Avatar 3D arrives at blu ray with MVC 1080p 1.78:1 (James Cameron’s preferred aspect ratio) encode. This movie was produced in the PACE/Cameron Fusion 3-D camera format and originally released theatrically in the IMAX® DMR dual-strip blowup 3-D and D-Cinema 3-D formats. This transfer is absolutely stunning in 3D, exhibiting a mesmerizing visual experience, and is virtually perfect. Thus, the portrayal of Pandora is seemless in its complex visual splendor, with a magnitude of natural depth that “puts you there!” As Jake wanders through the jungle at night, lots of small luminous insects are seen floating around at different depths and positioned to add a sense of realism to the scene. The same applies to the scene where the glowing tree seeds slowly descend and cover Jake. Each is individually positioned at various distances, both in front and behind the screen, giving an almost magically immersive sense of reality. One view from the top of Home Tree is almost vertigo-inducing, with the view down the trunk, and the tiny people walking far below. Fine detail and depth is displayed in every frame. Clarity and sharpness are exemplary. Every nuance is descriptive in intricate detail. Everything looks perfectly real and naturally organic. Facial features and skin tones are rendered perfectly. Colour is lush throughout, with a perfectly natural palette of varied hues that often ignite the screen with bursts of intense and rich colour. The Na’vi’s blue is soothing and distressing and rich in warm hues. The fluorescent jungle night scenes are gorgeous, with all sorts of phosphorescent colours. Blacks are deep and solid. Contrast is perfectly balanced throughout, resulting in naturally deep and solid blacks and perfectly delineated shadow delineation. This is truly a spectacularly “Wow” 3-D experience! (5+/5)
The DTS-HD Master Audio™ 5.1-channel soundtrack perfectly complements the visually stunning 3-D picture. The dynamic soundtrack is magically immersive, powerful, and intimate, all at the same time. The ambiance is dimensional and establishes the diversity of soundscapes, making the experience feel alive and believable, and perfectly complementary to the 3-D visual experience. James Horner’s elaborate and impressively beautiful orchestral music score is well recorded, with an expansively wide and deep soundstage that wraps deep into the surrounds. Instrumental timbre is clearly discernible. The overall balance and fidelity is impressive. Sam Worthington’s narration is also well balanced against the other sound elements. Dialogue is perfectly intelligible and effectively integrated spatially. The Avatar soundtrack is a remarkable achievement in cinema sound. (5/5)
(1) This is my triple dip into Avatar blu ray. The first was the regular theatrical version. This was followed by very commendable Extended Cut (with 16 more minutes). This so-called “Limited 3D Edition” version is the regular theatrical version at 162 minutes. I am pretty sure that a further Ultimate Collector’s Limited 3D Edition will appear in the future with the extended cut of the movie, plus probably with more Special Features. For me, this is the limit – definitely no “Quadruple Dip”…squeezing every dollar from consumers. Perhaps, the word Limited means that this was used to be exclusive for Panasonic for the past year, and now finally available to the public.
(2) Both 3D and 2D blu ray versions are in the same single BD-50 disc. I don’t have a bit-rate counter, and I am sure the bit rate will be pretty low. But, look at Cameron’s other recent 3D release: Titanic (my review elsewhere), when the 3D version was housed on TWO separate BD-50 discs. The 2D version was on a separate third disc. Here again, the above packaging for Titanic may appear in future Avatar Ultimate Limited Extended Cut Collector’s Edition release. This is ridiculous.
In the past year, the 3D releases have improved in video quality, like Prometheus, Titanic, etc. But the ultimate 3D movie really belongs to Avatar 3D, which is the ultimate demo, showing other film makers as to how great 3D movies are filmed. It is truly an awesome, immersive 3D experience. The price I paid was $29.99 which was reasonable. It was $39.99 at one point. Even though both the 3D and 2D are housed on the same disc, the quality of the video is still flawless, and this set is still highly recommended.
