While nobody knows for sure how much it cost to make this year's science fiction blockbuster 'Avatar', (the numbers range from $230 million to nearly $500 million), one thing is certain - even at the lower end, it is the most expensive movie ever made!
But judging from early indications, it seems like the money was very well spent! For just three weeks after its release, the movie, has already grossed $1.3 billion USD, elevating it to the second highest grossing movie ever! What's even more surprising, is that the honor of the highest grossing movie ever, belongs to 'Titanic', made by the same director - Mr. James Cameron!
The Canadian -born director, who also brought us the Terminator series, is known to be an amazing visionary and perfectionist. For 'Titanic', he had the exact replica of the boat made and before he started filming, Mr. Cameron visited the scene of the sunken ship several times, in order to get it just right.
He showed even more perseverancefor his latest venture, 'Avatar'. While his 80-page script for the movie has been ready since 1994, Mr. Cameron did not embarkon making it until about four and a half years ago. That was because until then, the technology was not advanced enough to make the movie the way he had envisioned.
While waiting, he directed his other blockbuster (Titanic), learned everything he could about 3D technology and . . . . . scuba diving! His patience has definitely paid off!
Set in the year 2154, the film is situated in Pandora, a moon in the Alpha Centuri star system. Humans who have invaded the region in search of a precious metal are faced with strong opposition from the local Na'vii tribe, who call the beautiful land of Pandora, home. In an effort to peacefully negotiate their withdrawal, a scientist helps create 'Avatars' or alternative bodies of humans that resemble the local people.
However, the greedy corporation loses patience when the locals refuse to budge from their sacred areas and decides to use force to evict them. The climax of the movie is an epic battle between the locals using bows and arrows and humans who are armed with state-of-the art weapons.
While the plot may not be unusual, the visual effects sure are. In fact Mr. Cameron's Pandora, with its amazing animals, birds and floating mountains is so stunning, that people who have seen the movie, are now pining to visit the paradise! Not surprising given that Mr. Cameron had detailed his vision of Pandora, down to the last flower, in a 350 page manuscript!
Filmed using 2,500 special effect shots, the movie is the best 3D immersion film to ever be produced. While two-thirds of the movie scenes are computer-generated the filmmaking style was totally unique.
When filming scenes with the Na'vi tribe, Mr. Cameron dressed the human cast in blue bodysuits and adorned them with markers. Then, using over a hundred cameras, he filmed the scenes with the help of special software that was installed in the cameras. The software allowed him to see his actors the way they would look in the movie, rather than humans dressed in bodysuits.
And his attention to detail doesn't end with the visual effects - He is as particular about the real actors too! In order to make the language of the Na'vi tribe as authentic as possible, he teamed up with linguists to create a 'real' language.
And, he demanded similar perfection from his stars! In one of the scenes, they were supposed to look terrified of some falling debris. However, no matter what he threw at them, they didn't look frightened enough. So, as a finally straw, Mr. Cameron brought out a jousting pole from the prop room, padded it and began to attack them - Needless to say, it brought the reaction he had been hoping for!
And for all of you wondering if there is life after 'Avatar', you can rest easy - For Mr. Cameron has promised not one, but two more 'Avatar' movies - We just wonder how he is going to top this one! Have you seen the movie? If so, be sure to share your reactions, by adding your comments below!