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An even better look at the Na’vi face

An even better look at the Na’vi face
By Liam | Excerpt:

July 2009 - AMZ: We had covered this in our Avatar gallery section, so archiving this article is really just a shameless show and tell for the AMZ team, thank you Liam! . . .

Liam/ James Cameron may think he is big and clever by inventing his new, never seen before, ground breaking 3D technology for Avatar but he and whoever made the Comic Con banner have underestimated the internet fans and their photoshopping (or possibly Paint) capabilities! used the art of symmetry and ‘flipping’ to create a full version of the Na’vi face from the half face we saw earlier. You can definitely see some lion-like features in the face. The bioluminescence also looks quite cool.

James Cameron Promises Kick-Ass Action In 'Avatar'
Director eager to show sci-fi fans climatic battle he calls 'a white-knuckler.'
By Eric Ditzian | Excerpt:

Movie-hype quiz time: Is James Cameron's "Avatar" the most frantically anticipated movie of the year, the last several years, or the new millennium? Well, Cameron has been working on his 3-D sci-fi tour de force since 1995, when he first wrote the treatment for a film about aliens, genetic engineering and deep-space war.

Along the way he and his team invented a slew of new filmmaking technologies, secured a budget that exceeds $200 million and managed to get the fanatics at San Diego Comic-Con drooling over the prospect of training their eyeballs on 25 minutes of "Avatar" footage months ahead of its December 18 release.

"What people like in their fantasy is a fantasy they can invest in, characters that they can recognize, that they can feel for," the director told MTV News during the convention. "Then they want to see kick-ass action."

Avatar Trailer hits the screens August 21st!

Here is the official press release from 20th Century Fox about "Avatar Day" for James Cameron's Avatar:

On August 21, the world will get its first look at director James Cameron’s motion picture epic AVATAR, when Twentieth Century Fox and Cameron debut the film’s trailer everywhere – while select cinemas and IMAX® theaters will screen extended footage prepared by the renowned filmmaker for this global “Avatar Day” event.

The worldwide trailer launch will be presented in all formats, including IMAX® 3-D, IMAX® 2-D, digital 3-D, digital 2-D, and 35mm 2-D. The trailer will also be available online. The extended look at AVATAR will unspool only on August 21 – and only in 3-D – in select theaters and IMAX®.

Avatar’s epic battle climax
Expect the biggest action scene ever,
says Cameron
By Jonathon Crocker

July 2009 - You thought Titanic was big? Forget it. Avatar packs a climactic final battle sequence that’ll blow it out of the water, says James Cameron. “There’s a couple of battles scenes towards the end, the last of which is kind of the mother of all battles,” revealed Cameron to Total Film.

How big are we talking? “Biggest thing I’ve ever done, absolutely,” he explains. “It’s got everything. Everything. It’s aerial, it’s ground, it’s cavalry, it’s infantry, it’s mech and infantry, it’s hand-to-hand, it’s gonzo...” And it’s in 3D. We’re going lie down for a little while to imagine that. Stick close to for all latest Avatar updates.

The Official Site is Live!

It's basically just a front cover page providing update access links to various web services including Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, YouTube, Flickr, and more. Also displayed on the site "Avatar Day: Be the first to experience scenes from James Cameron's epic motion picture and be exposed to the world of Pandora in IMAX and select 3D theaters on August 21st."

Video: Avatar Panel at Comic-Con

July 2009 - James Cameron, Jon Landau, Sigourney Weaver, Stephen Lang, and Zoe Saldana provide a roundtable for audience with a mixture of Avatar overview and levity, in these videos broken into four parts. Sam Worthington also chimes in via a remote broadcast. Stephen Lang's tongue in cheek leap into his Avatar character Colonel Quaritch is rather amusing.

Click the link above to view all four videos.

Avatar Trailer Breaks Record

Curiosity in James Cameron's Avatar on Thursday lifted its trailer debut to become the most watched on ever. The trailer drew over 4 million views its first day of availability. The previous unnamed record holder stood at a less than half 1.7 million.

New Moon's first trailer remains the cross-site download champ. It managed 4.2 million views between debut websites MySpace and MTV. One week later and New Moon had crossed 10.6 million trailer downloads.

Guillermo del Toro Blown Away By Avatar

August 2009 - While dispelling rumors that The Hobbit will be shot in 3D to fans, Guillermo mentions Avatar and how it may effect his future decision regarding filming in 3D.

Guillermo states, "If after AVATAR the market may change and demands are put upon us, etc., that is in the future. But if such things happen and we start discussing 3D down the line, I'll let it be known here at TORN because that's the proper way of doing things.

But make no mistake - I've been living in NZ for almost a year now and we have not been discussing 3D. I've seen AVATAR and I was absolutely blown away by it!! I myself expect to explore 3D soon enough- it is the future, just not my immediate future."

Sam Worthington Talks About the Reaction to the AVATAR Trailer
By Steve Weintraub | Excerpt:

August 2009 - Sam Worthington's thoughts on “Avatar”:

Sam: It’s got a hell of a lot of hype. I read all what was said yesterday about the, about the trailer. I can see their point. But as I said, it wasn’t meant to be built for an Apple Mac. It’s built for IMAX.

