I’ve always wanted to check out the annual San Diego Comic-Con convention! With the increasingly popular comic-based flicks the past few years, it’s no longer just for comic geeks. A plethora of movie enthusiasts mob this convention, eager to see previews of highly-anticipated flicks and perhaps even get a chance to meet their fave actors. This year’s highlight seems to be James Cameron’s AVATAR (well, to non-Twilight fans at least). At the Avatar panel yesterday, Cameron himself and some of the cast members (including Sigourney Weaver & Zoe Saldana) were there to unveil a 25-minute footage of this groundbreaking flick. Boy, would I love to have been there to see that!
Sam Worthington, who plays the lead, appeared via a video message from the set of Clash of the Titans, so I got to hear his thick Aussie accent for the first time. The 32-year-old actor, who beat out hundreds of established and unknown actors for the role, is what Cameron called an ‘old-school tough guy.’ “We were making a $200 million-plus movie and it’s all about the journey of one guy, Jake, and he’s in every scene in the film, from beginning to end. It all hangs on that one piece of casting,” Cameron said at the Australian In Film event last May where he presented the Breakthrough award to Worthington. Perhaps Avatar will do wonders for his career the way Titanic did for Leo DiCaprio?
Here’s what I learn so far about the plot:
Jake, a paraplegic soldier, participated in an experiment involving an alien planet called Pandora, to assume an “avatar” – a half human, half alien host body. Now that he’s able to walk again, he’s then unwillingly sent to establish a human settlement on Pandora, where he finds himself battling humankind alongside the planet’s indigenous Na’vi race.
This ambitious, big-budgeted, digital 3-D sci-fi epic has been a four-year labor of love for Cameron. He’s collaborating with Lord of the Ring‘s director Peter Jackson’s Weta Digital visual effects company as a consultant for the super complex CGI process.
Ok now, there’s always a risk all those special-effects mumbo jumbo and visual marvel would trample over character development, but according to a few of those who were lucky enough to be at the conference, that doesn’t seem to be the case here. According to Screenrant, that careful balance between strong CGI and character-driven storyline is what separates Cameron’s works from other sci-fi flicks out there. “Jim is always about story first,” Worthington said about Cameron whilst promoting Terminator Salvation. “He’s a very actor-friendly director. You can put all the bells and whistles you like, but if it’s not about revealing something about the human spirit, people are going to tune out.” That’s very promising indeed.
Cameron declared August 21st as “Avatar Day” as the filmmaker will be previewing 15 minutes of FREE footage on every imax theater worldwide! Leave it to him to spearhead this kind of genius marketing idea, I’ll definitely be setting my calendar to see that! You can catch a glimpse of what I presume is the ‘hybrid’ creature on the Avatar official site. Awesome!
The film opens wide December 18, 2009.