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June 5, 2009

Avid for Avatar


After years shrouded in mystery, details about James Cameron’s Avatar (the director’s first film since the colossal Titanic) are finally leaking out.

Avatar, due in theaters the end of this year, will have a running time of more than 2 ½ hours, is rumored to be the most expensive move ever made (there’s a surprise!) and has been shot completely in digital-3D IMAX.

IMDb describes the plot this way: In a distant future, humanity discovers the planet 'Alpha Centauri B-4', and for those scientists and astronauts who've traversed the gulf between neighboring suns and arrived on its alien soil know it as 'Pandora'. A world filled with an incredible diversity of beautiful and deadly ammonia-breathing lifeforms. Its also a world that harbors treasures and resources almost beyond price. But just as the original Pandora's Box wrought devastation on those who would use it for their own gain, so too this world may destroy not just the Pandoran’s home, but ours as well. Avatar is the story of a wounded ex-marine, thrust unwillingly into an effort to settle and exploit an exotic planet rich in bio-diversity, who eventually crosses over to lead the indigenous race in a battle for survival.

The gang over at SlashFilm have been on top of both rumors and reality the past few months and compiled quite a few goodies, including plot information, actor interviews, concept art and even a snapshot of the film’s Power Suit (reminiscent of the heavy loaders Cameron last employed in Aliens.)

Check out some of the concept art here and here.

See pictures of the Power Suit here.

Several filmmakers who have seen Avatar footage have come away besotted; as diverse a group as Steven Soderbergh and Iron Man's Jon Favreau.

There’s a lot more where that came from, including chats with the cast and crew, screening decisions and dissections of the controversial budget.

I, for one, cannot wait for this film. Cameron is one of the true filmmaking pioneers, not just artistically but technically. Cameron’s prickly perfectionism has always delivered. Like Pixar, he’s never made a bad film.


I'm maintaining cautious optimism, hoping this film surprises me as much as STAR TREK did.

The lack of promotion for this film is a little puzzling. Big event movies--which this is sure to be--usually get a trailer of some kind even up to a year before a film's release. Six months out, and we've got nuthin.

Either this is a genius move to help build excitement, or "stereoscopic 3-D" is propping up what might turn out to be an underwhelming film.

I'm holding out hope, though. I just finished writing an essay arguing in favor of Cameron's considerable gifts. Been waiting for this film for 12 years, and I would hate to see Cameron pull a Lucas.