New Avatar Featurettes Confirm Fantasy Film Influence

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avatar new images header New Avatar Featurettes Confirm Fantasy Film Influence

We’ve got three new items off the Avatar promotional assembly line to roll out for you today – two featurettes and the video of MTV’s Live HD Avatar webcast that took place last Thursday.

The HD webcast was a pretty cool event to witness: it featured Avatar director James Cameron, along with stars Sam Worthington and the sultry-voiced Zoe Saldana, sitting around with MTV’s Josh Horowitz to rib and joke about the film. It’s worth seeing just to hear Zoe Saldana talk (seriously, my temperature rose when she started speaking the Na’vi language – is that weird?).

However, it’s one of the two new Avatar featurettes that I really want to bring to your attention:

In the video entitled “Avatar Story Featurette,” if you click to the 20-second mark, you can hear James Cameron say something that I’ve been saying ever since August and catching a lot of crap for even suggesting: Avatar has more fantasy film influences than sci-fi influences.

Man, have you sci-fi fans been tearing into me over this point!  Well, I’m curious to read your lengthy arguments and comments now that Cameron is echoing the same sentiment. To get that ball rolling, why don’t you have a look at the videos. I’ll post the “Avatar Story Featurette” first:

Next up, check out this guide to planet Pandora as narrated by Avatar star Sigourney Weaver. People are saying this is “the best Avatar featurette yet,” in that it actually does a pretty good job of familiarizing you with the environments, animals and customs of life on Pandora, without necessarily spoiling the film. Check it out:




Finally, here is the video of MTV’s live Avatar HD webcast:

Now that you’ve watched the video(s), let’s discuss: between what you’ve seen here, and some of the fantasy-themed advertisements previously released for Avatar, are some of you sci-fi-centric Screen Rant readers ready to take a moment to reverse your stance on this genre debate? Or are we simply going to enter into another round of arguments? Because the whole “It’s clearly sci-fi,” stance becomes a bit harder to maintain when Cameron himself is out there saying “It’s a fantasy action/adventure.”

Avatar hits theaters on December 18, 2009. See you in the comments section.

Sources: YouTube, Canal, MTV

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  1. Congrats Kofi, on finding PROOF!
    It looks like a fantasy film to me .

  2. Ok. Here goes.

    This still looks terrible! I’m sorry but it just does, the fact that it has immersive 3D makes no difference to an unoriginal story, the tv spots just started showing in the UK.
    And they made me laugh, the few pieces of dialouge were so stinted that it made George Lucas seem like a master writer, the battle scenes look like all big bidget battle scenes with constant and unrecognisable action.

    Before anyone starts, I am entitled to my opinion, but I can find no love for this fantasy big blue cat people movie, when I was expecting a sci fi epic that was out of this world. Not a CGI fest, because that’s what Avatar is.

  3. I think a lot of people are trying to find reasons to hate this movie simply because it’s James Cameron and it has a big budget. With all the garbage movies out this year like GI JOE you would think people would embrace this film considering all the effort and time put into it.

    I think this is just another case of people hating on the big budget film and wanting desperately to be part of some counter-culture.

  4. I LOVE Cameron and this movie still looks terrible to me. “You just hating” criticism is so overdone already. Bring something else to the discussion.

  5. I think opinions will shift once the movie is in theaters and you have the actual experience of seeing it.


    Just another patented Outlaw prediction.

  6. Hey Kofi,

    A week or so ago you had a video up where Cameron says Avatar is an “action-adventure/fantasy” film. So there you have it!


  7. I Like big budget films, and James cameron has created some of the best genre films of all time, so it has nothing to do with either of those things.

    What about it looks good?

  8. I really think that in the end this movie will be better than the sum of the parts we’ve seen to date. Even with all the footage we really haven’t seen very much of the film.

    I’ll be seeing it Thursday morning (not IMAX, unfortunately) and I’m hoping that it lives up to the standards of Cameron’s previous films.


  9. @ Kofi

    Read some of the comments…I find a good “na-na-na-na-na” works too or as Homer Simpson says “In your face Flanders!!”

    I’m glad your letting your point rest though!! :)

    I look forward to this movie and will be there on the 18th!!