It’s built for 3D. That’s what he’s designed it for. He’s designed it to bring people back to the cinema. It’s interesting that he’s released that trailer, that Jim’s gone and done that, and then the next day goes and shows it on IMAX.

One extreme to the other. We get the criticism, and then we get the rave reviews of what it really looks like in its own formula. That’s obviously going to get people to think and go, well, damn right. I’m going to go see this at the cinema. Jim has always said to me, he wants to bring people back to the movies. And he’s a smart enough man to, that to be tactical.

Avatar Day Experience: The Footage,
Guy Ritchie and Joel Silver Reactions
By Brendon Connelly

August 2009 - Let’s get past the 3D (you probably already know I’m a staunch supporter) and the CG (you’ve seen the trailer, I’m guessing and know how… um… odd it is) and actually think about some of the other elements of the Avatar Day footage for a moment. Just for a moment…

Perhaps the least unexpected element of the presentation is how well executed the action moments are. James Cameron is one of the masters of the running, jumping, chasing scene.

Of the scenes previewed, a healthy half featured some kind of ‘action’ and all of these played like a dream. My particular high point was a confrontation between the Avatars of Jake Sulley and Dr. Grace Augustine, amongst others, and some of the indigenous wildlife of Pandora.

Blue Is Beautiful, But Only In The Theater
By Lauren Davis | Source:

Avatar Day has come and gone, poised to convert people disappointed by the trailer or confirm their worst fears. Make no mistake, though, Avatar will be a unique visual experience, but one that should probably only be experienced in 3D.

The Avatar Day footage is more or less the same footage shown at Comic Con, although some scenes were truncated and a brief moment was added. They give you a taste of the immersive experience Avatar is. When a creature chases Sully in his Avatar form through the jungle, it's a visceral experience that simply wouldn't be the same in two dimensions.

And when we get to stand still and really look at the background, there's the sense that you're really a visitor to Pandora, drinking in all the details of a fantastical world. Cameron and his fellows have infused these clips with an incredible amount of detail, from the way the Na'Vi ears twitch and move to a few stray moths in the background.

Why did James Cameron write AVATAR?
To challenge graphics-effects firm
Digital Domain
By Sandy Cohen

August 2009 - James Cameron originally wrote "Avatar" as a way to challenge the special-effects firm Digital Domain, where he served as chief executive. But it took technology 14 years to catch up with his vision of a faraway planet populated by otherwordly plants and animals where humans embody avatars just to brave the landscape.

"In the same way that I wrote 'Terminator' just to get a directing gig, I decided to write a story that was full of creatures and characters that would push the art of CG for that company," he said. But after artists there said it couldn't be done, Cameron shelved the idea.

Ten years later, when he realized technology had caught up with his cinematic visions, he dusted off the concept and helped develop technology to make it work.

Adobe to show 3D version of
James Cameron’s Avatar at Adobe Max
By Jim Dalrymple | Source:

September 2009 - Most people will have to wait until December 18 to see James Cameron’s new masterpiece film, Avatar. However, if you are attending the Adobe Max conference in October, you’ll get a sneak peek of the new movie.

A very credible source at Adobe has confirmed for The Loop that Adobe will be showing a 3D version of select clips from the film at the conference, two months ahead of its official release in theaters. Adobe describes the Max conference as a “conference for forward-thinking designers, developers, and decision-makers.”

This year’s conference will focus on three important trends: social computing, client and cloud and the spread of rich media across screens and devices. Adobe Max takes place from October 4–7, 2009 at the Los Angeles Convention Center, West Hall and Nokia Theatre L.A. LIVE.

AVTR Update
Colonel Quaritch delivers
a message of warning

September 2009 - The latest on's Avatar viral site - a stern message from Colonel Quaricth, listen up and take heed:

"You are not in Kansas anymore, you are on Pandora, ladies and gentlemen. I'd be on the defense, everything that crawls, flies, or squats wants to kill you and eat your eyes for JuJu beans. It's a harsh place, people. Do not wander. We have an indegionous race of humanoids who are very hard to kill. If you want to survive, you need to have a strong mental attitude. Questions? . . . That's all."

Never seen before footage of Avatar to be shown at the 2009 Tokyo Film Festival
By Mark Schilling | Excerpt:

September 2009 - Footage from the James Cameron 3-D sci-fi epic Avatar will screen at this year's Tokyo Film Festival, organizers revealed on Monday.

The 16-minutes of footage will bow on the fest's opening day, Oct. 17. Selected by Cameron himself, the footage will include scenes not yet seen anywhere. Cameron will not be on hand to present the footage, but will send a video message instead.

Rolling Stone's Peter Travers: "Avatar is a lock for an Oscar Best Picture Nod"

With the Academy Awards' Best Picture category expanded from five films to 10, James Cameron's Avatar, the Titanic director's first film since, well, Titanic, seems like a lock for a nod.

The less-than-impressive teaser trailer already has the movie-loving message boards worried, but Travers insists that after seeing 40 minutes of the "spectacular" 3D footage, it's Cameron's Best Picture category to lose.

Also in the Oscar hunt are Jason Reitman's Up in the Air, which might net George Clooney a Best Actor trophy, and the musical Nine, which stars Daniel Day Lewis and is partly based on Federico Fellini's 8 1/2.

