If you missed Avatar Day this summer, no worries – one of the clips from the footage previewed at the event has been released online and IGN has been good enough to share it with the rest of us.

In addition, we’ve got some crazy backstory to share about the all the intricate work James Cameron invested into creating a realistic language for the alien race of the Na’vi. Sci-fi fans, get ready to expand your alien-language dictionaries!The scene featured in the clip is the “Thanador Chase”. It features Sam Worthington and Sigourney Weaver’s characters, Jake Scully and Dr. Grace Augustine, taking their Avatar bodies out for a spin in the alien jungles of Pandora, only to run afoul of some local wildlife, in this case, a “Thanador.”

If you haven’t been impressed by Avatar‘s visuals so far, may this will change your mind?

Ladies and gents, I present to you the Thanador Chase:

For a hi-res version (you really want to watch it that way) go HERE.

Now, just try and remember that pretty much all of what you just saw was CGI. If you STILL don’t think the visuals for this film are impressive, let me be the one to tell you: on an IMAX screen, in 3D, it looks even MORE impressive. Of all the footage screened on Avatar Day, this scene was probably my second favorite (Neytiri (Zoe Saldana) tutoring Jake how to wrangle himself a flying creature had to be my top fav).


The LA Times brings us a report about one of the more honored aspects of any sci-fi universe – the fake languages of its alien races!

Apparently, James Cameron has been so meticulous in his creation of the Na’vi culture in Avatar that he even reached out to a renowned linguist to create a 1,000 word vocabulary for the “Blue Cat-Smurfs.” Here’s what USC Professor Paul R. Frommer had to say about taking Cameron’s initial dozen-word vocab and expanding it into a legitimate language:

“I’m still working and I hope that the language will have a life of its own…For one thing, I’m hoping there will be prequels and sequels to the film, which means more language will be needed…The constraint, of course, is that the language I created had to be spoken by humans…I could have let my imagination run wild and come up with all sorts of weird sounds, but I was limited by what a human actor could actually do.”

“I was surprised [the actors] all did very well, and it gave me hope, too, that other people will try to learn it and speak it…I’m excited because there is going be a Pandora-pedia online and a lot of material for people to learn more about the planet. There’s this incredible devotion to detail. It’s been fascinating to me. It’s almost academic in its approach.”

Frommer (photo courtesy of the LA Times)

Of course, teaching the language to the actors was an equally daunting job – so Cameron and Co. reached out to dialect coach Carla Meyer, who has worked on such films as Pirates of the Caribbean, Erin Brockovich and Angels & Demons. If Frommer’s praise is to be taken at face value, Meyer did her job well.

Check out the full article HERE to see what Frommer thinks about speaking Na’vi vs. speaking Klingon, and what it’s like to be the only guy to understand a faux language.

What did you think of the scene from Avatar? Are you a sci-fi fan who loves to learn alien languages?

Avatar will be in theaters on December 18, 2009.