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29 posts from December 2010


AVATAR Cast – Where Are They Now?

Cameron avatar cast It's not like Sam Worthington, Zoe Saldana and other AVATAR stars were exactly unknown before donning blue skin and heading to Alpha Centauri, but we did wonder what they were working on since starring in such a high-profile movie. Here's what five of our favorites have been up to lately:

Sam Worthington (Jake Sully) will star as a Texas homicide detective in The Fields with Jessica Chastain playing his wife—another homicide detective working the same killing, blogs Cinema Blend. AusGamers says he's spent some time voicing Captain Alex Mason in the massively successful Call of Duty: Black Ops game and WXYZ reports he pulled down the Australian Film Institute's International Award for Best Actor. Meanwhile, Reel Movie News reports that Worthington will return as Perseus in Wrath of the Titans, the sequel to this year's Clash of the Titans which, while it got just a 28 percent favorable rating on Rotten Tomatoes, sold more than enough tickets worldwide to justify a follow-up.

Zoe Saldana (Neytiri) continued in an action-hero vein with 2010's just-okay The Losers, and Tom's Games reports she followed Worthington's video-game lead by starring in a Flash game called Zoe Saldana Makeover. She then took some time to strip for a Calvin Klein underwear ad, then headed back to movie work: Zoe Saldana Web has the actress lined up for the back-to-back AVATAR sequels slated for 2014 and 2015 release dates.

Sigourney Weaver (Grace Augustine) will star in Cedar Rapids in 2011, the story of a Midwestern insurance salesman's struggle to save his colleagues' jobs, and is rumored to also have a role in Ghostbusters III for 2012.

Stephen Lang (Col. Quaritch) will play the villain Khalar Zym in the upcoming Conan the Barbarian, and Collider has a nice post-Oscars interview with him in which he discusses filming in Bulgaria with Jason Momoa as Conan.

Michelle Rodriguez (Trudy Chacon) continued appearing in LOST after AVATAR wrapped, and will extend her string of tough-chick roles in 2011's Battle: Los Angeles as a marine technical sergeant. If you want to follow Michelle day to day, see her official Web site (which also streams her Twitter feed).

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Where else have you seen AVATAR actors since Pandora?


Happy AVATAR Day: December 18

The very first AVATAR Day was August 21, 2009 when Fox took over "as many" IMAX 3D and digital 3D theaters as they could and screened the first 15 minutes from AVATAR free to whoever wanted to see it. (A sneak peek actually premiered the day before, but who's counting?)

But the real AVATAR Day for most people is December 18, 2009, when the film was was first released into theaters around the globe and quickly captured the biggest gross sales of all time. It made us wonder what fans and others were doing for the one-year anniversary of AVATAR Day, so here's a sampling.

Most fans are pledging to watch AVATAR on the day of and many already have a copy. The Three-Disc Extended Collector's Edition went on sale a few weeks ago if you don't already have a copy, and the 3D version is available if you buy a Panasonic 3D TV (complete with glasses). (See fan Carlota Martinho's post here to capture how much the Collector's Edition means to her.)

Miss Tammie created a "happy AVATAR Day" poster, causing some commenters to declare December 18 Ney Day in honor of Neytiri.

Meanwhile, James Cameron and Jon Landau celebrated a bit early by giving 11 of the movie's principal cast members a new, blue (of course) Toyota Prius, blogs Deadline.com. It's not like any of these highly successful actors didn't already own a car; Cameron was using the fuel-efficient autos to make points about pollution and respect for nature, concerns that he related at length to Ecocentric.

Looking to the future, some fans are seeking a scientific grounding for some of the technology and species in AVATAR, and scientist and science-fiction author Stephen Baxter will provide it this spring in his book The Science of AVATAR.

And six long months from AVATAR Day look for the opening of AVATAR: The Exhibition on June 4, 2011 at the Science Fiction Museum in Seattle. SFM plans to have an actual AMP suit on display, not to mention handmade models of Na'vi characters, their wardrobes, background on Pandora, and demos of the film's motion-capture technology.