2006 - 2008







2009B NEWS - July to September

All articles in this section are excerpt highlights, click on the source link for the complete article.

Why Avatar Day could be James Cameron's smartest move

Why Avatar Day could be
James Cameron's smartest move

July 2009 - The hype surrounding Avatar has been slowly building for years now. This weekend, a 25-minute Avatar preview was shown at Comic-Con by director James Cameron. 21 August is going to be named Avatar Day, and it'll be marked by every Imax cinema in the world (or as many as Fox can commandeer) showing 15 minutes of Avatar to fans for free.

The Avatar videogame and action figure set will also be unveiled. And that's all happening four months before Avatar is even released (it's out in December). How can Avatar manage to ramp up expectations even further in the ensuing months?

James Cameron seems like a man seldom troubled by self-doubt. Every time he's nudged the movie industry forward with films such as Terminator 2 or Titanic – or women's rights back with films like True Lies – he's done so with a swaggering, cocksure, king-of-the-world confidence. And rightly so, you might say, given his track record. However, if he's not careful, Cameron's swagger might start being mistaken for a full-body nervous tic. Ever since he announced Avatar, a film he's been picking away at for 14 years, anticipation has been building steadily.

Thanks to the technical specs – it was filmed with 3D virtual cameras using groundbreaking photorealistic motion-capture animation technology – and the paucity of information or footage released, fans have been greedily lapping up whatever scraps they can get. And when those scraps include Jon Favreau calling it "the future" of film-making, that's setting an expectation that even James Cameron might find difficult to meet. And that might just explain Avatar Day.

Let's pop the hood and take a
look at that Direhorse power

July 2009 - Watkins Glen is a road course that has an international reputation as one of the world's premier venues. The number one ranked championship point driver Tomy Drissi heads to Watkins Glen coming off his first win in 2009. New livery will be seen on his #5 Jaguar XKR; as the owner of Drissi Advertising will be promoting 20th Century Fox's new movie by James Cameron, Avatar.

AMZ: The studio's marketing campaign has been an eluding and intriguing roll-out that has some scratching their heads. Is the studio struggling with proper planning or are we witnessing them unfold an out-of-the-box-thinking strategy rarely seen in promoting a movie?

We recently had the Comic-Con Na'vi face banner seen on the streets of San Diego , a large metropolis no doubt, but that isn't exactly global exposure. Then there's the secretive footage at Cinema Expo seen by only a select few, and now we have the Avatar logo screaming down a race track at a Trans-Am Series racing event.

Are these obscure appearances here and there actually seeds planted by the studio to create viral momentum? It's certainly feasible considering the residents of the WWW are all too eager to shower these marketing sprouts with all the nurturing they need. With Comic-Con around the corner, many speculate that this will be the beginning of the huge marketing feast to be unleashed. So maybe these street banners and race car promos are our appetizers for what's to come.

James Cameron tubthumps 'Avatar' Director makes rounds to push digital 3-D plan
By Pamela McClintock | Excerpt:

July 2009 - After hopping to Amsterdam in late June to show 24 minutes of his "Avatar" to foreign theater owners at CineExpo, James Cameron popped up in Hollywood's own backyard last week to make a similar presentation to some 200 theater owners at Grauman's Chinese Theater.

By all accounts, exhibs agreed that the footage is groundbreaking -- which can only help Cameron's cause in getting theater owners to build more screens capable of showing digital 3-D. He'll need as many as he can get before 20th Century Fox bows the pic on Dec. 18. The film, like "Titanic" before it, represents a pricey gamble, with some estimating the price at over $200 million.

Cameron delivered on the roll of the dice that was "Titanic," so exhibs (and Fox) are more comfortable with their high-priced bet this time around. The decade-long gap between "Titanic" and "Avatar" is said to be a result of Cameron's waiting for 3-D technology to catch up with his vision before launching into "Avatar." And while digital 3-D has taken off in a big way over the past two years, Cameron and Fox will need plenty of digital 3-D-ready theaters to bring the pic's wow factor to auds -- at the extra $3-$5 per ticket premium they'll charge to help earn back the pic's sizable upfront costs.

SciFiNow Magazine: Avatar to Break Records?
Transcribed by AMZ | Source: SFN Issue 27

James Cameron's 3D sci-fi adventure is set to tear up the record books. In a recent Time article, it was revealed that James Cameron's Avatar will cost in excess of 300 million dollars.

If this figure is accurate, the highly anticipated sci-fi movie due for release this December will be the most expensive film ever made. The potentially record breaking budget estimate was made known at the end of March in an interview with the Aliens helmer.

Since then however, the quote has been revised to read in excess of 200 million, claiming that the original figure was miss-stated. The big edit though, has left many suspecting that the alteration was brought about through studio intervention.

Twentieth Century Fox, the company distributing the film, would understandably be keen to protect such a huge investment from the sort of public backlash that 1995's Waterworld experienced. James Cameron, writer and director of Avatar, isn't unfamiliar with large production budgets having master-mind the success of the enormously expensive Titanic. The movie which went on to win 11 Academy awards cost 200 million dollars to make, but took nearly 10 times that at the worldwide box office.

Will James Cameron be ‘world’s king’ again?
By Ruben V. Nepales | Source:

Will “Avatar,” perhaps the year’s most awaited film, make “Titanic” director James Cameron “King of the World” again?

