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Avatar: Extended Collector’s Edition (a J!-ENT Blu-ray Disc Review)

November 18, 2010 by  



Hands down!  This is our top pick for “2010 Blu-ray release of the Year”! “Avatar: Extended Collector’s Edition” is magnificent and literally scores top marks in picture quality, audio quality and special features.  It is a must-own release and it receives our highest recommendation!

Image © 2010 Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment. All Rights Reserved.

TITLE: Avatar: Extended Collector’s Edition

DURATION: Original Theatrical Version: 162 Minutes, Special Edition Re-Release: 170 minutes, Collector’s Extended Cut – 178 Minutes

BLU-RAY DISC INFORMATION: 1080p High Definition (1:78:1), 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio, English, Spanish and French Dolby Digital 5.1, English Description Audio, Family Audio Track (All Objectionable Language Removed for Original and Special Edition Re-Release), Subtitles: English, Spanish, Portuguese

COMPANY: Twentieth Century Fox

RATED: PG-13 (Intense Battle Sequences and Warfare, Sensuality Language and Some Smoking)

RELEASE DATE: November 15, 2010

Written and Directed by James Cameron

Executive Produced by Laeta Kalogridis, Colin Wilson

Produced by James Cameron, Jon Landau

Co-Producer: Brooke Breton, Josh McLaglen

Associate Producer: Janace Tashjian

Line Producer: Peter M. Tobyansen

Music by James Horner

Cinematography by Mauro Fiore

Edited by James Cameron, John Refoua, Stephen E. Rivkin

Casting by Margery Simkin

Production Design by Rick Carter, Robert Stromberg

Set Decoration by Kim Sinclair

Costume Design by John Harding, Mayes C. Rubeo, Deborah Lyn Scott

Starring:

Sam Worthington as Jake Sully

Zoe Saldana as Neytiri

Sigourney Weaver as Dr. Grace Augustine

Stephen Lang as Colonel Miles Quaritch

Joel Moore as Norm Spellman

Giovanni Ribisi as Parker Selfridge

Michelle Rodriguez as Trudy Chacon

Laz Alonso as Tsu’tey

Wes Studi as Eyutkan

CCH Pounder as Moat

Dileep Rao as Dr Max Patel

Matt Gerald as Corporal Lyle Wainfleet

Sean Anthony Moran as Private Fike

The three-disc  AVATAR Extended Collector’s Edition Blu-ray and Extended Collector’s Edition DVD will both feature the original theatrical release, a special edition re-release, family audio track with all objectionable language removed and new collector’s extended cut with sixteen more minutes including an exclusive alternate opening Earth scene. Viewers will journey to the depths of Pandora with filmmakers during “Capturing Avatar“ an in-depth feature length documentary covering the 16 year filmmaker journey including all new interviews with James Cameron, Jon Landau and cast and crew exploring James Cameron’s unique vision for the film seen by more than 310 million people worldwide. The Oscar and Golden Globe winning epic is the highest grossing film of all time, taking in over $2.7 billion in worldwide box office. It is also the top-selling Blu-ray disc of all time.


“Avatar”, the largest-grossing movie of all time and has cemented James Cameron’s status as a writer and director who has been able to surpass his original box office record with his 1997 film “Titanic”.

Created with an outstanding budget of $237 million, needless to say that James Cameron has laid it all on the line with this film. It would become a financial disaster or a goldmine. And sure enough, “Avatar” has become the latter. The film has grossed over $2.7 billion and earlier this year, we received a special feature-less Blu-ray and DVD release, during the first two days of its sale, it had sold over $5 million copies.

The first Blu-ray release was raved as the best Blu-ray release ever released in terms of picture and audio quality.  But we knew earlier in the year, the “Avatar” Blu-ray release was just to satisfy those who have wanting a Blu-ray and DVD release after the success of the film but knew that a new release would be in-store later in the year.

