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03.20.2009

UPDATE - Time has issued a correction stating that the budget of the film was $200 million NOT $300 million...

TIME magazine writer Josh Quittner is one lucky dude. In his upcoming article about 3-D movies, the writer reveals that he was privileged enough to see some footage of James Cameron's absurdly anticipated 3-D sci-fi romp AVATAR. To say that this film is one of the most speculated about films in recent memory is an understatement. Everyone has been abuzz over the supposed mind-bending technology exhibited in the film, and Quittner does his part to reinforce the hype.

More than a thousand people have worked on it, at a cost in excess of $300 million, and it represents digital filmmaking's bleeding edge. Cameron wrote the treatment for it in 1995 as a way to push his digital-production company to its limits. The movie pioneers two unrelated technologies--e-motion capture, which uses images from tiny cameras rigged to actors' heads to replicate their expressions, and digital 3-D.

The film is set in the future, and most of the action takes place on a mythical planet, Pandora. The actors work in an empty studio; Pandora's lush jungle-aquatic environment is computer-generated in New Zealand by (Peter) Jackson's special-effects company, Weta Digital, and added later.

I couldn't tell what was real and what was animated--even knowing that the 9-ft.-tall blue, dappled dude couldn't possibly be real. The scenes were so startling and absorbing that the following morning, I had the peculiar sensation of wanting to return there, as if Pandora were real.

So apparently Cameron's AVATAR is going to make Dr. Manhattan look like Herman Munster. Steven Soderbergh already said that AVATAR will change the way films are made, and it looks like he wasn't far off. This is going to be absolutely HUGE. Let the hype machine begin. Read the rest of the article here.

Extra Tidbit: The reported budget of over $300 million would make AVATAR the most expensive film ever produced.
Source: TIME

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