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The Hollywood Insider James Cameron’s Avatar Returns

Photo: ‘Avatar’

James Cameron’s 2009 blockbuster ‘Avatar’ returns to movie theaters once again. As everyone knows, just like Stanley Kubrick or Terrence Malick, James Cameron makes films that take time to make in order to impress filmgoers and average movie fans. James Cameron is the type of director who would be willing to spend a lot of time making a full-length feature. He has always been an innovative film director that would constantly wow his audiences from one movie to the next. This time, he took a big gap by not making a film for 13 years since the first entry of the series. Although he had been working on other screenplays, such as ‘Alita: Battle Angel,’ he was able to trust Robert Rodriguez to be behind the camera, and to make his vision come to life. Nonetheless, James Cameron has returned to make ‘Avatar: The Way of Water.’ The director also had more plans to make more ‘Avatar’ sequels in the near future. 

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James Cameron’s Filmography

Before James Cameron made his 2009 breakthrough action and sci-fi blockbuster, he was well-known for his other hit films. He made the ‘Terminator’ franchise, which has developed a huge fan base for sci-fi and horror fans. In 1986, he made ‘Aliens,’ the sequel to the sci-fi horror film ‘Alien.’ The second installment was a hit because it combined the genres of sci-fi, horror, and action. Afterward, he made his own sci-fi film called ‘The Abyss.’ The film wasn’t as fast-paced as ‘Aliens’ or ‘The Terminator,’ but it concentrated on a suspenseful story with mesmerizing special effects, which won the Academy Award for it. Then in the 1990s, James Cameron collaborated twice with Arnold Schwarzenegger by making ‘Terminator 2: Judgment Day’ and ‘True Lies.’ However, when he made the 1997 hit ‘Titanic,’ it broke box office records and became the top-grossing film ever made. It was also James Cameron’s first-period piece. After ‘Titanic, ‘James Cameron took it upon himself to direct smaller projects, therefore staying off the mainstream radar.

12 years later, he returned to the limelight by making ‘Avatar,’ a movie that focused on a paraplegic marine (played by Sam Worthington) that gets a second chance of serving for his platoon by having his body transferred as an alien-like entity in Pandora. His mission is to help the marines to colonize the planet that was owned by the Na’Vi. However, he feels that the creatures of Pandora did not represent any threat considering that they wanted to survive and maintain a peaceful environment. He changes his mind and decides to protect Pandora and prevent the Marines from colonizing it. The film had a good message of being an advocate of  supporting anti-colonization. James Cameron may have experimented with the sci-fi horror genre, but he managed to make a film that catered to a family that is against colonization and supports the preservation of land that supports the indigenous lifestyle that represented tranquility in the environment.

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The Unexpected Success of ‘Avatar’

When ‘Avatar’ was released in theaters in 2009, it became the biggest movie at the time since it made $2.8 billion at the global box office. James Cameron had beaten his own film ‘Titanic’ for the most profitable movie ever made at the time of its release. The film also got attention from the Academy Awards. It won for best visual effects, cinematography, and art direction. It also earned nominations for best picture, best achievement in directing, film editing, original score, sound editing, and sound mixing. The film was recognized for its technological merits as well as for providing a strong story. However, the film lost best director and best picture to the film ‘The Hurt Locker.’

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The story was somehow compared to Kevin Costners 1990 film, ‘Dances With Wolves’ and FernGully: The Last Rainforest (1992). In 2005. Edward Zwicks 2005 film The Last Samurai had a similar approach of having a colonized land with a protagonist that changed its mind against the colonizers who had plans of taking over the land. James Cameron’s 2009 film had a strong message against colonizers in general. The film was against the fact that the marines were taking over land that they had never been with before. James Cameron took it upon himself to do something similar, but with mind-blowing special effects and an all-star cast that included Sigourney Weaver, Zoe Saldana, Stephen Lang, Michelle Rodriguez, and Giovanni Ribisi.

The Film’s 4k Remastering

One of the factors that helped the movie’s financial success was how it introduced a lot of filmgoers to experience Digital 3D for the first time. The audiences would wear digital 3D glasses and experience the great visuals of Pandora. They would also be at the edge of their seats during the huge action scenes. Now in 2022, James Cameron and the producer Jon Landau will allow their audiences to revisit the world of Pandora with another newly-remastered 4k version of the movie. This means that the film will have a high-dynamic range and will have selected scenes to be played at 48 frames a second.

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This will be a unique experience for returning fans while the younger ones will experience the world of Pandora in a more breathtaking format for the first time in 3D. Cameron and Landau had also kept sound in mind, especially for the hearing impaired.  That’s why they had Christopher Boyes on board to give Avatar an upgrade for the sound, since Cameron wanted the younger audiences to fully experience Pandora in the latest format. The film has made a good impression on action and sci-fi fans. The film will probably not beat ‘Avengers: Endgame’ for the top grossing film of all time, but it will remind its audiences that the world of Pandora is worth visiting again since Cameron is advancing the technology for his latest films. 

Produced, Written and Directed by James Cameron

Starring Sam Worthington, Zoe Saldana, Stephen Lang, Sigourney Weaver,  and Michelle Rodriguez

Cinematography by Mauro Fiore

Edited by Stephen Rivkin, John Refoua, an James Cameron

Music by James Horner

By Marco Castaneda

Click here to read The Hollywood Insider’s CEO Pritan Ambroase’s love letter to Cinema, TV and Media. An excerpt from the love letter: The Hollywood Insider’s CEO/editor-in-chief Pritan Ambroase affirms, We have the space and time for all your stories, no matter who/what/where you are. Media/Cinema/TV have a responsibility to better the world and The Hollywood Insider will continue to do so. Talent, diversity and authenticity matter in Cinema/TV, media and storytelling. In fact, I reckon that we should announce “talent-diversity-authenticity-storytelling-Cinema-Oscars-Academy-Awards” as synonyms of each other. We show respect to talent and stories regardless of their skin color, race, gender, sexuality, religion, nationality, etc., thus allowing authenticity into this system just by something as simple as accepting and showing respect to the human species’ factual diversity. We become greater just by respecting and appreciating talent in all its shapes, sizes, and forms. Award winners, which includes nominees, must be chosen on the greatness of their talent ALONE.

I am sure I am speaking for a multitude of Cinema lovers all over the world when I speak of the following sentiments that this medium of art has blessed me with. Cinema taught me about our world, at times in English and at times through the beautiful one-inch bar of subtitles. I learned from the stories in the global movies that we are all alike across all borders. Remember that one of the best symbols of many great civilizations and their prosperity has been the art they have left behind. This art can be in the form of paintings, sculptures, architecture, writings, inventions, etc. For our modern society, Cinema happens to be one of them. Cinema is more than just a form of entertainment, it is an integral part of society. I love the world uniting, be it for Cinema, TV, media, art, fashion, sport, etc. Please keep this going full speed.

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  • Marco Castaneda

    Marco Castaneda is a graduate student at the California State University, Los Angeles. He is currently pursuing his Master of Fine Arts Degree in Television, Film, and Theatre, and expects to graduate in the Spring of 2023. He has a strong passion for creating stories as well as reading them. Marco believes that art helps people to give a unique perspective of our lives and the lives of others. He is also currently a substitute teacher for K-12th grade and hopes to teach students how to use their creativity through all aspects and subjects of their lives and not to be afraid of using their talents.

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