25 Minutes of Avatar Screen, Astonish at Comic-Con

As you know, Avatar is coming this December to save movie theaters, heal lepers, and foot the bill for the twelve-year vacation James Cameron’s been on since Titanic. As you may also be aware, Cameron screened 25 minutes of his eyeball-smothering 3-D space adventure at Comic-Con yesterday to the unshowered masses. Could it possibly live up to the hype? Yes, sort of! As long as you don’t expect angels to come down from heaven to tear your ticket (or to be able to completely forget that you’re watching a mostly computer-generated movie), the early reactions from those in attendance would seem to indicate that, yes, we will all be blown away by Avatar.

Movieline’s Seth Abramovitch would advise any Renaissance painters to pack a change of pants:

[W]hile the most fully realized and wholly immersive CGI achievement in cinematic history probably won’t cure peptic ulcers or reverse male-pattern-baldness, it will definitely make you go “whoa” more times than Keanu Reeves on his first visit to the Long Beach Aquarium … He truly has appeared to have crossed “the uncanny valley” — that space between real and synthetic that keeps CGI character development from ever fully seeming lifelike. The eye-movement, the facial emotion, the weight of the limbs as they flail about for the first time — it all just feels Next Level.™ … [T]he execution of [one sequence] is nothing short of a technical, logistical, and visual masterpiece. It’s fucking art, dude. Like, whoa. Michelangelo would poop his pants if he could get his hands on one these Avatar-making machines.

Ain’t It Cool News’ Quint says it’s great and everything — just don’t expect Jurassic Park:

All the Pandora stuff that was shown was incredibly detailed, layer upon layer of movement, life, detail. But it seemed to be completely mo-cap and computer animated. While I thought it looked fantastic I think people need to reel in their expectation a bit. What I saw were glimpses at a fantastic bit of storytelling, a rich fantasy tale, by a master of the artform, but the CGI creatures and characters are just that. They’re amazingly executed, no doubt, but it’s not like when you saw your first CG dinosaur and you said, “This is a game changer” to yourself.

Hitfix’s Drew McWeeny says that basically, yesterday James Cameron walked into a room with 6,000 people and pulled out his dick and slapped it on the table (but with a small caveat):

Basically, today James Cameron walked into a room with 6,000 people and pulled out his dick and slapped it on the table. With an HD camera pointing right at it. […]”Avatar” is really, really, really, really cool. It is not photoreal. Your brain is never going to tell you “Hey, look, I think that’s an actual real ten foot tall blue cat person alien.” You will always look at that and say, even if you don’t consciously say it, “Well, that can’t be real.”

Jeffrey Wells was reduced to gibberish:

James Cameron’s 3-D action fantasy, set on a foreign planet and involving a primal conflict between militaristic humans and a race of ten-foot-tall aliens called Na’vi, played serious wowser. As in “Jesus, this is something … oh, wow! … crap, this is new … oh, that’s cool … this is so friggin’ out there and vivid and real … love it all to hell.” […] I was transported, blown away, melted down, reduced to adolescence, etc. I mean, I saw some truly great stuff … As drop-dead awesome and mind-blowing as Avatar is in terms of super-sophisticated CG animation that looks as real as anything sitting outside your window or on the next block or next continent, the bulk of it does appear to be happening in an all-animated world.”

25 Minutes of Avatar Screen, Astonish at Comic-Con