According to director James Cameron, the studio almost forced him to cut some of the best parts of the original film for 2009’s Avatar.
Some of Avatar’s best scenes were nearly cut, according to James Cameron. Avatar, the groundbreaking 2009 film, used 3D technology in an innovative way, earning it the title of the highest-grossing film of all time.
With a simple plot and simple characters, the visuals and cutting-edge CGI technology of the Cameron-directed sci-fi film took center stage and provided a unique and immersive experience.
Many viewers recall the exhilarating feelings Avatar inspired in them even after a decade and a sequel, with Jake’s (Sam Worthington) and Neytiri (Zoe Saldaaflying )’s scenes ranking high on the list of thrilling sequences.
Cameron discusses the pushback from critics and executives regarding scenes in the film that slow down and do not contribute to the direct plot with TheWrap.
In reference to the production of the first Avatar film, the director claims that executives from 20th Century Fox urged him to cut a few unnecessary flying sequences.
Cameron stood firm, explaining that, like swimming in Avatar: The Way of Water, he considers the ability to “hang out, look around, and smell the roses” essential to the franchise’s storytelling. Here’s what the director had to say:
“We got into a big conflict with the studio brass at Fox on the first film because they kept saying stuff like, ‘Well you can cut out all that flying stuff, we don’t need all that. That doesn’t advance the plot.’ I’m like, ‘You’re absolutely correct, it doesn’t advance the plot. It’s doing something completely else. It’s allowing people to enjoy the moment.’”
Why Does Avatar Need to Slow Down?
Cameron was correct to fight for the many flying scenes in Avatar, as they remain one of the film’s most memorable elements. The director’s remarks about having to “arbitrate between the conventional ruleset and the experiential ruleset” reveal his desire to satisfy both ends of the audience spectrum.
Despite criticism that the film is too long or contains too much filler from what Cameron refers to as “the conventional,” the director seeks to retain what makes Avatar special while dabbling more in the “experiential” space in order to showcase the expansive and breathtaking world of Pandora and fully illustrate to viewers what it’s like to live there. Because the setting is so important in the Avatar franchise, it was critical to establish it in detail early on.
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The Immersion in It: The Way of Water Continues
As Cameron mentions, Avatar: The Way of Water emphasized lingering at the moment just as much as its predecessor. Jake spent a lot of time establishing the vibrant oceans surrounding the Sullys’ new home after moving his family from the Omaticayan home in the forest to the islands that comprise the Metkayina dwelling.
While viewers who saw the first film were familiar with Pandora’s forests, the islands, ocean, and Metkayina, in general, are new to audiences in the sequel, and Cameron clearly took time to ensure they would leave a lasting impression.
With three more sequels planned after Avatar: The Way of Water, the sequel film could afford to take its time, with over three hours devoted to introducing Jake’s family and their escape from Quaritch (Stephen Lang). According to Cameron, the balance of action and stillness in Avatar:
The Way of Water was carefully considered in order to replicate the magic of the first film. Avatar: The Way of Water is as immersive as its predecessor, bringing more groundbreaking visual effects to the big screen while telling the next installment of Jake and Neytiri’s story. This is due to Cameron’s intention to allow viewers to stop and smell the roses of Pandora.