Blu-ray and DVD Reviews

Avatar: Extended Collector's Edition

Reviewed by: Scott Chitwood
Movie Rating:
9 out of 10
Extras Rating:
10 out of 10
Movie Details:
View here

Buy this DVD at Amazon.com

Rating: PG-13

Starring:
Sam Worthington as Jake Sully
Zoe Saldana as Neytiri
Sigourney Weaver as Grace
Stephen Lang as Colonel Miles Quaritch
Michelle Rodriguez as Trudy Chacon
Giovanni Ribisi as Parker Selfridge
Joel Moore as Norm Spellman
CCH Pounder as Moat
Wes Studi as Eytukan
Laz Alonso as Tsu'tey
Dileep Rao as Dr. Max Patel
Matt Gerald as Corporal Lyle Wainfleet
Sean Anthony Moran as Private Fike
Jason Whyte as Cryo Vault Med Tech
Scott Lawrence as Venture Star Crew Chief

Directed by James Cameron

Special Features:
Disc 1: "Avatar," Part One
Original Theatrical Edition (includes family audio track with objectionable language removed)
Special Edition Re-release (includes family audio track with objectionable language removed)
Collector's Extended Cut with 16 additional minutes, including alternate opening on earth

Disc 2: "Avatar," Part Two
Continuation of the movies from the first disc
A Message from Pandora

Disc 3: Filmmaker's Journey
Over 45 minutes of never-before-seen deleted scenes
Capturing Avatar documentary

Other Info:
Widescreen (1.78:1)
Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound
Portuguese, French and Spanish Languages
Portuguese, French and Spanish Subtitles
Running Time: 162 Minutes

The Details:
The following is the official description of the film:

"Experience the spectacular world of James Cameron's 'Avatar' as never before with this all-new Collector's Edition release. Watch the extended version of the film, then treat your sense to an unprecedented beyond-the-scenes look at the greatest adventure of all time."

"Avatar" is rated PG-13 for intense epic battle sequences and warfare, sensuality, language and some smoking.

Mini-Review:
So if you've been waiting for "Avatar" on DVD, this is probably the version you've been waiting for. You have three versions you can choose to watch - the original theatrical version, the special edition which was shown in theaters with about 8 extra minutes, and the Collector's Edition which has about 16 extra minutes. I don't know why you'd watch anything but the Collector's Edition. It starts with a new introduction showing an incredibly urbanized and overpopulated Earth. Think the world of "Blade Runner" but with lots of neon and you get the idea. We're introduced to a surly Jake Sully as he hangs out in a bar, but when he tries to intervene when a man abuses a woman, he gets beat up and thrown out of the bar. The scene shows just how the Earth has been ruined and how Sully has nothing to lose by going to Pandora.

A few of the other scenes center around Grace and her backstory. We find out she ran a school for the Na'vi that was shot up by the soldiers when some young rebels ruined a mining machine. We also learn that Neytiri's sister was one of the people killed in the firefight. The scenes are quite effective in illustrating the bad blood between the two species as well as Grace's desire to reconnect with them. Also notable is a scene showing the humans walking through the aftermath of a Na'vi attack. We see humans impaled and equipment demolished. It's interesting that the scene was cut from the film, possibly because it painted the Na'vi in a less benevolent light.

Other scenes show more creatures from Pandora, particularly a new buffalo-type creature. We are treated to a Pandoran version of a Comanche buffalo hunt as the Navy use the six-legged horses and banshees to take them down. The love scene between Neytiri and Jake is also a tad more intimate as we see them intertwine their neural connections, thus indicating they have much more than just a physical bond.

So as you can see, there are a lot of additions to the original film and they expand on the story and the world. If you liked the original film, you should find this version well worth checking out.

This DVD also features an interesting addition - a family friendly audio track. They removed the objectionable language in this version. I personally think it's a great idea because this movie is the perfect film for young kids - it has aliens, bizarre creatures, giant robots, etc. The only thing that made me cringe when my kids were watching it was the language. So when I let them watch it again, this audio track is the one we'll use. I wish other genre films would include this feature.

Since the earlier "Avatar" DVD only had the movie, you finally get the other bonus features on this edition. First up, you can watch just the new scenes in the movie by themselves. This is really convenient if you don't want to re-watch the full 3 hour film just to see the new stuff. Second, you get 45 minutes of deleted scenes. They're in varying stages of completion, but there's a lot of new material. We see a romance between Norm and Trudy Chacon. We see an elaborate dance number in the Na'vi camp. We also see that in the big final battle, there were more avatars besides Jake and Norm helping out. Considering we see them a little bit in the theatrical version, this is an interesting plot point. And most notable, they also hint that Neytiri is pregnant at the very end of the movie. So you're definitely going to want to check out these deleted scenes because there are a lot of additional plot points here.

Rounding out the bonus features is the feature length "Capturing Avatar" documentary. Rather than breaking up the 'making of' story into a bunch of featurettes, they include it in one long narrative here. You see the details on the costumes, creature designs, motion capture process, casting, music, and more. A really interesting item is some demo footage that Cameron created to convince the studio he could do what he proposed. Neytiri is played by "Lost" actress Yunjin Kim (who played Sun). It's really interesting to see her in the motion capture outfit and playing the familiar character of Neytiri. It's a really fascinating documentary well worth checking out.

If you've been waiting to add "Avatar" to your collection or if you haven't even seen it yet, this "Extended Collector's Edition" is the definitive one to check out.

Order this DVD @ Amazon

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