A behind-the-scenes video from 2009’s Avatar shows off the unbelievable way Jake Sully’s intense mountaintop banshee-taming scene was filmed.
A newly-released behind-the-scenes video from Avatar shows off the unbelievable way one key scene was filmed. Released in 2009, Avatar wowed audiences upon its release, earning rave reviews from critics and quickly becoming the highest-grossing movie of all time. The film, which is directed by James Cameron, tells the story of marine Jake Sully (Sam Worthington), who joins forces with the native inhabitants of an alien moon called Pandora to protect the planet from a force of human invaders. Not long after Avatar‘s massive success, it was announced that 4 sequels were in development.
In addition to Worthington, Avatar boasts an impressive supporting cast, including Zoe Saldaña, Sigourney Weaver, Stephen Lang, Michelle Rodriguez, and Giovanni Ribisi. Worthington’s Jake is at first an outcast among his own people to some degree, but also to the Na’vi, Pandora’s blue, cat-like native inhabitants. Over the course of the film, Jake undertakes a series of challenges to prove himself as one of the Na’vi, including taming a flying beast known as an ikran, which the humans call banshees. The scene involves Jake scaling a floating mountain along with Saldana’s Neytiri and other Na’vi before then riding and attempting to bond with his ikran, which makes for one of Avatar‘s most impressive moments.
Now, a newly-released behind-the-scenes video posted by former stuntman and current second unit director Garrett Warren reveals how Jake’s ikran scene in Avatar was actually filmed. The video shows Worthington, in addition to Saldaña and his other co-stars, wearing motion capture suits on a soundstage that’s been designed to represent the ikrans’ mountaintop lair. Surprisingly, the video also shows that Jake’s struggles on top of the ikran actually involved Worthington being tossed around on a human-controlled version of the beast, before he then hangs off the side of a fake “cliff” on set.
Avatar BTS Video Reminds You How Groundbreaking The VFX Are
Although Avatar features a number of entirely CGI sequences with no practical elements, the latest behind-the-scenes video serves as a reminder of how visual effects and on-set work operate in tandem. The video shows that Worthington and Saldaña’s performances were translated shockingly accurately to CGI form, with a lot of effort put into creating dynamic physical spaces for them to act within. Avatar features a number of groundbreaking technical innovations, but the ability to accurately capture and translate actors’ facial expressions and movements to CGI is what ultimately helps to sell their Na’vi characters and make them feel real to audiences.
Cameron is upping the ante even further for his work on the Avatar sequels, with Avatar: The Way of Water heavily relying on underwater motion capture technology. While Avatar is now 13 years old, audiences are evidently still interested in returning to the beautiful alien moon of Pandora, with a remastered, theatrically-released version of the film recently dominating at the box office. It remains to be seen what impressive visual effects sequences Cameron has planned for his Avatar sequels but, if the recent behind-the-scenes video is any indication, audiences are in for some truly exciting moments.
Source: Garrett Warren