At three hours and 12 minutes, the blockbuster is painfully slow, with Express.co.uk and those in the seats next to us admitting that they nodded off for a least five minutes during the extensive runtime. This arduous slog was especially felt during the first couple of acts that seem much more interested in showing off state-of-the-art visuals at the expense of telling an engaging story.
This felt particularly jarring in the 48 frames per second cut Express.co.uk saw, up from the standard cinematic 24. The unnecessarily high frame rate gave the film a jittery picture that makes the CGI-dominated world look more like an incredibly detailed video game cut scene than the future of cinema.
To be fair to Cameron, Avatar: The Way of Water’s motion capture characters are stunning, as are the aquatic alien creatures who we view for extended scenes underwater that feel like part of a 3D IMAX documentary. However, this is a movie, not a David Attenborough stroll through nature. And yet much of the second act is spent with the Na’vi kids splashing about.