Avatar: Special Edition; news on the Even Specialler DVD

Director    James Cameron
Starring    Sam Worthington, Zoe Saldana, Sigourney Weaver, Stephen Lang, Joel David Moore, Michelle Rodriguez
Release    27 AUG (US) 27 AUG (UK)    Certificate 12A
5 stars


27th August 2010

Attention, Avatards. First up, we've got Rob's review of the Avatar: Special Edition and what to expect in the nine additional minutes. Then follows news about the DVD even-specialler edition, with sixteen new minutes. Then follows... you get the idea. Yeah, this is basically the new Star Wars now.

Call it cashing in on the biggest movie of all time, or giving the fans one last chance to 'visit Pandora'on the big screen. But whatever you call it, James Cameron is laughing. Seeing as we've all seen Avatar at least once already, there's little need for me to go on about the plot, the political/environmental undertones or any of that gubbins - this is all about the new scenes.

Boasting nine extra minutes, Avatar: Special Edition plunges us a little deeper into Pandora's growth. We're introduced to new creatures and more plants. But before you can say 'Bill Oddie's Springwatch', we're offered scenes a little more exciting.

[gallery]The back story is fleshed out a bit as we see the school Grace set up for the Na'vi to teach them English. Now deserted, the place is covered with bullet holes. When Jake asks what happened, Grace hastily changes the subject. Frustratingly, we don't find out what happened there, but it goes to show the wealth of ideas James Cameron could come back to. Perhaps Quaritch had something to do with the school being shot up, hence why him and Grace don't really see eye-to-eye.

Throughout the film, there are small new scenes, like Jake and Neytiri playing in the forest, disturbing various small creatures, as well as Jake hunting from the back of Banshee, cementing his place amongst the Omaticya. And I'm pretty sure we witness a Na'vi orgasm; the first one outside of creepy fan-fiction, anyway.

However, it's when the Dozers come in that we see the most exciting new additions. We watch as Tsu'tey and his war party cheer after ambushing a bulldozer, setting it on fire and killing all the soldiers. This is followed by Corporal Wainfleet wandering through the aftermath in the light of day with a video link back to Selfridge. We finally get to see the kind of damage the Na'vi are capable of when provoked.

There's another scene featuring Tsu'tey towards the end but I don't want to give too much away. Cameron delivers on what he promised - more Pandora. It's a shame, however, he didn't explore different Na'vi clans other than the Direhorse clan of the great plains and the clan of the Eastern Sea. It would've been interesting to see what else was on Pandora.
All in all, it's good to see the most successful film of all time back on the big screen in all its three-dimensional glory -and the additional scenes act as the carrot to lure us back to Pandora.
Interesting. I can't see the harm in releasing a special edition in cinemas - it's that age-old argument, if you don't want to go and see it, don't go and see it. But given that $2.7 billion worth of people saw it first time around, that's a big enough demand to make a re-release justifiable.

However... No sooner had Avatar's special edition galloped into cinemas on direhorseback, a press released leaked about the SE DVD release due in November that would feature an additional seven minutes of footage. Maths!

Now that's a bit off. At the very least, the timing is rather cruel. If I'd forked out an extra tenner for a 3D ticket for the Special Edition (which I didn't, I don't associate with commoners) then I'd feel more than a little hard done by that I wouldn't be seeing the full version of Avatar until I bought another new DVD. It's already made almost 3 billion dollars, how much more are they going to milk this thing for?

The extra-extra footage will mostly be comprised of the Earth-based opening scenes, described in the original Project 880 script as being "Blade Runner-esque". Apparently it was left in the final cut of the movie until the eleventh hour and Cameron is keen to see it return.

"[The Earth opening] works very well. It just takes a long time to get the movie started. You have to be sort of predisposed to like the movie like a fan, you know what I mean? And then you can sit and you can have a great ride a different telling of Avatar. Not inconsistent it's just the stuff that happened off-camera."
King Jim also mentions "45 minutes of unfinished deleted scenes" which were never fully rendered or explored. It's clear this thing is going to keep on growing and growing until the sequel is released, reportedly in 2014, by which time you can take your hover car to the latest holo-screening.

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