What These Avatar Scenes Look Like Without CGI

Although “Avatar” is often praised for its compelling visual effects, the film has some truly underrated character work. James Cameron is often not given enough credit for how good of a writer he is, with films like “Aliens,” “The Terminator,” “True Lies,” and “Titanic” giving audiences characters that they can invest in amidst the mind-blowing spectacle. With “Avatar,” Cameron gave the viewer a character whose situation was very relatable, as Jake Sully (Sam Worthington) served his planet in combat and has been using a wheelchair to overcome his injuries.

Jake is chosen to replace his identical twin brother to participate in the mission on Pandora. Although Dr. Grace Augustine (Sigourney Weaver) has doubts about his abilities, she reluctantly agrees to bring Jake along. Despite the imaginative visual effects that surround him, Jake has a compelling motivation to join this exploratory force. He is struggling with a disability and wants to experience what it’s like to live in a different body. The look of wonder on his face as he wheels out into Pandora for the first time isn’t something that can be faked with CGI. Worthington admits that when Cameron first approached him about the project, he said that “there are things when I have no idea what this man’s talking about.” The challenges of the role are what first attracted him to the project.

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