The teaser trailer for James Cameron's Avatar underwhelmed the Web at the same time that the preview of about 16 minutes of footage wowed audiences who were lucky enough to screen it in IMAX 3-D on "Avatar Day" last Friday, and star Sam Worthington argues that was the plan all along.
"It's got a hell of a lot of hype," Worthington told a group of reporters in London last Friday. "I read all what was said yesterday about the ... trailer. I can see their point. But, as I said, it wasn't meant to be built for an Apple Mac. It's built for IMAX. It's built for 3-D. That's what [Cameron]'s designed it for. He's designed it to bring people back to the cinema."
Worthington added: "It's interesting that he's released that trailer, that Jim's gone and done that, and then the next day goes and shows it on IMAX. One extreme to the other. We get the criticism, and then we get the rave reviews of what it really looks like in its own formula. That's obviously going to get people to think and go, 'Well, damn right. I'm going to go see this at the cinema.' Jim has always said to me he wants to bring people back to the movies. And he's a smart enough man to ... to be tactical."
Worthington spoke with reporters on "Avatar Day" but had yet to see the footage or trailer himself. "My mates have all gone and seen it," he said. "They say it's a lot better than it is on the teaser. You're meant to see in on the IMAX. I haven't seen it on the IMAX; my mate went and saw it today and said it blew him away. And he's seen about as much footage as I have. So I suggest seeing it in IMAX more than just the regular [screen]."
As for the film itself, Worthington said that he did not feel any pressure while playing the role of Jake Sully, an ex-Marine thrust into hostilities on an alien planet filled with exotic life forms. As an "avatar," a human mind in an alien body, he is torn between two worlds in a desperate fight for his own survival and that of the indigenous people. (Avatar opens Dec. 18.)
"I'll tell you, with Avatar, it felt like an Australian film," Worthington said. "That's mainly because Jim closes you off. And Jim protects you. But I'd be stupid to say you don't want to make epic-scale movies when I was growing up. I like doing movies that I would go and see. You know? ... It feels big when you see, say, the set, but when you're doing the scene, and you're in the moment, it doesn't feel like, 'Ooh, isn't this cool? I'm doing such a big movie.' I think as soon as it starts to feel like that, I'm going to call time out, because my head's wrong."
Worthington also argued that the famously dictatorial Cameron was actually very collaborative on set. "Ultimate collaborator," he said. "Ultimate collaborator. He's the boss. He'll have final say. But he'll tell you, 'Give me what you got.' And the first thing I ever said to him, 'I've got nothing to lose, man. I'll give you everything.' So I threw everything at him, every idea, everything, and he'll whittle it down to get what he wants. But ... that's your job, is to offer and offer and offer. If you're, you know, designing one of the plants, one of the spaceships, the guys would give him a hundred, a thousand different designs, and Jim would go take that from that and this from this and put it all together to get Jim Cameron's [version]."