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Inside James Cameron's Highly Anticipated Film 'Avatar'

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"Like nothing you’ve ever seen ... 'Avatar’s' a fantastic adventure, destined to change the way movies are made," reports Jeffrey Godsick, executive vice president of Fox. "We screened 24 minutes of selected scenes this month in Amsterdam for 2,000 exhibitors, and for 200 more at Grauman’s Chinese Theatre. All were blown away. We’ll screen scenes this weekend at Comic-Con in San Diego, and expect the same overwhelming reaction."

Written and directed by James Cameron with a budget of $200 million-plus, four years in the making and filmed locally on a soundstage in Playa Vista, "Avatar" remains the year’s most anticipated sci-fi action thriller. It will open on December 19th in 3-D and 2-D. Jim claims he waited these ten years between "Titanic" and "Avatar" for the 3-D technological effects to catch up with his vision.

"Avatar" begins with a paraplegic Marine veteran finding himself on the planet Pandora that circles the Moon, an exotic land of humanoids with their own language and culture, where the Marine’s given a second chance at life. Pandora has its own culture, beautiful and fierce animals, moving mountains, sky-high foliage, an eerie and beguiling world of its own. Again, Jim’s imagination is without bounds.

“As we know from 'Titanic,' 'Aliens' and 'Terminator,' Jim’s an epic storyteller, with character-driven action loaded with emotion,” adds Jeffrey. Word is that the war in "Avatar" between humans and humanoids is “the mother of all battles, with futuristic weaponry and never-before-seen special effects.” Then, there’s the mounting suspense as to whether Jake will cross over “to the other side.”

Sam Worthington stars as Jake Sully, and after seeing hundreds of actors, known and unknown, Jim Cameron admits, “Sam’s audition tape got to me. He’s in the film from start to finish, and I knew he could carry the story. He’s one tough guy.” Thirty-something Sam’s a onetime Australian bricklayer, who studied theatre at Australia’s National Institute of Dramatic Art, and was a finalist to star as James Bond in Casino Royale before Daniel Craig. He co-starred in this year’s "Terminator Salvation."

Sigourney Weaver plays Sam’s mentor, and Zoe Saldana is a Na'vi, who inhabits the planet Pandora. In the cast are Michelle Rodriguez, CCH Pounder, Giovanni Ribisi. “Phenomenal” commented previewers about the cinematography by Mauro Fiore ("The Kingdom"). Production designers are Rick Carter and Robert Stromberg, and how many films out there boast 14 art directors?

RELATED: Click here to read more of George Christy's column in the Beverly Hills Courier.

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