And here we are now in November 2010 with “Avatar: Extended Collector’s Edition” featuring three Blu-ray discs which is packed with special features but also includes three versions of the film.  You get the original theatrical version, a special-edition re-release (featuring 8 more minutes) and a Collector’s extended cut with 16 more minutes.  Also, for families to enjoy this film, included is a family audio track for the original theatrical edition and special edition re-release which removes all objectionable language.

“Avatar” is easily James Cameron’s ultimate masterpiece thus far. Avoiding anything that resembles sci-fi kitsch with the use of its CG and becoming just eye candy, “Avatar” is a fantastic film that deserves to be seen and this is coming from a reviewer who was more than caustic towards this film before reviewing this Blu-ray release.

“Avatar” takes place in 2154 on the planet of Pandora. The RDA Corporation has their eyes set on a mineral called unobtanium. The corporation’s administrator Parker Selfridge (played by Giovanni Ribisi) wants that unobtanium and has hired the private security force known as Sec-Ops. As the humans have observed and have done their research on the planet, especially the inhabitants known as Na’vi, a tribe that is 10 feet tall, blue, similar to humans and are in tuned to the nature surrounding them. The problem for the RDA Corporation is that the unobtanium lies in the area where the Na’vi are living and want to relocate them.

Dr. Grace Augustine (played by Sigourney Weaver) is the head of the Avatar program and Jake Sully (played by Sam Worthington), a paraplegic former Marine is asked to join the program after his brother, a scientist who trained as an Avatar operator was killed. Augustine and crew have been able to grow Na’vi hybrid bodies called avatars and can be controlled via mental link by humans. She, Sully and anthropologist Norm Spellman (played by Joel David Moore) use the avatars to learn more about Pandora and the Na’vi, the head of Sec-Ops, Colonel Miles Quaritch (played by Stephen Lang) has different thoughts.

Quaritch promises Jake that he will receive new legs if he gives him the intelligence he has collected from Pandora and the Na’vi that would become useful to Spec-Ops in forcing the Na’vi to co-operate and relocate.

While Jake Sully is on a mission in Pandora, he is separated away from his partners and through having to survive in Pandora alone, is rescued by Neytiri (played by Zoe Saldana), a female Na’vi. Neytiri is able to speak English but she also shows anger over Jake’s gung-ho nature in the forest. But when she sees the Eywa surrounding Jake, she realizes that he must be special. She takes him to her clan, the Omaticaya and introduces him to the clan and if he is a “warrior dreamwalker”, he may be special. So, her mother Mo’at (played by C.C.H. Pounder) makes her daughter Neytri show him the way of the Na’vi and also the ways of the planet.

Through training and seeing the surroundings, Jake is conflicted because he is starting to fall in love for Neytri and feeling a sense of purpose with his avatar in accomplishing things he is unable to do in reality but knowing he is betraying them by feeding the Spec-Ops with intel on the Omaticaya.

And unfortunately, all the inside information Jake has fed to Spec-Ops, has given Colonel Quaritch all he needs in giving the RDA Corporation a chance to now take the area of the Omaticaya by force.

Can Jake, Dr. Augustine and crew save the Na’vi from the RDA Corporation? What will happen when the Omaticaya find out that Jake and Dr. Augustine are not real beings but are Avatars working for the humans and giving them the information to destroy their home?

VIDEO:

“Avatar” is presented in 1080p High Definition (widescreen 1:78:1) and is the true definition of reference quality video. Detail and colors are just amazing. The close up of the CG work looks so realistic and are so remarkably detailed that it looks as if Cameron and crew have achieved CG perfection. You see skin pores, the application of the pain on the skin, the sweat glistening on the characters. How do they do that? There is amazing detail in land of Pandora as each step and each touch produces this light around a plant or surrounding and the colors just glow and look fantastic in HD.

And it just doesn’t stop there. There is detail everywhere. From the mecha vehicles that Spec-Ops command, the large vehicle units, the creatures on Pandora are shown with a large assortment of colors.

