Hollywood director James Cameron wants to blow the audience away with adrenaline-pumping visual effects in the Rs.1,200 crore ($240 million) sci-fi epic “Avatar”, releasing Dec 18. It’s one of the costliest movies ever made.

“I like to blow an audience away. I like to show ‘em stuff they’ve probably seen in a dream but they’ve never seen in a movie,” Cameron said in a statement.

“It will be like they’ve had an experience outside their day-to-day life, outside this world or maybe outside their body. It will be a visual journey, a physical journey; in the sense you will feel you’ve actually climbed that mountain. It will also be an emotional journey,” he added.

It was shot using the fusion digital 3D camera developed by Cameron and Vince Pace, the movie’s director of photography, over a period of 10 years.

The film’s promo was recently shown here at the PVR multiplex Select Citywalk that boasts of being the only 3D compatible screen in the capital. It showed clips from the first half of the movie.

To be released in both the 2-D and 3-D formats Dec 18 worldwide, it will hit the Indian screens in Hindi, Tamil and Telugu other than English. Many are comparing it with India’s first 3D movie “Chhota Chetan”, but “Avatar” is notches high in technology.

“Chhota Chetan” was made on 35 mm print, a technology which is now outdated while for “Avatar” Cameron has used fusion 3D camera and the latest technology called 2K Digital.

“3D is all about the depth on the screen while watching a movie. Things popping out of the screen depend upon how a film is made and on the intention of a director,” Pirthu Shah, head of digital media distribution Scrabble Entertainment, told IANS.

Scrabble lends the technology across major multiplex chains in the country.

“The technology that we use here is an active 3D filter. It means that the polarisation and the 3D is in the glass itself,” Ranjit Thakur, CEO, Scrabble Entertainment, told IANS.

“It’s an LCD panel that divides left eye to right eye and that’s how the 3D effect comes. The director (Cameron) intended to make the movie in a regular live-action fashion. It’s not that everything has to come on your face. There are, however, sequences when you would feel like that, but that’s not how he intended to do it.”

3D glasses that cost about Rs.5,000 to Rs.6,000 each, now have an imbibed infrared chip and batteries with its sensor in the projector room. These gradually pick up the effects once the movie starts.

The film’s preview shows “Avatar” as a typical gargantuan Cameron extravaganza that combines elements of massive spectacle and intimate character in an associative and emotional tale like his earlier movies — the “Terminator” series and “Aliens”.

A blend of live-action photography and new virtual photorealistic production techniques, “Avatar”, conceived by Cameron 14 years ago, is his comeback venture after his multiple Oscar-winning “Titanic” (1997).

Starring Sam Worthington, Sigourney Weaver and Zoe Saldana, the movie depicts the story of a wounded ex-marine thrust unwillingly into an effort to exploit an exotic moon rich in bio-diversity, who eventually crosses over to lead the indigenous race in a battle for survival.