It’s heeeerrreee — ‘Avatar’ trailer lands

Posted by · 7:25 am · August 20th, 2009

(from left) Sam Worthington and Zoe Saldana in AvatarI actually got up early this morning for this. Feels like my younger, not-so-jaded movie-going days. Then again, not so much.

It was “Avatar” fail part 2 with the trailer site still not available as of 7:04.  Then the URLs were not valid until 7:39.  You could, however, view the the trailer at MSN’s French site, Microsoft effectively scooping Apple because of the latter’s incompetence.  Seriously, why have a big countdown on your site for a week and then drop the ball at the goal line?

Meanwhile, the Apple site lists the film as: “From the director of the ‘Titanic.'”  The “Titanic?”  Wow.

Anyway, the trailer is, of course, beautiful.  But I imagine the avatars will catch many off guard.  This is such a vibrant, unique new vision that the instinct is, interestingly enough, to recoil.  But settle in and try to feel the vibe.  I think the imagery is slightly too rushed in appearance, cut together in a dizzying montage that isn’t as effective as it could have been.  Beyond that first dolly shot of Worthington looking at the avatar in the tank, there aren’t many chances to marinate in the imagery.  But this is just a teaser after all.

Head on over to Apple and take a look at the new trailer, then come back here and give us your thoughts. Six new stills after the jump.


Stephen Lang in Avatar

(from left0 Giovanni Ribisi and Sigourney Weaver in Avatar

Michelle Rodrigeuz in Avatar

(from left) James Cameron and Sigourney Weaver on the set of Avatar

Sam Worthington in Avatar

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84 responses so far

  • 1 8-20-2009 at 1:55 pm

    Kristopher Tapley said...

    Yeah, I don’t know. I think some of those shots look phenomenal, to tell you the truth. Especailly toward the end, close-ups, etc. “Bad CGI” just isn’t registering for me here.

  • 2 8-20-2009 at 1:59 pm

    Chase Kahn said...

    So…when you put on 3D glasses, do the avatars cease looking like a concept design found in George Lucas’ trashcan?

  • 3 8-20-2009 at 2:05 pm

    John said...

    I feel like the people who are defending this teaser trailer (those in the minority) aren’t even believing their awe of it. I just feel like they’re going overboard in the praise to counteract the people who think it looks “awful”.

    I don’t think it looks awful, at all. Parts of the trailer look amazing. I also think the blue avatars look cartoonish. I don’t know if/that that can be improved on by Dec. 18th, at this point.

  • 4 8-20-2009 at 2:06 pm

    Christian said...

    I still really want to see it, and the actual film itself may be amazing, but this trailer has dampened my expectations a bit. Like others have said it just looks like a video game and not a film. It’s kind of the same problem I had with the Star Wars prequels, but perhaps it will all look better on the big screen and in 3-D, but since I can’t see it tomorrow, I have to wait till December to know.

  • 5 8-20-2009 at 2:11 pm

    Andrew said...

    I’m really, really trying to not to jump on the anti-hype bandwagon, but I must admit that the trailer disappointed me. This is the next Big Step? The environments do indeed look stunning, but the Na’vi themselves just look, well, cheesy.

    I couldn’t help but think of a bastard offspring of High Elves and the Smurfs.

    I’m still going to see it as soon as it comes out, and I’m hoping that the final product has a better gloss than this – but at this point, Gollum still looks more realistic than these guys. Sorry.

    But are we all forgetting what makes us love James Cameron in the first place? His visuals are lovely, yes, but he’s a master story teller. Let’s see what he does with this pallet.

  • 6 8-20-2009 at 2:15 pm

    Jonathan Spuij said...

    Let’s do a simple poll. Yay or Nay.

  • 7 8-20-2009 at 2:15 pm

    Andrew said...

    And upon second viewing, I also see a lot of jaguar mixed in with the Smurf-Elf.

    I’m kinda excited!

  • 8 8-20-2009 at 2:17 pm

    leocd said...

    I’ve seen 2 times. I can’t find it nearly great. The CGI are too obvious and I don’ t know, maybe that makes this trailer fail for me. A shame anyway, after all the hype and the “revolutionary” great effects of the movie. I’ll have to wait til December to see if this really work for me.

    For now, Avatar is out of my top 5 anticipated movies of 2009.

  • 9 8-20-2009 at 2:24 pm

    Robert Cameron said...