Clearly, even with this Extended Collector’s Edition, “Avatar” is simply the best looking film on Blu-ray that has come since the first release of Blu-ray discs. I know this is a statement that is hard to believe especially with so many fantastic reference quality releases on BD but “Avatar” has set the bar up high of how gorgeous a film can look on Blu-ray. And my position in November 2010 is still unphased, this film looks incredible!  Even the additional opening Earth scene looks incredible.  Everything you expect from a Blu-ray release, vibrant colors, deep blacks, no combing during action sequences, no artifacts, no video blemishes at all.  “Avatar” literally achieves perfection in the PQ department.

AUDIO & SUBTITLES:

“Avatar” is presented in English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio, English Dolby Surround, English Decruption Audio, Spanish, French and Portuguese 5.1 Dolby Digital. And you think that “Avatar” has raised the bar for picture quality, the audio for “Avatar” is equally fantastic!

Immersive. This is the word I describe this film as the DTS-HD Master Audio lossless audio track takes control of your soundscape and sound is coming from the front and center channels, surround channels are active throughout the film. May it be the forest ambiance, creatures rustling in the leaves, large animals heard flying above and of course, the pulse-pound action as the LFE is fully engaged. Expect your subwoofer (and literally all channels) to go on over-drive as the film, especially during the second half of “Avatar” makes those scenes come alive. The vehicles flying and the rotors blowing the trees, missiles firing and causing destruction and trees falling everywhere and the scream of the Omaticaya’s as they are losing their home.

Again… Incredible!  And similar to my position with the video, my stance on the audio has not wavered.  I still believe that “Avatar” continues to be the #1 audiophile Blu-ray reference title as of November 2010.  Watching it again (extended version) and just hearing everything come from all around you and just feeling those booms via LFE is fantastic.

As mentioned earlier, “Avatar: Extended Collector’s Edition” comes with a family audio track with all objectionable language removed for the original theatrical release and special-edition release.

As for subtitles, “Avatar” is presented in English SDH, Spanish and Portuguese.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“Avatar: Extended Collector’s Edition” comes with special features on two Blu-ray discs:

DISC 2:

  • Deleted Scenes: Never Before Seen – (1:07:51) A total of 27 deleted scenes presented in 1080p HD and are presented in various levels of complete with no visual effects. Some scenes show the context of how the film looked before final rendering. Some scene are presented before rendering, some scenes are not in the film and more.  Deleted scenes  include:

– Scene 19 – “Stingbat Attack”
– Scene 20 – “Pandora Rules”
– Scene 21 – “Jake Meets Norm”
– Scene 26 – “Jake Sees Decanted Avatars”
– Scene 30 – “Norm is a Living God”
– Scene 35A – “Breakfast with the Scientists”
– Scenes 36A-37 – “You’re in My World Now”
– Scene 64 – “Grandma’s Teylu”
– Scene 79 – “Pied Piper”
– Scenes 81B-D – “Going to the Mountains”
– Scene 81K – “Interspecies Booty Call”
– Scene 91 – “Norm’s Attitude Improves
– Scene 93A-98 – “Learning Montage Section” (Early Cut)
– Scene C120A – “We’re Buying Time”
– Scenes 122-123 – “Hunt Festival”
– Scene 131 – “Driving Range”
– Scenes 131A-148 – “The Dreamhunt”
– Scenes 164-172 – “The Challenge
– Scenes 174-178 – “The Drums of War” (Full Version)
– Scenes 209-211 – “Escape”
– Scene 224A – “The Eye of Eywa”
– Scene 232 – “You’re a Long Way from Earth”
– Scenes 235-236 – “Battle Camp”
– Scene 248 – “Kick Some Blue Ass”
– Scene 277 – “Wainfleet Kills Norm”
-Scene 287 – “Neytiri Kills Wainfleet” (Alternate Wainfleet Death)
– Scenes 288-327 – “The Avatars Attack”
– Scenes 350-351 – “New Life”