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How are you celebrating AVATAR Day, December 18?

Best AVATAR Video Mashups and Fan Remixes

Split Back in 2009, AVATAR’s teaser trailer was the most viewed trailer of all time at Apple.com. Clearly, AVATAR fans love video and aren’t content to leave the movie alone—they’ve created tons of great video mashups, spoofs, and fan remixes, and the best ones are must-sees for AVATAR lovers (who may be inspired to make their own). Perhaps most well-known are the AVATAR-Pocahontas mash-ups—you can watch four of them at The Week, including Pocahontas recut as an AVATAR action film and an alternative “Colors of the Wind” music video. You’ll also want to check out the AVATAR/Fern Gully Trailer mashup on YouTube.

Mashable has an AVATAR + Team America trailer mashup, which they call “one of the best.” Here’s an AVATAR Movie Remix of the Tree of voices—with instrumental by Madonna. Neat Stuff has the clip of the Simpsons AVATAR parody, Cinematical has “Jersey Shore Presents AVATAR,” and you’ll obviously want to watch the LOST/AVATAR parody. Plus, don’t miss this Live AVATAR Role Playing video. Trailer Cuts has a trailer mashup that combines the audio of The Matrix with the visuals of AVATAR: “If you’re going to create a mashup, why not go after two of the biggest movies of all time?” And there’s already a spoof preview of AVATAR 2.

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What are your favorite AVATAR mashups and remixes?


Complete AVATAR Collector's Edition – What's on the DVDs?

Avatar growing The new AVATAR Three-Disc Extended Collector's Edition is loaded with goodies. First off, it's got the original theatrical release, the Special Edition re-release, and a three-hour collector's extended cut, which would be enough for a lot of folks—but then there's also eight more hours of documentaries, production footage and other assorted goodness to digest.

For instance, 45 minutes of deleted scenes fill in a lot we didn't know about the movie world's context. Screenrant blogs about an alternate opening that shows why a disabled Jake leaves an overpopulated, suffocating mid-22nd century Earth for the Alpha Centauri system and Pandora. We finally discover the truth about what happened to Grace's school and why it was shut down (it involves a sister you didn't know Neytiri had), and there's more on the events that trigger the final battle over the Hometree (you knew that Quaritch & Co. were just looking for an excuse to inflict some damage; here it is).

There's also a documentary disc called The Filmmaker Process, which covers how AVATAR mixes technical advances with old-school acting chops. As James Cameron says about AVATAR's use of motion capture, "All we're replacing is five hours in the makeup chair having rubber glued all over your face."

There are also numerous scenes of actors in their motion-capture outfits (i.e. Sam Worthington gazing at his new Na'vi body) and how those translate into the movie's finished scenes, plus Slashfilm blogs that the featurette "New Life" shows the many layers of animation that overlay relatively simple footage of the actors and their surroundings.

In fact, it's continually amazing how little surrounds the actors when they walk around the sound stage—a few cool-looking props, sure, but the high-tech displays, AMP suits and even the plastic on the human characters' breathing masks is all added in post-production. But as you proceed from Capture Level to Template Level to the final Finished Level, the actors' and artists' ingenuity is on full display; it's a tribute to them that even longtime AVATAR fans will still be fascinated to witness this transformation.

On the other hand, maybe you'll buy this edition just to see the bar brawl.

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What's the most interesting part of the AVATAR DVD set to you?

Best 3D Movies for Your Home Theater

Avatar movie poster (fan) So you’ve gotten a 3D TV and Blu-Ray player—or you’re thinking about springing for them this holiday season. What can you watch? You probably know that the AVATAR 3D Blu-Ray DVD is currently available only from Panasonic through a special promotion (buy a Panasonic VIERA 3D TV and you’ll receive the Panasonic 3D Ultimate Pack with Avatar 3D free). There are other Blu-Ray 3D movies available for home theater, too—here are our favorites.

3D Blu-Ray provides an intense 3D effect similar to what you’d get in the theater. Some discs are available now; others are available for pre-order, and you’ll definitely see tons more hitting the market over the next year. The best thing is that many of these come in combo packages with regular Blu-Ray and DVD, so if you don’t have a 3D TV yet, you can still watch them.

