The look of the Na'vi was inspired by a dream that Cameron's mother had, long before he started work on Avatar
In her dream, she saw a blue-skinned woman 12 feet (4 m) tall, which he thought was "kind of a cool image". Also he said, "I just like blue. It's a good color ... plus, there's a connection to the Hindu deities, which I like conceptually.”

Living matter on the planet is characterized by bioluminescence: they flicker in the dark. Many representatives of the animal world resemble the prehistoric inhabitants of the Earth
Animals are in a mysterious connection with the Tree of Life
James Cameron compared Pandora's world to the biointernet, where one can find one's own preferences. When watching a film, viewers have to understand that this is a phenomenon of the world and the fact that it still remains closer
Vern Barnet of the Charlotte Observer opined that Avatar poses a great question of faith—should the creation be seen and governed hierarchically, from above, or ecologically, through mutual interdependence?
He also noted that the film borrows concepts from other religions and compared its Tree of Souls with the Norse story of the tree Yggdrasil, also called axis mundi or the center of the world, whose destruction signals the collapse of the universe.
Pandora's floating "Hallelujah Mountains" were inspired in part by the Chinese Huangshan mountains
For the film's floating "Hallelujah Mountains", the designers drew inspiration from "many different types of mountains, but mainly the karst limestone formations in China."

According to production designer Dylan Cole, the fictional floating rocks were inspired by Huangshan (also known as Yellow Mountain), Guilin, Zhangjiajie, among others around the world. Cameron had noted the influence of the Chinese peaks on the design of the floating mountains
Cameron announced that after completing Titanic, he would film Avatar, which would make use of synthetic, or computer-generated, actors. The project would cost $100 million and involve at least six actors in leading roles "who appear to be real but do not exist in the physical world".

Visual effects house Digital Domain, with whom Cameron has a partnership, joined the project, which was supposed to begin production in mid-1997 for a 1999 release.

However, Cameron felt that the technology had not caught up with the story and vision that he intended to tell. He decided to concentrate on making documentaries and refining the technology for the next few years
From January to April 2006, Cameron worked on the script and developed a culture for the film's aliens, the Na'vi. Their language was created by Dr. Paul Frommer, a linguist at USC.

From 2005 to 2007, Cameron worked with a handful of designers, including famed fantasy illustrator Wayne Barlowe and renowned concept artist Jordu Schell, to shape the design of the Na'vi with paintings and physical sculptures when Cameron felt that 3-D brush renderings were not capturing his vision, often working together in the kitchen of Cameron's Malibu home.

In July 2006, Cameron announced that he would film Avatar for a mid-2008 release and planned to begin principal photography with an established cast by February 2007
Principal photography for Avatar began in April 2007 in Los Angeles and Wellington. Cameron described the film as a hybrid with a full live-action shoot in combination with computer-generated characters and live environments. "Ideally at the end of the day the audience has no idea which they're looking at," Cameron said.

The director indicated that he had already worked four months on nonprincipal scenes for the film. The live action was shot with a modified version of the proprietary digital 3-D Fusion Camera System, developed by Cameron and Vince Pace. In January 2007, Fox had announced that 3-D filming for Avatar would be done at 24 frames per second despite Cameron's strong opinion that a 3D film requires higher frame rate to make strobing less noticeable. According to Cameron, the film is composed of 60% computer-generated elements and 40% live action, as well as traditional miniatures.
Avatar premiered in London on December 10, 2009, and was released theatrically worldwide from December 16 to 18. The film was originally set for release on May 22, 2009, during filming but was pushed back to allow more post-production time (the last shots were delivered in November) and give more time for theaters worldwide to install 3D projectors. Cameron stated that the film's aspect ratio would be 1.78:1 for 3D screenings and that a 2.39:1 image would be extracted for 2D screenings

Internationally, Avatar opened on a total of 14,604 screens in 106 territories, of which 3,671 were showing the film in 3D (producing 56% of the first weekend gross). The film was simultaneously presented in IMAX 3D format, opening in 178 theaters in the United States on December 18. The international IMAX release included 58 theaters beginning on December 16, and 25 more theaters were to be added in the coming weeks.
Work on the film had been delayed since the 1990s to allow the techniques to reach the necessary degree of advancement to adequately portray his vision of the film
Cameron pioneered a specially designed camera built into a 6-inch boom that allowed the facial expressions of the actors to be captured and digitally recorded for the animators to use later

To achieve the face capturing, actors wore individually made skull caps fitted with a tiny camera positioned in front of the actors' faces; the information collected about their facial expressions and eyes is then transmitted to computers.
900 people
The lead visual effects company was Weta Digital in Wellington, at one point employing 900 people to work on the film
"Avatar is a science fiction retelling of the history of North and South America in the early colonial period. Avatar very pointedly made reference to the colonial period in the Americas, with all its conflict and bloodshed between the military aggressors from Europe and the indigenous peoples. Europe equals Earth. The native Americans are the Na’vi. It’s not meant to be subtle."
"Avatar is a science fiction retelling of the history of North and South America in the early colonial period. Avatar very pointedly made reference to the colonial period in the Americas, with all its conflict and bloodshed between the military aggressors from Europe and the indigenous peoples. Europe equals Earth. The native Americans are the Na’vi. It’s not meant to be subtle."
The 2009 American science fiction film Avatar has provoked vigorous discussion of a wide variety of cultural, social, political, and religious themes identified by critics and commentators
James Cameron has responded that he hoped to create an emotional reaction and to provoke public conversation about these topics
—James Cameron on Avatar
Many commentators saw the film as a message of support for the struggles of native peoples today
Evo Morales, the first indigenous president of Bolivia, praised Avatar for its "profound show of resistance to capitalism and the struggle for the defense of nature"

Others compared the human invaders with "NATO in Iraq or Israel in Palestine", and considered it reassuring that "when the Na'vi clans are united, and a sincere prayer is offered, the ... 'primitive savages' win the war."
“Maybe a movie like this can make people feel connected to the ocean, and maybe that makes them think a little bit. I’m not saying just send 10 bucks to Greenpeace. I’m talking about how we can work together to conserve this wonderful, beautiful, amazing thing that we have right here on planet Earth”
—James Cameron on Avatar
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Elina Blazhievskaia