Back when dinosaurs walked the earth, sci-fi auteur James Cameron was riding high on the wave of a box office incinerating little movie called Titanic. The man had already proven his metal in varying genres but had faced bad press and studio doubt getting that extraordinary release out. When it brought in enough cash to buy a small country, Cameron could write his own ticket. Well, in what became something of a new proclivity, Cameron took years to figure out what that would be. After much research at the bottom of the ocean, inventing new cameras and technology, even a new kind of submarine, he settled on Avatar.


"breathtaking filmmaking that deserves its place in cinematic history"

Ask most to recount the story (including me) and you’ll get an almost derisive “It’s Dances with Wolves/Pocahontas with tall, blue aliens.” That isn’t inaccurate. This is not (even now, 100 years later with a sequel released) a story that will surprise. The tale of a benevolent society being displaced, abused and robbed of their home, their resources and their rights by greedy oppressors is as old as time. But this is James Cameron. While I will never say this film (or the sequel) is particularly well written (in fact it’s bordering on derisive) I will say, here and now, Cameron changed the face of cinema again with its execution. This is one of those rare moments in cinema history when we had gotten cosy with what was possible and somebody knocked us out of our complacency and showed us what real vision and the power of imagination can do.Avatar

After marvelling at Gollum in The Lord of the Rings several years earlier, my jaw was on the ground when I saw Jake Sully and Neytiri running around in a completely immersive Pandora. There were landscapes and creatures impossible to the eye but right there in front of me as real as my hand. It was breathtaking and beautiful. This is now a fifteen year-old flick with fifteen year-old effects, but you wouldn’t know it. Having just seen The Flash (which I really liked) and gagged at the dodgy effects, it is testament to Cameron’s forward thinking and command of quality to look at this work because it leaves most others in the dust.

One thing I have never agreed with in this film (and the sequel) is the egregious run time. While it can, (and is) argued that the man gives you your money’s worth, the story doesn’t warrant the amount of padding always present. Sure, the padding looks spectacular, but for the sake of less is more (and your bladder) a good 30-60 minutes is easily excised without losing any impact.

Seems like a lot of back-handed compliments and whining from me, I know.  But I have great respect for Avatar and its technological advancements. It may be a well-trodden story (so far) but it is breathtaking filmmaking that deserves its place in cinematic history. It isn’t the easiest film, length-wise, to revisit but the fact I do revisit it every so often is testament to the final product.

3/5 stars



4k details divider

4K Ultra HD + Blu-ray + Digital HD

Home Video Distributor: Disney/Buena Vista
Available on Blu-ray
- Jun 20, 2023
Screen Formats: 2.39:1
: English SDH, French, Japanese, Spanish
English: Dolby Atmos; English: Dolby TrueHD 7.1; English: DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0; English: Dolby Digital 5.1; French: Dolby Digital 5.1; Spanish: Dolby Digital 5.1; Japanese: Dolby Digital 5.1
Discs: 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Disc; Three-disc set
Region Encoding: 4K Blu-ray: Region free; 2K Blu-ray: Region A


Avatar unsurprisingly already looked a decade ahead of most productions of the time on blu-ray. So it was with great interest I wanted to see what a UHD presentation would deliver into the 4K offerings now available. While this 2160p upscale isn’t leaps and bounds above the current crop of offerings, there is a heightened sense of detail and contrast, especially in close ups, thanks to the HDR10. The live action elements benefit the most from the increase in resolution but the character designs and alien environments also get a slight benefit too. Colour pallet is, contrast aside, seemingly unchanged (or faithful). All in all, this is a great looking 4K disc.


Dolby ATMOS is in the house! This 7.1 mix is the very definition of why kitting your home set up with rears, fronts and overheads is worth it. Right from the get go, atmospherics transport you fully into an immersive, fully fleshed out soundscape. Directionality is off the chart busy and effective. You feel like you’re in the Pandora wilds!  Technology, from vehicles to intercoms, reverberate and resonate as real. Dialogue is beautifully crisp and clear. This is perfection incarnate for sound enthusiasts. Perfect in every way.



  • None

Special Features:

You get about half an hour of new material where the key players reminisce about the making of the first movie. Being I received a region A version of the film, it comes with the requisite slipcover with new art. There is also the copious and generous legacy features from previous releases. At least they delivered something new and it’s hard to beat what was offered in the past.

4k rating divider

  Movie 3/5 stars
  Video  4/5 stars
  Audio 5/5 stars
  Extras 4/5 stars

Composite Blu-ray Grade

4/5 stars


Film Details


MPAA Rating: PG-13.
162 mins
: James Cameron
James Cameron
Sam Worthington; Zoe Saldana; Sigourney Weaver
: Adventure | Fantasy | Action

Memorable Movie Quote: "Neytiri calls me skxawng. It means "moron."
Theatrical Distributor:
Walt Disney Studio Motion Pictures
Official Site:
Release Date:
December 18, 2009
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date:
June 20, 2023
Synopsis: A paraplegic Marine dispatched to the moon Pandora on a unique mission becomes torn between following his orders and protecting the world he feels is his home.