Alice in Wonderland 3D

Cinemablend writes of the 3D version, “You’ll be busy trying not to duck. While movies like AVATAR have been pushing to make their 3D usage more understated, Alice in Wonderland takes an if we’ve got it, might as well use it approach to the format. Sure it adds depth to even the most mundane moments but they’re not shy about letting flying things dance over the audience or throwing teacups in your face until you flinch. Cheesy? Maybe, but at least you’re getting your money’s worth. They pull it off skillfully, with warmth and charm, as if they’re inviting Burton and his cast are letting us in on their secret fun.” (Four-disc combo package with Blu-Ray 3D/Blu-Ray/DVD/Digital Copy $34.99 at Amazon.com.)

Disney’s A Christmas Carol

Blu-Ray.com writes, “Locales both interior and exterior seem to stretch on to their physical limits, be they across a room or across town. Several objects seem to protrude from the screen, particularly seen when characters point towards the camera, their fingers and arms seemingly extending beyond the panel and into the living room. Disney's disc also handles snowflakes extraordinarily well; they seem to float on by at various distances and, in some cases, on past the screen. The transfer's best attribute, however, comes in the way it handles the ghost of old man Marley; it would seem a great challenge for 3D to give dimension to a deliberately transparent entity, and that's exactly what it does. The result is what is probably the best and most interesting imagery yet found on a 3D release, and there's nary a hint of any sort of problem associated with it.” (Four-disc combo package with Blu-Ray 3D/Blu-Ray/DVD/Digital Copy $26.49 at Amazon.com.)

The Polar Express

A new holiday classic – in 3D! (Single Disc Blu-Ray 3D/Blu-Ray combo $26.99 at Amazon.com.)

Monsters vs. Aliens

Blu-Ray.com writes, “Viewers will be able to see individual strands of fur on Insectosaurus' body, and they're even more impressive in several close-up shots as each strand seems to move to and fro in the 3D realm.”

Clash of the Titans

"Release the Kraken!" This 2009 version of the classic stars AVATAR's Sam Worthington. As many reviewers will tell you… nostalgia aside, this slick new version tops the original. (Three-disc combo package with Blu-Ray 3D/Blu-Ray/DVD $30.49 at Amazon.com.)

IMAX: Under the Sea

Blu-Ray.com writes that this edition features “fantastic detailing. The viewer will marvel at the scaly textures of crustaceans, the slimy surfaces of fish, and the sandy and pebbly ocean floor under which various creatures bury themselves for survival or use for camouflage while lying in wait for their unsuspecting prey to mozie on by.” (Single disc Blu-Ray 3D/Blu-Ray combo $38.99 on Amazon.com.)

Despicable Me

The 3D version will be released on December 14, and it includes three all-new mini movies featuring the Minions. (Four-disc combo with Blu-Ray 3D/Blu-Ray/DVD/Digital Copy $31.99 as a pre-order at Amazon.com.)


The 3D Blu-Ray will be released on January 4, 2011. Blu-Ray.com calls it “a show stopper…Of note is the tunnel through which Coraline crawls to move about the two worlds; it's perhaps the best example of how well modern 3D technology works as the tunnel seems to begin at the front of the screen and almost begs for viewers to stick their hands inside.” (Available for $34.99 as a pre-order at Amazon.com.)

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What 3D movies do you like enough to buy and watch at home?


AVATAR 2—Who's In and Who's Out?

Trudy As James Cameron has announced he’ll begin producing AVATAR 2 in 2011, with a possible release date of December 2014. So which actors are in and which are out? “The filmmakers plan to shoot the movies back to back with much of the same cast,” reports The Hollywood Reporter. “Asked whether stars Sam Worthington and Zoe Saldana had signed for the sequels, [Cameron’s partner Jon] Landau said, ‘We won't have a problem.’” And even Sigourney Weaver and Stephen Lang could come back as Grace and Quaritch. “Whether Quaritch comes back or not…who’s to say what form he would come back in, you know anything could happen I suppose on Pandora,” Lang told Screenrant. “I think to see [Quaritch's] first day on Pandora would be real interesting, because that’s where [his] scars came from.”