As per regular Amazon.ca fashion, many reviews for 2D version of Avatar now also appear in the Avatar 3D column. Please check the dates of reviews, before wasting time reading outdated reviews.
I hope the above review is helpful to you.
There is a lot of very heated discussion of this edition of "Avatar" that concerns itself entirely with either the pricing or the packaging, and while that's all quite necessary, I thought it might be balancing to discuss the very reason for another edition ... the improved film itself.
Back in the summer of '10 the "Special Edition Re-Release" was shown again for a brief period in first run theatres to "give those who missed the experience of Avatar in 3D the first time the chance to see it ". Quite frankly I don't know how anyone could've missed it the first time, having run for such a long time, becoming the largest box office success to date ( 2 BILLION dollars U.S.! ) and being a movie that really polarized a lot of opinion. The "Extended Re-Release" featured 8 more minutes of footage than the original "Theatrical Release". So now, with this package we have included the "Collector's Extended Cut" which further expands the extra footage time to 16 minutes from 8.
While sometimes these extra minutes in "deluxe editions" are superfluous or indulgent, extra padding to "justify" a fancier, more expensive release to capitalize on, THIS particular release is worth it. Here are almost 9 hours of the film, in all 3 versions, with extra documentaries, deleted scenes and all the usual "toppings" on 3 discs. And I actually like the packaging, its layout and design. So I say not bad for under 30 bucks. ( DVD )
But what really made the purchase of this product completely justifiable, and especially enjoyable, for me was the inclusion of the extra 16 minutes. For that extra quarter hour significantly raises the narrative and character development in several meaningful ways, rounding out the film and filling in gaps perfectly.
Firstly we have the story starting back on Earth, the home planet of the desparate and evil "sky people". The film opens with the original flight over mist-cloaked jungle and Sam Worthington's voice over. Then after that initial shot, we are sent back to Earth for a really striking scene that much more deeply establishes Jake Sully's character as an angry, depressed, crippled marine who hasn't got much to live for. He sees directly how predatory the human race is, how the Darwinian survival of the fittest is lived out in our species in the seemingly endless forms of cruelty we seem to come up with.
In a bar, Sully watches as a large, burly man beats up his woman and not a soul steps in to help her. He observes how the strong always persecute the weak and seem to get away with it.... until he steps in, or, rolls up. In an act that seems crazy on one level, this parapalegic, depressed marine, becomes galvanized with purpose and bravery when he decides to do something about what he is seeing. He is still a marine and a man of honour. The disgusting situation Sully is witnessing draws him OUT of his "imprisoned" personality and he becomes re-energized with his complete unwillingness to tolerate the cruelty of the stongest.
His attack on the abusive lump is both thrilling and not without a sense of humour. One of the more unique "take-downs" in film history. In the end he is tossed out into a dank alleyway followed by his wheelchair. We don't see the much bigger, woman beater being ejected, just Sully. Again, there is no justice for the weak.
As he lies there in the rain and wet garbage, Sully looks up and all you can see are the structures of Human engineering. Not a natural thing is in sight. Not a tree, a bush, a bird or even the sky. It too has been completely eclipsed by the constructions of Humanity... rapid transit trains and their trellises, towering buildings and holographic billboards everywhere. Sully is looking up at this and wondering about his wasted life and the seemingly inexhaustable capacity of people to destroy all out of self interest. It is right after this that we learn of his twin brother's death, at the hand of a nameless thug who knifes him for the change in his pocket.
This more clearly and dramatically sets up his character's deeper reasonings for what later transpires on Pandora. This scene on Earth, through the action, as well as the visual setting, MUCH more effectively and A-ffectively, sets up everything that happens in the rest of the film. The first shot of the smoldering anger and resentment in Sully's face as he waits in his wheelchair for the traffic light to change on a crowded street, lit entirely in manufactured light, surrounded by the monstrous machine of human creation and the soulless creatures he shares his species with is a powerful and quite necessary prelude to the rest of "Avatar".
