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Avatar (Two-Disc Blu-ray/DVD Combo) [Blu-ray] by Directed by James Cameron
Review by Charles Mohapel
20th Century Fox Blu-ray  ISBN/ITEM#: B002VPE1B6
Date: 30 April 2010 List Price $39.99 Amazon US / Amazon UK

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Whether you viewed Avatar in 2D, 3D, or IMAX 3D, you saw a groundbreaking SF film from Titanic Director James Cameron, one that has grossed more than $2.7 billion US worldwide. Personally, I viewed it in 3D and it came close to living up to the Na'vi-sized hype. In other words, all the hype pushed people's expectations to a nigh unreachable level. And yes, I found it an amazing movie.

Directed by James Cameron
Writers (WGA):
James Cameron (written by)

Cast (Cast overview, first billed only):
Sam Worthington ... Jake Sully
Zoe Saldana ... Neytiri
Sigourney Weaver... Dr. Grace Augustine
Stephen Lang ... Colonel Miles Quaritch
Norm Spellman ... Joel David Moore
Giovanni Ribisi ... Parker Selfridge
Michelle Rodriguez. Trudy Chacon
Laz Alonso ... Tsu'tey
Wes Studi ... Eytukan
CCH Pounder ... Moat
Dileep Rao ... Dr. Max Patel
Matt Gerald ... Corporal Lyle Wainfleet
Sean Anthony Moran. Private Fike
Jason Whyte ... Cryo Vault Med Tech
Scott Lawrence ... Venture Star Crew Chief

Watching Colonel Miles Quaritch, an ex-Recon Marine who heads up the paramilitary forces for the Resources Development Administration, an organization that oversees all military and other personnel on the colony world, he seemed as much of a madman as Lieutenant Colonel Bill Kilgore (played by Robert Duvall) in Apocalypse Now. All we needed from Quaritch was a quote on par with Kilgore's famous "I love the smell of napalm in the morning... The smell, you know that gasoline smell... Smells like, victory".

Many people view Avatar as being anti-military, but they obviously failed to pay close attention. Even though they all hold military ranks, they are no longer active duty military, but are now paramilitary hired from former Army and Marine Corps personnel. James Cameron did not make a film that was blatantly anti-military, but rather one that points out that once Humanity has finished ruining Earth, they have gone into space seeking other planets to pillage and burn.

Viewing Avatar on Blu-ray is the next best thing to seeing it on the silver screen with audio by THX, but with the added advantage of being able to pause the film to get more food and drink or take a bathroom break. The video component of the film is absolutely gorgeous and the audio component complements it perfectly. Watching the DVD of Avatar on a good quality Blu-ray player that upconverts the audio and video to a level that is closer to that of Blu-ray is also a treat.

Unfortunately, all you get with the Two-Disc Blu-ray/DVD Combo of Avatar is the theatrical version of the film and absolutely nothing else on either disc. Given the awesome selection of extra features that we've been dreaming about since December 18, 2009, not including them is a major disappointment.

Worldwide 2.7 million copies of Avatar on Blu-ray were sold in the first 4 days alone, breaking the old mark of 2.5 million copies of The Dark Knight, but that record was set over a period of 18 months. In addition 4 million copies of Avatar on DVD were sold in the first 4 days, a grand total of 6.7 million copies all told.

I've heard the Two-Disc Blu-ray/DVD Combo of Avatar referred to as Avatar Lite or Avatar Basic, a reference to Windows Vista Basic. Given the veritable treasure trove of bonus features that the studio could have included on the disc, this bare bones set leaves much to be desired.

Since this review won't go live until May 1st, I rather doubt it will have any negative effect on sales of Avatar on Blu-ray or DVD sales since it sold at a record pace beginning nine days ago.

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