Even for those of us who haven’t yet made the switch to Blu-ray and HDTV, Avatar, James Cameron’s half-a-billion-dollar extravaganza makes for one entertaining evening on old-fashioned DVD.
The story, a kind of sci-fi Dances With Wolves/hi-tech-guy-goes-native tale with an overt message about the ecology, is given a spiffy hi-tech look both in the way the Terran corporate exploiters are decked out and armed and in the way the natives of Pandora – and the entire planet, for that matter – are given luxurious life through the best CG yet seen on film.
That the corporate folks from Earth are out to mine a unique substance that can only be found under the most important religious symbol of the Pandoran natives – the Na’vi – is given further impact by having that symbol be a living, monolithic tree [can you say the Tree of Life? I knew you could].
You will have heard, by now, all about the technical marvels of the film. You may have even seen it [more than once, possibly].
If you’ve seen Avatar, the only question is whether to buy this bare bones DVD release. If you’re like me, the lack of bonus material will bother you – but most people I know seldom look at the features, let alone listen to the audio commentary track [when one is available]. If you don’t watch that stuff anyway – and you loved the film – then you should pick up this version.
If not, then wait for the November release.
If you haven’t seen Avatar in 3D, in a theater, then you’re still getting an awfully good movie [it does lose a few ticks for the lack of 3D, but even home 3D won’t give you the immersion that you would get in a theater].
Ultimately, the question is whether you want the bonus features or not.
It’s that simple.
Final Grade – Avatar minus the 3D: A-