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Category:    Home > Reviews > Action > Adventure > Fantasy > Magic > Quest > 3-D > Avatar: 3-Disc Extended Blu-ray Collector's Edition (2009/Fox Blu-ray)

Avatar: 3-Disc Extended Blu-ray Collector's Edition (2009/Fox Blu-ray)

Picture: A-     Sound: A     Extras: B     Film: B-

Avatar surprised the world when it finally released two years ago, after years spent in development, as available technology caught up with Jim Cameron's vision for the film. He did his fair share of pushing, as well - much of the new computer tech used, he has been behind creating and maturing for practical use.

That investment has had quite the pay off, as there is nothing comparable to the world he has created - one that feels real and tangible in a way that other films that feature prominent CGI do not. It's paid off outside of the world within the film as well, having grossed nearly $3 billion worldwide between its debut and subsequent re-release.

A film such as this one is going to create lasting change in the movie making world, and some will be good, some bad. On the positive side, there is a new yardstick for the digital effects in other films to live up to - and as someone who prefers practical effects, I will concede that there is some impressive stuff here. As a downside, Avatar has also sparked a radical change in theaters themselves, as movie houses are now ditching film projectors in favor of digital ones that can show 3D images. That this change has been so sudden is alarming and sad, but times change.

It can also be said to have been a major catalyst in the mass acceptance of Blu-ray disc. This is definitely one movie that you want to get the best possible home experience from, and Blu-ray provides the rich colors and crisp visuals that make that giant new HDTV worthwhile. Previously, it was available only in a bare bones release without special features, and you can read our opinions on that release here:





Now, though, we've been given the ultimate treatment with the set currently under review.

There are three cuts of the film presented here, including the original theatrical release, and two extended cuts. The first of these is the theatrical re-release, with an additional 8 minutes of footage. Then we have the extended Collector's Edition cut, with 16 minutes added to its runtime. Of the new scenes, the best comes earliest in the film, as we see Jake's life on Earth in the year 2154. Having watched the rest of the new stuff, most of it was too short to add much to the overall experience for me, but it is of course great to have.

The extras consist of several featurettes and deleted scenes. These behind the scenes looks are fascinating, but at least one commentary track would have been a nice inclusion. I do question the necessity of having this be a three-disc set, as it would seem that the content on second and third could have fit comfortably on a single disc.

The picture is presented in 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen, and looks as good as it did theatrically. The only shame is that we won't have an affordable 3D edition of the film available until the contract with Panasonic runs out. Only then will it be available outside of boxed set that includes the required glasses, but costs a pretty penny.

Sound is great, with excellent use of surrounds. As with the visuals, this is a great demonstration disc for your home theater. The audio is presented in both 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio, as well as Dolby surround.

For a movie that was predicted to fail as miserably as this one was, it is amusing that so many detractors have been left eating their words. I would give this set a strong recommendation to just about anyone, especially if you have not yet looked into the world of Pandora. It is definitely worth the trip.

 David Milchick


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