COMIC-CON 2009

Comic-Con 2009 Live: James Cameron Presents Avatar

by
July 23, 2009

Avatar

This is the moment we've all been waiting for and it's 10 years in the making. James Cameron is coming to Comic-Con to finally present the first ever glimpse at Avatar, his first movie since Titanic in 1997. We obviously won't be able to take any photos or really explain in complete detail any of what we're about to see, but we'll do our best to provide some quotes from Cameron and our own reaction to what we're shown. With that introduction, let's get on with this, as we're waiting for the panel to start and things to kick off. Follow on below as we live blog the panel and head directly into a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Read on!

3:08PM - We're still waiting for the panel to start here in Hall H, so stay tuned.

3:13PM - Still waiting to pack this in and get the show on the road... I am getting very nervous, very anxious, and very excited.

3:22PM - Well our host for the evening is the infamous Tom Rothman. And his introductory speech was obviously not written by him. "Pack your bags," he says, we've got a one way ticket to Pandora!

3:24PM - "There has been much talk today about the technology invented to make this possible." "But I can tell you that this is being used in the service of story and character." Rothman says that although this should be experienced in 3D, it is also going to be shown in 2D as well everywhere. Introduces the legendary James Cameron to the stage!

3:26PM - Cameron is "honored" to be able to unveil the first footage here at Comic-Con. I share with you my love for science fiction and fantasy and other worlds. He's not going to "waste our time" because we're here to see stuff. We're going to see 24 or 25 minutes of stuff and he says the clips are relatively self-explanatory and beyond that, they don't want us to know until December.

3:28PM - He's closing this introduction with two questions that we need to answer loudly so that others out there in the universe know we exist. They are:

-How many of you have ever wanted to go to another planet?

-Are you ready to go to Pandora?

3:55PM - Just finished watching a full 25 minutes and holy shit it was phenomenal, just amazing. It does indeed look like nothing you've ever seen, it is groundbreaking, it looks incredible. Every single second in this looked real. And most of it was a completely CGI created universe that does not at all look CGI. It is truly amazing!

3:56PM - Sigourney Weaver: "This is the movie you've been waiting for." Describing her character in the movie:

1000 foot tall trees, mountains, creatures, some beautiful, some terrifying. Grace loves Pandora with all its heart and hopes to protect the Na'vi from "industrial Earth." And to do this, they project their consciousness into their Avatars, which are living, breathing biological bodies which resemble the Na'vi.

3:58PM - Just brought out Zoe Saldana as well plays the primary lead character named... well I don't know how to spell her name. Her character is the "most physically demanding role" she's ever done. I want her to be a female action character at least equal to the others in Jim's movies. She hates the humans and what they're doing in their world but finds herself completely fascinated by Jake.

4:01PM - "Working with Jim is not like anything else I've ever experienced because no one cares as much as he does," Sigourney says.

4:02PM - Zoe says the "language was amazing." It was hard, like picking up French. "It was very interesting." It sounds like she can't exactly describe how hard it was to speak a lanaguage that doesn't exist and even learn to speak with an accent in English as well.

4:04PM - Dr. Paul Frommer (of USC) spent two years working on developing the language. They learned about various things to "de-humanize" themselves to become a part of the Na'vi culture, like simple things like saying yes and no.

4:06 - First question from the attendees for a Q&A. Do you have any projects in mind for Arnold when he's out of office? "Well Arnold and I have discussed the possibility of him returning to action, I wouldn't rule that out." But he'll let him do the announcing.

4:08PM - What sparked the idea of creating this movie? The "super honest answer" is that I was the CEO of the visual effects company Digital Domain at the time and we were really good at 2D composite but not good at 3D characters. So I decided to write a story full of creatures and characters that would push the art of 3D. So I stuck the treatment in a drawer and got it our four years ago and it's now more timely than ever. References how Gollum looked in Lord of the Rings and that was the "door opening" on the possibility of making this movie. But we had a lot of work to develop the performance technology to capture the work. "Our technology needs to live up to what they can do."

4:14PM - About knowing this was the right time. "Knowing that the rain cloud is ready to rain," Cameron says. It has all the action and all the adventure and also do something that has a conscious. And while enjoying it, also makes you think about interacting with nature. "We make science fiction as human beings for human consumption." The humans in the film kind of represent that part of ourselves that is trashing the world and taking us to a grim future.

