It was bound to happen. James Cameron’s Avatar, the much hyped and recently maligned sci-fi epic, has launched its first viral site called avtr.com. The viral appears to be the main page of the “Avtr Project,” a product of the Resource Development Administration. According to the site, they have set up shop on the moon Pandora, which is the forestry locale we see plenty of in the trailer. Their goal is to, “build a bridge between two worlds,” but I would wager based off the footage we’ve seen that something goes a little wrong.
The viral site is broken down in three parts. The main posts on the website appear to be in the form of data entries about progress being made in developing the “Avtr Program.” Two entries have been made so far, and they are written in such technical jargon that it is difficult to draw any conclusions. What helps are graphics to the left of the screen that allow users to study concept art from the structures being built. It’s a cool way to incorporate “making of” content from the film into the actual film itself. Finally, one can communicate in the site by logging in with your Twitter or Facebook name. Judging from the feed thus far, most messages reflect confusion over the purpose of the site. I imagine this will be a great tool if there is eventually something to decipher or solve. It will make communication amongst those following the viral much easier. Also, be aware that everything you tweet or post will show up in your respective social networks. It’s just another way for them to get the word out.
Now, will this website end the queasiness so many fanboys have developed since Avatar Day? Maybe not. Still, to me this is a better marketing step to take then allowing the “this movie will change cinema” comment s to be made over and over with a straight face. It’s a good move by Cameron and Fox, but they need to realize that for this particular viral, regaining the hype means easing the reins on the secrecy. I really want to delve into this world, but I need more to work with. I will keep you updated as more content emerges in the coming weeks. One thing we’ll have to keep track of is how the site’s partnership with Coke Zero plays out.
Avatar opens December 18th, 2009 in theaters, including on 3D IMAX.