Sigourney Weaver said, in an interview on a French TV show, that she’s discussed her return with Cameron. Yeah, she died in the first film, but “Weaver had a bit of an explanation for that, saying that her character still exists ‘in the tree,’ whatever that means,” wrote Vulture. “We'll admit that we're a little skeptical of this idea, but at this point Cameron has earned the ability to do pretty much whatever the hell he wants.” Cinemablend wrote, “Considering the emphasis placed on the Na’vi connection to their ancestors via Eywa, this whole concept seems sensible. Weaver never mentions that the role would a major one; just that she’ll be involved. Perhaps she’ll offer Jake and Neytiri some sort of guidance via the Tree of Voices. But wait, those were destroyed weren’t they? And so the speculation continues.” And as for Norm and Trudy… we'll have to wait and see.

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Who do you hope will be in the AVATAR sequels?


Design Your Own 3D Home Theater

Augmented reality Ready to watch AVATAR at home in 3D? For now, the only way to watch is by buying a copy from Panasonic bundled with other 3D equipment such as shutter glasses or a Blu-ray DVD player or to get the full Panasonic bundle. Or if you want to start building a 3D home theater now against the day when AVATAR 3D is released on its own, here are some tips.

Ventures into the world of a 3D home theater can be intimidating, but luckily online guides help break the mystery down to just four components: a 3D-capable HDTV; a Blu-Ray disc player, HD cable or HD satellite box; content (such as AVATAR); and glasses. That's it. Four components. Everything else is just details about extra features and how much you want to spend.

For those who just want to buy some consumer electronics off the shelf and combine them for the best experience, IGN Gear does a nice job of summarizing the details and suggested prices of 3D TVs and Blu-ray players that are out there without you having to visit a dozen different manufacturers' sites. The site also helpfully points out that if you want a 3D signal to play nicely with your surround-sound system, you need a 3D-capable receiver.

Creating a 3D home theater means you may be looking at $2,000–$5,000 if you don't already own any 3D components, although Display Daily points out that 3D TVs are first and foremost really good HDTVs, and for now you'll use a 3D set for 2D viewing about 99 percent of the time. And if you own a Sony PlayStation 3, you already own a 3D Blu-ray player.

Finally, if you have time and some PC savvy, Maximum PC blogs that you can build an all-PC system that has all the bleeding-edge bells and whistles to handle the above tasks as fast as possible.

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Is a 3D home theater on your holiday wish list?


Pandora on Earth: Avatar Museum Exhibit Coming June 2011

Avatarexhibit AVATAR may be coming soon to a museum near you! An exhibit of memorabilia from the movie is starting out at Seattle’s Experience Music Project|Science Fiction Museum on June 4, 2011 and will run through Sept 2012. “In addition to nearly 50 props, costumes, models and such from the film, the museum is offering several interactive displays that allow visitors to explore the technical elements that went into making the CGI-heavy film,” reported Seattlest earlier this month. There will be more than 50 artifacts from the film, including an Armored Mobility Platform (AMP) suite says Jaunted. The show is organized in association with 20th Century Fox and director James Cameron’s production company Lightstorm Entertainment. It will also have an interactive feature on how the movie was created including green screens and the revolutionary and innovative cameras used for the movie reports Nerd Society. Also in the exhibity: exclusive AVATAR concept drawings and art used to help designers create Pandora.

James Cameron wants it to be an enlightening experience and explains how it’s an explorative ride through Pandora’s creation and culture and its groundbreaking technology:

“The exhibition is going to be a unique opportunity for people to learn more not only about how the film was made, but also experience Pandora in a much deeper way. Fans will be able to see in-person the workmanship behind the film, whether it’s how scenes are captured; or how a Na’vi costume was built first as a real world garment then produced digitally. It’ll create a tactical reality that’ll be a good companion to having seen the movie.”

