In 2009, the globe wore 3D glasses for James Cameron’s 3D science-fiction spectacle. As Avatar 2 approaches, recall if the first film was entertaining.
Sci-fi saga Avatar debuted on December 10, 2009, and instantly broke box office records to become the most profitable film of all time (until Avengers: Endgame came along 10 years later). It was a ground-breaking, Oscar-winning, 3D visual effects extravaganza that began in the era of current CGI blockbusters, but the real tale swiftly faded from the memories of most spectators as Marvel overwhelmed it.
The long-awaited sequel, Avatar 2: The Way of Water, is now slated to be released in December. Prior to that, the original picture will be re-released in cinemas in September, or it will be available for streaming on Disney Plus. This is the CNET review of the original, which was initially published in December 2009.
We will say this about James Cameron: he never does things halfway. Avatar has finally come, twelve years after his previous picture, with the largest budget, the glossiest CGI, and the most intense 3D VFX ever committed to the silver screen. At least, that’s the rumor — CNET donned 3D glasses to evaluate the film’s appearance.
Avatar follows Jake Sully (Sam Worthington), a wheelchair-bound US Marine, as he lands on the beautiful but perilous planet of Pandora. He is in Pandora to operate an avatar, a mix of human DNA and the DNA of the Na’vi, the native humanoids of Pandora. Jake is instructed in the ways of nature by the Na’vi princess Neytiri (Zoe Soldana), while being divided between the scientific Dr. Grace Augustine (Sigourney Weaver) and the militaristic Colonel Quaritch (Mark Strong) (Stephen Lang). Jake must choose his allegiance as the human mining operation destroys the Na’vi’s habitat.
Yeah. We are aware. We went down to see Avatar with the intention of not criticizing the plot, since it is kind of a cliché that effects-heavy films are all flair and no substance. However, Avatar is just as derivative as it sounds. It’s a cross between Aliens and Pocahontas, Dances With Wolves and Return of the Jedi, but with 10-foot blue-skinned aliens in place of Native Americans and Ewoks.
The cast is comprised of nothing but stereotypes: lantern-jawed marines and corporate hacks on one side, noble princesses and brave warriors on the other, with cliched ancient prophesies, trite environmental themes, and Lion King-style spirituality tossed in for good measure. Even “The Last of the Mohicans” actor Wes “Last of the Mohicans” Studi is in it, just in case you had any question that the Na’vi are a metaphor for Native Americans, nature, caring for the world, appreciating different cultures, etc.
Cameron even borrows from himself to create the stereotypical ensemble, with Michelle Rodriguez’s bold Latina and Giovanni Ribisi’s sleazy salaryman recalling Vasquez and Burke from Aliens.
Still, the Na’vi are remarkably expressive for beings with blue skin. Cameron felt that motion capture was insufficient, so he invented performance capture, in which performers wore small cameras on their heads to record their facial expressions in exquisite detail. The attention to detail is notably evident in Neytiri’s face, portrayed by Zoe Soldana.
It’s intriguing that the film depicts both the real and CGI faces of some of the cast members. Worthington’s superb looks result in a generic avatar face, but there is a real shiver the first time we see Sigourney Weaver with blue skin and strange ears.
The difficulty with the separation of the human and Na’vi worlds is that the majority of the film maintains “actual” and CGI separate. There is a stark contrast between the subtle 3D and cool holographic effects of the human base, which has genuine sets and real performers, and the lush computer-generated jungle, which features dizzying camera movements and neon-colored creatures. The CGI inventions lack substance: We’d rather have the clumsy but absolutely reliable power-loader from Aliens than Avatar’s technically proficient but implausibly elegant mecha combat suits any day.
Bad Bunny as Spider-Man: The Next Marvel Hero Recreate El Muerto Cameron used a variety of innovative filming methods for Avatar, including a “virtual camera” system. Cameron was able to see what had previously only existed in his mind when he directed the virtual camera at performers in performance-capture suits standing against empty backdrops: enormous blue aliens in a computer-generated landscape. He even created 3D cameras, testing them, of all things, aboard a World War II fighter jet. The results of the work are shown on the screen.
