Pandora's box office return

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 22 August, 2010, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 22 August, 2010, 12:00am

Last December, director and screenwriter James Cameron introduced audiences to the spectacular planet of Pandora, star of his epic science fiction movie Avatar.

The film not only went on to set an all-time box-office record, with ticket sales of US$2.7 billion worldwide, it also took 3D movies to a whole new level of popularity.

Since then, increasing numbers of cinema-goers have been happily donning their 3D glasses for animated movies such as Toy Story 3, and live-action productions like Step Up 3D.

Now Cameron is back with Avatar: Special Edition, a re-release featuring eight minutes of all-new footage.

'Audiences repeatedly told me they wanted more of Pandora, and wished they could have stayed there longer. So we're making that possible. Avatar: Special Edition will be exclusively in 3D, and will have eight minutes of unseen content, including new creatures and action scenes,' said Cameron. Cameron had planned to start work on the original version of Avatar immediately after the release of Titanic in 1997. However, he soon realised he wouldn't be able to make the sort of movie he envisioned with the technology available at that time. So the director, well-known in Hollywood as an innovator, set to work on developing groundbreaking cinematic techniques.

But it wasn't until 2006 that he was finally able to use computer-generated images to create the world of Pandora. Avatar also pioneered the use of a specially designed camera that captures the facial expressions of actors and enables more realistic-looking animations to be produced.

Because of Cameron's persistence, the film won the Best Cinematography, Best Visual Effects and Best Art Direction at the 82nd Academy Awards. Since Avatar proved to be such a box office smash, and its Blu-Ray disc has become the top-selling release of all time, it's no surprise there is such a buzz of anticipation around Avatar: Special Edition.

This version of the film still follows Jake Sully (Sam Worthington) on his journey of redemption and discovery, as he leads the Na'vi - the local tribe - in a battle to preserve their civilisation. But new scenes showing both the Na'vi fighting, and depicting the steps leading to the war between humans and the Na'vi, have been added.

'Avatar: Special Edition is especially gratifying, because not only has Avatar become one of the most beloved films in history, but after its initial theatrical release, we have been inundated with requests to re-release the film in theatres in 3D,' said Jim Gianopulos and Tom Rothman, chairmen and CEOs of Fox Filmed Entertainment. 'Equally important, we're thrilled that James Cameron is able to give audiences even more of what they loved about Avatar.'

Avatar: Special Edition opens on August 26