As fans of Avatar know yet another new and expanded version of the movie was released this week. I finally got a chance to take a look at it last night. Is the longer movie worth the money. Does it make sense?
As I have told my friends I found Avatar to be a striking visual experience that has some very deep and fatal flaws in regards to writing, acting, and plot. Strip away the pretty colors, 3D and kick ass score and what remains is well not much.
Beyond this point there be spoilers!
The new opening of Avatar. We get to see Earth. Not much to say about the Earthly settings. you get an over crowded city filled with neon advertizing and a bar, complete with a bar fight. It is a Blade Runner dystopia. Jake reveals his nature immediately. He is disdainful of Earth and humans.
After witnessing a man strike a woman at the bar, he attacks the man. Jake’s voiceover sets his personality immediately. “The strong always overpower the weak” and that “he is looking for something to fight for” He takes out the bully and is thrown into the alley behind the bar for his trouble. While laying in a puddle a couple RDA suits walk up, and he is informed of his brother’s death and the offer to take his place.
This opening reveals everything about Jake in a matter of minutes. In fact it makes Jake’s agreement to work for Quarich later in the movie puzzling, it does not fit his introduction at all. There is no insight here just a quick formation of Jake’s character that is inevitably played out over the next two hours.
Next is extra scenes of the Valkery shuttle undocking from the ship. about 10 or 20 seconds worth. pretty cool but worthless.
The next added scene is when Jake is first going into Pandora. The pilot flies over a herd of large animals and points them out, before landing and leaving the craft to go exploreing
Jake, Norm and Grace enter an old abandoned school. There are books scattered around. Jake finds bullet holes in the chalkboard and asks Grace what happened… Grace refuses to answer but it is obvious something really bad went down.
Other minor scene additions.
The next big addition is after Jake gets his ikran. I call it the buffalo hunt. Yea yea I know that there are no buffalo on Pandora but it is still a buffalo hunt.
Hunters on the horse creatures are trying to bring down a herd of large animals. Like buffalo the creatures are hard to kill and the riders have to get close. Jake and Neytiri fly in on their ikrans and Jake manages to kill one of the animals. It seems that the animals are only vulnerable in one small area. If hit in this spot they go down immediately into a mudbog. The mud spatter is what the FX people were having trouble with. The mud spray looks bad. Dances With Wolves did this much better.
In another scene Grace is forcing Jake to eat again. Grace tells Jake to slow down or he will burn out. Jake sits down and asks Grace again to tell him about what happened at the school. Grace tells him the sad tale of Neytiri’s sister that ended up with Human troops killing her and other warriors in the school. Grace managed to get “most” of the children out and safe but the school was never used again.
Extended Navi bonding scene. thank you that it was not “Please mount my hot blue alien” more kissing and showed the bonding. surprisingly erotic but not pornographic.
After the destruction of the memory trees we see the Navi retaliation. The bulldozers are destroyed and consumed in flames. A recon unit reports back to Hellgate that everyone has been killed by the Navi and the equipment is a total loss. Jake muses that the destruction of the memory trees was no accident and that RDA is trying to force a battle.
Everything here remains pretty much the same. There is an extension during the battle that shows Tsu-tay hitting the ground. The movie returns to Tsu-tay at the end of the battle and he passes leadership of the tribe to Jake and asked Jake to kill him. Jake initially refuses saying “I am not officer material” but Jake ritually kills Tsu-tay and become leader of the clan.
and with that the offensiveness of this movie comes full circle.
The scene extensions and additions really add nothing to the film itself. In fact for the opening and the hunt scene I can tell why they were cut. The opening interferes with the story arch and the technology is not quite up to the mud splashes in the hunt scenes. The rest were throw away and not necessary.
I am guessing for hard core Avatar fans this is a great version of the movie, and worth the cash.
I am more interested in the technical aspect of “How it was made” than the movie itself. Unfortunately I do not have access to the special features, but the extended version of the movie does nothing for me.
This should be my last words on Avatar untill the next one comes out in a couple of years. I still have no idea where they can go with it. Please send me your thoughts and ideas about this new Avatar and the next 2.