In 2009, director James Cameron (Titanic, Terminator 2: Judgement Day) released his science-fiction epic Avatar. Avatar is the classic tale of a man in a foreign land, who discovers that this new world is his true home. The familiar and timeless story was accentuated with bizarrely vibrant and original visuals. The movie went on to become a pop-culture phenomenon and the highest grossing film of all-time.
Cameron is a director, deep-sea explorer and pioneer of visual effects. He combined all the knowledge he had in those areas, while revolutionizing 3D and motion-capture technology, to give audiences an escape to another world that felt oddly real. The psychedelic flora and fauna all seemed to exist in a plausible eco-system, that Cameron and his team created. He wasn't just creating sets and flimsy back-stories, he truly created the world of Avatar. He is as motivated as ever by the sequels. In a recent interview with Variety, he explains that his work on the Avatar universe is feeding his voice as both an artist and humanitarian:
“There’s nothing I need to say as an artist about the state of the world and human affairs that I can’t do through the lens of the ‘Avatar’ universe.”
The first film had powerful messages about respect for the ecosystem, resource warfare and colonization, that seemed to resonate with audiences. Clearly Cameron has found a personal and emotional hook within the world of Pandora. He is planning on using it as a canvas to express his social message, which is the responsibility of any artist. It is also rare that a director gets that level of autonomy in Hollywood, especially with a production as large as Avatar.
Fox Studios has green-lit three Avatar sequels which will be shot simultaneously. The official budget for the three sequels has not been publicized, but Variety estimates that it hovers around $1 billion dollars. That is an astronomical figure, especially when you consider audiences will be seven years removed from initial film's release.
The sequels will be released yearly between 2016-2018. If you were curious where Cameron has been the past few years, aside from his deep-sea adventures (he is the 3rd person in human history to dive to the bottom of the Mariana Trench). He has been leading a team of screenwriters that he's assembled, to craft the scripts of these three films. In conjunction with his deep sea exploration, he has reportedly been revolutionizing underwater film making as well. The rumors are that he has large sequences that take place underwater in these upcoming films and will utilize new technology that he is in the process of inventing. Cameron is getting his tools together to go on his next adventure...filming the sequels:
“We’ve had a couple of years to think through the story arc of the next three films, and every day that goes by, I believe in the stories I’m telling more and more. We’re not coming out of the block fast to capitalize on the last film.”
The thing about Cameron is that he rarely produces mediocrity. He is a classic over-achiever and he is speaking with the confidence that he is known for backing up. Clearly he has worked up a saga that is special enough for Fox Studios to gamble their entire future on. With all the comic book battles that are being waged over the next several years on the big screen, it will be refreshing to take a yearly trip to a totally foreign land. One that doesn't exist in a book or on a comic book page, but solely in the imagination of Jim Cameron. We can't wait to see what adventure he takes us on next.
Are you ready for more Pandora action? What's your favorite Cameron movie? And are you looking forward to [Avatar 2](movie:38662) and [Avatar 3](movie:589170)?
Source: Point of Geeks, Variety Image Credit: National Geographic