The first trailer for Avatar: The Way of Water promises an extravaganza – but do we really want to put our eyes through the meat grinder all over again?
As far as we know, there’s no such thing as time travel in the Avatar universe, which is weird because there was a distinct whiff of 2009 coming off this week’s industry reports about a screening of the first trailer for the newly titled Avatar: The Way of Water. The Hollywood Reporter said delegates at CinemaCon in Las Vegas were wowed by the movie’s impressive 3D and high frame rate, which 20th Century Fox and Disney will be rolling out across the globe when the movie finally hits multiplexes in December. You’d think not more than a couple of years had gone by since the release of the original Avatar, a time when it felt like the entire film industry was about to go through a radical journey into high-end stereoscopy and accelerated frame rates. Unfortunately for Hollywood, it has actually been more than a decade since we last hung out with Jake Sully and his Na’vi comrades. Are we expected to get excited about this stuff all over again?
The problem with 3D is that it has had more comings than Jesus caught in a time loop. There was the original 1950s phase, then that brief period in the 1980s when Jaws 3-D landed at cinemas, and finally around 2009 when James Cameron seemed to think stereoscopic film-making was about to become more popular than the Beatles. In between now and then we’ve also had 3D TVs, which ran out of steam around 2017 amid a chorus of unbothered shrugs. As for higher frame rates, Peter Jackson was forced to dull down his Hobbit trilogy after viewers complained they didn’t really need to see Bombur’s blackheads in such excruciating detail when viewing An Unexpected Journey at 48-frames per second.