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Alternate Names: 

Avatar: An IMAX 3D Experience

James Cameron's Avatar (International promotional title)

Project 880 (USA working title)


The story takes place in the year 2154 when humans are living a post-industrial technologically advanced society dominated by big and powerful corporations and industries. The Earth has become a dystopian place to live, a huge global urban slum where natural resources are scarce and vegetation almost non-existent. Humanity is also facing a serious energy crisis. A future society in which corruption and political instability is the order of the day.

On the other hand interplanetary and interstellar space travel is a reality, as well as planets colonization. Progress on cryonics, psionics and genetic engineering, made possible the development of technologies like neurogeneration, whereby neuronal deseases can be easily healed. Another result of these technologies is the possibility of developing hybrid bodies from genetically modified human DNA and alien genetic material that can be controlled through psionics by their genetically-matched human counterparts. These mind controlled hybrid human-aliens are called avatars.

This is the world where Jake Sully (Sam Worthington), a paraplegic former Marine, lives. He has a twin brother -- Tom, a scientist, who worked for one of the biggest corporations, the Resources Development Administration (RDA), a company with semi-governmental powers and the monopoly over all natural resources in the Alpha Centauri star system, located about 4.37 light years away from earth.

The company is also working a mine in a planet of that system named Pandora (actually Pandora is a moon of the planet Polyphemus), rich in a valuable mineral called unobtanium but also with a lush vegetation. Pandora is inhabitated by the Na'vi a race of blue-skinned tall humanoids. The problem though, is that Pandora has a toxic atmosphere; making necessary the use of breathing masks. That's why in the RDA, scientists developed hybrid human-Na'vi avatars to infiltrate the Na'vi and make possible the research of the valuable ore.

Tom has a mission as an avatar operator scientist, but unfortunately he has been killed in a robbery. That's when Jake is presented with a unique opportunity, since he and his brother are genetic matches, he takes his brother's place in the mission. It also represents a big opportunity to get the money for the operation that will fix his spine and the use of his legs; a therapy that in the future is technically possible but economically expensive and inaccessible to regular citizens.

Jakes makes the long trip to Pandora in a spacecraft that also transports other passengers, including soldiers and personnel of the RDA.

During the mission he will start meeting his mission partners, including head administrator Parker Selfridge, Colonel Miles Quaritch, Private Sean Fike, Corporal Lyle Wainfleet, Dr. Max Patel, Dr. Grace Augustine, Dr. Norm Spellman, and Samson 16 pilot Trudy Chacon.

Colonel Miles Quaritch educates the assembled soldiers on Pandora's indigenous population and lets it be known that the Na'vi want to kill.

Humans are unable to breathe Pandora's air, but through his avatar body; Jake will be able not only to breath in that planet but also to walk again, at least by means of other body.

Dr. Grace Augustine the program's the program's science lead, who likes plants better than people, considers Jake as not suitable for the mission and not comparable to his brother, a Phd.D who trained 3 years for the Pandora mission.

Grace tells Parker Selfridge, representative for the Resources Development Administration, she needs a researcher and that Jake will serve only as a bodyguard. However, Parker is only interested on the unobtanium and tells her to use what she got and only asks for results.

During the first weeks Jake and the other members of the mission; including Dr. Norm Spellman; Grace and Trudy Chacon, a retired Marine pilot; among others; will be linked to their avatar bodies and explore Pandora.

Colonel Quaritch promises Jake that if he does his reconnaissance mission well, as a covert military operative infiltrated among the Na'vi, he will help get his real legs back with a restorative treatment.

So, one day when relinked with his avatar while in a forest of Pandora with Trudy, Grace, Norm and other researchers, they are attacked by a Thanator that chases Jake separating him from the rest of the crew and leading him to other perils; finally being rescued by a young female Na'vi whose name turned out to be Neytiri, a member of the Omaticaya people, who worship a mother goddess called Eywa and live in a Hometree.

Jake introduces himself as a warrior, "a dreamwalker". He is invited to join them as a guest and after a ritual gathering, Jake is brought to his bed. As he falls asleep, human Jake is revived.

Once awake in his human body, everybody, including Grace, are focused on every one of Jake's description. He tells them the Hometree rests on Pandora's biggest deposit of Unobtanium. So he's assigned an infiltration mission and is informed that he has three months to achieve his objective of getting as much information as possible.

So he is linked back with his avatar body and starts reporting on the Hometree's infrastructure and other Na'vi details. However after three months of living with the Omaticaya, Jake grows close to Neytiri and the whole clan, eventually dropping his allegiance to his original people and defending the Na'vis' rights to stay in their Hometree, despite the commercial interests of RDA.

But the Omaticaya still ignore the real purpose of his mission, even after changing allegiance. Moreover the RDA officials will not let him reject the agenda so easily. So conflict is imminent.

But learning what happens next is up to you. As this is just summary of this great movie.

History and evolution: 

James Cameron started writing an 80-page script for Avatar in 1994. In August 1996, he had announced that after completing Titanic, he would film Avatar, which would make use of synthetic, or computer-generated, actors.

By the time the project had an estimated cost of $100 million. Cameron was planning a 1999 release, but he felt that technology was not yet capable of achieving what he had in his mind. So he decided to wait a few more years.

By 2000 Cameron contacted Vincent Pace, an entrepreneur who helped design and manufacture the underwater lighting system for Cameron's 1989 film, The Abyss. Through his eponymous company, which develops and rents cameras for use in hazardous conditions, Pace agreed to work with Cameron on a camera rig that could capture 2D and 3D images simultaneously. Cameron says the project cost about $12 million, much of it his money.

