Avatar: The Exhibit
The latest exhibit to hit the Science Fiction Museum portion of Seattle’s EMP/SFM is an Avatar exhibit which takes over the entire portion of the SciFi museum. Before you even pass through the doors of the scifi museum, you can feel yourself being transported to Pandora. You’ll get a chance to have your picture taken with the jellyfish-type woodsprites in a computer-generated scene from Pandora. The sprites will even converge on your shadow.
Then, step through the doors, and find yourself in a recreation of the human laboratories on the planet surface. There you will find samples of plant life and get to play with touchscreen technology similar to those used by characters in the movie.
Further into the exhibit you’ll get to see the big draw; a full scale version of the AMP suit. I have to admit, that’s probably my favourite part of the exhibit. There’s even a user manual for the AMP suit, although it’s really a manual to put together the prop suit. What I’d do to get my hands on that!
Other displays include a full-size arrow as used by Neytiri and several full size heads of some of the Nav’i characters. Want to try on some Nav’i boots? You’ll get to do that as well.
But unlike most movies, the draw for Avatar is as much about the making of the movie as the movie itself, and you will find a lot of interesting displays that will show you how the movie was made. One display shows the dot placement that computers would use to graft on Sam Worthington’s Nav’i face, as well as the suit with more markers and the camera rig he wore so that they could use the actor’s real facial expressions. Step a few feet back from the display and you’ll see the shadow of Sully’s avatar, and get an idea of just how much they had to biggie size the actor. Later on in the exhibit you’ll see clips of the actors having to perform with the technology and no real set to speak of, next to the finished shot of the actors as Nav’i on Pandora.
Another popular part of the exhibit involves visitors stepping into an area where their body is then scanned by computers and they are turned into a Nav’i onscreen. Other displays let you use similar technology that James Cameron used to film within the virtual environment of Pandora, panning a tablet-like device to get the shots you need.
Overall, it’s a fun exhibit and is really great for Avatar fans. But it isn’t a very big exhibit, and yet it takes up the entire portion of the Science Fiction Museum, although no doubt, it is probably due to to the overall complexity of the exhibit. For those that have visited the museum before and were looking forward to seeing model ships, Captain Kirk’s chair, or the robot display, you’re going to be sorely disappointed. The Battlestar Galactica exhibit is still going on, elsewhere in the museum, so if you haven’t yet seen the BSG exhibit, then getting to see both exhibits is definitely a lot of fun. But if, like me, you’re a local that has already seen the BSG exhibit and knows what else the museum typically carries, you may come away from the Avatar exhibit feeling slightly underwhelmed.