28 August 2010

Avatar Special Edition 3D Review SPOILER ALERT

Avatar SE3D Review of Added Scenes (Updated 29 August 2010)

The journey to this review was more of an annoyance than an adventure.  I arrived at the AMC theater in Georgetown, Washington, DC about one hour before the 12:20 PM show time.  By 12:20 all of eight people were in attendance.

At 12:45 the general manager informed us that there were technical difficulties, and they could not show the movie.  The most frequent question from the crowd, in pure DC form, was for the theater to pay the $7.00 parking fee in addition to refunding their tickets, something the manager had no control of, but he politely answered the same question about ten times for five different people.

We were refunded our ticket purchase price and given free passes for another visit.  The staff was very nice through the whole process.

I departed from Georgetown, on foot, to the next showing at the Gallery Place Regal Theater, with the Google Maps iPhone application as my guide.  It didn't take too long to hike to the Farragut North METRO station and arrive at Gallery Place just in time for the 1:55 PM showing.

If you haven't seen Avatar before, please see the reviews and comments by Suki and me from earlier in the year.  By-the-way only 'pedestrian' 3D is available in the DC area, no IMAX screens are showing it around here.

Tom Butler, of IGN UK, has an excellent list of new footage/scene descriptions, so I will stick with those here.

New creatures in several different scenes: They resemble our classic terrestrial dinosaurs of the "thunder lizard" variety.  The first added scene is when Dr. Augustine's scientific crew is flying out on their first expedition with Jake (scene 7, First Sortie on original BlueRay disk).  The creatures are seen later during a hunting expedition for new warrior training, and Jake kills one from the air with an arrow.  Neytiri exclaims "hell yea" at his kill.

Back to the timeline, there is an added scene at Dr. Augustine's abandoned school that helps fill in the cause of the rift between the Na'vi and the humans. The shack was shot up.

A few seconds were added to scene 16, "Banshee Rookery". When Tsu'tey is leading the young warriors to the Hallelujah Mountains, Neytiri does a flyby on her Banshee and cheers to the expedition.

The "sex" scene, 19 "A Son of Omaticaya", a few seconds were added of the couple's pupils dilating as they link ponytails. I need to review my BluRay copy since Tom Butler seems to recall that scene being much shorter than in the original.
Update after video review: The couple is in the same position as the original, kneeling with Neytiri in the "superior" position. All that was added was closeups of their faces as their ponytails join. Slightly sexier in Special Edition.

The "burning bulldozers" scene is all new. My impression is this is the first time the humans realize the Na'vi can organize such an effective attack. It looked to me like it was two of the giant mining dozers from one angle, rather than just one dozer.

Tsu'tey's famous death scene is much different than speculation from various script versions.  Tsu'tey asks Jake to finish him off, like a warrior, Jake resists then is talked into it.  Tsu'tey calls Jake "Last Shadow" in English, just before Jake casts a shadow over Tsu'tey and stabs him.

I still recommend this movie and like it a bit more now than before.

No real Suki series tie-in. I wrote and published the first series before knowing about Avatar. When I started the new series I had seen Avatar a couple of times, so did my character developer. In the draft of Suki With A Twist: Suki's Street, I mention John and Jackie watching an Avatar sequel in her apartment on a vintage 3D screen.

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