James Cameron talks ‘Avatar’ at E3

Posted by · 12:26 pm · June 2nd, 2009

As mentioned in this morning’s round-up, the first look we’re all getting at James Cameron’s “Avatar” comes in the form of screen shots from the accompanying video game.  Quite silly, of course, but anyway, Cameron talked briefly about the film and at length about the game at the on-going Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) yesterday.

Cameron talked at length about the film’s plot, which I’ve steered clear from elsewhere but if you’re like me, it’s a gold mine of information.  When he begins discussing the “mother of all battles” that closes the film, the geek hairs stood up on the back of my neck.

You can read a full transcript of Cameron’s lead-in address, right up until he begins discussing the Ubisoft video game, after the jump.  Here’s a video of the presentation, from G4:

Cameron’s full lead-in:

“Avatar”…takes place in the 22nd century. Most of the action takes place on Pandora, which is not actually a planet, it’s a large moon of a gas giant planet called Polyphemus in the Alpha Centauri-A star system. Pandora is Earth-like. It has lush rainforest environments and they’re filled with incredible life-forms like 1,000-foot tall trees and a myriad of creatures, some of which are quite beautiful and some of which are quite terrifying…

Pandora is also home to the Na’vi, who are a humanoid race which lives at a state that we would consider to be primitive — bows and arrows and primitive weapons and that sort of thing — but who ultimately prove to be much wiser than we are. The Na’vi are 10-feet tall, blue skin, striped like tigers, they have long tails, they’re quite fierce-looking and they can be ferocious warriors when they are provoked, but normally, as when humans are not trampling their planet, they live harmoniously in their forest environment.

Now humans can’t breathe the air on Pandora, so the major conceit of the story is that it was decided to create a human/Na’vi hybrid through genetic engineering, and these are called the avatars…The avatar bodies are controlled by a human driver who projects their consciousness via a technology which links their mind to the avatar body and they kind of live through that body in a kind of remote control while their human body is in a coma-like state.

So here’s our main character, Jake Sulley, who was a marine who was wounded in combat, paralyzed, goes to Pandora, and in his avatar body of course he can walk, he can run, he can live again. As the story develops he finds himself caught between the military industrial complex from earth and the Na’vi on the other hand who are increasingly threatened by the human expansion on Pandora. As an avatar living with the Na’vi, he falls in love with a Na’vi girl, whose name is Neytiri, and she’s a smoking hot action character, somebody you don’t want to mess with.

As he kind of goes deeper into their culture and becomes one of her clan, he ultimately has to choose sides in the big impending battle. And let me tell you, this battle at the end of this movie, its the mother of all battles because you’ve got human technology, helicopter gunships and all kinds of futuristic weaponry against the Na’vi giants riding their creatures, which include the formidable flying Kran, or the Banshees, as the humans call them.

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11 responses so far

  • 1 6-02-2009 at 1:11 pm

    Hans said...

    It’s always cool to hear about directors who had these great ideas years ago but had to wait patiently for the technology. It makes me wonder what great ideas are being concocted right now that can’t be done but are waiting for the technology.

    That said….I can’t help but think that this plot sounds sooo similar to Halo. I mean…..a lush foreign planet/moon in a distant celestial solar system, where a genetically engineered superwarrior (Avatar/Master Chief) must battle with the guidance of a mystery woman entity (Na’teri/Cortana)…..

    I dunno why I am just not feeling this movie, probably because there hasn’t been anything CONCRETE to get me hyped up, but this was a nice update.

  • 2 6-02-2009 at 1:17 pm

    Kristopher Tapley said...

    Never played Halo. So they’re pretty similar? That sucks.

  • 3 6-02-2009 at 1:29 pm

    Hans said...

    Oh, I’m sure Cameron will deliver beautifully and I don’t wanna poop on anyone’s parade, but I’m just not buying into the hype quite yet.

  • 4 6-02-2009 at 1:49 pm

    The World said...

    a 3-d game? that sounds swesome. and for those unfamilar with ubisoft, they make some great story lined games.

  • 5 6-02-2009 at 2:10 pm

    red_wine said...

    To be honest the story that he narrated is so generic, so cliched. But writing & screenplay was never his strength(Titanic).

    Obviously I know in Avatar the story is an excuse for all the mind-boggling action. But this does not seem something very sophisticated to me, just a bang all action film. Not Transformers, obviously, but the love story seems like a paper thin after-thought.

    It know it will be technological revolution and stuff but lets see how it works out. Its obviously gonna be an epic, with awe-inspiring visuals but with a very hollow core or so it seems.

  • 6 6-02-2009 at 3:19 pm

    Kristopher Tapley said...

    World: two words: Assassin’s Creed

  • 7 6-02-2009 at 3:47 pm

    AmericanRequiem said...

    This looks awesome, like a dream state, why such critisism for it already, just look forward to it people

  • 8 6-02-2009 at 3:51 pm

    tony rock said...

    Every story sounds cliched when outlined in basic terms. I think ppl shud wait until we see something concrete before judging. Innocent until proven guilty, so to speak.

  • 9 6-02-2009 at 3:56 pm

    AmericanRequiem said...

    Even if the story is clichd Im pretty confident that the visuals should be impressive enough for us to look past it

  • 10 6-02-2009 at 6:27 pm

    JAB said...

    oh no…isn’t that the same plot as the Battle for Terra?

  • 11 6-03-2009 at 12:28 am

    tony rock said...

    well…does it relly matter if the story is similar to Terra or Halo? Nobody saw Terra and the Halo movie was scrapped…so as far as I’m concerned it’ll be something I’ve never seen before.