Eager fans will get their “Avatar” fix tonight as 20th Century Fox unveils 15 minutes of the James Cameron film to moviegoers for free in theaters across the United States. But when you’re Ellen Ripley, er, Sigourney Weaver, you get to see the whole thing. Well, sorta.
Sci-fi’s grand dame has background with “Avatar” director James Cameron — he directed her in the 1986 hit “Aliens,” the second of her four films in the Ripley role — but even she hasn’t gotten the full “Avatar” experience. Instead of seeing the December release in all of its reputed 3-D splendor, she had to settle for a less extravagant 2-D version.
“That was enough for my heart,” she said on the set of her new film “You Again,” an upcoming Disney comedy with costar Kristen Bell.
Cameron’s off-world epic — starring Weaver, Sam Worthington and Zoe Saldana – takes place on Pandora, a strange and beautiful planet filled with lush, exotic forests. The story revolves around the clash between the indigenous Na’vi — a tribe of tall, blue humanoids — and the human invaders looking to set up mines to extract an especially valuable mineral beneath the homeland of the Na’vi.
To achieve the visual effects, Cameron and his team used a new technology to capture the acting performances of his stars and super-impose their work over computer-generated creatures for, according to Cameron, a level of greater emotion. The early fanboy reaction to the online trailer above has been mixed, but Weaver, for one, is stunned by the results she’s seen to date.
“It’s absolutely amazing,” Weaver said. “It’s such a remarkable achievement. There’s never been anything like it. I know I shouldn’t over-praise it … but I remember reading the script and going, ‘Well this is great, but I just don’t see how you can do any of this. It’s so ambitious.’ And he’s done it. He has done it.”
The Twentieth Century Fox film opens Dec. 18.
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Photo: Sigourney Weaver as Ripley, Twentieth Century Fox