There’s really not much to say about James Cameron’s Avatar that hasn’t been said already. It’s gorgeous. It cost a ridiculous sum. It redefined 3D entertainment at a time when Hollywood was in need of a jolt and TV manufacturers needed reason to justify the upcoming wave of 3D HDTVs. If ever a film needed absolutely no introduction prior to its Blu-ray release, Avatar was it. But a funny thing happened on the way to the Forum: Cameron made a cash grab and released Avatar on Blu-ray prematurely.
Avatar would seem to make an ideal Father’s Day gift, something that screams “mantertainment” with its mix of guns, special effects and sci-fi action. But the problem is, we’ve seen it all before. No really, we have. Avatar’s Blu-ray Disc release is as naked as the Na’vi. No previews, no commentary, no bonus features, no 3D version, not even anything on the menu other than “Play Movie.” I don’t care how you want to slice it, Avatar on Blu-ray is less “pure” and more “bare bones.”
The reasoning behind this is likely two-fold. First, the film released on Earth Day, an appropriate tie-in that Cameron wanted to cash-in on without spilling what is certainly the second reason for its minimalistic home debut: the upcoming re-release in theaters. This summer, Avatar is slated to re-release in theaters as a Director’s Cut with several minutes of additional footage. Couple that with this summer’s slate of 3D HDTVs from Sony, Panasonic and Samsung, among others, and you’ve got the perfect recipe for a “real” Blu-ray release this holiday season. This holiday, Avatar will likely release (again) on Blu-ray with bonus features, a 3D presentation, an extended cut of the film’s first release and, presumably, a digital copy too. That will be the version to buy.
That’s not to say Avatar’s current Blu-ray form is bad. The 1080p visuals are impeccably sharp, the colors pop from the screen, the uncompressed audio immerses you in the alien world, and let’s face it, it’s another chance to see Avatar. But the bare-bones approach the disc as a whole is definitely disappointing, and knowing darn well that another Blu-ray release is on the way is grounds enough to hold off. Dad (or you) may be thinking about Avatar for Father’s Day, but it’s best to save that thought for another day — a day when the purchase will get him/you more for your money.
If you’ve got some Amazon.com money burning a hole in your pocket, you can get the Avatar Two-Disc Blu-ray/DVD Combo pack by clicking that link.
- Score: 7
— Jonas Allen