James Cameron on Avatar’s New Theatrical Reissue

Jake Sully (voiced by Sam Worthington) and Neytiri (voiced by Zoe Saldana) in Twentieth Century Fox's AVATAR

(L-R:) Jake Sully (voiced by Sam Worthington) and Neytiri (voiced by Zoe Saldaña) in Fox’s Twentieth Century Avatar
Image: Thanks to WETA

If you haven’t seen it yet Avatar in a movie theater it means “kinda didn’t see the movie,” at least according to writer-director James Cameron. Not that Cameron is the kind of guy who would shade Blu-ray, Disney+, or your 85-inch flat screen TV — actually, wait, he’s probably that kind of guy. Regardless, the filmmaker now firmly believes that the best way to experience his 2009 sci-fi fantasy blockbuster is with the newly remastered version of the film, which hits theaters Friday in high-resolution 3D. 4K dynamic range.

While Hollywood hopes the return of Cameron’s 3D classic will spark a slow box office in September, the Academy Award-winning film’s reissue also serves as the opening act for Avatar: The way of the waterthe 12-year successor to Cameron, which will hit theaters on December 16.

Right now, though, Cameron wants to talk about the original Avatar. “It looks better than it ever looked, even in its initial release,” he said at a recent press conference, which reunited the filmmaker with cast members Sam Worthington, Zoe Saldaña, Sigourney Weaver, Michelle Rodriguez and Stephen Lang.

The audience gets to see the film “The way we intended it to be seen,” Cameron added. “The physical experience of the movie, we’re just really excited to share that with people who’ve never seen it in a movie theater.”

Avatar | Back in Theaters | Tickets on sale

Weaver, pondering her memories of playing exobiologist Dr. Grace Augustine, reinforced Cameron’s position. “The only way you can get to Pandora is to go to the theater and see it in 3D — that’s the rocket ship,” she said. When asked about how well she understood what the 10-foot-tall, all-blue Avatar version of her character would look like, she admitted that when filming those scenes, she hadn’t yet constructed her “earthly being.” “With Jim you step off the cliff, you know the best people in the world are in charge of every department and you can trust that the process will never let you down. So I had, even though I didn’t have an answer to everything.”

Saldaña, whose character Neytiri has no humanoid counterpart and therefore had to put all her faith in the film’s motion-capture technology, echoed the sentiment. “My imagination was never as infinite as it was when I was there. And the last time I remember that was when I was a kid.”

“Zoe had nothing to act with but just these gray set pieces, and sometimes just a gray painted box or a piece of pipe to hold on to,” Cameron recalled, discussing the motion capture filming techniques his team worked with. the visual effects company Weta Digital pioneered. . “I think in the first few minutes, [audiences] we just gave up trying to figure out how to do it because we mixed up so many techniques that it took years to develop. And so they just surrendered to a sense of immersion in a world and in a fantasy.

“I just look back at everyone’s work and [am] so grateful to have had the opportunity to work with these wonderful people,” he added. “And I think that’s why I promptly went out and wrote another and another and another avatar.

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