Will The “Avatar 2” Underwater Scenes Be Worth The Effort?

Matthew Loffhagen
20th Century Fox
(Photo: 20th Century Fox)

Stephen Lang has been speaking about the filming process for “Avatar 2”, a movie that nobody asked for and that none of us want, and he’s very pleased with the underwater scenes.

Indeed, it seems that much of the point of this movie is that it’s going to feature some never before seen underwater shenanigans, as James Cameron pioneers the awkwardness of performing motion capture in a swimming pool, for utterly bizarre reasons that make no sense to anyone.

Speaking about his experience on set, Lang has stated:

“There’s something about the world being undersea. That is extremely beautiful, fascinating, challenging to him. So, you know, there’s sections that taker place. . . so, that in itself is a big deal. But just, what are we, three months into shooting now, it’s like nothing I’ve done before.”

No doubt people are going to be interested to see what bizarre excuse Cameron has come up with for Lang’s character returning, as Colonel Miles Quaritch was most decidedly dead the last time we saw him.

Perhaps he’ll be a clone, or, if he’s involved with the motion capture, he’ll now be a big blue Na’vi himself for no reason.

Stephen Lang in Avatar
Source: 20th Century Fox

Either way, apparently we’re going to get a lot of undersea scenes in the new movie, which would probably be a unique, interesting sight for a big budget action film, if only “Aquaman” wasn’t coming out a full two year before.

Indeed, by taking things underwater, Cameron almost seems to be gifting DC the technology they’ll need to make future “Aquaman” movies look even better. As it stands, though, from everything we’ve seen of the movie thus far, that the first “Aquaman” solo adventure has done pretty well by simply using traditional greenscreens and zip wires for a lot of the underwater stuff.

Aquaman Underwater
Source: Warner Bros

Perhaps the reason why nobody has done underwater motion capture work before is because the idea is inherently stupid. Filming underwater is a necessary challenge when making a movie that features live-action characters, but when tackling CGI creations based on motion capture, it’s really not necessary to actually dunk the actors in a tank.

Besides, no matter what Cameron makes with “Avatar 2”, and no matter how groundbreaking the technology might be, it’s hard to imagine anyone caring.

The first “Avatar” sold mostly on its spectacle, but the idea of a sci-fi movie about an invading technologically superior army against native water folk? We’ve seen that before, in 1999, when “The Phantom Menace” did it.

There’s no much that Cameron can do with an underwater city that hasn’t been done before, meaning that the film’s actual plot and characters are going to feel a little flat, no matter how shiny the CGI water might look.

Perhaps the comparison to “The Phantom Menace” is particularly apt. Increasingly, this CGI-driven, big spectacle sci-fi story is looking increasingly like it’s going to be James Cameron’s “Star Wars” Prequel trilogy.

The only difference is that Cameron is making four films, not three. Oh joy…