DVD Review Avatar (Three-Disc Extended Collector's Edition)
Directed by: James Cameron Cast: Sam Worthington, Zoe Saldana, Sigourney Weaver Running Time: 2 hr 42 min Rating: PG - 13 Due Out: November 16, 2010
PLOT: A group of scientists and one ex-Marine (Worthington) implant their consciousnesses inside the bodies of avatar Na'vi, an alien species living on the planet Pandora, to learn about their culture. Unfortunately, other Earthlings want to exploit the mineral stores of the planet without regard for the indigenous people. When they uproot a village, it's all out war and everyone must choose sides.
WHO'S IT FOR? This film was designed with the widest possible audience in mind. Pretty much anyone could enjoy Avatar.
Avatar's been out for months on DVD so no one will be getting this just to watch the movie. The real enticement are the loads of extra features, mainly the deleted scenes. I started by watching the Collector's Extended Cut with 16 additional minutes. There's a whole new beginning of the film with Jake Sully (Worthington) back on Earth, drinking and being bitter. You also see the dead twin brother, though only as a corpse. It shows Sully living in a city with a tiny room the size of a closet and a TV the size of a wall. I guess it's meant to show why the wide open spaces of Pandora would be so appealing to him. There's also talk about Neytiri's sister, Sylwanin which explains a little more about Neytiri's complicated feelings for the visitors. That said, I don't think that any of it was totally necessary for the film.
The third disc has a treasure trove of deleted scenes, but most of them don't have the effects in a completed stage. They're interesting for people who want to know every little thing about how Avatar was structured and what parts of the story fell by the wayside, but not much else. My favorite scene expanded on the story of Max, the scientist who was left behind when the other humans ran off to the hills to fight alongside the Na'vi. He actually led the remaining scientists, in their avatar bodies (remember those from way back in the beginning of the film) in taking down the command center. It's a cool scene and one that got excised probably because so much is going on at that point in the movie. The Capturing Avatar doc seriously has every single thing you could ever want to know about the film, and a lot that you wouldn't care about if you're a more casual fan.
If you love Avatar, you have to have this. If you just like it, then I wouldn't bother buying it unless you don't own the earlier release already.
MOVIE SCORE: 7/10
Collector's Extended Cut (With 16 Additional Minutes)
Special Edition Re-Release (With 8 Additional Minutes)
Optional Family Audio Track (All Objectionable Language Removed)
A Message From Pandora
Direct Access to New/Additional Scenes
Deleted Scenes: Never-Before-Seen
Exclusive Documentary Capturing Avatar