Friday, April 30, 2010
DVD report: Avatar
First a quick paragraph about the movie itself. Is the story in Avatar familiar? Sure. But it's done well, and sharpened by several unique characters, fascinating details, and a handful of unpredictable moments. And exciting action. Lots of exciting action. Oh, and I liked the playful subversion lurking just under the surface: while we're quickly told once or twice that the soldiers on Pandora are mercenaries working for a private company, the visuals clearly tell us otherwise. This is an occupying American military force, at a place where they have no business, taking on the role of the bad guys. Hey, maybe it was a little unfair to do that (maybe), but it was gutsy on James Cameron's part to construct his story that way, a story for a big blockbuster movie, no less, not some small political art-house film.
Anyway, now that that's out of the way, the main reason I'm writing this review is to tell you about the DVD, as people everywhere have pretty much already seen this movie and have decided whether they like it or not. I'm here to tell you that the good old standard DVD of Avatar looks spectacular. It's one of the most cleanest, sharpest transfers I've ever seen. In many ways it's even better than the 3D version of Avatar seen in theaters, because as good as the Cameron's 3D process was, there was still a little inherent-to-3D murkiness here and there that sometimes inhibited the sharpness. Here things are sharp and clear from beginning to end. And because the movie was composed as a movie first and a 3D movie second (there are no cheap "comin at ya" shots), I found that I didn't even miss the 3D while watching the DVD.
So, if you're hesitating to buy the standard DVD of Avatar because you're worried that only the Blu-Ray version or the future 3D Blu-Ray version of Avatar will do the film justice, there's no need to worry. This will tide you over just fine.