Avatar Featurette Shows Off Film’s Sci-Fi Tech

Published 5 years ago by , Updated September 12th, 2013 at 2:25 pm,

avatar human hardware 570x318 Avatar Featurette Shows Off Films Sci Fi Tech

Most of what we’ve seen so far from James Cameron’s Avatar has had to do with the cat-like alien race, The Na’vi. Not really a surprise, considering that people’s main fascination with this film has been the pioneering digital effects work used to create the Na’vi, however, some of us have been wondering, “What about the humans’ technology?

It might come as a surprise if you didn’t catch some of the early concept art that leaked during Avatar‘s production, but yes! The movie DOES offer more than CGI “Cat-Smurfs.” In fact, there is a whole array of sci-fi tech that the invading human army uses to conquer the alien planet of Pandora – and now you can get a look at all that tech in a new three-minute featurette!

The name of this latest featurette is “Human Hardware” and appropriately so. The video features “the human side” of the cast, including Stephen Lang, who plays the imperial Col. Quaritch, Sigourney Weaver, who plays Dr. Grace Augustine and Giovanni Ribisi, who plays corporate swine Selfridge, along with some of Avatar‘s producers, and of course, Cameron himself. Sci-fi fans, you’ll love this video in particular, as it’s basically a step-by-step look at the kind of tech-toys that has made Cameron a revered name in the genre.

Enough talk, onto the video:

For a bigger, hi-res version, head over to Rotten Tomatoes.

I really do like this video, but can’t help but to feel a bit miffed that it took this long for the filmmakers to put it out. If anything, BEFORE we got into the whole hard-to-swallow blue alien business, Cameron could’ve been earning serious cred (and good press) if he just flaunted the things he’s already known to be a master of: big mech suits, futuristic aircraft and weaponry and the awesome visual effects that make it all look real. Everything about Avatar‘s ‘great 3D’ and ‘unprecedented CGI’ should’ve been introduced this way, IMHO. Might’ve avoided the whole “It’s going to suck” sentiment that’s now going around like the flu…

Some small gripes about the featurette: “Unobtainium”, the element that the human coporation is mining for on Pandora – our own Paul Young pointed out that’s the same name of the element that was used to construct the deep-drilling vessel in the 2003 film, The Core, and our own Vic Holtreman added that unobtainium is a general term for costly, unusual or downright imaginary material discussed in both science fact and science fiction circles. Second, the bladed bayonets on those mech suits look (to me, at least) like they were lifted right out of Gears of War. Isn’t Avatar supposed to be keeping things “original?” Because it’s starting to feel like a lot of borrowing is going on… I’m not saying, just saying…

What did you think of the “Human Hardware” of Avatar? Cooler than the alien aspect?

Avatar will be in theaters and IMAX on December 18, 2009.

Source: IGN via Rotten Tomatoes

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  1. Meh?
    OK ok. It DOES look cool, but it’s still really hard for me to care that much about a cartoon army fighting another cartoon army. I just can’t wrap my suspension of disbelief around it. See also Droids v Gungans…

  2. MYM,

    The characteristic of them (droids and clones and gungans) being animated wasn’t what was responsible for so few people being able to generate a rooting interest in the conflict, it was that they never developed a reason to care about them.

    For an example of a completely computer generated character that did move audiences to care, see Carl Frederickson from Pixar’s “Up” earlier this year.

    If they develop the characters the pixels represent, this shouldn’t be a problem. In fact, I still think the biggest problem this film has is that you can see most of how the story will end up from the barest description of the set-up, and they’ve given much more than that away in the preview material so far.

    The only way for it to overcome that obstacle is if Cameron decided to say something completely different from what we expect from this set up. Call it the “Dances With Wolves” scenario. If he makes the ending something other than the one or two predictable ones that can be seen from miles away, and comes off as being fresh, then the SFX will have served the story well, and the latter won’t end up being the only reason to see the film.

    Personally, I’m skeptical. Cameron is a gifted director. He makes action scenes like nobody else in the business and he will (with rare exception) get above average performances from his actors, which always gives some rooting interest in the story, but in this case the story may be the weakest point. I hope I’m wrong, because these sfx look truly groundbreaking, and I would really like to see this be more than just another black-and-white native society vs. industrialized society narrative.

  3. @jersey

    You left out one aspect about Cameron. He’s good at action scenes, getting good performances, and character development. That last one could really make the movie, that’s why I’m optimistic.

  4. I think jerseycajun has valid concerns. I’m not a Cameron hater by any means but I can’t forget “The Abyss.” Somethings you should know about what I think about the “Abyss” I like inner-space movies. “Thunder Ball,” “U-571,” “Das Boot,” “Red October,” “The Deep” are just some of the titles I’ve seen. But you know what, of all those titles I named, I only have a copy of the “Abyss.” So now you know when I say the movie is uneven you don’t think I’m another Cameron hater. Certainly he’s grown over the years and I’m betting the technology he’s behind is top notch. I haven’t looked at the teaser above, I want to save as much as possible for the theater. I think it’s likely though that the show will have some unevenness at the least. Until I see it, I can’t say it’s science fiction only science fantasy. Their’s a lot more of that out there for better or worse.

  5. Excited to see both sides of the fight. Cool human weaponry and cool blue aliens with…birds? and stuff

  6. Amp suit…wasn’t that already done in Matrix Revolutions?

  7. @grenknight

    Too bad Matrix ripped that from the fight scene with the queen alien in Aliens, which is a Cameron film…

  8. Yeah Greenknight and of course Heinlein wrote about them back in 1959. GE made models in the 60′s. Small versions are being manufactured in limited numbers today. Heinlein could imagine real tech it would take 50 to 70 years to realize interesting, no??

  9. Yeah Ken but that was a glorified forklift/loader not an amp suit loaded with guns and designed for fighting..

  10. thanks old man ..I learned something new today..I will look it up!! :)


  11. @greenknight

    Um, yah, I know, but it was the imagery of a human manipulated exoskeleton type thing being used for combat. Obviously the Matrix is not going to just copy it and have a bunch of forklifts fighting weird squid flying machines… It’s not such a stretch of imagination to put guns onto the concept that Cameron made popular with Aliens.

  12. I agree with Ken J,
    Cameron is masterful at action scenes AND character development. Too many movies today have one or the other but when you combine both you really have something special. I know no matter what I will end up loving this movie even tho apparently there is a “this movie is going to suck” sentiment going around… I think with highly anticipated big budget movies like avatar there are always going to be skeptics and haters who don’t want it to succeed but I just find it really hard to believe that this movie will just downright suck.. I mean honestly has Cameron made a movie that just sucks the big one? I think Titanic sucked but that movie broke box office records so what does my opinion matter…

  13. Well, Titanic was a good movie from a technical standpoint. It was simply not the type of movies most guys enjoy. His recreation of the Titanic was basically spot-on, the sinking of the Titanic was pretty accurate to the accepted theory at the time, and there was plenty of story and character development besides that. But alas, it was a cheesy love story, so it was mostly a chick flick, lol. So yah, my point is that even though I didn’t like Titanic, it wasn’t just some crappy movie. So basically, other than that Piranha movie that he didn’t get to write or make other than get to direct, none of his movies actually suck…