There are smaller scenes too, little additions that add a smoother and deeper transition between larger gestures and strokes. They create a more elegant shape to the film and provide seemingly simple but very important insights into character and narrative that only benefits the story.
Another much more disturbing inclusion are the "school" scenes and their related references. The first comes as Grace Augustine, Sully and Norm Spelman make their initial excursion into the Pandoran jungle and they come across the ruins of the school that Grace had established years ago, where the Na'vi children called her Mother. It is sad to see the signs of teaching ... old notebooks, ruined chalkboards, little desks, all smashed up and laid to waste. As Sully walks through the wreckage he finds bulletholes peppering the outside wall of the school and asks Grace what happened. Indeed, where do bullet holes enter into childrens' education?! Later on we learn the whole horrific story of the violent murder of children by the human military in recompense for an act of rebellious vandalism lead by one of the young Na'vi. This adolescent turns out to have been Neytiri's sister.
The school story fleshes out Sigourney Weaver's character and provides greater depth and insight into the smaller scale but equally destructive activities of Humans on Pandora. These scenes also give much more weight and punch to Weaver's snap-back in an argument with Selfridge, the corporate weasel, when he says he doesn't understand why the "blue monkeys" are so violently against the Human presence on Pandora, "yeah, well that tends to happen when you use machine guns on them", she says. Now we know that she is speaking of a very specific incident which she was present for, a horror she witenessed with her own eyes, and not just giving the suits a hard time.
There are more scenes of Na'vi daily life; hunting, learning and so on, that round out the film's shape and contour. But the greatest of these is the death of Tsu'tey, the young warrior set to take over as the clan leader of the Omaticaya people. In the movie's epic final battle he is shot with a machine gun and falls off the bomber aircraft he was attacking. In the original release we see him fall and that is it. In the "Collector's Cut" we return to Tsu'tey as he lies dying on the jungle floor. He passes on the role of clan leader to Sully, who has by now more than proven his worth. Tsu'tey then asks Sully to perform the last ritual of passage for him as Sully has now achieved the role of Turuk Makto, Last Shadow, the Great Saviour. It is sad and dramatic yet it nobly completes the culture of mercy and honour that the N'avi show all life as it ends on Pandora.
These new scenes for me are more than an addition, they are INTEGRAL to the fullest expression of ideas in "Avatar" and the best realization of the broad spectrum of feelings and motivations for both individuals and the two opposing peoples. Viewing the Deleted Scenes as well opens up and deepens both character and narrative very nicely. It would've been really good to have seen Jake's "vision quest" completed and included in the film and the Omaticaya dance sequence as well. Jake's and Tsu'tey's drinking contest would have been both a very funny addition and a scene that showed the eventual bonding of the two initial rivals. The finished and deleted scenes complete "Avatar" in a very satisfying and necessary way.
It is also a very welcome plus that THIS release is much improved in its picture and sound quality. That original colour transfer of the first release left a lot to be desired. It was nice to have but I was always conscious of how much more muted and dull the colours in the first DVD were, which I found very distracting. But this release is The One. The colour is MUCH truer to the original - fuller, richer, more saturated and clear. And with a movie like this one, that is an absolute must. The sound too, is much improved.
All in all, I think that this package is the definitive edition of "Avatar".
on April 14, 2010
This review from: Avatar (Two-Disc Blu-ray/DVD Combo) As it turns out, Fox has craftily decided to milk "Avatar" for every possibly penny, since the debut DVD/blu-ray will be a bare-bones release -- and it will be one of the first major films to appear in home video without any of the regular special features, such as theatrical trailers, deleted scenes and behind-the-scenes footage.
If you want all the extra features, you'll have to wait until November, when you can buy a second "Avatar" DVD, currently titled the "Ultimate Edition," which will include all of the fancy stuff. And then, if you have really deep pockets, you can come back to the video store next year and buy a third, 3-D, version of the DVD.
So in a nut shell... This Blu-ray/DVD release JUST has the movie on it! NOTHING ELSE. NO EXTRAS, NO TRAILERS, NO SPECIAL FEATURES.