James was like a brand-new dad, eager to show off his new baby, when he met us at the office of Lightstorm Entertainment, his production company in Santa Monica, California. “Avatar” is a digital 3D film set in the future on a distant moon called Pandora.

If the finished film lives up to the dazzling sights promised by the featurette, and if the story and characters are just as involving as the visual effects, then James may be king again in December when “Avatar” is released.

Maricel Pagulayan (“Valkyrie,” “Where the Wild Things Are,” “Superman Returns”), whom we’ve featured before, is one of several Fil-Am visual effects wizards tapped by James. So far, the buzz is good for James’ first feature film since his Leonardo DiCaprio-Kate Winslet epic won a record-tying 11 Oscar trophies in 1997. After the screening, the director of the biggest box office hit of all time and producer Jon Landau took us upstairs where some of the props such as spears, costumes, models of the sets and of Jake and Neytiri were on display in one room.

Avatar - has sci-fi truly found its Heaven's Gate?
By Martin Anderson | Source:

August 2009 - There's one thing that must be of inexorable comfort to James Cameron in the wake of the mixed response to both the Avatar trailer and the fifteen minutes of footage revealed on 'Avatar Day' last Friday: prophets of doom have written him off before. Most notably before he broke pretty much every box office record on the planet with Titanic in the late 1990s.

Cameron is one of a handful of people in Hollywood who are truly given their head as regards new projects, and the fact that the portentous rumblings of box-office doom turned into phenomenal returns for Titanic must have Cameron's latest investors crying 'hold' on the not-entirely-rapturous response to the Avatar peeks.

Cameron ushered in a whole new era of unhappy endings in movies with Titanic; influenced the look of the first-person shooter forever with Aliens; spearheaded the true CGI revolution with the ground-breaking effects in The Abyss and Terminator 2: Judgment Day. Cameron delivers. And Hollywood needs him to now, most especially because if Avatar can repeat the success of Titanic, the movie execs win a huge battle in the fight against piracy, and in the struggle to re-sell their catalogues yet again on Blu-ray....

Avatar not only has the potential to become Blu-ray's Matrix - i.e. the product so essential to a new technology that it popularises it, as The Matrix did for DVD - but to disseminate 3D technology as the cinematic consumer experience that can neither be pirated nor downloaded, but must be paid for legitimately in movie theatres. Hollywood liked it back when movies were (as John Hammond observes in Jurassic Park) 'a bit of a ride', rather than a customisable and consumer-friendly experience; both the relative rigidity of Blu-ray and the 'pro' culture of cinematic 3D have the potential to deliver this again.

The Avatar Backlash: Evaluatin' The Hater-atin'
By Helen O'Hara | Source:

So the Avatar trailer debuted yesterday to lots of anticipatory excitement and then quite a few people going, "Huh". Much of the reaction online appears to have been befuddlement, mild disappointment or reserved-judgment-until-we-see-more. Some people have been complaining that the visuals are too computer game-y, cartoony or less than the photorealism promised. Ferngully's been mentioned; Halo too. Much of the negativity seems focused on the fact that we were promised a game-changing, film-history-changing event, and people are not convinced that Avatar will deliver on that.

The thing is, of course, that it already has. The principal revolution in Avatar is a technological one, and the 3D cameras and tech that Cameron used to make it have already been toured around the great and the good of Hollywood and seized on gladly. Del Toro's reportedly a convert; Cuaron apparently wants to use the technology to make a small, quiet drama rather than the action movies and family adventures that usually go 3D. Spielberg and Jackson are using the camera system and motion-capture tech that Cameron developed already on The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret Of The Unicorn.

As far as Avatar's a revolution, it's already happened. To quote another Cameron film, game over, man, game over. Now the question that's left is whether Avatar the film can deliver another revolution. And I still hope it will. It looks to me like Cameron's tried something very different. He's trying to make a proper science fiction romp, build an alien world from the ground up and populate it with truly alien beasties rather than just sticking Cornish pasties on some people's heads and then replaying the Cold War.

UK cinemas get a taste of Avatar
By Neil Smith | Source:

August 2009 - UK cinema-goers are being given a taste of James Cameron's new science-fiction epic Avatar at free previews taking place around the country. They are being shown 15 minutes of the futuristic fantasy, which uses motion-capture animation, CGI and live action, and will be shown in stereoscopic 3D. One of the day's first sneak previews was held at the BFI Imax in London, home to the UK's biggest cinema screen.

A trailer from the film, released on 18 December, is now available online. In a filmed introduction, Cameron tells audiences all the excerpts come from the first half of his movie. Avatar is the 55-year-old's first full-length feature since 1997's Titanic, which won the Canadian filmmaker a best director Oscar.

An expectant audience gathered at the BFI Imax on Friday morning, to be greeted by BFI director Amanda Nevill and Chris Green from distributor 20th Century Fox. Avatar, said Green, was a "really special project" with an "amazing" story enhanced by state-of-the-art technology. Set in the 22nd Century, Cameron's film takes place on a distant planet called Pandora inhabited by a humanoid race with its own language and culture. Humans cannot breathe the air on Pandora so have created avatars - hybrid creatures controlled via a mental link by a human operator.

