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Avatar: Waterway: The Great Return of James Cameron

Avatar: Waterway: The Great Return of James Cameron

It took the Canadian director 12 years to prepare and shoot Avatar: Waterway, the second installment in one of the most ambitious cinematic franchises. Or symbol pictureJames Cameron’s team had to develop not only the narrative and visual universe, but also the necessary technology.

Avatar: Waterway It was a feat. In February 2010, James Cameron and producer Jon Landau decided to hold a mini technical summit with the “Avatar” teams to review the technical elements of the feature film and identify its strengths and weaknesses. “I do not think so water way It might have seen the light if we hadn’t taken part in this exercise,” noted the director who, once the meeting was over, began to think about the rest.

notes pages

As soon as James Cameron gets down to business, he fills in notebooks. In total, the director and producer fill out 1,500 pages that also contain potential plots. And in this moment he realizes that it will take more than two films to tell the story of Pandora, Jake Sully (Sam Worthington) and Neytiri (Zoe Saldana). in water waythe couple now have children, Neteyam (James Flatters), Lo’ak (Britain Dalton), Tuk (Trinity Jo-Li Bliss) and Kiri (Sigourney Weaver), an adopted teenager.

But the humans are back. Aside from mining optinium, they also want to colonize Pandora in order to settle there, as Earth is on the verge of becoming uninhabitable. The Soliz and Umatikaya flee towards the mountains to join Myetkayena, a clan that lives on water, whose leaders Ronal (Kate Winslet) and Tunwari (Cliff Curtis) have no choice but to help them. But that doesn’t stop Colonel Miles Quaritch (Stephen Lang) from chasing them.

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The time spent refining the story for this and subsequent installments allowed the team to do so water way To develop the technological tools necessary for this filming, in other words to find a way to capture performances underwater, a first in the history of cinema. “The key is to shoot really underwater, but only on the surface so the actors are swimming properly, getting out of the water properly and diving properly. It feels real because the movements were real and the emotion was real,” the director said.

Exceptional photography

So Stephen Lang returned as a villain – thanks to a technology made from the transfer of DNA and memories – even if his character died in the previous installment. He was asked by QMI about his willingness to do so Avatar: WaterwayThe actor said the months leading up to James Cameron’s first take were intense.

“It was very physical. I had to work on my flexibility, my energy and my strength. I practiced a lot of parkour, a lot of archery, a lot of martial arts. For the fighting, I studied knife fights, stick fights and automatic weapons clearly. I also had to work on everything going on.” In the water, and it’s no secret that this “avatar” occurs in huge amounts of water.

With Jim Cameron symbol pictureYou never know when shooting starts or even when it ends,” Stephen Lang said with a laugh when asked how long he’s been on the feature film. Anytime Jim can call us and say he needs us.”

“If I remember correctly, filming lasted a few years. We started shooting in 2017 and preparing in 2015. We would take breaks before coming back and starting over. Things got really serious in 2017 through 2019. The schedule was intense, no I even know how long I’ve been on set, 100 to 200 days. I admit I lost count. I showed up and it worked.”

Revival of cinema in theaters

Since using performance capture technology – “Motion/Performance Capture” used by Peter Jackson the Lord of the Ringsand then Andy Serkis for his impressive trilogy Planet of the Apes -, the Academy of Oscars struggles to recognize this genre as an actor’s game in and of itself, and systematically ignores actors who use it.

“Performance capture is a more present reality in cinema today. How people will adapt and how it will be recognized is beyond our control. I knew, as soon as I saw the first symbol picture Zoe Saldana’s performance is one of the most impressive in cinematic history. Getting a service is a service in itself. I don’t know how to explain it anymore.”

“It’s a game that’s very close to theatrical stage because of its simplicity. It’s a technique that requires full use of all the tools available to the actors. Is it harder? No. Playing is simple at the bottom, but it’s a hard art,” emphasized Stephen Lang.

Another serious topic is cinema attendance, which has seen a significant decline in the United States and Europe since the pandemic. the first symbol picture Not only did it create a rush for 3D technology and a boost in box office revenue, but it also broke all records, with moviegoers flocking to theaters to watch the feature film. Avatar: Waterway Will he be able to convince the crowds to reconnect with the darkrooms?

It’s hard to say, but I tend to say ‘yes’. It’s complicated to anticipate what the audience’s response will be. Given the nature of the film, its importance, and moviegoers’ expectations I think so. water way is the perfect feature film to get people back into cinemas and to convince new moviegoers to come.”

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“I think that cinema will never be the same again. But cinema is constantly evolving. If we compare what the films of the thirties were, and what they became in the sixties, we realize that they were radically different, especially because of the democratization of television. What is important is the return of cinema. It is impossible Conveying the cinematic experience anywhere other than the theater — the big screen, sitting with strangers and communicating in front of a screen.”

  • Avatar: Waterway Opened December 16th.