Cameron also was trying to persuade Fox to finance his project. Although that studio had backed and distributed several Cameron films, the Titanic experience had made Fox executives to start wavering about this project; since that movie was originally budgeted at $110 million, and finally it was increased to $200 million when special effects and the cost of constructing the ship delayed filming.

Later in June 2005, Cameron announce to be working on a project named Project 880. He received U$S10 million from 20th Century Fox, in order to make a proof-of-concept clip for Avatar.

With the Fox money, Cameron repaired to the 280,000-square-foot hangar he leases in Playa Vista, California. So began working on a 3D film clip which he could use to persuade Fox to invest on this huge project.

He finished it in October of that same year and showed to four Fox execs. Cameron screened his 3D segment at the offices of his production company, Lightstorm Entertainment, in Santa Monica, California. "Their eyes kind of lit up," Cameron said. "They could see what I had been talking about for months." Nevertheless Fox still wanted a shorter script and a more reasonable budget.

He was also planning to film Battle Angel. By December of that same year Cameron announced that he was expecting a 2007 release for Battle Angel and a 2009 release for his Project 880. Later in February 2006 he switched his projects and scheduled to have Project 880 complete by 2007 or 2008.

But by mid-2006 Fox was still concerned that making Avatar would be too costly for the company. So they told Cameron they would pass on this film. So Cameron started looking for another studio and invited Dick Cook, then Disney's studio chief, to watch the clip. They immediately got interested; but soon Fox would come back arguing the company's first right of refusal. "We were never going to let this one get away," sais Fox Co-Chairman Jim Gianopoulos.

In October 2006, Fox agreed to make Avatar. Cameron says he still isn't quite sure why Fox finally jumped aboard but recalls studio executives saying: "We don't get the giant blue guys with the tails, but we believe in you and want to do this movie with you."

Finally, Cameron revealed that Project 880 was "a retooled version of Avatar", a film that he had tried to make years earlier. Cameron had decided to film Avatar over Battle Angel after completing a five-day camera test in the previous year, delaying the latter project for a 2011 release.

During production Spielberg, Ridley Scott, and Pirates of the Caribbean director Gore Verbinski visited Cameron's Playa Vista hangar.


The score and songs have been composed and conducted by James Horner.


Cameron developed a culture and language for the film's aliens. The language was created by Dr. Paul Frommer, a linguist at University of South California.

The Na'vi language has a vocabulary of about 1000 words. About 30 words have been added by Cameron.

The project had two different production designers, and two separate art departments, one of which focused on the flora and fauna of Pandora, and another that created human machines and human factors.

Cameron had a fully formed vision of Pandora from the very first moment in 1994, when he started writing the script. Every detail was already in his mind; right down to the blue aliens, six-legged mammalian predators, and floating mountains.

The hangar he leases in Playa Vista, California for the production of the movie was the same where in the 1940s Howard Hughes built the Spruce Goose.

Composer James Horner worked with Wanda Bryant, an ethnomusicologist, to create a music culture for the alien race.

Ubisoft Montreal was the chosen company to create an Avatar game for the film in 2007.

Mattel Toys announced that it will make a line of Avatar action figures.

In December 2009, by the time the film's worldwide release, the french mail service "France Poste" released a limited edition stamp based on Avatar.

Avatar has passed the U$S1.84 billion mark set by 1997's Titanic, Cameron's previous feature and current holder of the title Highest-Grossing Film of All Time.

It took The Dark Knight seven months to gross $1 billion worldwide. It took Titanic nearly three months. Avatar has earned the same amount in 17 days.

As of February 2010, the film grossed about U$S 2.5 billion. Making it the Highest-Grossing Film of All Time.

Titanic needed several months to reach $1 billion worldwide at the box office. Avatar hit that milestone in just 17 days.

The film was officially budgeted at US$237 million.

The film earned $27 million on its opening day and $77 million over its opening weekend. It became the 25th largest national United States weekend opening.

Avatar has been nominated for nine Academy Awards.

Avatar received nine nominations for the Critics' Choice Awards by the Broadcast Film Critics Association.

Avatar won 2 of the St. Louis Film Critics awards; Best Visual Effects and Most Original, Innovative or Creative Film.

Avatar was nominated with 4 Golden Globes and won 2. One in the Best Director - Motion Picture category and the other for the Best Motion Picture, Drama category.

It has eight nominations from the British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA). It won 2 awards, in the Production Design and Special Visual Effects categories.

In January 2010, Cameron confirmed a sequel during an interview for MTV. He has a larger story in mind for the movie. "We'll follow Jake and Neytiri," he said. He also mentioned the possibility of a trilogy. Also, Ain't It Cool News reported that the director said, "Yes, there'll be another." About the sequel he also told Entertainment Weekly, "I've had a storyline in mind from the start - there are even scenes in Avatar that I kept in because they lead to the sequel."

Sam Worthington has already signed on to return in a sequel with his role as Jake Sully.

The sequel most probably will stick with an environmentalist theme.

Cameron said that  there's a conscience within the film, but it's not boldly stated. He said that it's there if someone want it to be there; it's not there if one doesn't want it to be there. It can be as classic a story of fighting back against cruel might as 'Star Wars.'

The rendering for "Avatar" required a petabyte (1,000 terabytes, or 1 million gigabytes) of data usage.

The look of the Na'vi was inspired on a dream of Cameron's mother about a 12-foot-tall blue woman. Between 1976 and 1977, he was writing his first screenplay, a big science fiction story, taking place on multiple planets. At the end of the film was this planet with a native population that was 12 feet tall and blue. So when he started to write Avatar, he did some paintings of what they would look like. Purple fields of waving grass and these blue people with big golden eyes, so he thought it would be a good idea to go back to that early concept.

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