  • Capturing Avatar – (1:38:26) The making of “Avatar”.  A documentary directed by Laurent Bouzereau which shows how Cameron and team went beyond what other films have done in motion capture, CG and more.  A fantastic documentary to see how the filmmaker came up with the idea of “Avatar” and bringing his idea to fruition. Jon Landau talks about how he and Cameron discussed “Avatar” even before “Titanic”.  An in-depth commentary that explores every facet of the film.
  • A Message from Pandora – (20:09) James Cameron talks about the insults to the environment which he saw back in the ’70s helped shape “Avatar” and how he visited the Amazon, how he researched of what was taking place at the Amazon, how he became an activist and helping out a South American tribe to prevent the building of a dam on their land and more.
  • Production Materials – (1:24:25) Featuring plenty of production material special features which include:

The 2006 Art Reel – (17:19) Featuring the conceptual art for “Avatar”.
Brother Termite Test – (1:57) Lightstorm Entertainment’s termite test combining CG and real-time.
– The ILM Prototype – (:42) Featuring Yunjim Kim (“LOST”) and another actor testing motion capturefor ILM’s prototype of “Avatar”.
– Screen Test – Sam Worthington (Raw Footage) – (6:17) Screen test with actor Sam Worthington (Jake Sully).
– Screen Test – Zoe Saldana (Raw Footage) – (4:10) Screen test with actress Zoe Saldana (Neytiri).
– Zoe’s Life Cast (Raw Footage) – (2:20) Zoe Saldana (Neytiri) getting prepared for Neytiri’s makeup and paint on her for the first time and creating several casts.
– James Cameron Speech: Beginning of Live Action Filming (Raw Footage) – (5:25) James Cameron giving a speech to the unit to the crew for the first time of shooting.
– ILM VFX Progression – (2:36) ILM visual effects progression before and after tests.
– Framestore VFX Progression – (3:16) Framestore visual effects progression before and after tests.
– [Hy.Drau’lx] VFX Progression – (2:04) Hy.Drau’lx visual effects progression before and after tests.
– Hybride VFX Progression – (1:53) Hybride visual effects progression before and after tests.
– Prime Focus VFX Progression– (2:53) Prime Focus visual effects progression before and after tests.
– Look Effects, Inc. VFX Progression– (0:51) Look Effects, Inc. visual effects progression before and after tests.
– Crew Film: The Volume – (31:41) A short film on the motion capturing crew of “Avatar”.

DISC 3:

  • Scene Deconstruction – (1:05:21) With the red, green and yellow color buttons of your Blu-ray remote, you can watch 17 scenes and see (red) final with picture-in-picture reference as it shows the main scene and the motion capture talent via PIP, (green) template features the unrendered CG, (yellow) capture features the motion capture only.
  • Featurettes – 17 more featurettes for “Avatar” which include:

