LONDON — A lot of films try to lay claim to the old "most anticipated of the year" handle, but it was clear that the world premiere of [movie id="301495"]"Avatar"[/movie] Thursday night was indeed one of the biggest, baddest, call-your-friends-right-away events of 2009.
After 14 years incubating in director James Cameron's brain and years of production on soundstages and within the most sophisticated computers money could buy, "Avatar," the once-ultra-secret project known as "Project 800," finally premiered to an enraptured and appreciative London crowd.
But before the 160-minute-long saga of 10-foot-tall blue aliens on a distant moon called Pandora began, the stars walked the carpet (one guess as to the color).
There was Cameron with wife Suzy Amis, joking that he was still contemplating changes to the film even as it was minutes away from premiering. There were stars Sam Worthington, who is still clearly moved by Cameron's decision to cast him in the lead role of Jake Sully when he was still relatively unknown, and Zoe Saldana, humbled by the climactic moment finally at hand. (Be sure to check out "Avatar Live," MTV News' exclusive chat with Cameron, Saldana and Worthington from earlier this month.)
Of course, there was also co-star Michelle Rodriguez unleashing a rip-roaring scream when asked to sum up how she was feeling. And adding a touch of class to the whole affair was "Aliens" alum Sigourney Weaver, re-teamed with Cameron once more, making her entrance as the entire cast was introduced before the expectant audience.
And as for the film? Well, as MTV News left the pumped crowd with Leona Lewis' track playing, some admitted to tears, many threw around words like "game-changer" and most were ready to take another trip to Pandora right then and there. And any initial doubters seemed resigned to a tasty meal of crow on the morning after.
"Avatar" still has a long road ahead before words like "Oscar" become a reality, but to deny Cameron's achievement would simply be foolish. As a character in "Avatar" might say: Open your eyes.
MTV News will have loads more on "Avatar" in the coming days — and be sure to check out our exclusive "Avatar Live" interview with James Cameron, Zoe Saldana and Sam Worthington!