Avatar Footage Screened at Comic-Con 2009
A Personal Review of the Sneak Peek Footage of James Cameron's Avatar
By Kevin Kirchman | Source:

August 2009 - I was fortunate enough to be able to attend Comic-Con International 2009 in San Diego this past week. Comic-Con has become much more than a small convention for comic book lovers. It has become a full-blown pop culture phenomenon.

Everything from fantasy books and Star Wars memorabilia to original print comic books and movie premieres, Comic-Con has something for everyone. Although all of these are intriguing, there was one attraction I was looking forward to in particular, the "Avatar" panel.

When I say Avatar, I do not mean the cartoon from Nickelodeon, "Avatar: The Last Airbender". I mean James Cameron's latest science fiction epic, simply titled "Avatar". According to Cameron, "Avatar has been in the dreaming for 15 years and in the making for the past 4 years." Straight from the mouth of the man himself, James Cameron explained "Avatar" and its production expansively during his panel. There was 25 minutes of footage shown, all separated by a black title card, numbering the scene. They were not in sequential order, skipping scenes in between.

Since many of you may not know what "Avatar" is about, I will give a brief background before expanding on the footage. According to the IMDb biography, "In the future, Jake, a paraplegic war veteran, is brought to another planet, Pandora, which is inhabited by the Na'vi, a humanoid race with their own language and culture. Those from Earth find themselves at odds with each other and the local culture."(1) The movie utilizes a great deal of CGI and 3D imaging. However, it will be shown in both 3D and 2D formats.

While this is a very brief description of the movie, it should be enough to carry you through the article. We learn that Jake, played by Sam Worthington (Terminator: Salvation), and other soldiers are transplanted into avatar bodies. An avatar is a body, grown by Earth's scientists, which can connect with a soldier via a mental link and operate on Pandora. The reason this is necessary is that humans cannot breathe the air on Pandora and must use a Na'vi avatar to perform their tasks. They resemble the Na'vi in size and color. The Na'vi stands 10 feet tall and has light blue skin. Their faces are contoured differently and resemble a mix between a cat, horse and human.

Now that you have some background on the story, I will delve into the description of the footage. For anyone who has heard anything about "Avatar" before this article, you know that the visual effects are supposedly groundbreaking and stunning. Well, they are not supposedly amazing, they ARE amazing. I will first explain the content of the clips, then about what is most interesting about each.

In the 25 minutes of footage, we see Jake interacting with the military and being briefed on how to become an avatar. The General explains Pandora is a very dangerous planet with even more dangerous inhabitants. The Na'vi will kill humans at first sight, so he warns the soldiers to be cautious. Jake just sits there with a smile on his face. When he finally connects with the host body, we see the avatar alive for the first time. The tall, blue being stands in the doctor's office, towering over the remaining humans in the room. This is also our first glimpse at the CGI. While it does look a bit awkward at first, you become used to the look of the avatar and quickly forget that it is fully CGI.

From here on out, Jake has embodied his avatar. The rest of the clips feature him on Pandora as the avatar. Moving into a new clip, Jake is on his mission on Pandora with the rest of his crew. Pandora is completely with CGI and you cannot tell. It looks so real that your brain does not see it as a computer generated image, but instead as a natural, peaceful landscape. You can definitely tell Jake is very curious about the planet.

In this scene, he comes face to face with a large beast that resembles a single-horned dinosaur, think of a Triceratops. This thing is massive! Jake is told to stand his ground and attempt to intimidate the animal. He does so successfully, but only to discover an even larger beast behind him, resembling a large jaguar. In the most action packed clip shown, Jake outruns this monster, hiding in a nearby tree, firing off clips into the air and the beast. They cut the clip off and move to the next.

The next clip was a calmer, shorter clip showing Jake exploring the forests of Pandora alone. We see a Na'vi watching him from a distance, high above him. It is the second protagonist, Neytiri, played by Zoë Saldana (Star Trek 2009) She pulls her bow to fire on Jake, but at the last second, a small, jellyfish looking insect lands on the arrow, and Neytiri slowly lets the bow down.

In the next scene, Jake fights off hyena-esque sized beasts that apparently have attacked him. Neytiri shows up and saves Jake by killing one of the beasts and frightening the others off. Neytiri begins to leave, but Jake follows her and thanks her. She turns to him and blames him for the death of the beast, saying it did not need to die, but only because of his stupidity, she kills it. Jake asks why she saved him. She states "he has a strong heart". This is our first glimpse into the love story that will soon develop. At the end of the scene, the same insects that landed on the arrow from the previous clip begin to surround Jake, covering his body. This is a sign to Neytiri that Jake is "pure".

The next and final clip that we were shown is of Jake becoming fully immersed in the Na'vi culture. He has shed his military clothing and wears only a loincloth. He is with Neytiri and a few other Na'vi tribesmen. They speak in their language, with subtitles for the viewer. They are at a steep cliff and tell Jake to go first. They are approaching four or five winged creatures that look like a mix between dragons and birds. Jake challenges one of the birds, using a primitive rock and string to restrain its mouth. After a heated battle between Jake and the bird, we discover that he is not attempting to kill it, but to tame it. He uses a Na'vi technique to tame the bird and then flies with it off the cliff. The scene follows Jake and the bird, flying through the magnificent landscape. One of the most beautiful scenes shown.

