x Abu Dhabi, UAE Friday 21 July 2017

Avatar's avatar

A consortium of intrepid humans launches an interplanetary mission in search of precious natural resources. Yes, you've seen this movie before.

You've almost certainly seen this movie before. In Avatar, a consortium of intrepid humans launches an interplanetary mission in search of precious natural resources. Director James Cameron now appears to have lifted his own plot line, although presumably the precious resource will not be called (absurdly) "unobtainium".

The new venture, entitled "Planetary Resources", will we trust be much more on the up and up. Cameron has teamed with the founders of Google, Eric Schmidt and Larry Page, to launch a company that is billed as a space-exploration mission. But, before we belabour the Avatar analogy to death, it must be said that the actual details of the company won't be announced until its official unveiling on Tuesday.

There would seem to be some challenges involved with mining the solar system, setting aside three-metre-tall blue aliens that look like Zoe Saldana for the time being. There is that pesky problem that no one has yet figured out how to manage the return trip after venturing millions of kilometres into space.

Then again, it would be a pleasant irony if the blockbuster ended up funding some worthy project. Having grossed more than $2 billion in the first movie, this sequel should at least have a spectacular blast off.