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Avatar - Blu-ray Review


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</script></div>{/googleAds}Ah, the flash and bang of modern technology that lots and lots and lots of money can buy those with vision and influence. Avatar, or should I say the planet of Pandora, is indeed a brave new world, my friends, and it seems James Cameron will most certainly be willing to take you there. Inspired by EVERYTHING his words not mine - science fiction has ever (including his own Terminator series and Alien contribution) brought the screen, Cameron loudly thumps his chest to sound his barbaric yelp across the rooftops of Cineplex's everywhere this holiday season. It's a mighty sound full of the furies of an artist triumph in form; however, it seems Cameron's gift for mighty, mighty visuals overcompensates more than a bit for a missing complex narrative; a true dual of the fates if ever there was one. Welcome to Avatar, the Candy Land of Special Effects Incorporated. Sit back and enjoy the ride; it'll be hard not to just don't do any digging while you are there.

By now the term Avatar has become a part of our daily lives; there's our yahoo.com avatar and our glorious Xbox avatar and so on and so forth, but when Cameron announced this project soon after Titanic's dominating splash at the Oscars, most were confused by the terminology he used. Well, technology soon caught us up to speed that same technology also allowed Cameron's vision to be shown. And here, in Cameron's Avatar, technology does the talking and walking for Jake Sully's (Sam Worthington) own (our should I say his identical brother's) avatar allowing a paralyzed - from the waist down ex-marine to take part in securing a gas-rich Pandora for Earth's own core-robbing purposes. The only problems besides the many dangers encountered on Pandora's surface - are the indigenous members of the Na'vi clan, formidable warriors who are none too pleased with the earthlings and their big toys of destruction especially when their home is of concern. Sully makes it his job to integrate into the clan, but after awhile - finds himself strangely attracted to Neytiri (Zoe Saldana) and soon must decide which side to fight for in the epic battle for Pandora. Sound like Dances with Wolves (only in space) to you? Me, too. Avatar also rips much too much from Poul Anderson's short story from 1957 entitled Call Me Joe for it to be considered a wholly original idea of Cameron's some credit should be shown for its eerie similarities.

AvatarStory complaints aside, my god is this ever a pretty looking film. Shot with new state-of-the-art stereoscopic cameras that mimic human sight, Avatar floats out deliriously close to filmgoers (especially in 3D) and dares its audience to reach out and grab that branch or touch the ground of Pandora because it seems that real. No, you can't look away from the screen; it's that intense and imaginative. The world-building effects of Avatar are mouth-watering seduction at best; they sizzle with epic qualities throughout each frame even down to the smallest detail - and there is a certain confidence about their detailing that suggests another trilogy is in the works here (albeit more inspired and less cartoonish than the Star Wars prequels).

The proof of Cameron's investment is in the audience's reactions and several times during Avatar I found myself gazing wide-eyed at the screen feeling just like a 13-year-old again and the creative visuals were almost enough to take my attention off the déjà vou-all-over-again-type plot. During the film's lengthy climax, I found myself recalling and comparing the final battle in The Phantom Menace (when a friend leaned over and whispered, â"I'm sorry. I'm so sorry") because, unlike George Lucas, Cameron got it right; no stupid child-like kid humor to insult people with, no silly cartoonish characters either just straight up non-stop action.

The intelligence involved in the special effects begs one to question why that same intelligence wasn't used in the story construct of Avatar. Hell, I still want to know why besides Zach Snyder's Watchmen epic and J.J. Abrams' Star Trek reboot - we can't have both story and visuals in these sci-fi epics of late. I mean, is it a crime to satisfy both the intelligence and the senses in Hollywood? Because I guarantee that if this wasn't Cameron's project, Avatar would never have seen the light of day by any studio the story is that generic at times. Visually, you've not seen anything like this before and the use of 3D throughout the film is proof enough that it can be the cinematic wave of the future and not delegated to past glories (ala Creature from the Black Lagoon); however, the disappointing storyline which becomes all too predictable way too soon - is what hurts this eye-candy the most and that is what keeps this film from being perfect. Sure we can forgive Cameron of this issue because of the groundbreaking special effects, but the real question especially since fans allowed Lucas to defile the Star Wars name for the sake of special effects - should we?


Component Grades
Movie
DVD
3 Stars
1 Star
DVD Experience
2 stars

Blu-ray

Blu-ray Details:

Available on Blu-ray - April 22
Screen Formats: 1.78:1
Subtitles
: English SDH, Spanish, Portuguese
Audio:
English: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1; English: Dolby Digital 5.1; English: Dolby Digital 2.0; Spanish: Dolby Digital 5.1
Discs: 50GB Blu-ray Disc; Two-disc set (1 BD, 1 DVD); DVD copy

Supplements:

Featurettes:

    None

Deleted Scenes

  • None

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