Long wait for Avatar was really worth it

IT took James Cameron literally 15 years to put Avatar together - no wonder it's so wondrously out of this world.

IT took James Cameron literally 15 years to put Avatar together - no wonder it's so wondrously out of this world.

In 1994, the Titanic (1997) director penned a 114-page scriptment for Avatar which, he said, was inspired by "every single science fiction book I read as a kid".

And why did Cameron shove Avatar in the freezer for so many years, you may wonder? Well, he says he was waiting for the right technology to come along before producing this marvel. The technology had to be far advanced for him to create what the film industry calls "photo-realistic computer-generated characters".

It sounds like Cameron is full of himself and takes modern technology for granted. The first assertion is not too far off the mark - the man is indeed quite a handful to work with because he has a monstrous temper.

Author Orson Card, who worked with him in The Abyss (1989), says Cameron is "selfish and cruel" and working with him is "hell on wheels. unless he changes his way of working with people, I hope he never directs anything of mine," Card says.

Maybe Cameron is a helpless, passionate perfectionist as the cinematography and setting in Avatar show. So particular is he about technology that the new stereoscopic cameras to capture action in his latest offering had to be developed from scratch.

Yep, Cameron's new cameras collect actors' facial expressions and eyes on set, and this is passed on to the computers there and then. Enough about techno madness - let's talk Avatar. One thing for sure, it will keep you glued to the screen for the entire two-and-half hours and a bit. No, you won't feel it's long at all.

Avatar, a 3D sci-fi breath-taker, stars Sam Worthington as Jake Sully, a former US marine who's paralysed from the waist down. He has a chance to walk again but only if he takes part in the Avatar programme.

He has to exit Earth and go to Pandora, a lush jungle that's inhabited by Na'vi, a blue-skinned sentient humanoid race. Sully is converted into a genetically-bred human-Na'vi hybrid - in short, an Avatar - and infiltrates Pandora to participate in acquiring - stealing, basically - valuable minerals there.

While in Pandora, he meets and falls in love with a young, attractive Na'vi lass named Neytiri (Zoe Saldana). His bosses on Earth are opposed to this and he has to choose sides and a furious epic battle ensues.