Avatar: why is it absolutely necessary to see James Cameron’s film again at the cinema?
Avatar comes out in theaters on September 21 in a remastered version, an opportunity to refresh your memory before La Voie de l’eau, in cinemas on December 14. Why is it absolutely necessary to (re) see James Cameron’s blockbuster?
Between Avatar and its sequel, The Way of the Water , 13 long years have passed. Disney therefore offers the public to (re)discover the first opus from September 21 in theaters, while waiting for the second part, scheduled for December 14.
As a reminder, the story introduced us to Jake Sully, a former marine immobilized in a wheelchair. Despite his paralysis, he remained a fighter to the core of his being. Jake is recruited to travel light years from Earth to Pandora, where powerful industrial groups are mining a rare ore to solve the energy crisis on Earth.
Because Pandora’s atmosphere is toxic to humans, they created the Avatar Program, which allows human “pilots” to link their minds to an avatar, a remotely controlled biological body capable of surviving in this lethal atmosphere.
These avatars are hybrids created genetically by crossing human DNA with that of the Na’vi, the natives of Pandora. In his avatar form, Jake can walk again. He is entrusted with a mission of infiltration with the Na’vi, who have become too substantial an obstacle to the exploitation of the precious ore. But everything will change when Neytiri, a very beautiful Na’vi, saves Jake’s life.
WHY SHOULD I (RE)SEE IT?
First of all, you should know that Avatar will be released in theaters in an unprecedented remastered version enhanced with an exceptional 4K HDR image, as well as in a wide selection of immersive 2D and 3D formats.
James Cameron says it himself, it is in particular the opportunity for the younger generations to discover the film in theaters. “I hope that the youngest spectators will discover it at the cinema” . Indeed, according to the filmmaker, the latter have seen the film in streaming or on blu-ray and have not had the opportunity to fully immerse themselves in the world of Pandora.
“Even though they think they’ve seen Avatar, they haven’t really enjoyed it. I was pleasantly surprised, not only by how well the film aged, but also how beautifully it looked in its remastered version ,” said hammered the stage director at the microphone of THR .
“Audiences are hungry for cinema. Things are slowly recovering. Part of the decline is due to the dearth of high-profile titles that can make people want to move on. But Avatar is the epitome of this phenomenon. It’s the type of film you have to see in a cinema” , insists the filmmaker.
A REVOLUTIONARY FILM
True to his habits and obsessions, James Cameron has pushed the limits of technology with Avatar, redefining the way to approach the production of a blockbuster. For example, the Canadian native didn’t want to resort to makeup to create his aliens. For decades, humanoid extraterrestrials have been played by made-up actors.
For the director, this process has too many limits. Eye size and spacing cannot be changed. The proportions of the body remain identical as well as the overall size of the characters.
In addition, make-up based on rubber or silicone prostheses limits the performance of the actors, because it acts as a barrier between the actor and the camera lens.
Avatar featured photo-realistic characters in an entirely computer-generated universe that looked absolutely real. Each plant, tree, rock was invented, calculated by the computers of WETA Digital in New Zealand, the company to which we owe the special effects of the saga The Lord of the Rings by Peter Jackson.
Incredible progress has been made in terms of lighting, shading, texturing, dressing, rendering… All of this has allowed WETA to create a world with photographic realism, alien in detail, but which is identified from the first sight as completely natural.
In addition, WETA had to work in 3D to create the computer graphics scenes (as did the other visual effects studios that contributed to the film, including ILM), but the live action scenes had to be shot in 3D too.
To do this, James Cameron used the Fusion Camera System, which he co-developed with Vince Pace. It took seven years of development to develop this stereoscopic camera system, the most advanced in the world. These ingenious cameras allow live action scenes to be seamlessly merged with CG footage to form a seamless whole.
Due to the many technologies developed specifically for this film, Avatar represents the most formidable challenge James Cameron has ever faced in his career.
“I’ve always tried to push the limits of technology, but this time it often resisted us and we had to push even harder…Making this film was a bit like jumping from the top of a cliff and sew his parachute during the descent ,” he said.
With the “performance capture” method, which was revolutionary at the time, all these drawbacks disappeared. Even though the CG characters in Avatar look like the actors who play them, their basic proportions are different.
For example, the eyes of the Na’vis are twice the diameter of those of humans and are much further apart. The Na’vi are also much thinner than the Men, sporting elongated necks. Furthermore, the structure of the skeleton and the muscles are not the same, as demonstrated by their three-fingered hands.
Being computer-generated characters, Na’vis and avatars can be much taller than humans. Blue makeup would have given opaque skin. Thanks to computer-generated images, characters have translucent skin that looks like real skin.
The surface pigments do not mask the reddish luminescence of the blood flowing below, such as when a strong light shines on their ears from behind. All these subtleties combine to allow the realization of creatures that give the impression of real living beings.
From Terminator 2 to Titanic via Abyss , James Cameron has always made it a point of honor to advance technology, inventing new ways of filming, helping to revolutionize cinematographic techniques.
In addition, if you go (re) see Avatar at the cinema, you will have a nice surprise! At the end of the credits, the public will be able to discover several new and exclusive scenes from La Voie de l’eau!
Note that Club AlloCiné audiences were able to (re)discover this magical work in the Dolby room at Pathé Beaugrenelle, a sublime setting to host this spectacular feature film. And the spectators were won over....