour is demo-worthy material for home theatre enthusiasts. Ships and creatures flying over the screen sound like they’re in the room. Military weapons pass between the front and surround loudspeakers. Simon Franglen takes over scoring duties for the late James Horner with a score that is pulsating and rhythmic. The orchestral/choral music's soundstage is expansively wide and deep and wraps deep into the surrounds. Instrumental fidelity snd timbre is clearly discernible. Sound effects are unique and realistic sounding. Deep bass often extends to sub-25 Hz with powerful energy. Foley sound effects are perfectly in sync with picture. Throughout, the dialogue is intelligible with remarkable spatial integration, even the extensive ADR. without any issues.

The Immersive Sound element is comprised of an extension of the prominent orchestral/choral score as the dominant element. Brief atmospherics, such as the sounds of Pandora's forest are enveloping. Sound effects, such as explosions, fire flames, intense helicopter-type flying machines, thunderous sounds. some gun shot effects and other sonics are sporadic. Far more could have been achieved with the obvious picture palette that suggests such. But, given there was virtually no height layer in the original "Avatar". height layer content, due to the music, enhances dimensionality and is very much welcome.

The dynamic soundtrack is magically immersive, powerful, and intimate, all at the same time. Every sound element works and complements each other for an exceptionally reference quality holosonic® soundfield experience. (Gary Reber)