    Cheers :)

  10. @Kofi

    You know, crow doesn’t really taste all that bad. :-D

  11. Whaaat Vic your previewing it in non IMAX 3d???? Thats weak I think this movie is designed to be viewed in 3d couldn’t that potentially bias your review? I just think you should not be such a hot shot and see it with the common folk when its released worldwide!

  12. Dirtydozen says: “I think a lot of people are trying to find reasons to hate this movie simply because it’s James Cameron and it has a big budget.”

    Not me and now that Cameron has came out and honestly acknowledged the movie is science fantasy I can enjoy it for what it is and not what people have been claiming it is. Trying to tell an old man who’s read science fiction since he was a kid that science fantasy is science fiction. For shame!…

  13. I am “fantastically” amazed at how divided everyone is about this whole trivial issue. What an amazing debate. Does it really matter what genre this film is? Yes you say? Ok, its clearly important, terribly sorry for rocking the boat, when I see it next week I am going to sit through the entirety trying to decide whether its sci-fi or fantasy. Cause it’s REALLY that important! I’m glad this has been pointed out to me, geez, I was going to completely waste my time sitting there trying to decide whether it was a good film or not!

  14. “New Avatar featurette confirms Fantasy film influence”… oh, you mena, the Naavi will have supernatural powers?

    oh, oh.. wait.. the Naavi’s aboriginal gods will show themselves in a surprise twist at the end and banish the human interlopers to a hell-like other dimension?

    Oh, oh, I get it! the Naavi will vanquish the humans with the use of pixy dust and fairy magic?

    Or the humans will use hobbits and gnomes as soldiers in their war against the magical realm of the Naavi?

    Yeah, I didn’t think so.

    Erroneous use of the term “fantasy” by the film maker doesn’t make erroneous use of the term “fantasy” by some internet blogger right.

    Don’t feel vindicated. You’re still wrong. You just happen to be wrong along with James Cameron (and last time I checked he wasn’t an expert on literary form).

  15. @ Mike E.

    I’ll take the opinion of the guy who knows everything about the film over you any day.

    And I got several degrees in lit and writing going up to a the grad level.

    I know my genres.

    Though I like how your ego elevates you above James Cameron and me, “some internet blogger.”

    What’s the name of your grand opus again? The real famous one?

  16. I’m not criticizing James Cameron’s work. He’s a brilliant film maker. And you might notice I haven’t been one of the regular participants on your blog’s “bash avatar train”.

    I excuse Cameron not knowing the literary definition of “fantasy”. The guy has a degree in physics, and worked as a truck driver before becoming the film maker he is. If he says his film is “fantasy” then either there are some serious plot elements missing from the trailers, or he errs in his use of the term.

    You, on the other hand, if you have graduate degrees in lit, should know better. And that is inexcusable.

    As for me, I’m not in the literary field, but yeah, I also have a graduate degree. During which I took multiple years of literature courses as an aside. I’m not going to sit here and argue over whose degree is worth more or whatever. I’m sure you’ve never heard my magnum opus. And I’m also pretty sure I haven’t read yours.

    I KNOW this is going to sound snarky, but I’ll write it anyway, since you ARE the one who brought up your graduate degree in lit: please check your articles for typos and grammatical errors. We, as posters in the comments section, cannot go back and correct our posts in the comment section. However, you as the writer of the article should have access to both a spell-checker and a dictionary while writing your articles.

    Despite this argument we are having, I really do enjoy this forum. And I really DO find the information and even the often heated discussions enjoyable. I read through almost every single article every morning when I wake up, and go through all the new comments people here post.

    But it does grate to read so many typos and grammatical errors in the articles themselves. If you truly have a graduate degree in literature, you should have a bit more pride in your work and in that of your coworkers. Being “on the internet” shouldn’t be an excuse for poorly written articles. (I mean “poorly written” in format, and not content)

    Well, if that doesn’t get me banned, thank-you for displaying tolerance in the face of adversity.

