James Cameron on the Avatar sequels

News Simon Brew 18 Feb 2014 - 06:52

Work continues on Avatar 2, Avatar 3 and Avatar 4. And James Cameron has given an update on things...

There's no shortage of hard work being done on the trio of new Avatar films that James Cameron is putting together. The first is expected in December 2016, with the others following a year apart each. And Cameron has been chatting to RTL about how things are progressing.

"We're still in the early stages", he said. "Right now we're developing the software. I'm writing the scripts. We're designing all the creatures and characters and the settings, and so on. So, I'm not actually directing yet, but I'm doing all the other creative processes that lead up to that".

Promising that "I think it's going to be spectacular", Cameron teased "new worlds, new habitats, new cultures", and said that "the primary conflict between the human view kind of dominating nature and the Na'vi view of being integrated into nature is the same, but it manifests itself in very different ways".

From a technology standpoint, Cameron hasn't yet made a decision as to whether to use the high frame rate techniques that Peter Jackson has been working with on The Hobbit movies. He is going to film at a native resolution of 4K though, arguing "there should be a lot of true 4K theaters by then".

The full piece can be found here.

Follow our Twitter feed for faster news and bad jokes right here. And be our Facebook chum here.

Disqus - noscript

I get that they're trying to make a metaphor about hunter-gatherers being pure and innocent victims of the big white bogeymen, ignoring all the equally horrific stuff that these cultures are capable of just as well as more technologically advanced cultures. But the metaphor doesn't really work with freaky blue cat-creatures, just as the mutants-as-minorities metaphor doesn't work very well in X-men, because the mutants there are actually a threat to all of mankind due the powers they have. Even if the Na'vi are supposed to be integrated with nature and living in harmony with it, in an unfeasible utopia, they still come across as dominating nature in a different way. The whole symbiosis between the organisms of Pandora seems very sinister and downright Lovecraftian, as if the moon was an eldritch abomination that mind-rapes every creature on its surface to become a mindless extension of its will, just as the Na'vi force other creatures into servitude through their USB-queues.

It also doesn't help that the humans in the movie come across as quite sympathetic when you look at how desperate they are to survive, yet still go through so much trouble to indulge the Na'vi. In fact, Quaritch has a lot more heroic qualities than Sam Worthington's boring protagonist: He does his best to save his dying world by overseeing the mining operation, as well as to protect his soldiers from the brutal natives, with whom the humans have repeatedly tried to make peace with and gone to great lengths not to bother them. But then one of Quaritch's most trusted men becomes brain-washed by the alien ecology and sides with the natives, in a backhanded plot that will doom the Earth. When it's shown that there is no reasoning with the natives, Quaritch is forced to take drastic actions and oversees the acceleration of the mining operation. But then the traitorous Jake Sulley forsakes his humanity and allies himself with the alien threat. Many brave men and women are murdered in a horrendous slaughter, where Quaritch fights bravely to the last breath. But unfortunately it is all in vain, with our brave hero dying and the villain surviving on to the sequel.

Really? Humans just showing up somewhere they don't belong, announcing their plans to ravage it for resources, and generally placing their own survival above that of everything else ... sympathetic, you say?

The humans don't have the right to be on Pandora at all. The mention of them 'indulging' the Na'vi is irrelevant -- they flat-out shouldn't be there. Humanity's survival (on the whole) is not worth sacrificing worlds for.

Anyway, just an opinion ...

That's making the assumption that in the Avatar world all creatures are individuals. Where instead it is just as likely that each creature, Na'vi and living being is an extension of Pandora itself.

If that was to be looked at in a negative light one could suggest it is Borg-like. But that is overly negative, and not all collective, or forms of hive-mind like life need be negative.

Sounds like a rather misanthropic opinion. The very heavily implied desperation of humanity's situation makes it understandable why they are there. They are provided motive and characterization, which makes their plight sympathetic if not morally right. The Na'vi have virtually no characterization and are presented as being so unrealistically perfect that they become boring and lose sympathy. The Na'vi are also never truly shown to be the underdog in this conflict and are constantly on top, even if they lose their big tree which doesn't show to have any consequences. But humanity keeps trudging on against incredible odds and comes across as much more interesting in their sheer tenacity and frankly many people end up rooting for them, because the nominal heroes make very little impact. If the Na'vi had been less perfect and more savage, or that their tree getting torched would actually have had disastrous consequences, then they might actually have been more sympathetic. As the movie was presented, it came across more like a wannabe-hippie teenager's angsty rant about humanity being big mean poopie-heads for crapping down the environment, with the supposedly happy ending being the destruction of mankind.