Sculpting Avatar – (3:46) A featurette on the crew who created the sculptures for “Avatar” including interviews with Jordu Schelle (lead character sculptor).
Creating the Banshee – (9:51) A featurette with the lead creature designer Neville Page who talks about creating the Banshee and what went on behind-the-scenes in making the Banshee.  James Cameron talks about what he wanted to accomplish and trying to figure out “what is the metaphor?”.
Creating the Thanator–  (3:20) James Cameron talks about the creature Thanator and Yuri Bartoli (Supervising Virtual Art Director) talks about the creation of Thanator and its mannerisms during attacks.
The Amp Suit – (4:31) James Cameron and Tyruben Ellingson (vehicle designer) talk about creating the Amp Suit and its functionality.
Flying Vehicles – (5:13) James Cameron talks about the vehicles and creating familiarity.  Tyruben Ellingson (vehicle designer) talks about the creation of the Samson and developing other vehicles for the film and how James Cameron knew what he wanted in terms of rotor spinning and many other details beforehand.
Na’vi Costumes – (4:14) Deborah L. Scott (Costume Designer) talks about her role in the film.  James Cameron talks about how Scott fabricated everything for the virtual characters and more.
Speaking Na’vi – (6:37) James Cameron talks about the Na’vi and working the language and how he worked on it before meeting with a linguist.
Pandora Flora – (5:40) Dr. Jodie S. Holt (Botany Consultant) talks about incorporating plants to the planet of Pandora and creating the biology.
Stunts – (5:14) Garrett Warren (Stunt Coordinator U.S.) talks about creating the stunts for the film and preparing it for James Cameron and Jon Landau and more.
Performance Capture – (6:32) James Cameron talks about the power of the performance and although the film incorporates CG, “Avatar” is not an animated film.  We get to see a clip of the finalized film and the motion capture performance.
The 3D Fusion Camera – (3:43)  Using technology which shows 3D of the performances filmed in realtime. Glenn Derry (Virtual Production Supervisor) talks about the 3D Fusion camera technology.
The Simul-Cam – (2:18) James Cameron and Glenn Derry (Virtual Production Supervisor) talk about using the 3D Fusion camera (3D) and virtual camera together and how Simul-cam integrates the two cameras together.
Editing Avatar – (6:59)  James Cameron talks about the challenges of editing the film and needed to bring in help with editors Stephen Rivkin and John Refoua and essentially how the film had to be edited twice for performance capture and how James Cameron utilized reference cameras.
Scoring Avatar – (6:06) James Cameron and Jon Landau talk about working with James Horner for scoring the film early in advance.  We get to see a behind-the-scenes footage of the actual scoring.
Sound Design – (8:50) James Cameron talks about sound design and working with Christopher Boyes (Supervising Sound Editor and Sound Designer) for sound design and developing a large library of sounds for the films and using them during editing.
The Haka: The Spirit of New Zealand – (5:17) James Cameron talks about working in New Zealand and how the stunt team presented James Cameron a presented him with a “Haka” and thanking him for bringing the film to NZ.

  • Avatar Archives – Featuring trailers and scripts, screenplay, Pandorapedia and more.

– Theatrical Trailer – (3:32) The original theatrical trailer for “Avatar”.
– Teaser Trailer
–  (2:06)  The teaser trailer for “Avatar”.
– Avatar: The Original Scriptment –
(text) The original 1995 script treatment of “Avatar”.
– Avatar: Screenplay by James Cameron –
(text) The actual screenplay for “Avatar”.
– Pandorapedia –
(text) Featuring 449 pages of encyclopedia on Pandora.
– Avatar: The Songs
– (text) Featuring the songs from “Avatar” with English lyrics by James Cameron and Na’vi translation by Paul Frommer.

  • BD-LIVE – The following special features are available on BD-Live (for those who have a Blu-ray 2.0 player that is connected to the Internet) and are presented in 720p.  The following can be downloaded or streamed:

Screen Test – Sam Worthington and Zoe Saldana (14:13)  More screen test footage with Sam Worthington (Jake Sully) and Zoe Saldana (Neytiri).
Screen Test – Stephen Lang (4:34) Screen test with Stephen Lang (Colonel Miles Squaritch).
Screen Test – Giovanni Ribisi (3:12) Screen test with Giovanni Ribisi (Parker Selfridge).
Screen Test – Joel David Moore (4:12) Screen test with Joel David Moore (Norm Spellman).
Screen Test – CCH Pounder (4:49) Screen test with CCH Pounder (Moat).
Screen Test – Laz Alonso (6:51) Screen test of Laz Alonso (Tsu’tey).
Speaking Na’vi Rehearsal Footage (6:41) A featurette with Zoe Saldana learning Na’vi.
Weta Workshop: Walk & Talk Presentation (11:09) A featurette on the Weta (the coffin like device to go in the virtual world).
Crew Short: The Night Before Avatar – (4:44) A short animated feature about Jon Landau trying to find his favorite shirt.
Theatrical Trailer – (3:26) Theatrical trailer of “Avatar” for BD-Live.

EXTRAS:

“Avatar: Extended Collector’s Edition” comes with a slip-over case, a slipcase which houses another digipack style of interior case in which the discs are held in sleeve that comes out like a drawer.  I know some people have a problem with discs not in a usual case and placed in sleeves.  Fortunately, Blu-rays are not like DVD’s and the surface do not scratch up like DVD’s.  So, I’m sure there are people who don’t like discs presented this way but considering it’s a Blu-ray release, it should not get scratched up like DVD’s in a sleeve.