However, Cameron manages to remain quite controlled. From the Wachowski brothers’ Matrix sequels and George Lucas’ Star Wars prequels to Michael Bay’s Transformers features, CGI-driven blockbusters have filled the screen with so much action that it may be difficult to keep up. Cameron minimizes the pandemonium by including more vertiginous tree climbing and flying creatures than fighting sequences. When they eventually arrive, the fragments are quite flat. They lack the tiny moments of tragedy that made the catastrophic catastrophe of the Titanic so moving.
A few efforts are made to ground the CGI in realism. A soldier’s headgear falls off when a spacecraft passes past, and there are occasional zoom and focus errors. The majority of the time, though, CGI and real parts coexist awkwardly. It’s a pity, since when Na’vi and humans do interact, the results are spectacular, like in a touching scene between Sully and Neytiri or a short battle in which arrows shot by 10-foot aliens transform into spear-sized missiles piercing little humans.
Despite the awkward narration and inexcusable use of “unobtainium” as a story device, the two and a half hour running length of Avatar never lags. The CGI is still too glossy to really believe, but the 3D is jaw-dropping from the breathtaking opening picture until the film’s conclusion.
Sigourney Weaver is coming back for Avatar 2 CRAZY!
In the first Avatar, Weaver’s scientist character died, but now she’s back as the protagonists’ adopted Na’vi daughter.
We were all surprised when we heard about 17 billion years ago that Sigourney Weaver would be back for James Cameron’s Avatar sequels (even more so than with the idea of there being multiple Avatar sequels). But now that we know how Weaver is going to come back, we’re even more confused.
Empire magazine has said that Weaver will play a completely different character in Avatar: The Way of Water. In the first movie, she played Dr. Grace Augustine, the creator of the Human-Na’vi switcheroo Avatar Program, who died at the end. And no, it’s not a human. It’s Jake and Neytiri’s daughter, who is about to turn 16.
Weaver will play Kiri, Jake and Neytiri’s adopted daughter. It looks like we’ll meet a lot of Jake and Neytiri’s family in The Way of Water. Weaver told Empire what it was like to play a digitized blue teenager, “I think we all pretty much remember how we felt when we were that age.” “Oh, yes, I do. When I was 11, I was 5’10” or 5’11” tall. I was sure Kiri would feel uncomfortable a lot of the time. She wants to find out who she is. When Jim gave me that task, I was thrilled.
Now, adults play children all the time, especially in the world of voice acting, and at least one of the photos Empire released of Kiri makes it look like Weaver will also show up as Dr. Augustine again in some way, probably through old footage. But knowing that the Na’vi are mostly brought to life by fancy mocap rigs, it will be strange to see Weaver’s physical performance put on a teenager. Even though he is a blue alien teen with long arms and legs, he is still a teen.
The movie Avatar: The Way of Water will come out in December 2022.
Disney will show new scenes from “Avatar: The Way of Water”
Disney started its CineEurope presentation in Barcelona today with 12 minutes of footage from July’s Marvel fourquel Thor: Love and Thunder. Throughout the show, Disney showed trailers and looks at its other upcoming movies, including four never-before-seen scenes from James Cameron’s Avatar: The Way of Water.
Before the Thor footage, Disney’s Head of Global Theatrical Distribution Tony Chambers talked about the importance of immersive storytelling and the studio’s “robust, diverse slate.” This was followed by about 60 minutes of footage that was introduced by EMEA Head of Theatrical Distribution Nick Rush and EMEA Head of Studio Marketing Lee Jury.
There were prerecorded messages from people like Marvel boss Kevin Feige, who said, “It feels like we’re just getting started, even after 14 years.” As he introduced the Love And Thunder scenes, Thor star Chris Hemsworth said he wished he was in Barcelona, where the sangria “always tastes better.”
