I want to make it clear that this article in no way should discourage you from seeing Avatar. As most everyone in the world knows by now, Avatar is the number one movie in the world. It’s a box office juggernaut that has broken countless records and will always be a movie people talk about.
As it stands, James Cameron now holds the top two spots for highest-grossing movies worldwide with Avatar ($2.7 billion) and Titanic ($1.8 billion). What, if any, film will have the prowess to go up against either of these movies and take them down from their top-tier status remains to be seen.
Without question, Avatar is worth seeing. It is at its heart the definition of spectacle. The best way to have seen it in theaters was in 3-D, which made the world of Pandora and its inhabitants all the more fascinating, intriguing, and engaging. The film is a technological marvel, a testament to the innovations and advances that have been made in computer graphics even in the past decade.
There’s no doubt that Avatar is now the gold standard for sci-fi and effects-driven films. And while all of these things make the film a worthwhile viewing experience, it isn’t without its flaws. All movies suffer from some level of weakness and Avatar is no different.
Since the film was released on DVD and Blu-ray on Earth Day, it seems only fitting to discuss the film’s recycled plot. I refer you to Dances with Wolves or Pocahontas if you object to this claim. It’s no secret that many films, including the ones just mentioned, have used the white-man-as-savior-to-the-natives plot before. And in this regard, Avatar takes the familiar plot and just moves it into a sci-fi world.
Does this diminish the film at all? Maybe a bit, but I think what Cameron has done with Avatar is created a film where the storyline isn’t the key attraction; the spectacle is. While the film may touch on issues such as the military-industrial complex and the environment, most people look at the film as an action-adventure story. And that’s just fine with me.
I was surprised that the Earth Day edition wasn’t released in a recycled paper sleeve like There Will Be Blood was a couple years ago. While it may be recycled plastic, I’m guessing that it takes less energy to recycle paper than it does to recycle plastic materials.
As for special features…neither the Blu-ray/DVD combo nor the DVD contain anything but the movie. If you’re a person who hates special features and just wants the movie the way it was released in theatres, then this is the ideal version for you. However, if you want special features I would wait until the next edition is released in the near future.
According to the Hollywood Reporter, Avatar may be re-released in theaters this summer with 10 more minutes of footage. This means that if you want the “director’s cut” of the movie on DVD or Blu-ray, with special features, and the possibility of a version that comes with 3-D glasses, you should wait for that version. Again, this is mere speculation, but if they’re smart, they’ll have something like this upcoming.
Now, to be fair, I haven’t received a review copy of Avatar to watch on Blu-ray or DVD, but I can assume that some of the grandeur and amazement is diminished when the film moves from IMAX 3-D into a 2-D format on your TV screen or even your iPod. While I don’t think that this will deter people from watching it, I think that it does take away from the magic that made seeing it in theatres so great.
My advice to those who see it on DVD or Blu-ray first is to take the opportunity this summer and see it in theaters. That way you can see what all the hype was about and see why the film is a work of art on the big screen, especially if you weren’t as impressed seeing it on your TV.
As I said at the start of this article: SEE THIS MOVIE. But, like the new Blu-ray edition of Lord of the Rings, you may want to wait and purchase it when a better version of the film is released on Blu-ray and DVD. This is one movie where special features will be totally worth watching.
What do you think? Will Avatar be as good on video as it was in theaters? Will you wait for the next edition to be released? Will you see the re-release this summer? Leave a comment and let us know!
Avatar is now available on DVD and Blu-ray/DVD combo.