James Cameron has screened 24 minutes of Avatar for lucky sods at a Cinema Expo in Amsterdam.
Yes, those in the audience were treated to 24 minutes from various scenes – mostly taken from the first section of the movie, and introduced by cast members including Sam Worthington and Zoe Saldana.
Coming Soon got a report from an insider who was at the screening and we’ve excerpted some choice chunks.
“In the first scene we see Sam Worthington's crippled ex-marine Jake Sully, who just arrived on the planet 'Pandora.' He's in a wheelchair and just rolled in to hear Colonel Quaritch, played by the impressive Stephen Lang, talk to the troops.
"Although the scene is in 3-D, I haven't really noticed it. Finally a director who doesn't feel the need to stick it in the audience's face with cheap tricks like pointing objects at the camera.
“In the second scene, Sigourney Weaver's Dr. Grace Augustine explains to Jake how the process of transporting your mind into an Avatar works.
“Although the scene is mostly exposition, we've got a good look at the lab and more importantly we get a first glimpse of the Avatars, the Na'Vi lookalikes. These tall blue creatures lie in water tanks, waiting for their human to 'jump' in their bodies.
“And not before long Avatar Jake wakes up. And it took my breath away. I thought--just like you guys - that I've seen it all with Gollum, or The Hulk, but Cameron has done it again. These creatures seem so real, that within minutes you forget you're watching an enormous and very blue CGI character. Even the eyes are totally convincing. The characters have real personalities and a soul.
“The most beautiful scene follows directly after the one I've described above. When Jake wants to take his torch with him, Neytiri takes it from him and throws it in the river.
“Like magic, the flowers and plants – even the grassy soil - begin to glow in the night. The beauty completely takes my breath away. Meanwhile we get to learn more about Neytiri and her people. Mysterious flowing and glowing seeds from a mystic tree appear out of nowhere. To Neytiri's surprise Jake attracts them. She has a look in her eyes like he's the 'chosen one.' And of course she's right. Jake has to lead the Na'Vi into battle against the massive army of Colonel Quaritch.
“In the next scene we meet the Banshees. The Na'Vi ride these fierce looking creatures when they hunt. After some exposition, where Neytiri explains to Jake that a Banshee first has to respect you, before you can ride it, she takes flight and another gorgeous scene unspools.”
It certainly sounds impressive, even if we haven’t had a chance to view it with our own eyes, and we’re sure the ‘net will scream “studio plant” trying to drum up extra feverish anticipation.
We want to see it for ourselves - now the question is, will there be a tour of the footage, much like studios have done with the likes of Watchmen, Star Trek and Terminator Salvation? Come on JC: you know you need to…
So: Avatar footage is in the wild. Desperate to see it? Non-plussed?