Get more Mail & Guardian
Subscribe or Login

Worldwide Avatar previews thrill sci-fi fans

Fans wearing 3D glasses clapped as soon as James Cameron’s face appeared on screen. The filmmaker, shown in 3D, invited moviegoers to enjoy a 16-minute peek of his anticipated sci-fi epic Avatar, which was screened for free around the world on Friday.

The footage takes viewers to the planet Pandora, where an ex-Marine (Sam Worthington) is among a group of humans who have their brains linked to cloned versions of a native species in order to safely explore the spectacular environment. Sigourney Weaver plays a botanist overseeing the exploration. She, too, embodies an avatar based on the tall, lithe, tailed, blue humanoid species that populates the planet.

Together they meet an enormous hammerhead dinosaur with a plume of multicolored spikes on its face and the snarling tiger-like creature that scares it away.

Another scene shows Worthington’s character befriending a native woman (Zoe Saldana). They discover a psychedelic forest of luminescent flowers and battle an army of flying dragons. Relying on 3D and performance-capture technology Cameron has helped pioneer, Avatar is an immersive blend of animation and live-action movie magic.

Fans at an Imax screening in Los Angeles were overwhelmed by the 3D footage.

”It was almost a sensory overload,” said Ryan Moore (23) a student at Ohio State University. ”You have to be in the moment wearing the [3D] glasses to really appreciate it.”

Dwayne Smith of Venice was taken with the digital effects.

”It looked very real, especially the aliens. It looked amazingly real,” said the 45-year-old. ”It was one of the most amazing things I’ve ever seen, actually.”

The free preview convinced one fan to buy a ticket on the spot.

”I think it’s going to be one of the greatest movies this decade,” said 21-year-old film student Derek Nunn.

The screenings, shown on some 440 screens in 58 countries, kept social networking sites abuzz with fan feedback.

One who was disappointed with the trailer said seeing the extended footage in 3D changed his mind about the movie.

”It is essential that you watch it in Imax 3D, or 3D,” Manoj Patel of Manchester, England, wrote on the film’s Facebook page. ”I just got back from watching the 15-minute footage, and I’ve got to say, my mouth was wide open all the way through.”

Response to the film’s 2D trailer, which debuted online on Thursday, was mixed. Analysing the two-minute teaser, several movie blogs — including Movieline.com and Spout blog — noted the film’s similar appearance to the 2008 animated flop Delgo and other science fiction movies.

But fans who saw the footage in 3D gave it overwhelmingly positive reviews.

”The trailer does not represent the movie properly,” Smith said.

”The trailer short-sells it.”

Cameron said on Friday he heard the trailer was a hot topic on Facebook and Twitter, but that he lacks certain social networking skills to take part.

”I don’t even know how to Twitter,” he said in an interview.

”I’m so unhip that it’s tragic.”

But the 55-year-old filmmaker, whose last flick was world box-office record-holder Titanic in 1997, knows how to make a splash on screen.

He said his team came up with the ”crazy stunt” of inviting people to the movie theatre to watch 16 minutes of Avatar for free.

”And it’s not even a continuous 16 minutes,” Cameron said.

”There are a number of scenes, about three or four minutes apiece. And the idea was to let people come in and really sample the quality of the goods.”

Avatar is set for release on December 18. – Sapa-AP

Subscribe for R500/year

Thanks for enjoying the Mail & Guardian, we’re proud of our 36 year history, throughout which we have delivered to readers the most important, unbiased stories in South Africa. Good journalism costs, though, and right from our very first edition we’ve relied on reader subscriptions to protect our independence.

Digital subscribers get access to all of our award-winning journalism, including premium features, as well as exclusive events, newsletters, webinars and the cryptic crossword. Click here to find out how to join them and get a 57% discount in your first year.

Related stories

WELCOME TO YOUR M&G

If you’re reading this, you clearly have great taste

If you haven’t already, you can subscribe to the Mail & Guardian for less than the cost of a cup of coffee a week, and get more great reads.

Already a subscriber? Sign in here

Advertising

Subscribers only

Data shows EFF has lower negative sentiment online among voters...

The EFF has a stronger online presence than the ANC and Democratic Alliance

Hawkish Reserve Bank sees South Africa edge towards a rates...

Analysts say the Reserve Bank could start tightening monetary policy as early as next month

More top stories

Data shows EFF has lower negative sentiment online among voters...

The EFF has a stronger online presence than the ANC and Democratic Alliance

Greenpeace investigation exposes countries trying to dilute climate report

Greenpeace team says it has obtained leaked records of countries asking scientists to water down upcoming scientific report on climate change

Zondo responds to Fraser’s objection to his nomination as chief...

The deputy chief justice said all the former spy boss had to do to respond to bombshell testimony implicating him in state capture was to apply for a turn to testify

Immunocompromised finally prioritised for Covid-19 booster shots

Organ recipients are at greater risk of death from Covid-19, while waiting lists for transplants grow
Advertising

press releases

Loading latest Press Releases…
×