The highest grossing film of all time gets the bare bones home video treatment...
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No doubt if you saw Avatar in theaters, you were anxious to see it again at home. And, while only the wealthiest of us can afford one of those 3-D home theater set-ups, unfortunately this first home video release of Avatar wasn't ready for 3-D. In fact, it wasn't ready for much more than playing the movie (with or without subtitles).
While no one will contest the sheer beauty of Pandora, the film's setting, fans can criticize all they want the lack of any - and I mean ANY - special features on this, the initial release of the highest grossing film of all time. While some might not mind the idea of releasing a film to home video with nothing but the film itself ready for action (remember, VHS was like this 20 years ago!), most watchers today hate the idea of having to dish out hard earned scratch on a home video - no matter its format - just to find out it's being re-released 6 months later as it should have been released, with its intended bonus material, special features, commentaries, and more.
This version of the film, which includes both DVD and Blu-ray discs, features the film and nothing else. Nada. Zip. Zilch. Again, while that's not entirely unheard of, for a film of this caliber, it's almost shameful...
Now that I've got that out of my system, let me reiterate the film itself is amazing, gorgeous, and sheer brilliance. The hi-def transfer in its original 1.78:1 aspect ratio is spot-on with beautiful, bright bold colors and sharp lines and edges. There's no issues with any of the visuals and it's because of that that Avatar gets popped into my Blu-ray player at least once a week. Likewise, the film's 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio surround track impresses with harsh explosions, hushed whispers, and everything in between.
If you're a die-hard fan of Avatar and, like me, watch this movie over and over again for the sheer thrill of revisiting Pandora as often as possible, picking up this Blu-ray/DVD Combo pack for around $20 is well worth the money. For those who want to hold out for the more comprehensive release - which is sure to include audio commentaries, "making of" featurettes, and bonus material galore - you're better off waiting until this November.
- Jess C. Horsley