Harrison Ford sent a video for Lucasfilm’s Indiana Jones 5, saying that it had been 13 years since the last movie and that it was “time to put on the fedora and crack the whip.”
We also saw parts of Haunted Mansion, Pixar’s Elemental and Strange World, and the ensemble Amsterdam, which was directed by David O. Russell for New Regency.
Sam Mendes sent a video about Empire Of Light by Searchlight. The director of 1917 said that after making that movie, he wrote this one during lockdown. He said it was a “extremely personal story” about music, movies, and finding love in strange places.
Rebecca Kearey, the international head of Searchlight, showed a trailer for See How They Run, which stars Sam Rockwell and Saoirse Ronan, and a teaser for The Banshees of Inisherin, which stars Colin Farrell and Brendan Gleeson, directed by Martin McDonagh. Searchlight also showed the first scene of Chevalier, which is about the son of an African slave and a French plantation owner who grows up to be a famous composer in France.
The next movie by Thor director Taika Waititi, Next Goal Wins, got an eight-minute sneak peek. The movie is about the American Samoa soccer team. In 2001, they lost to Australia 31-0, which was the worst loss in World Cup history. Michael Fassbender takes over as their new coach.
Disney’s show ended with a visit from Avatar producer Jon Landau, who flew from New Zealand to Barcelona to talk about the next movie in the series. He said that Avatar: The Way of Water was in the final stages of post-production and that it was important to be in Barcelona “to show our support for the exhibition community.”
Landau said that the strength of James Cameron’s scripts is that they have universal themes. “There is nothing more relatable than family,” he said before showing a message from Cameron.
Cameron from New Zealand said that the people working on Avatar were “pushing the limits even further… Every shot is made for the biggest screen and best resolution that can be achieved… I think this is what people want.” He also said, “Our business is not going away.”
Sigourney Weaver Reveals Her Unconventional Role in ‘Avatar: The Way of Water’
Weaver will portray Jake and Neytiri’s adoptive child.
Many pondered what type of role Sigourney Weaver would have in the sequel to James Cameron’s Avatar after the death of her character, Dr. Grace Augustine, who was the leader of the Avatar Program in the previous film. Finally, in an Empire Magazine exclusive, Weaver shared insights about the role she will portray in Avatar: The Way of Water, as well as a new photograph from the film.
Weaver announced to Empire Magazine that she would play Kiri, the adoptive daughter of Jake Sully (Sam Worthington) and Neytiri (Zoe Saldaa), in the film. “I believe we all remember what we were experiencing as teens,” Weaver told Empire Magazine exclusively. “I most definitely do. When I was 11, I was 5′ 10″ or 5′ 11″. I had a strong feeling Kiri would be uncomfortable a lot of the time. She’s trying to figure out who she is. Jim’s assignment of that task excited me.”
A fresh picture, which adds to the character’s mystery, has also been unveiled, hinting at some type of link that Kiri would have with Grace. Kiri is seen inside a lab, staring at a monitor with a recording of Grace on it. Despite not being biologically connected to Jake and Neytiri, Kiri seems to have human traits that other Na’vi do not have, such as five digits and eyebrows, adding to the character’s mystery.
With an obvious link between the two, as well as both characters being performed by the same actor, viewers can only guess on how significant Kiri’s involvement will be in the plot. The character will also appear on a subscriber-exclusive cover of Empire Magazine, which depicts her swimming underwater appreciating Pandora’s aquatic life, as shown in the first teaser.
Weaver and Cameron will work together again for Avatar: The Way of Water, having previously played Ellen Ripley in Aliens and Grace in the first Avatar film. Along with Weaver, Stephen Lang will reprise his role as Colonel Miles Quaritch, the man responsible for Grace’s death, in the sequel. Quaritch, like Weaver’s character, perished in the first film, fueling curiosity regarding his participation in Avatar: The Way of Water. While the roles of both actors remain unknown, fan speculation may continue until the highly anticipated film is released later this year.
On December 16, Avatar: The Way of Water will be released exclusively in cinemas.
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