Avatar (2009)

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posted by Truus, Bob & Jan too! alias Truus, Bob & Jan too! on Saturday 1st of January 2022 07:02:08 PM

Chinese postcard by Oriental City Publishing Group Limited. Image of Avatar (James Cameron, 2009). Avatar (2009) is an American stereoscopic (3D) Science-Fiction film directed by James Cameron. The film grossed over US$2.7 billion, making it the most successful film ever made. The film also won three Oscars. Avatar (2009) is situated in 2154 on the fictional moon Pandora of the planet Polyphemus orbiting the star Alpha Centauri A. An Earth mining company, led by Parker Selfridge (Giovanni Ribisi), has a branch on Pandora to mine a precious mineral, unobtanium. For the interstellar space journey to and from Earth, fast spaceships are used that cover the four light-years in six years. Moreover, people are transported in a frozen state, so the journey seems to be very short. On Pandora, there is an indigenous population of humanoid beings, the Na'vi. They are intelligent like humans but technologically less advanced. They walk on two legs like humans, are 10 feet tall, slender, agile, with a tail and skin with a zebra pattern of light and dark blue. People have developed a technique to create a being that is a genetic hybrid between a particular human and the Na'vi, its so-called avatar. The human being can be mentally wirelessly connected to his/her avatar through equipment so that he/she can control it, and can see and feel through the avatar while his/her own body sleeps. When the avatar is sleeping the connection can be broken so that the driver can eat and report. Through the avatars people can more easily make contact with the Na'vi, moreover, the avatar does not have to wear an oxygen mask as people do on Pandora. Sam Worthington plays Jake Sully, a paraplegic Marine who is dispatched to Pandora on a secret mission. There he learns of greedy corporate figurehead Selfridge's intentions of driving off the native humanoid Na'vi in order to mine for the precious material scattered throughout their rich woodland. In exchange for the spinal surgery that will fix his legs, Jake gathers knowledge, of the Indigenous Race and their Culture, for the cooperating military unit spearheaded by gung-ho Colonel Quaritch (Stephen Lang), while simultaneously attempting to infiltrate the Na'vi people with the use of an avatar identity. While Jake begins to bond with the native tribe and quickly falls in love with the beautiful alien Neytiri (Zoe Saldana), the restless Colonel moves forward with his ruthless extermination tactics. Jake becomes torn between following his orders and protecting the world he feels now is his home. Avatar (2009) was the first major film production that James Cameron directed after his big success, Titanic (1997). Avatar is a large-scale, ambitious Science-Fiction film that uses many new techniques. The film consists partly of computer-generated objects, such as the Na'vi and avatars, for which motion capture was used. This revolutionary motion-capture system allows the facial expressions of actors to be captured as a virtual camera system enables them to see what their computer-generated counterparts will be seeing in the film. The New Zealand company Weta Digital, known for Peter Jackson's The Lord of the Rings, produced extensive computer animation and effects. Cameron was given a budget of US$195 million by 20th Century Fox for the project, but this amount has been further increased. The film was shot in 3D using two high-definition cameras in one housing, creating depth. Circularly polarised glasses are used in the screening, but the film has also been released in 2D. Just as for Titanic, Cameron selected young, relatively unknown but, according to him, talented actors, such as Sam Worthington. The music for the film was composed by James Horner, just as for Cameron's earlier films Aliens (1986) and Titanic (1997). Cameron had wanted to make the film earlier. As early as 1995, he wrote an 80-page script for Avatar. In August 1996, Cameron announced that he would start working on Avatar immediately after Titanic. The plans were already at an advanced stage; six actors would play the leading roles, the budget would be 100 million dollars and Digital Domain would produce the special effects. This original plan did not go ahead, because it appeared that the technology was not yet so advanced. The premiere date of Avatar was postponed again and again in 2006, originally it was 2007, later 2008, and finally 2009. Avatar (2009) became a massive hit worldwide and received three Oscars, for Best Cinematography - Mauro Fiore, for Best Art Direction - Rick Carter, Robert Stromberg, Kim Sinclair, and for Best Visual Effects - Joe Letteri, Stephen Rosenbaum, Richard Baneham, Andy Jones. Jeremy Wheeler at AllMovie: "Sometimes a film comes along that pushes the boundaries of what moviemaking can yield -- the kind of movie that reaches beyond the limits of the medium and blazes a new trail, subsequently allowing others with abundant resources to follow in its path. Despite any nitpicky flaws one might -- or might not -- find within the picture, James Cameron's Avatar is absolutely this kind of touchstone." Roger Ebert: "At 163 minutes, the film doesn't feel too long. It contains so much. The human stories. The Na'vi stories, for the Na'vi are also developed as individuals. The complexity of the planet, which harbors a global secret. The ultimate warfare, with Jake joining the resistance against his former comrades. Small graceful details like a floating creature that looks like a cross between a blowing dandelion seed and a drifting jellyfish, and embodies goodness. Or astonishing floating cloud-islands." Cameron is working on several sequels to Avatar. It is unclear when the first sequel will be released in cinemas, as it has been postponed many times. Sources: Jeremy Wheeler (AllMovie), Roger Ebert (, Wikipedia (Dutch), and IMDb. And, please check out our blog European Film Star Postcards.

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