At long last, after a decade or so of planning, hype about revolutionizing the art of filmmaking and a sneak peek at this year’s Comic-Con, James Cameron’s “Avatar” is here for the masses. Well, two minutes of it, anyway.
Yes, the teaser trailer for this sci-fi alien adventure has arrived. And even though it’s only 120-odd seconds long, we couldn’t be more psyched. But enough talk — we’ve waited far too long as it is. Time to obsessively chronicle every single shred of footage in MTV News’ shot-by-shot analysis (of course, spoilers abound below!).
Shot 1: A man opens his eyes under an eerie blue light — that’s looking like our hero, the paraplegic Marine Jake Sully (Sam Worthington) — before the shot fades to black.
Shot 2: This is certainly the future. A couple of super-advanced spacecraft are docked upside-down and sideways at a station above a cloud-covered planet. Earth? The planet Pandora on which the story takes place? We hear the sounds of an engine powering up. Another fade to black.
Shot 3: One of those spaceships zips through the atmosphere, creating a trail in its ultra-fast wake before descending into a mass of clouds and sunlight.
Shot 4: This now is definitely Pandora — our first look at the fictional place: rolling hills, lush green trees, fog everywhere.
Shot 5: Sully has landed, and we see him roll off the ship on his wheelchair, an oxygen mask strapped to his face because humans cannot breathe in Pandora’s atmosphere. Helicopters hover in the background, trucks roll by, soldiers stand at the ready.
Shot 6: Another shot of Sully. We see his face behind the plastic mask, taking in his surroundings. We also see the plane’s insides: not exactly our familiar first class airplane accommodations.
Shot 7: More of Pandora. Floating rock islands covered in greenery and waterfalls, long twisty vines connecting some of these outcroppings to one another. A helicopter zips by, and we see how enormous these airborne islands really are. What will all this look like when the movie hits IMAX theaters in 3-D?
Shot 8: Soldiers strap into vehicles; doors lower into place. The humans are here to plunder the rich natural resources of the planet.
Shot 9: Our first look at Col. Quaritch (Stephen Lang): three scars running across his head and face. Looks like you don’t want to mess with this guy.
Shot 10: Sully rolls into a lab and checks out some tanning-bed-like contraptions.
Shot 11: Our first look at an Avatar, a hybrid of a human and Pandora’s native people, the Na’vi. Huge and blue, the Avatar floats in a huge fish tank, connected to wires. Sully stares at him.
Shot 12: The reverse angle. We see that Sully loves what he sees.
Shot 13: A capsule slides into a contraption that looks like a futuristic MRI machine. We know Sully is inside. This is why he’s come to the planet. Humans have created Avatars to explore the land, using their minds to control the creatures remotely. Sully, able to walk again via his Avatar, will act as a planetary scout.
Shot 14: Yup, that’s our Sully with blue wires connected all over his body.
Shot 15: A scientist examines a computer screen made of only a pane of glass. A 3-D image of human brain slowly rotates.
Shot 16: WTF? We’re being shot crazy fast through some wormhole-looking thing. It’s like “Contact” on steroids. Sully’s mind is being connected to his Avatar.
Shot 17: Sully opens his eyes. He’s still in the capsule, but his mind — it’s elsewhere.
Shot 18: We see what Sully sees, albeit foggily: huge blue hands that he can flex. He now embodies the Avatar.
Shot 19: The Avatar sits up in the lab. He’s got pointy ears, blue skin, a long black ponytail. The humans next to him are small by comparison. He flexes his toes — for the paralyzed Sully, an amazing feat. To create these creatures using actors, Cameron revolutionized two technologies: digital 3-D and e-motion capture.
Shot 20: He stands up from his lab bed, ripping out a wire, and reaches out to touch the glass enclosure. Is this about to get dangerous? The scientists jump back.
Shot 21: Nope, it’s all good! “This is great,” Sully as the Avatar says. It’s our first close-up of him: big yellowish eyes, stripes of different shades of blue skin, straight, slightly pointy teeth.
Shot 22: A helicopter touches down in the lush jungle.
Shot 23: The Avatar/Sully is in the jungle, taking in his surroundings and then he sees …
Shot 24: Some kind of pissed-off monster roaring over him. Time to run!
Shot 25: Sully slips through the bamboo, the beast jumps above him.
Shot 26: Running, crashing, diving.
Shot 27: A close up of another blue alien, one of the actual Na’vi. Is this Neytiri (Zoe Saldana), Sully’s eventual alien love interest? She’s in the jungle, looking distressed.
Shot 28: Nighttime. The Na’vi is in attack mode, shooting a bow and arrow.
Shot 29: A full-length shot of the Na’vi — Neytiri? — bow and arrow in hand, a small fire burning behind her.
Shot 30: Horselike creatures gallop through the jungle, the Na’vi on their backs.
Shot 31: Sully and — yup — definitely Neytiri together. Small blue-ish creatures float all around him, as if she’s showing off the treasures and pleasures of her planet.
Shot 32: Back to the human base where Sully first landed. Soldiers are gearing up for action. They’ve been getting closer and closer to the Na’vi’s territory as they search for natural resources, and it looks like relations between the two groups have reached a turning point.
Shot 33: Back to Neytiri. Her pupils grow big.
Shot 34: Hundreds of warships are in the air, those giant floating islands in the background.
Shot 35: A ship has landed in the jungle. Robot soldiers run out, ready for war.
Shot 36: The Na’vi are ready for war too. One of them flashes his fanged teeth.
Shot 37: This looks like some wacked-out dinosaur. Whose team is he on?
Shot 38: Neytiri jumps onto a giant winged creature as Sully looks on.
Shot 39: A close up of Neytiri riding the creature. She’s a warrior headed into battle.
Shot 40: As are all the Na’vi, who ride the winged creatures through the air.
Shot 41: Hundreds of creatures dive down to attack the humans’ ships.
Shot 42: Gunners on the ships fire massive machine guns at the approaching Na’vi
Shot 43: A couple of the creatures attack a helicopter, bringing it tumbling through the air.
Shot 44: Fire! Sully lights a torch in the middle of the jungle, bares his teeth and runs.
Shot 45: Sully swings his torch wildly through the air.
Shot 46: Ships, missiles, explosions, winged beasts — all in mid-air battle!
Shot 47: Neytiri kneels beside a fallen comrade as the jungle burns around them.
Shot 48: Close-up. She cries.
Shot 49: Uh-oh. Sully’s out of the chamber, no longer an Avatar. He’s once again wheelchair bound.
Shot 50: The Na’vi gather together and erupt into a battle cry.
Shot 51: One Na’vi sprints through the jungle.
Shot 52: A soldier hangs onto an aircraft with one hand and fires off a gun with the other before a Na’vi rips him away.
Shot 53: Pandora is on fire as the helicopters attack, firing missiles all together.
Shot 54: A beast jumps above a Na’vi.
Shot 55: Sully (as an Avatar) and Neytiri lean toward each other, touching heads. They’re in love. And her planet is under attack.
Check out everything we’ve got on “Avatar.”
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