Avatar: Extended Collector's Edition (Blu-ray)
Writer/producer/director James Cameron has quite a resume with plenty of box office successes, including the megahit Titanic. The idea for Avatar came to Cameron sometime in the mid-1990s, but the technology at the time couldn't realize his vision. Over a decade later, it became technologically feasible to make the film, although it almost broke the bank with a production coast of $237 million.
Despite its paper-thin story, the 3D film shattered Titanic's box-office record, raking in $745 million domestically and an impressive $2.7 billion worldwide. As studios are wont to do, this is the second go-around on Blu-ray after a bare-bones release in April that is thus far the #1 selling title of the year.
This release of Avatar doesn't include a 3D version of the filmthat's an exclusive release for buyers of select Panasonic 3D products. What you get here is three versions of the filmthe original theatrical release, a collector's extended cut with 16 additional minutes, and a special edition re-release with 8 additional minutes. Families with young kids will love the optional "Family Audio Track," which removes all foul language.
Surprisingly, the extended cut improves the story quite a bit giving additional background information on Sully, Dr. Grace Augustine (Sigourney Weaver), and how Sully becomes the de facto leader of the Na'Vi in an emotional scene toward the end of the movie. Frankly, Cameron should have cut some of the eye candy from the production and left these scenes in the theatrical version.
- AVC/1080p encode with seamless branching
- Phenomenal depth and detail
- Rich color saturation, especially blue and green
- Inky blacks
- DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack
- Outstanding dynamics
- 360 degree sound envelopment
- Aggressive sound design
- Crisp dynamics and reference-quality frequency response
This release is as close to 3D as you'll see without actually buying a 3D set. The depth is mesmerizing and draws you into the picture, and the DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack is nearly as impressive with its plethora of demo-worthy scenes.
- Deleted scenes
- Capturing Avatar documentary
- A Message from Pandora
- Production materials
- Scene Deconstruction (3 different viewing modes)
- Production shorts (17 featurettes)
- Avatar Archives
- BD-Live Portal
The additional footage has improved the film, and the supplement package is outstanding as it gets into the nuts and bolts of the production, providing an inside look at how Avatar literally reinvented how films will be made in the future. Highly recommended for Avatar fans.
Release Date: November 16, 2010
Theatrical Cut: 7/10
Extended Cut: 8/10
Oppo BDP-83 Blu-ray player
JVC DLA-RS1 projector
Stewart FireHawk screen (76.5" wide, 16:9)
Onkyo Pro PR-SC885 pre/pro
Anthem PVA-7 power amplifier
Panamax M5400PM power conditioner
M&K S-150s (L, C, R)
M&K SS-150s (LS, RS, SBL, SBR)
SVS PC-Ultra subwoofer
Monoprice HDMI cables (source to pre/pro)
Best Deal analog-audio cables
PureLink HDC Fiber Optic HDMI Cable System (15 meters) from pre/pro to projector
Acoustical treatments from GIK Acoustics