We Will Have to Find Out if People Show Up in Theatres for Avatar 2

In 2009, filmmaker James Cameron’s Avatar hit the theaters. The film went to become a landmark in motion capture-based CGI, a technology which the filmmaker developed just for the film. Avatar was a big success, breaking box office records and holding the number one spot as the highest-grossing film of all time until Avengers: Endgame came out. But Avatar’s legacy goes beyond box office numbers, as it opened a lot of doors for fantasy and sci-fi films thanks to the technology it brought and more.

Three time Academy Award winning filmmaker is bringing back the 2009 blockbuster movie, starring Sam Worthington, Zoe Saldana, Sigourney Weaver and Stephen Lang, to the theatres for another run next week, three months before the sequel Avatar: The Way of Water hits the screens in Decemeber 2022.

During a virtual press conference, also attended by News18.com, Cameron spoke about how they have remastered the 2009 film for a better viewing experience, why is it relevant even today and how it lead to revolution in the world of 3D films.

You are re-releasing Avatar next week, how will the new audience be able to experience it now?
It’s been 12 years since the film released so if you are in the early 20s, chances are unlikely that you’ve seen the film in a movie theatre back in 2009. Back in the day, we offered the film for the big screen, for the giant screen in 3D and now we have remastered it in 4K with high dynamic range and some 48 frames per second sections in the film. It’s looking better than ever it looked even back in its initial release. There are so many people out there, a whole new kind of generation of film fans coming up. Even if they like the movie on a streaming platform or Blu-ray, they still haven’t really experienced the film the way we intended it to be seen.

Have you watched the film again after you remastered it?
We just watched the film recently when we finish the whole remastering process and it kind of blew us away. It’s hard to say with any degree of humility, we were really impressed with how the movie looked, just that physical experience of the film. We are really excited to share that with people that have never seen it in a movie theatre.

What do you think the film was so incredibly popular with audiences back when it was released? And why do you think those same things will resonate today for an audience?
I think any film is only as good as the as the people in it. And the credit goes to the entire cast and crew. Avatar took the audiences to the other world and your these otherworldly characters, which had big eyes and cattails and all that sort of thing. So, I think it took us out of our day-to-day problems, political discourse and the chaos and it took us to a place where there’s conflict, there’s all sorts of important things going on, but it’s all through a lens of fantasy or science fiction. So, from whatever culture you are in, whether you were in China, Japan, Europe and North America, it didn’t matter. People saw some universality of their lives in these characters, through this lens of science-fiction.

And then, I think it was the physical execution, the finish of the film. I think in the first few minutes, people just gave up trying to figure out how it was done because we mixed so many techniques that took us years to develop. And so, they just got to surrender to a sense of immersion in a world and a fantasy and you are willing to go on a fantasy if you can relate to the main characters. I believe people found universals of human experience that they could relate to.

And there’s one other thing too, which is that when we were kids, we just innately love nature animals and we love being out in nature. And as our lives progress, we become more and more away from nature and I think society at large anywhere in the world is suffering from nature deficit disorder of some kind. And I think this movie puts us back into that childlike wonder about nature, about nature’s grandeur and complexity and beauty.

Avatar became the biggest movie of all time, what do you perceive as the movie’s most substantial influence on modern blockbusters?
Well, that’s an interesting question. Avatar was certainly not the first film to use advanced computer-generated effects and that’s been trending wave before Avatar. I think I would say that the 3D was embraced in general for a period of time. Avatar won best cinematography with the 3D digital camera, no digital camera, had ever won the best cinematography Oscar before. And then two out of the three subsequent years, the same cameras were used by the cinematographers that won the Oscars. So, you’ve got three out of four years where digital cinematography was embraced by the academy and all three of those films, three out of four, Oscar winners for four years were in 3D.

So, then 3D is sort of appears to most people to sort of the over but it’s really not over, it’s just been acceptance, is now part of the choices that you face when you go to a theater to see a big blockbuster movie. So, you can choose to see it to 2D or choose to see in 3D.

Also, I think around the time of Avatar, people went to see movies because they were in 3D. Today nobody is going to go see a movie just because it is in 3D. There are other factors that by which we choose to watch a film. So, I think, it had, it had an impact on the way films were presented that’s now just sort of attempted and part of the part of the zeitgeist and how it’s done. In terms of long-term cultural impact, I guess we will find out if people show up for Avatar 2.

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