Saturday, August 01, 2009

Jim Has Seen Spy Cam Clip Of AVATAR Footage... **SPOILERS**

Jim here. Yes - I have in my possession a spy cam clip of the AVATAR footage shown at Comic-Con and I have to say that even though it is a blurry 2D clip of a 3D movie shot by a hand held camcorder while trying to stay out of sight, it is fairly good.

However, because it is not the ideal way to see AVATAR by any means, I will not be posting it. And it reminds me too much of piracy which I despise. I know, I know. You want to see it anyway. Sorry - you will thank me later for it. AVATAR Day is right around the corner and the wait will be worth it. You will see parts of AVATAR that will whet your appetites even more (if that's possible) whereas if I show you this clip, you will not have that truly special experience. I am glad I did not see all the clip in this fashion!

That said, my jaw dropped when I watched this. It still drops, after playing it over and over again 50 times. I will have the benefit of being able to press the pause button while reviewing this, so this will be the most detailed explanation of what happened in these scenes - others had to write brief notes in the dark.

Remember that I am in the same boat as most of you. Due to personal reasons I could not get down to Comic-Con this year (I know - of all years to miss it). So while I took one for the team here and viewed it in this very raw and un-ideal way - it was mesmerizing. Michael was lucky enough to have seen it in person.

The most impressive thing about the scenes I saw was the intense feeling of being a child again. More on that later.


In the first scene Jake (Sam Worthington) is introduced to the fellows in the lab on Pandora where they have the avatars submerged in water (growing them from the mix of Na'vi and human DNA?) and is then shown his own avatar. "There's yours" a technician says to him.

This is where one of the screen caps that has emerged on the Interwebs was grabbed from. To show you I have the real deal here, I have included another photo of the same scene, but a different frame. Sorry, I won't give you more than that. Think AVATAR Day!

The Na'vi are muscular, yet svelte. The water in the tanks surrounding the Na'vi is very well done, showing the slight nuances and distortions required for photoreal. "Looks like you" the tech says. "This is your avatar now Jake". The music and the emotion from the screen is not unlike viewing your newborn child for the first time - a sense of wonder and of a miracle as Jake examines his avatar. A slight smile from Jake at the end of the scene solidifies it. He is emotionally attached already.

Next scene we jump to Jake muscling his way into the Na'vi link bed (sorry - no technical terms were used) from his wheelchair, refusing help from the tech. He slides on the bed and grabs each leg by his pants one after the other, swinging them over to rest in front of him. Enter Sigourney to rapturous applause from the Comic-Con crowd. Dialogue is inaudible due to the clapping and hollering. The machine looks like an MRI machine, only the front of it has spinning, clockwise lights making it look very cool. They talk about what is going to happen: Jake will be entering the Na'vi "without any training of any kind". She instructs him to lie down on the light greenish bed and she lowers a transparent, thin sheet of electronics down over him. Very interesting! Jake keeps humorously raising his head over and over like a curious kid and Grace keeps pushing it back down. "Just relax, and let your mind go blank... that shouldn't be hard for you" says Grace (a hint at their relationship I am sure). Some dialogue I can't put in here as it is garbled. "Initiate link". Flat transparent screens then reveal Jake's brain with glowing regions associated with the brain activity and link preparation. In fact, you can swipe the screen right off of the monitor and carry it with you as a portable device! A technician speaks to Grace, "That's a gorgeous brain... nice activity." We're going in," says Grace. Jake's eyes enter into rapid eye movement and the camera zooms to his face - then... a flash of light followed by falling through what looks a lot like a wormhole of light for several seconds. Eyes open to reveal a blurry room and a technician looking over him... "He's in. Jake, can you hear me?"

The avatar eyes are STUNNINGLY real. After checking some vital signs a tech asks "How you feeling Jake?" Jake's avatar smiles, "Hey guys." "Welcome to your new body Jake. We're going to take this nice and easy Jake." Another avatar sits up with his new body and literary dwarfs the human technicians in the room. "Can you touch your thumbs to your fingers?" "No problem." (Looks like Joel Moore - could be wrong).

Then Jake sits up. He starts moving his feet right away while still half lying down on the bed - remember he is a paraplegic in his human form. He is awed and excited by it. Smiling. Jake turns now and places his blue feet on the floor - they are HUGE. Camera close up on them. He stands up and his tail is now waving around excitedly. "Please sit down on the table Jake!" He spins around ignoring the technicians' calls to sit back down. His own tail wraps around his arm, startling him slightly - then he whips his tail backward, knocking over something. "Sedate him!" calls out a tech. Jake rips off the wires that are on him and starts walking. "Jake listen to me... You are not used to your avatar body." Jake smiles, "This is great." The other avatar warns him "They are gonna put you out." Again Jake ignores them and walks quickly to the doorway - an intentionally tall doorway - and hits the release. Jake is walking quickly out of view down the hallway. And then opening another door leading to a great deal of light (outside?). The technicians are frantically giving chase. End of scene. End of clip.

I can attempt to describe it, but I really can't do it justice and that is from the limited exposure I have had through this clip. I consider myself very lucky to have sources that trust me enough with it and believe me when I say this is a great job I have.

The overwhelming feeling I have gotten from just this limited look was one of awe and wonder - just like a child growing up. I felt like I was Jake. You are meant to engage in what it must have felt like to suddenly be able to use your legs again and walk. But not only just walk, but control a wonderfully beautiful and powerful creature.

The biggest jaw droppers for me was the first look at the avatar's face - a close up with the eyes open. Photo-freakin' Real. In my opinion, don't believe a word from those odd few sites out there claiming not to be overly impressed. This is history here guys. The technican shines a light into his eyes testing for dialation. Just superb movie making. Mainly yellow and black eyes. The avatar body is amazing. Light blue with dark blue striping. A very long "braided ponytail" on the back of his head and a tail (same blue pattern) with a black tip. The avatar's teeth look to be very similar to humans.

I can say without hesitation that you will be astounded on AVATAR Day. Make sure you get into the screens to see it - it will be a hard ticket to get. I really can't believe what i just saw - moviemaking is really switching gears here. And to think that I didn't even see it in 3D! :-) Can't wait! I know there will be some questions from you guys about the scenes - ask away...

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Jim Dorey
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