When “Avatar” was released in theaters, I admit that I took a caustic approach to the film.

It’s not that dislike James Cameron films because I have enjoyed many of his films but it deals with my feelings of technology and films infused by CG that the more I see a sci-fi film utilizing it to the nth degree, I look at these films as becoming kitsch. Granted, I’m not expecting the return of thousands of talents and epic filmmaking along the reigns of D.W. Griffith’s “Intolerance” but when I saw the trailer for “Avatar”, I was sensing CG eye candy ala “Transformers II: Revenge of the Fallen”.

With so many films being released on 3-D (which I have been told that “Avatar” must be seen in 3-D), in some ways, I just want to watch my movies straight. It’s not the 3-D that makes me excited, it’s the good ol’ fashioned form of cinema. But with today’s technology, for a sci-fi film, I’m expecting a beautiful scenery in this new world, unique characters, good acting, well-paced and a well-written storyline and most of all, because it’s James Cameron who has raised the bar with “Titanic”, I expect the best and not sci-fi kitsch.

Of course, “Avatar” has gone on to breaking records and fan anticipation of the Blu-ray and DVD release are high (despite the first release being barebones) and upon receiving my review copy, I admit that I was curious about the film. What will James Cameron bring to the big screen in terms of character development, storyline and what message does he have for the viewer. Without it becoming an all eye candy film.

Well, let’s just say that after I watched “Avatar”, I was blown away. Yes, “Avatar” is eye candy but it’s pleasing eye candy that has a strong storyline behind it. Films such as the “Star Wars” or “Lord of the Rings” films have been able to take the viewer and let them believe they are away from reality and you know these worlds. That is why so many decades later, people still know the settings, the surroundings of these films and the same can be said about “Avatar”.

Like those films that will forever be etched in the minds of movie fans, “Avatar” will do the same as people will remember the lush world of Pandora, it’s creatures but most of all the Na’vi. Technology is to the point where creatures or other life forms do not need to don a rubber suit or wear excessive make-up to make one think that being is from another planet. Somehow the wizards were able to take the likeness if Sam Worthington, Sigourney Weaver, Zoey Saldana and make the characters of Jake Sully and his avatar, Neytiri and Dr. Grace Augustine come alive.

The chemistry between the characters of Jake Sully and Neytiri is natural but works extremely well. And for fans of James Cameron films, to see Sigourney Weaver in “Avatar” is a nostalgic blessing. She may not be as forceful as her character of Ripley in the “Alien” films but her role as Dr. Grace Augustine was well-done.

In fact, I felt the movie and it’s pacing for a longer film was well-done, the viewer is immersed in the world but also gets to see political corruption and greed come to play and how Cameron is able to work this film and make it exciting and believable underneath all the CG is quite amazing. What the “Star Wars” films were to me back in the late ’70s and early ’80s, “Avatar” was a film that captivated my attention throughout its 162 minutes and made me appreciate what sci-fi films today can accomplish (granted, not many films will ever get the budget that Cameron was able to achieve with this film).

But as this film has received mostly positive reviews, I was surprised to read “Salon” critic Stephanie Zacharek’s opening paragraph of her review. Zacherek writes, “The problem with taking 15 years to bring audiences the future of filmmaking is that someone else is bound to get to the future before you do. And while there are certain technical effects in James Cameron’s “Avatar” that aren’t quite like anything we’ve ever seen before, the movie is hardly a historical event, or even a grand achievement. It is a very expensive-looking, very flashy entertainment, albeit one that groans under the weight of clumsy storytelling in the second half and features some of the most godawful dialogue this side of ‘Attack of the Clones’.”

