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Friday, August 27, 2010

James Cameron Presents New Footage and Creatures in 'Avatar: Special Edition'

Can James Cameron singlehandedly save the summer box office with the re-release of "Avatar" this weekend? Probably not, as there aren't enough weekends left this blockbuster season, but this does give movie fans an opportunity to see the "Special Edition" -- with an additional nine minutes of new footage -- of the all-time highest grossing film. Of course you'll be able to see it in IMAX and in 3D, but the best reason of all to see it again just might be for the creatures that didn't appear in the '09 theatrical release.

Fortunately, we did get the director to share an exclusive photo of the Sturmbeest, or as the Na'vi call them, "Talioang," whom you'll be able to catch a glimpse of in the re-released version. You'll note these impressive specimens stampeding below the Na'vi in the photo. And like every living thing on Pandora -- and anything from the mind of Cameron -- they are large in scale. Like massive, single-horned, blue cows, the Sturbeests are harmless unless startled by a predator.

Exclusive photo from 'Avatar: Special Edition,' Photo: 20th Century Fox

Furthermore, in honor of the late summer re-release of "Avatar," Yahoo! Movies got to sit down with James Cameron to discuss his real experiences with native tribes, the highly anticipated sequel and if he'll direct a third film, his thoughts on the next cinematic trend beyond 3D, and the prospects of his own signature line of 3D glasses.

Yahoo! Movies: So, a lot of people have seen Avatar.

James Cameron: I think there are some mud men in New Guinea that haven't seen it.

YM: Ah, so that must be why it's coming out in theaters again.

JC: Actually, when I was down in Brazil I was meeting these guys, these indigenous people that live way out in the rain forest and we had to take a boat, like for a couple days to go meet with them. And they hadn't heard of Avatar, they hadn't heard of me. It was really refreshing. It was nice, you know. They couldn't care less about movies. What they cared about was that they were actually, their ancestral homelands were being destroyed by a hydroelectric dam, and they got their bows and arrows together and they were going to go to war to stop it.

YM: It's like real life. "Avatar" for real.

JC: Like really for real. Not those guys, but some other ones even farther south in the upper Shingu [River] actually took a hundred construction workers on another dam project hostage -- with bows and arrows. And it's not that they are using bows and arrows to make some kind of point in the media. That's what they hunt with.

YM: Right, again, this is authentic. I think the film struck a chord with a lot of people. Those of us that are, say, exploring a new shopping mall. Things like that.

JC: Exactly. We all have that wild, feral version of ourselves inside ourselves. I don't know if you have kids, but my three year old, my six year old, and my nine year old all turn into wild animals. Literally. We all have that. And we feel that sense of a disconnect in our lives from nature more and more as life goes on and as time goes on. I mean, when I was a kid, I lived in a little suburban house, but I spent all my time out in the woods nearby, you know. And kids don't do that anymore. At least, not around here they don't. And they're more focused on games and the internet. It really is a disconnect. We're missing something. And we all feel it.

So when we see "Avatar," and it's about that at a thematic level and it's really what the stakes of the whole story are about, it's what their fighting for, then it actually does resonate. I'm just worried that thirty years from now it wouldn't even resonate with people. That we will have become so disconnected from nature that there is no resonance anymore. And maybe nature is so distressed at that point with so many animals extinct, maybe its not 30 years, maybe it's fifty years -- but the coral reefs are destroyed and so many of the animals are threatened. They're either extinct or so threatened that they have to be separated from the human experience. Then we'll have lost that connection forever. And that's the future of "Avatar." That's what the people coming from earth, that's what they're living. They're out a future if we don't do something about it.

YM: So are you working on any other projects right now? Or maybe these are just some of the expanded themes for the sequel?

See what Cameron says about sequels in part 2 of our interview >>

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