MuseumexhibitWhen you're done checking out Neytiri's 9-foot bow and Na'vi costumes, you can go play with the technology, some of created especially for the film.” The Seattle Times reports that the exhibit has been in the works for over a year. “Now, I don't know if I would actually pay money to fly to the West Coast unless James Cameron is personally giving me a lesson on how to fly Toruk Makto,” writes Techland—but luckily the exhibit won’t be limited to Seattle. It will stay at the Science Fiction Museum through September 3, 2012, and will then travel to other cities—stay tuned.

Cameron, now at work on two more "Avatar" movies (to be in theaters in 2014 and 2015), says he's reserved the right to "pull back" anything needed for the sequels.

More details at the EMP Seattle’s Experience Music Project|Science Fiction Museum including a video about the exhibit here.

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If the AVATAR exhibit comes to a museum near you will you see it?

Top 3D Movies of 2010

Avatar eye Reasonable people can disagree about the best 3D movies of all time. Unfortunately, that means going all the way back to 1953's House of Wax, the Vincent Price thriller that tops 3D Radar's top-nine list—but the blog quickly zooms up to 2010's two best, AVATAR and Toy Story 3, and best-of-2010 is where this article is going to stay.

While properly a 2009 film, AVATAR topped the U.S. box-office charts well into 2010, spending seven consecutive weeks in the number-one spot and easily becoming the highest-grossing movie in history. Foreign audiences also flocked to its fantastic story of an injured ex-marine's battle to save the inhabitants of a moon in the Alpha Centauri system, and the film has also done well in DVD release—1.5 million DVD and Blu-ray copies in a single day, blogs Hero Complex.

Pixar's Toy Story 3 was also shot in 3D and since its release in June garnered big box-office and DVD sales numbers. It tells the ongoing story of young Andy's toys as they struggle with the fact that he's headed off to college, and that they may be given away—or worse. TS3 is also being mentioned as an Oscar contender (although The Envelope blogs that one rival may be Despicable Me, another 3D animated feature which, despite grossing $500 million worldwide, is probably not in Pixar's league).

From those two heights is a fairly steep drop (in box office and overall appeal) to Shrek Forever After and Clash of the Titans (which did at least give Sam Worthington his second star turn of the year). And to no one's surprise, Viacom CEO Philippe Dauman told Reuters MediaFile that a Viacom production—Jackass 3D—is his favorite 3D movie of all time.


The year's biggest disappointment for 3D fans was that Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 1 was released only in 2D. Unfortunately, Warner Brothers felt it didn't have time to do the 3D conversion right before the movie's November 19 release, according to Screenrant. But stay tuned: Deathly Hallows, Part 2 will be released in both 2D and 3D for your viewing pleasure in July 2011.

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What was your favorite 3D movie of 2010?


AVATAR 2 and 3—What We Know So Far

Anemonoid_1 James Cameron hopes to begin production of AVATAR 2 in 2011, and may shoot AVATAR 2 and AVATAR 3 back to back. The films could hit theaters in December 2014 and December 2015. In October, Cameron told Variety, “In the second and third films, which will be self-contained stories that also fulfill a greater story arc, we will not back off the throttle of ‘AVATAR’s’ visual and emotional horsepower, and will continue to explore its themes and characters, which touched the hearts of audiences in all cultures around the world. I'm looking forward to returning to Pandora, a world where our imaginations can run wild.”

As for plot, few details are known yet, but Cinematical reported that “Cameron has previously noted that part two would focus on the oceans of Pandora.” The HDRoom writes, “Expected to return in AVATAR 2 and 3 are Sam Worthington and Zoe Saldana and Jake Sully and Neytiri, respectively, though neither has been confirmed yet. Cameron has also publicly stated that even though Sigourney Weaver's Dr. Grace Augustine character died in AVATAR, a sci-fi universe always leaves the door open for any character—deceased or otherwise—to return.”

Click Here Sponsored by Panasonic VIERA. Return to the world of AVATAR in stunning 3D with the Panasonic VIERA Full HD 3D TV.

Are you looking forward to returning to Pandora?