Sunday, October 11, 2009

AVATAR Preview At Adobe MAX 2009: Reader's Review! **MILD SPOILERS**

Jim here. Thanks to 3211 for the awesome review that we were waiting for of the AVATAR preview at Adobe MAX 2009!


The following is verbatim taken from a recent comment post:

Trudy Chacon sets the Samson down in a clearing and Corporal Lyle Wainfleet, Grace, Norm and Jake step out. Over the roar of twin rotors Grace tells Trudy, "Shut it down; we're gonna be a while." She then turns to Wainfleet, rifle stock locked to his shoulder,"You stay here," Grace says, "we've already got one crazy Marine." Jake's face forms a wry smile, and with rifle ready he leads his fellow AVTR scientists into the jungle.

Lemurs. "Something" Lemurs. Can't remember what the "something" was. That's what Grace called them anyway. At least a dozen swing through thick jungles using four arms and two legs. That's right, six appendages; like every other creature on Pandora. Jake raises his rifle, aiming to blast them to oblivion. But Grace stops him. The Lemurs are peaceful and the gunfire may draw attention from something less "friendly."

The remaining preview is a mix of scenes from Comic-Con, Avatar Day and Fantastic Fest. Jon Landau introduces each:

1) Colonel Quaritch briefing the scientists (Jake narration at the end of the scene).

1) Jake in the lab (his quick narration at the beginning describes some of the experience), seeing his Avatar in stasis - "It looks like him," Jake says, referring to his brother. Norm then reminds him, "He looks like you." (By the end of this scene, the blend of music, 3D imagery and performance made my eyes well with tears. Yes, it IS that powerful.)

2) Jake transmits his consciousness into his Avatar for the first time.

3) Landing in the jungle clearing (described above).

4) Grace and Norm taking plant samples from the jungle floor. Norm's curiosity gets the better of him, licking his finger and touching a plant. Exasperated, Grace says, "Norm, you've contaminated the sample with your saliva." Jake wanders off, into a field of giant orange/pink flowers. Delighted and amazed, he touches one and WHOOSH, it sucks itself into the ground. Vanishing from sight. He does it again and before you know it, all the flowers have gone. This leads to the Thanator chase.

6) His clothes torn, his skin bleeding, Jake moves through the jungle, out of breath. High on a tree branch rises Neytiri. She watches him clumsily move through the foliage. He doesn't belong. She draws her bow, poison-tipped arrow poised to remove Jake's Avatar from the planet. Permanently. Without warning, one of those little Jelly-fish looking creatures from the trailer drifts from the sky and lands on the tip of the arrow. Neytiri's eyes go wide, stunned. The little creature then floats away. Neytiri lowers her weapon, sparing Jake Avatar's life.

7) The "Breaking the Banshee" sequence. Same as the Avatar Day screening, except with an extended flying sequence. Neytiri joins Jake and they soar astride they're Banshees through the majestic Halelujah (floating) Mountains (or something like them, anyway). The scene ends with more of Jake's narration. (I wish I could remember what he says.)

That's it! The lights come up, Jon thanks us for our time, the theater empties.

Before the RealD projector rolled, Jon Landau took the stage and explained in quite impressive detail how the team used Adobe software extensively from development through post-production. Pandoran concept art plays across a giant screen. An Adobe After Effects demo showing compositing/rotomation of Jake's Avatar over live action photography plays on the screen while Jon speaks. He introduces the story of Avatar to the audience. They are enthralled.

A quick thought: After speaking with many folks after the screening, it seems the general consensus of the male audience was that the footage was "incredible, awesome, mind-blowing, can't wait to see it." Surprisingly, the reaction was the same, if not stronger, from the women. It seems they responded powerfully to the love story, "colorful dragons"(Banshees) and "Elf-looking" blue giants (Na'vi). They said they absolutely "LOVED" these fantasy elements and can't wait to see the rest of the movie! Oh well, so much for the haters predicting it to fail with female audiences. Avatar will be huge.

Thanks for reading!

3211 goes on to comment about the 3D projection too:
One more thing... the footage played across a 70-foot screen at 2.40:1. The judder artifacting from 24p was less noticeable with the RealD projection than during the IMAX 3D Avatar Day projection. Perhaps RealD's "triple-flash" helps to minimize it, although I have no evidence to back that up scientifically.

Very, very interesting! I have yet to compare the two 3D projections but this is very encouraging news. ALSO - VERY ENCOURAGING hearing the reaction of women to the movie!! He is right - AVATAR will be absolutely huge.

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