"District 9" did the same basic plot a lot better, because the aliens were also presented as complex and fallible, being capable of doing bad things just as humans were. It also helped that it wasn't preachy and that it managed to present its metaphor much better, by making everything more gritty and connected to our real world.

I prefer the sinister option, because Pandora being presented as an actual paradise doesn't work for me. If everything is taken at face value then it seems like a wish-fulfillment fantasy for people who've never actually experienced nature.

I think we can agree to disagre :)

Ha, i mean "disagree" :)

Is anybody really eager to see any Avatar sequel? I'm really wondering.
Cameron is treating the whole thing as a sci-fi/fantasy defining masterpiece (of course he is), but what I find a little bit more surprising is the fact that the media do it too.
The first movie being "meh", at best, was it all just in my mind?

Hum... after checking Avatar's score on RT and Metacritic, yes, apparently it was.

Found it to be a fairly good film at the cinema (though didnt walking out going wow!) with all the buzz of 3D, motion capture, etc at the time surrounding the film but having since seen it on the small screen whereby you are forced to focus more on the story I find it rather boring and predicatable.

No, you're right. Left me cold.

I think you have thought about it too much, the plot really doesnt bare up to scrutiny very well.

I know people who do. They're called not nerds.

Avatar felt very generic to me, but a good story could be told in it's universe, if the sequel focused on the humans who were transfered into Avatar bodies and their adjustment to life on Pandora after the exctinction of the rest of the human race, whilist also exploring more of the cosmic forces at work in Pandora and how they intersect with these humans, with Jake Sully being present, but distant from the other characters as being an example of both their fears and anixeties of their adapation.

Exactly this. After seeing it the first time at the cinema I was blown away, but that was largely because it was the first film I'd seen using 3D that actually worked and enhanced the movie. Subsequent watches at home have exposed the fairly bland and unsubtle storytelling, as well as some typically Cameron-esque clunky dialogue.

You know it is possible to reply without being unpleasant and childish, right?

Wanted this to be good but after the 3d gimmick it was just a rehash of a lot of ideas

I'm so excited for these movies, Avatar is one of my all-time favourites. I do think that it's one of those films that got so big that people started hating it, as it does get a lot more hate than in my opinion it deserves.

You're right. I sincerely apologize. But I speak as a nerd myself: my black brothers in law are super excited about it and they're like "guardians of the wha?" That's all im saying. I shouldn't call y'all nerds just cuz I'm one.

Not really eager for a sequel, but not dreading it either. If it looks like worth a watch with a good enough story, I'd happily go watch it with an open mind and see what happens.

I would personally go further than 'meh' and go for 'good' for the first one. Very simplistic story, but quite the visual spectacle.

Is it bad that I'm more interested in how he does the actual planet, flora and fauna than anything else?

agree; first one was more like meh+
rt and meatcrotic scores just confirm herd mentality at work ;)

I didn't take his answer to be unpleasant. I thought he was saying that mainstream audiences loved Avatar, nerds/geeks less so. Being on this site, surely we would be in the second category.

The man directed two of the best sequels ever. One was a sequel to his own original feature. Then he made the most successful kind of remake ever. Now he does a sequel to the best grossing movie ever, which happens to be his own creation as well. I think it'll be fine. That is all.

Well, we all have our own opinions. But, to be honest, I found Avatar to be very generic.

Avatar is, for me, the one film that got utterly worse and worse following repeat viewings. When I first saw it I was amazed by the effects and world building but after I got it on DVD and watched it a few times, I came to the realisation its utter horseshit. 'Dances with smurfs' indeed. South Park where right on the money. Do another big ALIENS movie Cameron, you wally!

I met someone who really liked Avatar once. That was a strange day.

Avatar was technically brilliant, but as far as the story went, it was absolutely nothing new. Sequels would just be flogging a dead horse. Twice!

Sponsored Links