4:16PM - Cameron wanted to do something special unveiling the film so he chose to do that at Comic-Con. So he is wondering how he can get this out to the international audiences not at Comic-Con.

Going to take over IMAX 3D and digital 3D theaters worldwide on August 21st and let a global audience come to see 15 minutes of Avatar for free. "Avatar Day"

4:19PM - Unfortunately they have to wrap things up due to time constraints so that's all from the world of Pandora today!

Find more posts in Comic-Con 09, Hype

Discover more on ZergNet:

  • Nick
    I feel like I'm watching the Moon Landing.
  • Fuelbot
    Pandorum? Wrong movie. IT'S PANDORA.
  • Josh Rowe
    3:28pm as I post this, I hope it's nothing like the Ubisoft conference at E3. Lots of bullshit hype with no proof.
  • Josh Rowe
    Oops I take that back after refreshing the page. Oh boy is my face red.
  • Fuelbot
    SOMEONE LEAK THE AVATAR FOOTAGE IMMEDIATELY!!
  • Helm
    24 minutes!? Oh dear...
  • Dave
    we want some footage. :(
  • shadow
    Man, when this footage is over I can't wait to see what the reactions are.
  • http://equustel.livejournal.com equustel
    This is so unfair. They'd better release a trailer ASAP after this or I think I may cry.
  • Lius
    Someone take a footage even with cell phone please!!!! :( Im soo nervous and envy to all of you who is in comic con right now
  • Lius
    equustel: Me too - I spent all summer thinking about whats it gonna look like - Even when i was swimming or in bar - this movie makes me go crazy
  • http://alexmasterson.wordpress.com/ Digital Metaphor
    Blurry Avatar footage is the *last* thing I want to see... I just want to know how far it blows everyone's minds :D
  • Martin
    "I feel like I'm watching the Moon Landing." Lol nick. Me too! Should have bought a ticket to San Diego this year.
  • woody
    I KNOW I GOING CRAZY!!!!!!! I WISH I WAS THERE!!!!!
  • Lius
    I knew it, i wanna see this so much :(
  • woody
    AVATAR WILL BE THE GREATEST FILM OF ALL TIME!!!
  • Richard
    I cant wait for a better explanation, like what are the glasses like, is it seamless or kinda like other 3D movies, does its *really* all fit nicely together (when I watch 3D it ALWAYS goes out of focus for me sometimes during like fast action, etc, even at Up! which is supposed to be the best one out there atm) I'm interested in how some people say you feel like your somewhere else or dreaming , I mean, how can you really? It's a movie I don't even feel like I'm somewhere else physically, emotionally maybe but that's not how its been described. I want to know what *wasn't* that great about it, I want an honest answer, maybe it was the best/coolest thing you've ever seen, but still, what was blown out of proportion in the media, and by people who've talked about it, etc? I don't know if I just have an extreme imagination or what but what I imagine when I hear peoples comments seems unrealistic. Anyway I can't wait to hear more from you Alex.
  • dt3k
    trailer or bust.
  • Lius
    17: NO, AVATAR WILL BE THE GREATEST THING OF ALL TIME!!! :))
  • Kevdog
    What?! There's gonna be an Avatar day?? This is awesome!! I thought I was gonna have to wait a couple more months before I got to see ANY footage! Marking it on the calender now! Shibby!!
  • Helm
    We need a teaser at least...NOW (:
  • Lius
    teaser please
  • Cat
    I need a trailer!
  • Cody
    30 SECOND TEASER....5 FUCKING SECONDS I DONT CARE I NEED TO SEE THIS ALREADY COME ON!!!!!!!!!!
  • Ben
    why do you think thy wont release a trailer? why they are holding a global avatar day for free? its in 3D... derp. i dont think your PC could do a trailer any justice mate.
  • PinkSushi
    n Thursday morning, Kristen Stewart, Taylor Lautner, and Robert Pattinson attended a press conference in San Diego as a prelude to the huge New Moon panel happening this afternoon at Comic Con. Though the press was told not to ask any personal questions, some guy named Bob Stencil ( for first showing.net) decided to ignore that request and asked Rob and Kristen about their "chemistry" off-screen. Yes! Go bob! the video is on perezhilton .com
  • loci
    bring on the battle angel alita movie.
  • RandyG
    And some idiot said Avatar wasn't going to win the Oscar for best picture next year. Get real.
  • Lius
    29: :)
  • Al
    nice panel coverage Alex
  • tms
    I think this is going to be so good, that I will purposely not watch any footage and trailers until it gets released... just to be awed that much more - it's going to be hard, I know, but worth the wait...