    The visual effects for the scenery and weaponry does indeed look stunning; however the Na’avi themselves leave a lot to be desired. They appear too much like cartoons, and I really cannot take them as real breathing creatures. I think what we should be looking forward to is the return of Cameron’s blazing storytelling, push-it-to-the-limit action and so on; but I do think he has made an error in severely over hyping his movie. He said his visual effects are going to knock our brains out and they’d be photo-realistic. They’re not photo-realistic, so they haven’t blown our brains out, so he’s a cocky liar. I’m still looking forward to it, but I doubt I will like it as much as this year’s other superlative sci-fi vehicles, “Star Trek” and “District 9”.

  • 10 8-20-2009 at 2:24 pm

    Dario said...

    I’d say I’m half-and-half on it. On one side, I really did expect it to be a game-changer and, based on this trailer, my expectations have been a bit lowered. But f course, viewing it in a tiny frame on a computer monitor is not doing it justice, and I believe it will be more impressive on the silver screen, as intended.

    The character design doesn’t surpass the Uncanny Valley, but that didn’t bother me, seeing as the alien characters (The Na’Avi, yes?) were just enough removed from human physiognomy. However, I was impressed by the expressiveness of the Avatar in the lab gown – the one that wakes up and speaks.

    It seems that the CGI is ‘hidden’ by giving all the live action characters and sets (if any) a slight computer polish, putting all we’ve seen in a strange place between CGI and reality. Which isn’t uninteresting! But it might (and, as I’ve seen in these comments, it has) bring up less-than-fond memories of the Star Wars prequels and their plastic shine.

    Trailer – not a revelation. I’m still as mystified as I was before, and eagerly await the full picture.

  • 11 8-20-2009 at 2:39 pm

    Vito said...

    We all know Cameron has a bit of an ego. We’ve obviously all been taken in by his hints and the media’s over hyping. It doesn’t look like the next big step, but it sure looks good. Sure, maybe you don’t like the design of the Avatars, but the cgi is by no means bad. I don’t think there will be this gigantic leap forward. I think the advancements in technology will be gradual. Avatar could be part of that gradual move forward. After all, we’ve only seen this brief look. Tomorrow, we’ll have a better idea, but even then it may not be until we actually see the movie (which we all will) to really decide what’s good, and what’s bad.

  • 12 8-20-2009 at 3:26 pm

    Chris138 said...

    It looks even better in HD. As I said before, it looks like the kind of movie that should be seen on a really big screen and in 3D.

  • 13 8-20-2009 at 4:19 pm

    Algoresnuts said...

    This looks like any other computer animated movie i’ve seen. Beowulf, etc. And there are some odd bits in this trailer; the way he says, “This is great.” So awful. This is a huge dissapointment. Just awful stuff.

  • 14 8-20-2009 at 4:24 pm

    JAB said...

    Sure it looks pretty, but does that make up for having the same plot as “The Battle for Terra”?
    Color me disappointed.

  • 15 8-20-2009 at 4:24 pm

    Algoresnuts said...

    Vibrant, unique new vision???????

    WTF?! Are you high? I saw this exact same thing last night, watching District 9: A guy who has nothing, who endears himself to a foreign species, and turns on his own race. This is the exact same story i’ve seen a million times!!!

  • 16 8-20-2009 at 4:38 pm

    Brian said...

    The only awkward CG shot is the avatar sitting up in the bed. Although that might be because of the giant foot taking up so much of the frame.

    I think, beside the creatures (the monsters look sick), the world of Pandora is up there with the best WETA (or anyone) has created. Fully photo real (if it’s all CG, which I believe it is, right?) and utterly believable, despite all it’s absurdities.

    It’s the avatars themselves that are throwing a bunch of people, Kris. There’s something a little too cartoony about them that’s very reminiscent of a prequel alien type of design. Upon further familiarization with the idea, I’m not bummed so much by that than by how HUMAN they all seem to be, with kisses and bow and arrows and other human traits. Understandable, obviously, from an audience-emotional POV, but I had expected something a little more alien. My fault, not Camerons.

    And there was NO way this trailer wasn’t going to disappoint.

    And it totally does have the same basic plot as Terra.

  • 17 8-20-2009 at 4:53 pm

    Speaking English said...

    You’re absolutely nuts if you think any video game looks remotely this good, this textured and densely realized. Give me a break.