  17. @ Kofi

    Rock on. Love how Mike E has to write an essay to re inflate his ego, sometimes all it takes is a few choice words. Although “some internet blogger” is quite cutting I feel. No doubt the bridge between Sci-fi & fantasy is going to be tested (and possibly altered) in coming weeks. But I say it again… Is it going to be a good film?

  18. WOW.

    Yes, we write so bad here it’s nearly illegible, definitely.

    I won’t ban you, but don’t you talk down to me. Especially when you don’t cite examples.

    Typos happen – but do your research. Our site has been noted on more than one occasion for quality of writing – format and content, especially compared to the usual internet standard.

    Again, what is it that YOU do that we should be emulating (and perhaps James Cameron should emulate as well)?

    Show me yours. You get to see mine everyday.

    BTW, Your little rant comes off as pure snark. You’re probably mad because I called you out on your egoism and that’s understandable. You really were talking out of turn with what you said.

  19. LOL

    Oh and Mike, you misspelled “Na’vi” in your first comment. ;-)

  20. @Fenix

    I’ll be seeing Avatar in 3D, just not IMAX 3D.

    @Mike E

    Believe me, typos that get through annoy the hell out of Kofi (our senior editor) and myself (site owner). We work hard to not let them through but Kofi is doing a helluva job considering the volume of articles he has to edit every day.


  21. Again, I haven’t a single time criticized James Cameron for anything, other than here with his injudicious use of the word “fantasy”.

    So, no, you won’t get me that way. I am not comparing myself to Cameron, nor saying that “I could do better than he”. So, please, don’t go there. That’s unfair and just seems like baiting.

    I’m not mad at anything. You haven’t actually “called me out” on anything. You simply accused me of something, part of which you erroneously attribute to me. I haven’t attempted in any way to elevate myself above James Cameron. The dude has a degree in physics, for crying out loud. That’s so WAY over my head, I wouldn’t know where to start.

    And yes the “some internet blogger” comment was more than a few steps too far. I DO apologize for that. It was completely uncalled for.

    I daren’t say another word now. I just want this to end. I will simply accept that we will not agree on the definition of “fantasy” in literature and attempt to look past the topic when it appears on this site, and try to understand the underlying meaning or impression you are conveying.

    A cliché, but more than likely true: I’m certain we’d be great friends in real life if I look at how many more times I agree with you than not in your writings on this forum.

    Artists are passionate people. We get worked up. Hopefully, we can get past this incident and become reacquainted in a new light.

  22. @Mike E

    FYI, we would never ban anyone for disagreeing or criticizing us if it’s done in an intelligent and civil manner. The ONLY time I ban people is if they are outright trolls, are being hateful or excessively vulgar repeatedly.


  23. @ Mike E

    Yeah, enough huffing and puffing. Let’s just get friendly again and talk about the movies we do/don’t want to see!

    It’s good to have intelligent readers, so don’t go anywhere, bud :-)

  24. I’m enjoying the show right here. Hey 790, pass the popcorn. Ken J, we need more ice. :-)

  25. (on a friendly note :p just so you know I’m not being vindictive, for example, in the article on the “Vlad” film, the the writer writes in the final paragraph “murderous and masochistic” about the character Vlad… I know it has a rather euphonious quality to it, but it doesn’t describe the character of Vlad the Impaler at all, while “murderous and SADISTIC” would)

    ok, I’m a literary nitpicker, so sue me!


  26. OK, back on topic.. and probably a stupid question:

    Is this film ONLY in 3-D in theatres?
    I’m getting confused by some of the different things I’ve read on various websites regarding this particular aspect of Avatar.

    They mention 3-D Imax a lot, but, for example, I don’t imagine that every single city has an Imax theatre in it?

    Does that mean that it would be in 2-D in those theatres? Or do they have a less expensive version of the 3-D process that can be shown in “every day” theatres?

    And on a purely personal, and extremely vindictive note: I will personally hunt down and painfully torture anyone who posts spoilers for Avatar before mid-January! I don’t get to see it until then, too much work.

    OK, I won’t have the time to hunt you down and torture you, either… but I’ll be thinking REALLY evil thoughts at you!

    OK, that’s a lie too! I wanna hear every gory detail! I LOVE spoilers! (drives my fiancé, who can’t STAND spoiler, totally mad)