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Is Avatar: The Way Of Water Worth Watching In 3D?

It's easy for audiences to forget what a risk the first "Avatar" was for its time. Leading up to its 2009 release, critics questioned whether the $240 million sci-fi fantasy would find box office success with its lengthy runtime and outlandish concept. Some of these concerns extended to the film's ambitious leaps toward visual effects and 3D technology, with Slate unfavorably comparing the effects work to that on the "Star Wars" prequel trilogy.

While "Avatar" was far from the first film to use 3D technology, it nevertheless intended to make it relevant in the public eye once again in bigger and better ways than ever before. And boy did it do just that. "Avatar" not only put all hypothetical scenarios of a historic box office failure to rest by becoming the first film to gross $2 billion worldwide (via Collider), but it also ushered in a renewed interest in 3D technology.

So after taking one of the greatest risks in cinematic history, how does director James Cameron choose to top himself? By making "Avatar: The Way of Water," an even grander and thoroughly expensive 3D venture. Safe to say, if the 3D doesn't impress on the same level or better than the first, Cameron could be in trouble. Thankfully, according to audiences, that doesn't seem to be the case.

Reactions to the film praise the 3D above all else

Just as its 2009 predecessor had to prove its 3D technology to a suspicious public, so does "Avatar: The Way of Water" in an age where 3D movies have largely fallen out of favor. But it doesn't seem like James Cameron's aquatic adventure will have any trouble impressing audiences in that department. Early reactions to the film have been generally positive around the board for multiple reasons, and even those who aren't as hot on the film can't help but compliment the 3D visuals. Nikki Novak of Fandango was floored by the experience, tweeting, "If you think you've seen #Avatar think again. ... The 3D water world & creatures are so surreal it is downright moving."

Meanwhile, Empire's Amon Warmann had problems with the film's subplots but was happy to see the 3D technology be of top quality, tweeting, "The good news is that 3D is good again (yay!), and the action is pretty incredible (especially in the final act)." Similarly, Digital Spy's Ian Sandwell, despite having issues with the film's narrative and overabundance of characters, praised its visuals, tweeting, "Unsurprisingly, #AvatarTheWayOfWater is a visual masterpiece with rich use of 3D and breathtaking vistas."

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Cameron embraces 3D movies as a choice for moviegoers

Even with the praise that "Avatar: The Way of Water" has received for its 3D presentation so far, that doesn't mean its upcoming sequels are entirely out of the water yet. Many see 3D movies as an old trend, as is evident by the rise and fall in popularity that the technique has seen over the decades. However, James Cameron isn't afraid of the outcome. While the "Titanic" director is prepared to cap off the franchise with the third installment should "Way of Water" not do well at the box office, that doesn't mean he doubts the appeal of 3D technology for audiences.

In an interview with Yahoo UK, Cameron discussed his thoughts on the idea of 3D fading into obscurity, explaining, "If you think about the way it worked back then, it was a novelty, and now it's found its level as a consumer choice. So at the time, we had 6,000 screens worldwide that were 3D screens ... Now we have 120,000. Now most big blockbuster movies are made in 3D, so people have a choice. If they like it, they can see it in 3D. If they don't like it, they can see it in 2D." Regardless of what happens with "The Way of Water" in the long run, Cameron remains a reliable source in giving moviegoers what they want, and that trusty reliability might just be what births another box office juggernaut in the making.