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Category:    Home > Reviews > Action > Adventure > Fantasy > Magic > Quest > 3-D > Avatar (2009/Fox Blu-ray)

Avatar (2009/Fox Blu-ray)


Picture: A-†††† Sound: B+†††† Extras: D†††† Film: B



Letís get the big question out of the way first.No, I did not see Avatar in theaters in IMAX, 3-D or otherwise; and boy do I regret it.Now the second largest grossing film of all time (Mr. Cameron holding 2 out of the top 3 spots) Avatar has managed to stun and surprise audiences all over the world.Perhaps it was the hype over the years it took to create or maybe it was the Oscar buzz or maybe it really was just that good; but whatever it was Avatar has managed to take a seemingly simple concept and expand it into a universe that (maybe) like Star Wars or Lord of the Rings will be build a following that will span generations.


Part of me thinks Avatar is merely FernGully (odd reference I know) on steroids, but the other part of me sees Cameronís vision as he intended with deeper messages and unbridled creativity.I donít think it is Cameronís best work (story wise), but it is visually stunning and worth viewing.


I would be inclined to say donít forget a little film called Titanic, which people had no faith in before it became the breakthrough success.Though people seem to dismiss Titanic, in the end becoming a victim of its own popularity, it was one of the biggest films of all time; and in this reviewerís opinion a better film than Avatar.


Avatar takes place in the year 2154 on the planet Pandora and a company called RDA wishes to mine a precious mineral called unobtanium, which is found on this planet.Pandora is inhabited by a 10-foot-tall blue species called the Navi; who live in harmony with the planet and worship it as a mother.Humans are unable to breathe on Pandoraís surface and in order to facilitate their needs scientists create human-Navi hybrids called Avatars.Avatars are controlled via mental link to a human counterpart and are used to research the biosphere of Pandora as well as to interact with the native Navi.Essentially the film goes down the path of an evil corporation attempting to strip unsuspecting natives of their home and natural resources.Of course drama ensues and certain members who originally worked with RDA and that are linked to the Avatars, switch teams with an all out battle of Ďgoodí versus Ďevilí occurring.


I loved, loved, loved the films visuals; but found the story a bit weak and most of the characters very superficial.The characters lacked depth and whereas there were moments of sincerity, overall I found no emotionality in the film and was mainly enjoying it for its action and special effects.I wish I could say this was an Oscar worthy ĎBest Pictureí film, but I find that the hype must have given the film its steam and not its actual content.In the end I think it was worth watching and it is certainly demo material on Blu-ray, but other than that I donít think it will be as classic as some have alluded to.


Whereas the technical features on this barebones Blu-ray are not perfect, they are pretty darn nice.This is not stunning presentation that IMAX 3-D had to offer, but does bring the Avatar experience right to your living room.The picture is presented in a 1080p MPEG-4 AVC encoded image that is visually stunning with its crisp image, bright colors and astonishing detail; but was left perplexed by the aspect ratio.We could nonsensically explore Cameronís constant fiddling with aspect ratios for Avatar, but it all may be better left unsaid and instead explore Cameronís chosen path for Avatar on Blu-ray in its 16 X 9 format.The crispness and clarity are of demo quality with superb visuals that will make any film lover jump for joy.The audio was not as impressive in 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio lossless track that I thought was a tad weak at times.For such an action packed film I expected more.Donít get me wrong, the directionality coupled with a crisp, clean and clear sound is there but I wanted more BOOM for my buck.The ambient noises are stunningly lively as is the consistently balanced dialogue which can come from any of the speakers.The films musical scores gave me chills at times and certainly added another level of atmosphere.


This is a bare bones set with no extras, so if you can you may want to hold out for one of the many other bonus feature packed sets that are to come.


Whereas I may sound a bit apprehensive with the films content, I am.I just donít see what all the hype was about in terms of story, but maybe I will eat my words soon enough.The visuals are why you see this film.Purely stunning is all I can say and you will not regret owning this film.



-†† Michael P. Dougherty II


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