  • http://www.avatarmoviezone.com Chris G.
    Avatar day is August 21st, 2009. The global launch of the trailer will be in Digital 3D, Digital 2D, Imax 3D, Imax 2D, and regular 35mm 2D. Imax 3D and select Digital 3D theaters will be the ones treated to the 15 minutes of footage in addition to the trailer. The trailer will also be available online. Ubisoft will also release the trailer for Avatar: The Game on that day, and Mattel will fully unveil(for pre-oder I guess) their toy line on the same day. AVATAR DAY INDEED
  • http://alexmasterson.wordpress.com/ Digital Metaphor
    @tms I'm with you on that one! It *will* be so much better seeing it all first-hand :D
  • KAOZ
    Pissed I coldnt get into Hall H because of all of those damn Twi Fans
  • Hellboy
    @25 SAME HERE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
  • loci
    "And some idiot said Avatar wasn't going to win the Oscar for best picture next year. Get real." and some idiot thinks great cgi is all you need to win an oscar for best picture.
  • Rick Miller
    "We obviously won't be able to take any photos or really explain in complete detail any of what we're about to see, but we'll do our best to provide some quotes from Cameron and our own reaction to what we're shown." Why is this stuff even shown at all if the press are the only ones who are allowed to see/discuss it?
  • jpooch
    I was there and the footage was absolutely amazing. It was a big mistake to have the Twilight panel back to back with this panel, as things were absolutely crazy. I got into line at about 1230ish for the 3pm start and was one of the last people to get into Hall H (the room held 7,000 people according to the comicon people i asked). There were also about three times as many people behind me trying to get in than there were in front of me. As I walked in I was handed a nice sturdy pair of Dolby Digital 3D glasses. James Cameron was just finishing up his intro to the footage as I found my seat. I was stuck in the second to last row but lucky they had the main screen in front and then two more screens halfway back. Now on to the 25minutes or so that was shown. It was absolutely breathtaking. The 3D was unlike anything else we have ever seen. Rather than things popping out it was more realistic and provided a sense of depth that I have never seen in a 3D movie. Scenes ranged from in the lab to night time and daytime on the planet of Pandora. Then you had some simply stunning emotional scenes between Jake and Neytiri and then equally stunning scenes consisting of huge creatures and a lot of action. My favorite scene was the last one. Without spoiling too much... there was a flying beast, waterfalls, cliffs and a lot of opportunities for some amazing examples of the 3D work. Even if the 3D was disappointing (which it wasn't) the CGI and environments were lavish, stunning, beautiful, and one of the most amazing looking things ever put on film. This combined with the groundbreaking 3D work makes this easily one of my most anticipated movies ever. (Now I don't want you to get the wrong idea about the 3D... it was the best I have ever seen, but with all the hype and imaginations that you all probably have, you are probably thinking of something that it isn't. So expect the best 3D you have ever seen but it is nothing beyond your imagination) The story is looking like it is going to be an epic story with plenty of focus on the development of personal relationships (especially between Neytiri and Jake). The only thing I am worried about is that it could possibly become a bit too preachy. It seems to have a lot to do with Earth running through the environment of Pandora, and Cameron even brought up the parallels between the story and our current environmental crisis. As long as it doesn't turn into a film that Al Gore can use as propaganda then I will be fine with that. Overall, I feel even more excited than I was before the panel, and just seeing/hearing Cameron, Weaver, Zaldana talk about how much fun they had working on the film, and how much this movie was a labor of love made me want to be in dead center of the theater at midnight on December 18th. I cannot wait to get lost in the world of Pandora!

FEATURED POSTS

GET MORE NEWS

Subscribe to our feed or daily newsletter:
Follow Alex's main profile on twitter:
For the news posts only, follow this acct:
Add our feed to your Feedly: follow us in feedly
Subscribe to me on YouTube for interviews 

RECENT COMMENTS

...

NEWEST PODCAST

FACEBOOK + LINKS