Avatar is a film that we’ve covered a lot around here at Screen Rant, not only because it is hyped up to be one of the most visually amazing movies of the decade (and we like to keep an eye on that sort of thing to see if it’s true), but also because it heralds the return of director James Cameron, who hasn’t directed a feature film since 1997’s Titanic.

With technology finally catching up to an idea Cameron has had for fifteen years, soon we’ll get to see his Avatar vision come to full, 3D CGI life. And today Screen Rant has the first real details on Avatar, as well as some early critical buzz that we’ve all been eager for!

The first footage of Avatar was shown to over 1,000 industry folks at the Cinema Expo in Amsterdam (“If you get stopped by a cop in Amsterdam, it’s illegal”— Oh wait, that’s a different movie…). The footage was comprised of various different scenes from the movie assembled into a length of about 24 minutes. Sadly the footage isn’t available quite yet to the online public, but we have the next best thing: written details about what went down.

So is all the hype for Cameron’s latest blockbuster warranted? Well, according to those who were lucky enough to attend the Expo and witness the first ever publicly shown footage, absolutely it does. Before we get to what people have said about the first Avatar footage, here is what happened before it was shown to the audience (thanks to IESB and THR):

[Warning: Moderate SPOILERS]

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James Cameron and stars Sam Worthington, Zoe Saldana, Stephen Lang and Sigourney Weaver were actually at the Expo in person to talk about Avatar before the footage was screened. Weaver started things off by saying that her character is called Dr. Grace Augustine, who dreams of living peacefully side-by-side with the Na’Vi (the 10 feet tall blue creatures shown on page 2). She revealed that her character is the one who created the titular Avatars (which are Na’Vi’ replicas), which allow humans to live on Pandora (the “other world” where the movie takes place).

Lang then went on after Weaver to talk about his character in Avatar, Colonel Quaritch, who is described as a, “shoot first, ask questions later type of guy.” Apparently, Lang was in character as he talked to the audience at the Expo, describing Weaver’s Dr. Augustine as, “nothing but a tree hugger,” and has a general want of killing the Na’Vi because apparently that’s the only way to deal with them – “They may be stronger physically, but we have more powerful weapons,” he said.

IESB user “Anonymous” reported that Worthington was, “barely audible,” because of bad jet-lag, but did say that his character, Jake Skully, is a crippled ex-marine who’s given a chance, by Dr. Augustine, to walk again through use of an Avatar. Saldana revealed that she plays one of the Na’Vi called Neytiri, and that it took months to prepare for her role, for which she had to to “learn to fight like a Na’Vi.” They fight? Without knowing much of how they function and how they act in the movie, it’s quite hard to picture them doing such things as fighting at this point. But I’m definitely liking the sound of it.

[End of spoilers]

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After that, the audiences were pleasantly surprised when Mr. James Cameron walked on-stage, wearing a pair of 3D glasses and remarked – “The future’s so bright I gotta’ wear shades.” He said that when it finally came to the point to actually make the movie once the technology had become available (which was four years ago), he and his team basically spent 18 months just thinking about how they were going to make it. Cameron said that the assemblage of footage shown was from the first third of the movie, but there were also some shots of the unfinished footage in there from the later battle scenes. He noted that in the later stages of the movie, the action becomes virtually non-stop.

Now onto the early buzz:

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