Avatar 2 is finally here! I have found all the highlights of this sci-fi blockbuster for you in advance

On December 10, 2009, "Avatar" directed by James Cameron premiered in London, England. One month later, "Avatar" came to China, setting off an unprecedented wave of 3D.

In 2010, theaters in China and around the world were blue, and no matter where you went, you could see movie posters of giant blue riding a dragon soaring in the sky. In less than two months after its release, "Avatar" broke the highest box office record set by "Titanic". Counting the income from re-screenings in recent years, "Avatar" has a cumulative global box office of 2.789 billion US dollars, beating "Avengers 4" and returning to the top spot at the global box office.

The success of "Avatar" need not be repeated.

According to Hollywood's routine operation of chasing after victory, such a successful movie should seize the popularity and launch a sequel to continue to "absorb money" around the world. It's a pity that in the next ten years, we didn't even see the title of the sequel to "Avatar".

Finally, thirteen years later, the sequel "Avatar: The Way of Water", which has been postponed again and again, has good news.

According to the latest theater news, "Avatar: The Way of Water" will be released in mainland China on December 16. The film is 190 minutes long, nearly 30 minutes longer than "Avatar".

Cameron responded to the expectations of fans around the world for returning to the planet Pandora with a film length of more than three hours. The "god of the box office" will soon use a new special effects masterpiece to sweep the world's cinemas blue again.

Return to Pandora

The story of "Avatar: Way of Water" took place five years after the plot of "Avatar". Jack Sally, a former disabled soldier on Earth, became the patriarch of the Nami tribe on Pandora after switching bodies, and married his wife Natalie. Together they gave birth to a pair of lovely children.

However, mankind's ambition to conquer Pandora did not disappear because of the withdrawal of troops. Jack found that human avatars had mixed into the tribe to wreak havoc, so he decided to lead the tribe to leave the forest to find a new territory.

The subtitle of "Way of Water" indicates that the ocean scene will be the focus of this sequel. From the currently released trailers, you can also see a large number of sea-related pictures, including flying at low altitude on the sea, swimming in the water, riding a bike, etc. With marine life shuttling and so on, the magnificent sea is a new visual feast presented to us by Cameron this time.

As we all know, Cameron loves the sea deeply. In 2012, Cameron took the Deep Sea Challenger to reach the Mariana Trench at a depth of about 11,000 meters below the Pacific Ocean, and stayed in the deepest part of the earth for about three hours, refreshing the solo submersible to reach the earth The deepest record.

Cameron once mentioned in an interview that exploring the sea and directing movies are his two major interests. In the process of filming "Avatar: Way of Water", he can combine these two kinds of happiness, which is really true for him. Nothing could be better.

Thirteen years have passed since "Avatar: The Way of Water" was released. With such a long production time, it is hard not to make movie fans wonder what Cameron has been doing for the past ten years?

Cameron said that at first he envisaged making "Avatar" into a trilogy, but as the creation deepened, he found that the stories created by the team were even more ambitious than expected, so that "Avatar" could be expanded into a series of five works. Great series of movies.

It took Cameron four years to create the script alone, and after that, he spent another five years with the team to design different creatures, cultures, and costumes on Pandora.

In other words, in these thirteen years, Cameron has not just filmed the sequel of the movie, but created a macro story universe around "Avatar". It is no wonder that "Avatar: The Way of Water" has been difficult to produce.

Cameron revealed in an interview with the media that the second and third parts were filmed back-to-back (one after the other) and that he has completed the first part of the third and fourth parts. Filming, the third is expected to be released in December 2024.

▲ Picture from: GQ

As for whether the fourth and fifth parts will meet with the audience, it depends on the performance of the first two parts at the box office. Cameron mentioned in an interview with "GQ" magazine that the shooting cost of "Avatar: Way of Water" is very high, and it must become the third or fourth highest-grossing movie in film history to break even.

He called it "the worst business case in film history."

Every frame is hard-won

The extremely high cost of shooting is inseparable from Cameron's true attitude towards each frame.

Leaving aside the preparatory work such as script writing, story setting, and character design, Cameron has taken an extraordinary serious attitude in training actors, filming, and post-production, just to present the most beautiful characters in front of the audience. Extreme and spectacular visual effects.

The first is the movement of the actors. Since "Avatar: Way of Water" has a large number of scenes that take place underwater, Cameron believes that the best way to make the actors look like they are in the water is for the actors and photographers to go underwater and perform live actions Capture the shot.

To this end, Cameron hired the best breath-holding experts to teach actors how to hold their breath in the water for a long time and move freely in the water.

After a period of training, Zoe Saldana, the heroine of "Avatar: Way of Water", can hold her breath in the water for about 5 minutes, while Kate Winslet, another actress who participated in the Oscar, is Among the actors, she can hold her breath underwater for the longest time, she can stay underwater for 7 minutes at a stretch.

