Avatar: The Way Of Water explores alien and human parenting styles
The sequel Avatar: The Way Of Water is set a decade or so after the events of the 2009 movie.
The human and former marine Jake Sully, played by Sam Worthington, has become permanently transplanted into his Na’vi body. He and Zoe Saldana’s Neytiri are a couple with children.
To reporters at a virtual press conference, Worthington says Jake and Neytiri differ in their child-rearing methods, mainly because Jake carries baggage from his earlier life.
“They differ in parenting styles. The Na’vi are much more tactile, and they can be, with their tails,” he says, referring to the way many creatures on Pandora have communication tendrils through which thoughts and feelings can be shared.
“Jake has assimilated after 10 years, but he’s still a human and a marine at heart,” he says.
That is where the tail comes in. The family unit can share feelings of togetherness without language getting in the way.
“The world is trying to pull the family apart, but they have something that pulls them together. There is a loving bond created with a limb that we as humans don’t have,” he says.
Saldana adds that Jake is still human in that he tries to talk things over with his children, “to connect on an intellectual level”, she says.
But her character Neytiri instinctively uses her neurally linked tail and her well-developed sense of smell. Like all Na’vi, she uses a mix of primal instinct and her well-trained senses.
“Through smell, her children know that the parents are physically near at all times. There is a scene in which she smells her children nearby and she emanates a sound, and they immediately recognise her,” she says.
“We’ve seen that kind of behaviour in so many cultures on Earth, and also in the animal kingdom. It’s how she bonds with her children.”
- Avatar: The Way Of Water opens in cinemas on Dec 15.