Dutch Trade Show Audience Feasts Upon 24 Minutes of Avatar

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Until now, only a select few -- like Steven Soderbergh and star Sigourney Weaver -- have actually glimpsed finished renderings of the 3-D Eden known as Avatar and lived to talk about it. A bleeding edge science fiction film of reputedly breathtaking beauty, just a glimpse of Avatar is said to instantly reduce audiences into incapacitated puddles of twitchy ecstasy, while reversing infertility and clearing up problem skin. Well, ladies and avatars, we are now one step closer to deciding for ourselves whether or not to believe the hype.

THR reports that James Cameron finally unveiled several finished scenes at Cinema Expo in Amsterdam last, sauntering on stage before a shocked crowd who minutes before had been biding their time watching Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs trailers and daydreaming about cutting out early to hit a hash bar and legal prostitute or two.

A ComingSoon.net correspondent filed a detailed eyewitness account:

In the first scene we see Sam Worthington's crippled ex-marine Jake Sully, who just arrived on the planet 'Pandora.' He's in a wheelchair and just rolled in to hear Colonel Quaritch, played by the impressive Stephen Lang, talk to the troops. He's giving a classic speech that every military leader gives at the beginning of a battle. Jake listens as an outsider to this speech. A melancholic smile appears on his face. [...]

In the second scene Sigourney Weaver's Dr. Grace Augustine explains to Jake how the process of transporting your mind into an Avatar works. Although the scene is mostly exposition, we've got a good look at the lab and more importantly we get a first glimpse of the Avatars, the Na'Vi lookalikes. These tall blue creatures lie in water tanks, waiting for their human to 'jump' in their bodies. Besides Weaver and Worthington, the scene introduces Joel Moore's character Norm Spellman. As is usually the case with Moore, his character is the comic relief.

It's the third scene where my heart begins to pound like crazy. Jake and Norm will inhabit their Avatar for the first time. They enter some sort of capsule and - flash - their mind enters the blue creatures, now lying on hospital tables. And not before long Avatar Jake wakes up. And it took my breath away. I thought--just like you guys--that I've seen it all with Gollum, or The Hulk, but Cameron has done it again. These creatures seem so real, that within minutes you forget you're watching an enormous and very blue CGI character. Even the eyes are totally convincing. The characters have real personalities and a soul.

Sound the "Suck It, Zemeckis" Alarm: The Dead-Eyed CGI Threshold has at last been crossed! Avatar will save us all!

· James Cameron Previews 24 Minutes of Avatar! [ComingSoon.net]

· 'Avatar' footage in action at Cinema Expo [THR]



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