  • 18 8-20-2009 at 4:59 pm

    JAB said...

    i just wished th Na’vi looked like the ones in the half face posters we’ve seen for weeks now.

  • 19 8-20-2009 at 5:28 pm

    Robert Hamer said...

    “A guy who has nothing, who endears himself to a foreign species, and turns on his own race.”

    Damn, I hope there’s more to it than this film. Otherwise, James Cameron’s plans to create a unique science fiction classic will have been ruined by a film that cost a fraction of Avatar’s budget.

    Then again, I’m sure a movie about a brigade of Marines fighting murderous aliens didn’t seem original back in 1986, and look at how ‘Aliens’ turned out.

  • 20 8-20-2009 at 5:37 pm

    Kristopher Tapley said...

    Interesting division going on. My hunch is everyone jumping to bash the film from this is going to feel a bit sheepish when the final product rolls around. We’ll have to see.

  • 21 8-20-2009 at 6:20 pm

    Anthony said...

    Andrew: I think they’re more like Smurfs who have been crossbred with Velociraptors.

    Ridiculous looking either way.

  • 22 8-20-2009 at 8:05 pm

    Scott Ward said...

    Judging by the rather heavy unoriginality of the plot and this looking no better than any other sci-fi movie, I don’t see how this could be revolutionary in any way. It still could be a great movie though and I hope it is.

  • 23 8-20-2009 at 10:15 pm

    Mickche said...

    i love how they’ve fixed the error you’ve caught on to. Now: “From the director of titanic”

  • 24 8-21-2009 at 12:24 am

    Brian said...

  • 25 8-21-2009 at 1:12 am

    Derek 8-Track said...

    Where does the Air Bending come into play? j/k

    Jurassic Park came out in 1993 and Avatar will come out in 2009. I guess I’m now fully convinced that Steven Spielberg just created and filmed real Dinosaurs.

  • 26 8-21-2009 at 1:17 am

    Derek 8-Track said...

    I think the 2 Na’vi that are about to embrace in a hug at the end look amazing! They look the most realistic to me. I guess the same goes for the one that’s yelling in a close up.

  • 27 8-21-2009 at 2:14 am

    Rogers said...

    Im from Australia and I got into one of the 15 minute screenings. Overall I thought it was great. The 3D and CGI takes a bit of getting use to but once your into it and let Cameron point you where to look its great.

    The night scene in the forest is awe inspiring and so is the flight scene. The writing is kinda lame at times but I wasn’t really expecting it to be the best. I cannot wait to see the full and final product!

  • 28 8-21-2009 at 2:18 am

    Rogers said...

    P.S. Anyone saying this has “bad CGI” is simply off their chops. Period.

  • 29 8-21-2009 at 3:10 am

    SHAAAARK said...

    This..isn’t a trailer for a video game? Huh. Well, whatever, it didn’t make me any more interested in seeing the movie, and, I’ve gone now from being annoyed at the hype to just not caring. There’s so many great films coming this fall, that it would be a waste of money to spend it on this, of all things. Also, the Best Picture buzz is insane bullshit.

  • 30 8-21-2009 at 6:06 pm

    Populopolis said...

    Anyone saying that this doesn’t look like an animated film (what used to be called a cartoon not long ago) is simply off their chops. Period.

    May be a good cartoon or a bad one, but that’s all it is.

  • 31 8-21-2009 at 8:55 pm

    Rogers said...

    Put a still from Up against a still from Avatar and I’ll tell you which one is the cartoon.

  • 32 8-21-2009 at 9:09 pm

    Robert Hamer said...

    No one doubts that, Rogers. This is simply a bad case of impossible expectations not being met.

  • 33 8-23-2009 at 10:35 am

    poif said...

    CG is ruining that movie in an horrible way….

  • 34 8-23-2009 at 11:01 am

    Abby said...

    “What the fuck is Jar Jar Binks friends doing in this movie?”

    Bwahaha. Got a good laugh at that. This film is in trouble, buzz wise. The trailer has not done its job of impressing, and it really looks like a cartoon. The avatars still suffer from the “dead eye” that makes people uncomfortable when they try to humanize CGI characters. The whole time I was just wanting to see Sam Worthington instead of the avatar.

    And best picture? Yeah right. This would never be nominated for best picture. Nowhere near Oscar bait. Titanic was a whole different ball game.