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Customer Review

49 of 56 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Return to Pandora for a further eight minutes!, 15 Oct. 2010
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This review is from: Avatar Extended Collector's Edition [DVD] (DVD)
After the phenomenal theatrical run of Avatar not least in the US but worldwide, $2.7 billion and counting, Fox Pictures had to reluctantly withdraw the movie from exhibition on IMAX screens to make way for the 3D and IMAX presentation of Alice in Wonderland. Cameron claimed that pulling Avatar from screens.."left money on the table"..so has re-released this picture to scoop up the remaining dollars, and taken the opportunity to release a slightly longer cut of the picture, once again on DVD and Blu Ray. Although quite how much they need the extra money is another matter! I personally was very happy to return to Pandora again for another 2 hours and 30 minutes. I found the movie again very immersive, and very moving.

James Cameron's movies are always long and he always cuts them: Aliens, Terminator 2 and The Abyss are prime examples - the missing footage incorporated later in their respective Director's Cuts and DVD/Blue Ray Extended Versions. However, the additional footage on display in this Special Edition comprises only eight minutes. It features noticeable extra scenes only on a few occasions; a scene set in Grace Augustine's abandoned school with colouring books littering the floor and bullet holes in the wall. It points to an interesting back-story off screen, and explains Jake Sully's questions later on when asking Neytiri how she learnt English so well. Photos of Grace, Neytiri and some Na'vi children on the locker door at the Hallelujah Mountains mobile site also fleshes this small plot-line out. Other scenes feature a short segment showing a newly-initiated Jake hunting a stampede of Pandoran Buffalo-type creatures (Sturmbeasts) during a flying montage. Other little snippets see Jake and Neytiri exploring the jungle floor with Jake staring in wonder at some bizarre flora and fauna. The only additional scene of any note features the Na'vi warriors jubilant after setting ablaze a convoy of automated forest clearance ploughs, the aftermath of which sees a mobile camera mount showing a live feed of the corpses of the RDA soldiers riddled with arrows. The rest of the additional footage is merely extended scenes you've already seen with just a few more lines added that were probably cut originally due to time constraints. However, it does feel like a longer experience, and a very welcome one. There is one final scene, after the final battle that show Tsu'tey (Jake's rival for Neytiri's affections) dying on the floor of the jungle after falling from the RDA bomber after his brave attack. During this scene Tsu'tey asks Jake to kill him ceremonially and take leadership of the tribe. The only scene that is missing, and indeed, a scene that I very much wanted to see, is the scene set on earth (that was featured in the trailer) showing Jake in a bar in his wheel chair moving towards the camera before starting a fight with a fellow patron. Afterwards he shares a conversation the two RDA representatives that wish to discuss with him his `fresh start on a new world, where he will make a difference'. Both of the theatrical cuts only ever featured these two fellows fleetingly - so it will be interesting to finally see this scene that until this time has only been viewable on the internet on sites like 'youtube', where it has been subject to the usual foul-mouthed and illiterate insults by 'postees'. This scene will feature in another version of the movie within this pack that is a further 16 minutes long, and was originally intended to introduce the film.

What impacts upon you first is the sheer Deep Canvas of being surrounded by the environment of Pandora. Absolutely remarkable visual effects! The quality of Blu Ray discs will very likely bare out a very rich colour scheme, but I am sure the DVD will be equally as detailed. When 3D home viewing starts being introduced to the consumer I am sure this movie will be one of the first to be converted.

Avatar is a beautiful piece of work we hope that Cameron takes us back to Pandora soon, Fox Pictures have recently announced that Avatar 2 & 3 will be James Cameron's new projects, shot back-to-back and sadly due to arrive no sooner than 2014!! The DVD content features the First Theatrical Cut, the Special Edition Cut and the Collector's Edition Cut(with the additional 16 minutes) all presented on Disc 1 split into Parts 1 and 2, Part 2 of all the Cuts presented on the second disc. The third disc features a 90 minute documentary into the revolutionary 3D technology used to make the film and a very detailed Deleted Scenes Presentation featuring previously unseen footage, incomplete visual effects concepts and green screen shots. The other extras include access to the additional scenes that were cut, and then restored for the 2 latter cuts. The Blu Ray has more additional content which is unavailable on the DVD. This is frustrating but the 90 minute documentary is of a very high standard. Those who have a thirst for some additional materials will be quenched by this release (I have not upgraded to Blu Ray as yet), the additional Blu Ray features seem somewhat frivolous, and include some additional production featurettes, production notes and something referred to on the back of the Blu Ray case as 'a message from Pandora' - whatever that means?! The extra Blu Ray content is the kind of material that was originally standard on most Special Edition DVDs before the advent of Blu Ray enabled film companies to restrict content to the Blu Rays as way of compellling audiences to upgrade and therefore make more money out of us.
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