"Avatar: The Way of Water" is not the first movie to shoot a large number of seabeds. Before that, films such as the live-action superhero movie "Aquaman" adapted from DC comics all happened in the deep sea, but most of these films are Cameron said that it was difficult to capture the real dynamics of people in the water by shooting on land through the green screen Garwea.

Cameron's team once did a comparative experiment for this. They filmed a segment of actors moving on land and in water. The actors on land imitated the movement posture in the water as much as possible. The footage shot was rough, but the effect was still far better than that of "landlubber", so the team finally decided to devote all their energy to underwater live-action shooting.

How to shoot 3D images underwater has become the next problem for Cameron's team to solve.

3D shooting is the soul of the "Avatar" series. Cameron needs to ensure that each frame can be unfolded in front of the audience in a three-dimensional form. Therefore, the underwater 3D shooting problem must be solved.

Underwater shooting, especially 3D underwater shooting, is a huge challenge for photographers, because the movement of light in water is very different from that on land. If the equipment on land is directly used underwater, the pictures taken There are many ghost images and distortions, which seriously affect the quality of imaging.

At this time, Australian cinematographer and scientist Pawel Achtel ACS brought a solution to Cameron. In 2015, he invented a 3D diving beam splitter called Deep X 3D, which can avoid underwater shooting. Geometric distortion, chromatic aberration and other problems can be eliminated, and clear 3D images can be captured.

Another feature of the Deep X 3D camera system is its lightness, it only weighs 30 kg – which sounds like a lot, but underwater cameras of the same type can weigh more than 120 kg and require a crane to move it. Deep X 3D has been able to meet the needs of photographers for handheld shooting.

Pawel Achtel ACS said that the Deep X 3D was not made specifically for "Avatar: Way of Water" and that he originally made the camera for underwater shooting of IMAX 3D movies.

Later, Cameron came to him after learning about Deep X 3D through his website. After using Deep X 3D to shoot underwater images, the whole team was amazed. Cameron said that the zero-distortion images captured by Deep X 3D As if filming on land, people are immersed in it unconsciously.

It is an old tradition of the Cameron team to boldly use high-tech shooting equipment when shooting movies. When filming "Avatar", the Cameron team and the engineering team of Sony Camera used two Sony F950 movie cameras to create a 3D Fusion Stereo camera, which also became the most advanced stereo camera system in the world at that time.

When it came to "Avatar: The Way of Water", the Cameron team and Sony continued to cooperate and customized a special Sony VENICE movie machine.

Sony VENICE cinema camera is the first full-frame digital cinema camera launched by Sony in 2017. The Cameron team held several meetings with Sony's engineering team to discuss how to transform it and apply it to "Avatar: Way of Water" of shooting.

In some behind-the-scenes photos of the crew, we can see the transformation results of both parties:

The two VENICEs are split into a fuselage part and a lens part (including the image sensor). The two are connected through Sony's wiring system. The fuselage part is carried by an assistant. The photographer only needs to hold the lens to shoot, which greatly reduces the weight of the hand. The two lenses are placed together vertically, and the two lenses capture the pictures of the left eye and the right eye respectively through the beam splitter, and the whole stereoscopic shooting system becomes portable and compact.

With such a shooting system, the Cameron team can shoot closer and more flexible 3D scenes, giving the movie a stronger sense of immersion and expressiveness.

Before this, the huge size of the IMAX 3D camera did not allow photographers to run around on their shoulders. When encountering some small scenes or close-ups, the photographer can only switch to ordinary cameras and then switch to 3D in the later stage. The overall effect will be greatly reduced. .

can't wait

"Avatar: The Way of Water" is a sci-fi film and not a documentary. Why did Cameron's team go to such lengths to shoot a movie that is fake and real?

When asked this question by a reporter, Cameron responded by citing a famous quote from explorer Jacques-Yves Cousteau.

"You don't protect what you don't love". Jacques-Yves Cousteau knew that the way to make people fall in love with the sea was to show them its beauty, complexity and magnificence.

Today we are losing whales, dolphins, sharks, and we are losing coral reefs due to increased dissolved carbon dioxide in the oceans. A hundred years later, when people look back on the past, they may say: "We once had these beautiful things, but we didn't cherish them well." So that's what this movie [is trying to convey], but in an organic way as part of the storytelling, with warnings (of the environment) running in between the lines.

Judging from the current information released by "Avatar: The Way of Water", its conception and production level are completely worthy of its status as the sequel to "the most successful commercial film in film history". to a farther place.

Since the epidemic, it is an indisputable fact that the film industry has been weakening day by day. According to box office statistics, as of November 22, the total box office in 2022 will be 29.7 billion yuan, which has dropped back to the level of the total box office in 2014.

We seem to lack any reason to go to the cinema. Compared with the lack of blockbuster cinemas, more and more people choose to embrace streaming media and choose to watch movies at home.

Cinemas need a blockbuster made for the big screen to save revenue, and movie fans need a beautiful movie to comfort their souls.

In these thirteen years, we now need the arrival of "Avatar: Way of Water" more than ever.

Cut the crap.

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