This is the last clip they showed us. It led to a standing ovation from the 6000+ in Hall H at the time.

Going back, each clip signified a different piece of the story. The first clip on Pandora was a great way to get the audience accustomed to the CGI planet and characters. The CGI is so good that at certain points I thought the avatars were people with makeup on. The facial animation is unbelievable. Jake's avatar has the same expressions as human Jake did, just in a big, blue body. The next clip shows us that Neytiri, despite being a primitive Na'vi, is able to control her primal instincts to kill Jake and instead finds him special. The look on her face is a definite tell that she is very interested in him. The clip where Neytiri saves Jake is another furthering of plot scene that starts the interactions between avatars and Na'vi. The last scene shows us that Jake is trying to become full Na'vi. By shedding his clothes, he sheds his duties and is focusing on solely becoming part of Na'vi culture.

Throughout the clips, we see breathtaking visual effects and unbelievable 3D. The 3D was the biggest surprise from the footage. I am sure some of you are skeptical when you see a movie touting "3D". You think of in-your-face images, objects popping out of the screen at you. This is not the case. Cameron has perfected the art of 3D in "Avatar". He uses it subtly to immerse the viewer in Pandora. Simple things like leaves and birds coming out of the screen and flying around the theater are what make this 3D better than the rest. The most impressive part is that the objects appearing on the 3D plane do not seem to appear on the screen. It seems independent from the screen, causing a great and new experience.

Overall, from what I have seen, "Avatar" will be one of the best science fiction epics of all time. Cameron announced that August 21 will be Avatar Day, showing 15 minutes of free footage at select IMAX and regular theater locations. James Cameron has never let us down and it seems that his track record will remain untarnished. The mix of 3D, CGI, and excellent storytelling will propel "Avatar" to the next level.

Did District 9 Steal Avatar’s Thunder?
By Russ Fischer | Source:

August 2009 - For sci-fi nerds (like me!) 2009 was promised as the year. It’s when James Cameron would finally resurface from the deep, bringing with him a new narrative feature. Not just a feature; Avatar intends to be a window into another culture, and another world.

It will create a new alien race that is believably realistic, and show how one human hero faces difficult decisions as he navigates the conflict between humans and aliens.

And for sci-fi nerds, 2009 is the year. First, Duncan Jones brought the lovely, unsettling Moon to theatres. Then, along comes District 9. With a fraction of Avatar’s budget, Neill Blomkamp manages to accomplish much of what Cameron’s film aims for.

Based on what I’ve seen of Avatar so far (the 24-odd minutes shown at Comic Con and the teaser trailer) I’m led to wonder if District 9 might not do it better. Did District 9 steal Avatar’s thunder?

Despite distinct and obvious differences, the two films are quite alike. They present deep looks at new alien races. They posit that, despite the ability to communicate intelligently, humans and those aliens cannot co-exist. The main character, a human, is aligned with his own species at the outset, but is introduced to the alien perspective in physical and emotional ways. Finally, the character’s humanity is at stake as he moves into the future.

We’ve been told that Avatar could not exist without the technology to render emotional expression on faces of the Na’vi. The story wouldn’t work without that tech, because we wouldn’t believe it. And no, I don’t quite believe that Avatar is actually about a race of giant elves, or D&D cosplayers, or shaved Thundercats. Undeniable craft went into animating the Na’vi, who do look spectacular in motion, but nothing I’ve seen so far earns my interest, much less my sympathy.

Blockbuster Trailer: The Selling of ‘Avatar’

August 2009 - The movie of the future just got a publicity stunt to match. In an audacious marketing ploy, 20th Century Fox and the filmmaker James Cameron showed a little more than 15 minutes of their holiday-season film “Avatar” — a science-fiction thriller whose advanced 3-D technology has sparked talk about the transformation of the moviegoing experience — at a specially ticketed event on giant Imax screens around the world Friday evening. As the screenings began in New York, the fans were receptive, if not quite blown away.

“I thought it was very impressive, the depth and the scope of it,” said Richard Sullivan, a data analyst from Manhattan who saw the film at the AMC Lincoln Square theaters on New York’s Upper West Side. “It was not quite photorealistic, but they’re making progress.” Viewers were largely quiet at the start of a promotional screening that opened with a recorded introduction by Mr. Cameron, who promised that the clips, drawn from the first half of the movie, included no “spoilers.” But they worked up some whoops at the sight of an alien dinosaur attack, and applauded enthusiastically at the end of the sampler.

In “Avatar,” a human soldier played by Sam Worthington visits the mythical planet of Pandora, where he lives, loves and fights inside the manufactured body of an alien. More than 100,000 viewers were expected to attend the screenings. They got in by scrambling to a Web site,, which made free tickets available on Monday — and then immediately bogged down with a surplus of requests. Initially, each of slightly more than 100 Imax theaters in the United States and about 30 abroad were to host two back-to-back “Avatar” presentations, most of those between showings of Warner Brothers’ “Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince.”

Avatar: First impressions of a new form of cinema
By Michael Conroy | Source:

August 2009 - James Cameron has been working on his magnum opus since 1994, and it's starting to feel like the PR machine has been whirring along for nearly that long, too.

The movie studios have got quite good at this internet marketing thing, and the hype machine seems to have hit overdrive since Twitter now spreads word-of-mouth at the speed of light. The more hype, though, the further the fall from grace.

Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen and Terminator Salvation were cut down to size once cinemagoers had actually paid their £10, and even the mighty Watchmen – well, we'll see how that looks in a year's time, once the fan-boy afterglow has worn off.

The level of anticipation generated by Avatar far exceeds any of these films, partly due to its extended gestation period. So it was with a healthy portion of scepticism that I put on the 3D glasses to experience the 15-minute preview that's the focus of what's been dubbed "Avatar Day". The screening opens with a stirring address from Earth's military commander, setting the stage for what I'm sure we're meant to interpret as an "epic" battle between mankind and the Na'vi, an advanced humanoid alien race. The camera pans to a young man wheeling himself into the room, determined, driven, but unlike the other soldiers in the room, wheelchair bound.

Avatar Day Updates

Here's a digest of what's been happening up to Avatar Day.

* To the surprise of many, Trailers has announced a 'teaser' trailer that will be released a day before Avatar Day. Speculation includes whether this is actually a teaser trailer or the actual trailer to be seen on August 21. They have included a countdown on their front page.

* The official site sputtered yesterday as it experienced a lengthy down time frustrating many fans in their attempt to register for tickets. The Official Avatar Facebook page announced they were experiencing server problems due to overwhelming response.

Further confusion was added when fans around the world were monitoring the official site when it was actually providing locations and showtimes for the U.S. and Canada only.

For example, UK fans were to monitor locations and showtimes for Avatar Day at Empire Online and Total Film, but many of them had their radar tuned into the official site. Both the Avatar Facebook page and IMDB Avatar forum saw a significant increase in comments activity, some with not so favorable input on how the handling of Avatar Day has taken place. By the time some fans had finally got access to the site, their respective locations had been fully booked.

Beneath the Planet of the Na'vi?
Landau suggests a subterranean sequel
By Brendon Connelly | Source:

September 2009 - Jon Landau has collaborated with James Cameron in producing both Titanic and Avatar and, with a bit of luck and a following wind, will go on and collaborate with him further in the future.

But on which projects, exactly? Talking to the French magazine Le Film, Landau has given some indication of which pictures Cameron is planning to tackle next: his long awaited manga adaptation Battle Angle Alita, underwater romance The Dive and even a sequel to Avatar.

Of course, he didn’t say much but Landau did offer a tantalising hint of what premise the sequel might have. Here’s my translation: If the public likes Avatar, it’s a possibility. After all, here we are exploring the surface of the planet Pandora. The interior remains to be seen. Beneath the Planet of the Na’vi, anyone? Yes please. Cameron has definitely spent a lot of time on painstakingly creating an ecosystem for his fictional world. If it truly is holistic, then he must already have some idea of what lurks beneath the crust.

This is all dependent on Avatar being a suitably successful picture, of course… but what ’suitably successful’ means for a film with such a mammoth budget, I don’t know and can hardly dare guess. Will he have to outdo his own Titanic smash? Is that even possible? Here’s Landau on the other two projects, both of which are talked about as though set in stone, though I’ve learned the hard way to never trust such promises, especially in translation: We’ll go on to Battle Angel Alita and The Dive, a love story in the middle of a dive. James is directing both projects. Beautiful.

Avatar Na'vi Halloween Costume Ideas
By Aida Ekberg | Source:

September 2009 - Halloween is not far away and whether you are a young Avatar fan who still likes to trick or treat or a young adult who parties at Halloween bashes, deck yourself out as the Na'vi using tips from Aida Ekberg of

Aida Ekberg: Of course the makeup is one of the most important parts of the Na'vi Halloween costume, and to get the look right, I advise you to buy both blue and white body paints.

You will need to mix a bit of the white body paint with a bit of the blue body paint to create a lighter blue color and then apply it to all parts of your skin that will be visible (you may need some help with this, especially for the more-exposed female Na'vi Halloween costume).

After you've let this light blue base dry, use some of the blue body paint by itself to paint on darker stripes (here's a picture of a the female Na'vi face so you can see what I mean). If you're wearing a blue body suit, you can use dark blue fabric paint to paint the stripes onto it. To make your eyes stand out more, you can line them using a very fine-tipped black eyeliner pencil. You may also want to use blue or black lipstick, so you don't have to paint that part of your body.

Avatar Na'vi Alien Halloween Costume Accessories Ideas

The Na'vi have pointy ears and long tails, so for both the female and male costumes you will need to purchase a pair of pointy elf ears that you can paint blue using acrylic paint. For the tail, you can buy a cat tail from a cat Halloween costume and wrap it with blue material (you could cut an old white T-shirt into strips, wrap the tail with them, gluing them down as you go, and then paint the tail with the blue acrylic paint). For the male Na'vi Halloween costume, you will need a long, black wig that can be braided into one long, loose braid.

For the female Na'vi Halloween costume, look for a dreadlock wig (one with lots of little braids), and glue a few white beads onto some of the dreadlocks. For more native Na'vi accessories, you can make or purchase a lot of strings of white hairpipe (elongated, tube-shaped) beads of all different lengths to wear around your neck, and you may also want to add a few other accents like faux leather wristbands and armbands with colorful feathers glued on them. You can also buy a small piece of faux leather material to fashion a headband like the one in this picture (you can glue on white beads in place of the piece of bone).

