24 minutes of James Cameron's much-anticipated 3D comeback Avatar have been screened at this year's Cinema Expo, and according to those who saw them, the movie is as good as you've been hoping, and then some.

The Hollywood Reporter revealed that the 24 minutes shown were a mixture of scenes from the opening of the movie, alongside "glimpses from unfinished portions of later battle scenes, involving warring sides clashing over control of the fantasy world Pandora," adding that

[Avatar studio 20th Century] Fox made media covering the event agree not to report details of the "Avatar" images or to interview audience members for reactions.

Of course, that didn't stop sites like Marketsaw having detailed spoilers available soon afterwards. Spoilers ahead.

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The first of the scenes shown introduced Sam Worthington's crippled former marine Jake Sully being briefed on the deadliness of the N'avi by commanding officer Stephen Lang. The second scene showed Worthington, Joel Moore and Sigourney Weaver's Dr. Grace Augustine discussing how the Avatar technology works while standing over either inactive avatars or subdued Na'vi (Reports differ), before the next scene shows Worthington and Moore's characters inhabit their half-human, half-Na'vi avatars for the first time, something Marketsaw raved about:

They look NOTHING like the drawing you've seen. They're living creatures with blue skin, bigger yellow eyes than humans with tails. The avatars even look like their human connectors. You will NOT believe the detail.

The fourth scene shows the avatars exploring the jungle of the planet Pandora, running into alien beasts and flora Marketsaw described as "all liv[ing], breath[ing] and work[ing]." The final two completed scenes introduced Zoe Saldana's Neytiri, as she saves Sully's avatar from being attacked by dog-like creatures before entering a N'avi village together in a scene that explains the backstory of her people.

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The final scene shown was incomplete - and likened by many to a video game - from the end of the movie, showing a battle between humans and N'avi.

Even spoiler-free discussion of the scenes are enough to get excited about, though; Coming Soon's correspondent was stunned by what they saw:

[I]t took my breath away. I thought—just like you guys—that I've seen it all with Gollum, or The Hulk, but Cameron has done it again. These creatures seem so real, that within minutes you forget you're watching an enormous and very blue CGI character. Even the eyes are totally convincing. The characters have real personalities and a soul... The effects are in a league of their own. After some disappointing or even pointless 3-D movies, "Avatar" may be the first movie where 3-D is properly utilized.

IESB's anonymous commenter offered a similarly eager outlook:

It makes me want to create a time machine like Cartman from South Park, so that I don't have to wait till the 18th of December to watch the finished movie. If it's anything like the scenes I saw, it's going to be one of the best movies of the decade.

Twitter chatter from the lucky few who saw the footage was, if anything, more excitable:

this technology will change moviehistory. And trust me, i'm not shitting ya. It's insane.

And from the Norwegian Unique Cinema Systems Nord Twitter:

Footage from "Avatar" at #cinexpo was stunning, literally jawdropping. Amazing visuals unlike any before seen, with incredible detail.

With this level of anticipation, is it any wonder that even the Times of London is indulging in outrageous hyperbole by asking "Will Avatar be the biggest movie ever?"

Avatar is due to open December 18th.