"Avatar: the path of water": the great return of James Cameron

“Avatar: the path of water”: the great return of James Cameron

The Canadian director took 12 years to prepare and shoot Avatar: The Path of Water, the second installment of one of the most ambitious franchises in cinema. And refering to AvatarJames Cameron’s team had to develop not only the narrative and visual universe, but also the necessary technology.

Avatar: The Path of Water it was a titanic job. In February 2010, James Cameron and producer Jon Landau decided to hold a mini tech summit with the “Avatar” teams to review the technical elements of the film and identify strengths and weaknesses. “I do not think that the path of water It would have seen the light of day if we had not dedicated ourselves to this exercise”, indicated the filmmaker who, once the meeting was over, began to think about the rest.

note pages

As soon as James Cameron gets to work, he fills out notebooks. In total, the director and producer fills 1500 pages that also contain possible plots. And it is at that moment that he realizes that it will take much more than two movies to tell the story of Pandora, Jake Sully (Sam Worthington) and Neytiri (Zoe Saldana). Inside the path of waterthe couple now have children, Neteyam (James Flatters), Lo’ak (Britain Dalton), Tuk (Trinity Jo-Li Bliss) and Kiri (Sigourney Weaver), an adopted teenager.

But the humans are coming back. In addition to mining unobtainium, they also want to colonize Pandora to settle there, since the Earth is about to become uninhabitable. The Sullys and the Omatikaya tribe flee into the mountains to join the Metkayina, a clan that lives in the water, whose leaders Ronal (Kate Winslet) and Tonowari (Cliff Curtis) have no choice but to help them. But that doesn’t stop Colonel Miles Quaritch (Stephen Lang) from going after them.

The time spent refining the story of this and subsequent installments has allowed the team the path of water developing the essential technological tools for this filming, in other words, finding a way to capture performances underwater, a first in film history. “The key is to actually shoot underwater, but only on the surface so that the actors swim correctly, come out of the water correctly, and dive correctly. And it feels real because the movements were real and the emotion was real,” said the filmmaker.

An exceptional shoot

Therefore, Stephen Lang returns as a villain, thanks to a technology made from the transfer of DNA and memories, even if his character died in the previous part. Asked by the QMI Agency about his preparation for this Avatar: The Path of WaterThe actor said the months leading up to James Cameron’s first helm had been intense.

“It was very physical. I had to work on my flexibility, my energy and my strength. I did a lot of parkour, a lot of archery, a lot of martial arts. For fights, I studied knife fighting, stick fighting, and obviously automatic weapons. I also had to work on everything that happens in the water, it’s no secret that this “Avatar” takes place in phenomenal amounts of water.

“With Jim Cameron and Avatar“You never know when shooting starts or even ends,” Stephen Lang said with a laugh when asked how long he was immersed in the film. At any time, Jim can call and say that he needs us.”

“If I remember correctly, the shoot lasted a few years. We started filming in 2017 and our preparation in 2015. We were taking breaks before going back and starting over. Things got really serious in 2017 through 2019. The schedule was intense, I don’t even know how long I was on set, like 100-200 days. I admit I lost count. I showed up and worked.”

The resurrection of cinema in theaters

Since the use of performance capture technology, the “motion/performance capture” used by Peter Jackson to Lord of the Ringsthen by Andy Serkis for his remarkable trilogy Planet of the Apes -, the Oscar Academy strives to recognize this type of game as an acting game in its own right, consistently disparaging the actors who use it.

“The capture of performance is a more present reality in today’s cinema. How people will adapt and how they will recognize each other is out of our control. I knew it, as soon as I saw the first Avatar that Zoe Saldana’s performance is one of the most impressive in the history of cinema. Capturing a service is a service in its own right. I don’t know how to explain that anymore.”

“It is a game very similar to that of a theater stage due to its minimalism. It is a technology that requires full use of all the tools available to the actors. Is more difficult? No. Playing is simple at heart, but it is a difficult art”, emphasized Stephen Lang.

Another serious issue is movie attendance, which has seen a sharp drop in the United States and Europe since the pandemic. First Avatar not only created a rush for 3D technology and increased box office receipts, but also broke all records, with viewers flocking to theaters to see the feature film. Avatar: The Path of Water Will he be able to convince the crowd to reconnect with the dark rooms?

“It’s hard to say, but I tend to answer ‘yes.’ It is difficult to anticipate what the public response will be. Due to the nature of the film, its importance and the expectations of moviegoers, I think the path of water It’s the perfect feature film to get people back to theaters and to convince new viewers to come.”

“I believe that cinema will never be the same again. But cinema is constantly evolving. If we compare what the movies of the 30s were, what they became in the 60s, we realize that it was radically different, particularly because of the democratization of television. The important thing is that the cinema has returned. It is impossible to transpose the cinematic experience to any place other than a cinema: the big screen, sitting with strangers and communicating in front of a screen”.

  • Avatar: The Path of Water inaugurated on December 16.

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