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Avatar
(Blu-ray)

review by Zach B.

 

 

MPAA Rating: PG-13 (Intense Epic Battle Sequences and Warfare, Sensuality, Language and Some Smoking)

Running Time: 162 Minutes

Starring: Sam Worthington, Zoe Saldana, Stephen Lang, Michelle Rodriguez and Sigourney Weaver

Written and Directed by: James Cameron

 

Studio: Fox

Retail Price: $39.99

Features: None

Specs: 1.78:1 Widescreen 1080p High Definition, English Dolby 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio, Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1, French Dolby Digital 5.1, Portuguese Dolby Digital 5.1, English Dolby Surround, English Descriptive Audio, English Subtitles, Spanish Subtitles, Portuguese Subtitles, Scenes (35 Scenes)

Released: April 22nd, 2010


 

 

For its DVD and Blu-ray release, "Avatar" is being presented in 1.78:1 widescreen — James Cameron's preferred aspect ratio, and as seen on the IMAX release. This is a flawless transfer that captures all of the movie's staggering visuals. Even in 2-D, "Avatar" proves to be a involving experience. The whole transfer is razor sharp, and there are no flaws to be had at all — blemishes, artifacting and the like. Detail is really phenomenal. If you freeze frame, you'll be able to see the tremendous amount of background detail that James Cameron and his team at WETA Digital were able to place into the movie to bring this world to alive. Black levels are perfectly solid and color saturation is magnificent: all the blue hues (namely on the Na'vi) and lush greens are stark. Anything less than perfection probably would be a disappointment, but this transfer really delivers the goods — as expected and needed. The bigger the screen you have, the better.


 

"Avatar" features a English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio track, which is really thrilling. Right from the get-go, this whole movie is an onslaught of discrete surrounds and it never lets up. Be it running through Pandora, flaps of the wings of the winged creatures or noises from the command center, everything is audible and is mixed with much creative percision. But since this is "Avatar," much of the track's appeal is the action, and it sure does not disappoint: machines, explosions, gunfire, the swishes of arrows... this is one beautifully aggressive track where you are literally trapped. Subwoofer use is fantastic: there are plenty of booming moments in this movie, be it the climactic end battle or simply when vehicles or creatures come into shots. Dialogue is crisp and always clear, while James Horner's excellent score has a great and achoring presence throughout. This is one robust track that really puts you right there for the ride that is Jake Sully's journey.

Alternate audio tracks include standard Dolby Digital 5.1 in Spanish, French and Portuguese. There's also an English Dolby Surround track, and a English Descriptive Service track for those who cannot see. Subtitles in English, Spanish and Portuguese are also included. 
 




As expected, there's nothing — all the disc space is devoted to audio and video. However, in the Set Up section, there is a PSA encouraging to eliminate tobacco from our lives. Hypocritical given that Sigourney Weaver's character smokes throughout the film, or a way to make amends? You be the judge.

The standard DVD version of the film is included in this package.
 

"Avatar" fans, it's your call and how much more you want to invest in the biggest film of all time. If you do not care for extras, then by all means pick this release up. If you love the movie and can't hold out until November — when the elaborate special edition is due — then by all means pick this up. Keep in mind that there will be a 3-D version in the future, so for those who will be upgrading their home theaters as 3-D at home takes off, there's a chance you may be buying this film two or three times.

Still, this is "Avatar," and this release can be justified. No, it is not in 3-D and has no extras, but this is a reference quality disc. Even in 2-D, "Avatar" looks gorgeous and sounds sublime. Throw in that this release has been selling for about half the retail price if you look online, it actually is pretty hard to resist the urge to head back to Pandora again.