As the release date approaches for James Cameron’s much-debated sci-fi/fantasy extravaganza, Avatar, the curtain that’s been hanging over the film for nearly a decade and a half keeps on getting pulled further and further back.

Today, we have a 10-minute clip from Avatar that provides the proverbial “anatomy of a scene.” Looking at it, you can see just how much work (and revolutionary special effects work) went into each and every sequence Cameron put together. It’s pretty interesting. Check it out.

Now earlier this week, we posted the “Thanador Chase” sequence, which had first been screened on “Avatar Day” back in August. As I mentioned in that post, the Thanador chase was my second favorite segment of the Avatar Day screening – my top fav was indisputably the “Banshee Flight” sequence that is now featured in this new 10-minute featurette.

In the film, Zoe Saldana’s character, Neytiri, a Na’vi warrior, takes Sam Worthington’s character, Jake Sully, up to a mountain top where the alien pterodactyls known as “Banshees” nest. As mandated by Na’vi custom, Jake must earn his right of passage as a hunter by breaking in one of the wild banshees, much like a cowboy has to break a wild stallion before he can ride it.

The sequence was the one moment of the Avatar Day screening that I would describe as truly “breathtaking.” Now you can see how Cameron and Co. put it all together. Have a look:

Now, I’ve been greatly interested in Avatar since I first wrote about the new technology Cameron used to film it. This behind-the-scenes featurette is the first time I’ve gotten an extensive look at that technology actually being put to purpose, and after seeing it, I wholeheartedly stand by previous statement that no matter what kind of numbers this film does at the box office, James Cameron has struck yet another major milestone in movie pioneering.

Right now it’s the “cool thing” to hate on Avatar (hell, even South Park is doing it) – but I think that despite what people want to say about how the special effects look, or how the story is a rehash of other “going native” yarns, when this film hits theaters on December 18th, and people get the full 3D IMAX experience, a lot of that mockery is going hush down REAL quick.

Let us know what you thought of the video.

Source: Hulu