Preview of Comic-Con Avatar Footage
07.17.09 by REELZ
Gerrad Hall is a correspondent for ReelzChannel TV's Movie News and occasionally shares stories from the field.
We just got to see nine scenes from director James Cameron's HIGHLY anticipated Avatar along with several other members of the press. Bottom line? Pretty damn stunning! And understandable why he's taking his time to make this a ground-breaking movie.
Cameron wrote the script before filming Titanic and has kept details of the storyline quiet. Here's what we can tell you: Sam Worthington (Terminator Salvation) plays Jake Sully, a 20-something, paraplegic ex-Marine. When presented the opportunity, he goes to work for a corporation that wants to mine a material called Unobtainium on the planet Pandora. Problem is the planet's inhabited by the Na'vi — 10'-tall, skinny, blue, alien-like creatures. The natives refuse to help mine the material, so the corporation creates hybrids using DNA from humans and the Na'vi. These are the avatars. Sully's estranged identical twin brother had enrolled in the program years earlier, but died. Because he has the same DNA, the corporation recruits Sully to activate and control the avatar that was created for his brother.
From here, it's an incredible journey on Pandora, which is full of monstrous creatures — one had the nose of a hammerhead shark and the body of a rhinoceros, others are amped-up, fierce versions of what seem like dogs and tigers — along with floating jellyfish-like creatures, mid-air suspended waterfalls, and vibrantly colored plants and flowers. Avatar's alternate world is a sight to behold.
Co-producer Jon Landau introduced the material, explaining why Cameron waited to make Avatar until the technology was right: He didn't want to use motion-capture (like that in Beowulf and Disney's upcoming A Christmas Carol) because he felt it lacks the letter "E" emotion. Rather, image-based technology was used here. And Cameron shot with a virtual camera, so when looking through the view-finder he would see a low-resolution version of the characters — not the actual actors.
Gotta say, we had no idea what to expect of this movie. Given the release-date extensions, and knowing the attention to detail Cameron puts in his work, we hoped not to be let down. And what we saw did NOT disappoint.
If you're going to Comic-Con, be ready to be amazed!