I disagree with Zacharek’s comment of the movie is a grand achievement. The film has broken box office records worldwide and now has its place in the record books as the #1 earning film in the world. Granted, for critics…many probably didn’t think early on that James Cameron could repeat his box office success that he did with “Titanic”, let alone beat that record with a sci-fi film. But he did and if that is not an grand achievement, I don’t know what Zacharek was expecting. Even if you remove yourself from the earnings, the CG work is amazing. The cinematography is amazing and just the amount of detail on the characters at this time is phenomenal. And when you think about its competition during the Oscar year, “Avatar” was deserving in winning “Best Achievement in Art Direction”, “Best Achievement in Cinematography” and “Best Achievement in Visual Effects”.

She goes on to say that the film was under the weight of clumsy storytelling in the second half and like many sci-fi films, there must be action. You know early on that there is a war coming between the humans and the Na’vi. It’s expected, it’s going to happen and yes, you are going to lose some of that emotional connect through those sequences. And the “godawful dialogue”, I did mention this earlier on in my review that I felt that the character of Jake Skully was getting near Channing Tatum’s Duke but for “Avatar”, it works. Skully is introduced in the beginning as someone completely opposite of his intellectual brother and it shows.

But similar to Zacharek, I was surprised that “Village Voice” critic J. Hoberman would feel the same about the second half as well. Hoberman writes, “For the first 45 minutes, I’m thinking: Metropolis!—and wondering how to amend ballots already cast in polls of the year’s best movies. Then the 3-D wears off, and the long second act kicks in.”

I found the comment to be quite interesting and for the most part, I can see where Hoberman is coming from in comparisons of both films. Where the Fritz Lang epic featured a man from the upper-level associating with and underground woman in which the underground has been subjective to corporate corruption to its highest level, I see the connection but at the same time, comparing “Metropolis” and “Avatar” is comparing apples to oranges. Where both films feature a revolt, “Metropolis” denizens have lived their monotonous life the same every day and are not warriors. In “Avatar”, the Na’vi are losing their homeland, their planet is being destroyed and they have either the choice to give up and move to another area or fight. And what kind of film would “Avatar” be if we watched these warriors being displaced?

The second half needed that battle and like “Metropolis”, where Freder joins Maria in the grand fight, Sully joining the Na’vi was just right! That battle needed to be epic and for an audience who have sat that long at the theater for something grand to happen, this was their pay off. Yes, the film is pragmatic but for a sci-fi film, it works and definitely not kitsch.

The detail of this film is amazing. On Blu-ray, it’s fantastic! The detail and vibrant colors come alive in full effect. The characters on both the human and Na’vi side are believable and the acting is not forced. I admit that very early on the film, I thought about the character of Jake Sully (and no offense to Sam Worthington) but we were going to get something similar to Channing Tatum’s Duke (“G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra”) and deal with a character that was concerned about his own virility and place as a soldier on Pandora but that is not the case. Worthington’s Sully is a man is a disabled man who has found new life using his Avatar, the ability to take part in lifestyle of the Omaticaya, embrace it and find love with Neytiri, the planet and its inhabitants.

And with this latest release of the “Avatar: Extended Collector’s Edition”, there are just hours of special features included on the two Blu-ray discs and also special features also on BD-Live that really gives you hours and hours of “Avatar” viewing pleasure, especially for those who want to know the technical side of “Avatar”, the roles that people played in the making of the film and also to learn how James Cameron had a lot of the story of “Avatar” in his head way before “Titanic” was even made.  The problem back then was the technology to create “Avatar” was not available and although Cameron and producer Jon Landau discussed the possibilities of the film, it was just too difficult to even conceive at that time.

So, this is a really solid release PQ, AQ and special-feature wise.  It is quite simply a magnificent release that achieves perfection in every level that video and audiophiles should be extremely happy with the release of this extended collector’s edition.  Pretty much, it all comes down to whether or not you enjoyed the film.  Months after its release, I have met people who have loved and those who disliked the film (more people who enjoyed it than disliked it).  And if you are one of those people who did love it, “Avatar: Extended Collector’ Edition” is a must-buy, must-own Blu-ray release.

Although the year is not yet over, I am quite confident that “Avatar: Extended Collector’s Edition” will be my top pick for “2010 Blu-ray Release of the Year”.   Highly recommended!






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