Katzenberg: Avatar will be a
"watershed moment"
Has high hopes for the film
By Stuart Miles | Source:

September 2009 - Jeffery Katzenberg, the CEO of Dreamworks has said that James Cameron's Avatar will be the "watershed moment" for the 3D film industry. Talking to the Variety magazine at the recently held 3D-Summit conference in California, the Hollywood producer told the trade mag that he believes the film is destined for big things:

"I think Jim Cameron's "Avatar" will be the watershed moment; it will break the dam. It will show the live-action side of the business that it has the same value and opportunity we've seen with results on a worldwide basis for our product."

So excited by the new movie, due out in December, that Katzenberg says Avatar will be: "to 3D what "The Wizard of Oz " was to color. It was a seminal moment. If you go back and look, not only did "The Wizard of Oz" use color it used it in such an exciting and compelling way, that's where the floodgates opened."

Zoe Saldana: "Avatar co-star
Sam Worthington is like a brother"
By Gregory Ellwood | Excerpt:

September 2009 - To say things are going really well for Zoe Saldana these days is somewhat of an understatement. The actress just appeared as the all-new Lt. Uhura in the blockbuster reboot of "Star Trek" and she'll have a key role in the much discussed James Cameron fantasy flick "Avatar" this December. That's a big jump from roles in films on a lower playing field like "Vantage Point" and "Guess Who."

"Avatar" will always have a special place in my heart because it was the one film I got to shoot for three year," Saldana volunteered. "Usually we only get to shoot for three months and it's an amazing time with a cast, director and a crew.

And then the film lives forever with you guys, but our experience will only live for a short time, so sometimes we feel cheated. So, working with an amazing director like James Cameron and someone like Sam Worthington who is by far one of the most selfless actors I've ever met an literally we're like brother and sister now. It was amazing."

Avatar On Two Screens

September 2009 - In the future, Hollywood and videogame casts and crews will be one and same, working side by side on one integrated team--at least if the vision of Kevin Shortt comes to pass.

Shortt is the lead scriptwriter at French game publisher Ubisoft, which collaborated with filmmaker James Cameron to make a videogame based on his upcoming sci-fi battle epic Avatar. The videogame is scheduled for release Nov. 24; the movie is slated for December.

Convergence between Hollywood and the videogame industry has been happening for years, with big-budget games utilizing the same techniques, software and production values as blockbuster films, and actors and directors increasingly becoming involved with videogame projects.

Shortt talked to Forbes about what the collaboration with Cameron was like, as well as what the two industries can learn from each other.

Forbes: What was the collaborative experience like working on "Avatar"?

Kevin Shortt: It was an excellent experience; this is what film-game relationships should be like. What made this particularly unique was that we started working on the game at the same time the studio started working on the film, instead of us being tacked on at the end, which happens a fair bit. I suspect that's why some movie games in the past have felt like quick jobs--because they were--whereas for us, the collaboration started really early on.

How did the close collaboration benefit the making of the game?

Right from the beginning, James Cameron said, "I don't want a repeat of the movie in the game. I want to expand the world of Avatar." That's where we came in, where we could add this whole other layer and reveal a lot more of the world than you can ever actually see in the movie.

Empire Highlights the Tale of Avatar
Transcribed by AMZ | Source: Empire Magazine

In Empire Magazine's October issue, they provide a sizeable description of the story and we selected some highlights to throw the spotlight on the Avatar tale for a change.

Empire was given a private screening at Lightstorm headquarters back in March. It's not really a sequential re-telling of the story, but more of a highlight overview and here's what they share along with a discussion with James Cameron.

The Pandoran Jungle: The emerald canopy thorobs with bioluminescence, tiny lights twinkling across the flora like Lilliputian cities. Purples, pinks and ocean blues dapple the undergrowth and leaves flare with inner light as we brush them. The world we're witnessing is Pandora, a verdant paradise in a far-flung corner of the galaxy, and the illusion of being there is absolute: as real to our eyes as the seat backs had been moments before.

Jake Sully: Worthington plays a wheelchair bound ex-Marine called Jake Sully, recruited to join a corporate expedition on the far flung world of Pandora. Cameron imagined an old-school frontier tale written among the stars, with humanity encroaching on an unspoiled utopia and displacing the native population, the Na'vi, in its efforts to exploit the world's natural resources. Once planetside, Sully joins the Avatar programme, undergoing a process whereby his consiousness is projected into an artificially grown Na'vi body, an avatar.

Dr. Grace Augustine: In the Avatar link room, Sam's character is about to plug into his surrogate self for the first time. Milling around the link machines are a group of bearded scientists sporting a scruffy look that make is hard to tell cast from crew. Standing out, though, is a flame-haired Sigourney Weaver as Dr. Grace Augustine. Cameron is back to movies and back to his most famous leading lady who, in hippie botanist attire, hiking shoes and a Na'vi necklace is as far from Ellen Ripley as it's possible to get.

Hell's Gate: A battle-dressed Stephen Lang is bellowing at a room full of cowering recruits. His face is flushed, with three livid scars running down his cheek. At the end of the room Lang inhabits his role as Col. Miles Quaritch, head of SecFor, the private security force protecting human interests on Pandora.

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