James Cameron’s Avatar
—the highest-grossing movie of all time—just came out on disc and has already broken the record for the most Blu-rays sold in one day (about 1.5 million in the U.S. and Canada). It seems that fans can’t get enough of that pretty phosphorescent world of Pandora and its giant indigenous people—the blue-skinned, nature-loving Na’vi who make a final stand against the wicked “sky people” (humans) who are destroying Pandora to mine a precious mineral for a dying Earth. Even though the movie starring blockbuster-boy Sam Worthington, Sigourney Weaver and Michelle Rodriguez is critically acclaimed and was nominated for and won many Oscars, there are still detractors who dismiss this sci-fi masterpiece as being about “giant Smurfs.” The story about a native tribe fighting off invaders is as old as human history and hardly original, but the movie’s heart is in the right place with its green message and the eye-popping effects are unlike anything you have ever seen on-screen…on this planet or any other.
The Avatar DVD and Blu-ray just released in stores features the 2D theatrical version. If your jaw dropped when you saw the special effects in 3D in theaters, you will be amazed at how many subtle details you missed when you check out the full 1080p Blu-ray version with the somewhat distracting (albeit impressive) 3D effect stripped away. It is simply the best-looking Blu-ray ever made and will likely retain that title for some time to come.
Unfortunately the extras on both the DVD and BD versions come up short—real short. As in, there are none except for the Blu-ray’s bookmark feature that lets you revisit your favorite scenes. Each disc does contain a code to unlock some bonus features on the Internet, which right now are limited to the ability to adopt a virtual tree, create your own avatar based on your image, and download desktop themes. An extended version of Avatar with behind-the-scenes featurettes and other production extras won’t arrive until later this year, and you’ll have to wait until 2011 if you want to open Pandora’s box in 3D Blu-ray. Double dips? Triple dips? Like the Na’vi say, “I see you.” But for now, this return trip to Pandora is essential home viewing.