Avatar: Collector's Edition UHD 4K Review

Jan 01, 2024 11:53 AM EST
By Allison Rose   X Formly Known as Twitter
5 Min Read

[Avatar] was the first of its kind (until Avatar: The Way of Water took special effects even further in 2022) and it is still incredible to watch.

Almost forty years ago James Cameron had made a name for himself as an excellent filmmaker with 1984's Terminator and 1986's Aliens.  By 1997 he had advanced to be one of the best directors in the world with Titanic, a film that won the Best Picture Academy Award.  His next film, Avatar, wasn't released until 12 years later and, at the time, was praised for its innovative techniques for CGI that are still used today.  Over twenty-five years later, Avatar: Collector's Edition is now available for sale.  With a beautifully designed case and 4 discs full of material, it is truly a set worthy for collectors.

While it is hard to imagine that anyone is unfamiliar with the plot of Avatar, the quick rundown is as follows:  Humans are mining a mineral on a harsh, unforgiving planet full of creatures that will kill them in a heartbeat and the indigenous humanoids are, rightfully, distrustful of the humans.  Having created human/humanoid beings, a group of scientists are trying to study the natives, creatures and flora, and fauna of the land but one of the scientists is killed, he is replaced by his former marine brother, Jake (Sam Worthington; Clash of the Titans) who is caught between helping the scientists, the military and the natives.

Since there are three versions of the film on the 4K disc, we watched the Collector's Edition (which forwards the viewer that the audio is not in Dolby Atmos unfortunately). The Dolby Vision video quality is absolutely incredible and well worth the purchase price.  The colors are extremely vibrant making the on-planet exploration scenes and the flying scenes are breathtaking, which is highly unusual for effects from 2009.  This transfer is some of the best quality I have ever seen.

This only lends the viewer to ask the question why wasn't the audio upgraded on the Collector's Edition as well?  For comparison, I watched some of the Theatrical version, and I have to say the  Dolby Atmos audio on the latter is better.  That isn't to say the DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 is bad because it isn't, but it also isn't as immersive as the Atmos version.

The combo set comes with 4, yes, 4, discs and over ten hours of extras.  Some of the extras are previously released but there are a few new ones that are enjoyable.  For convenience, they have been broken down by disc below:

DISC ONE - AVATAR 4K (Theatrical Release Version, Special Edition Re-Release, and Collector's Extended Cut), Direct Access to New/Additional Scenes - Special Edition Re-Release (39: Herd, 44-45: The Schoolhouse, 60: Purple Moss, 64 Alt 1: I Don't Even Know Your Name, 81J: What Does Hold Them Up?, 102, 105: Extended Montage, 112: Neytiri's Flyby, 121 Alt 1: Sturmbeest Hunt, 151: Extended Love Scene, 174-176: Drums of War, 276: Tsu'tey's Fall, 282: Strumbeest Attack, 332: Extended Thanator Fight, 348: The Last Shadow), Direct Access to New/Additional Scenes - Collector's Extended Cut (002-019: Earth, 39: Herd, 44-45: The Schoolhouse, 60: Purple Moss, 64 Alt 1: I Don't Even Know Your Name, 69A: Sylwanin, 81J: What Does Hold Them Up?, 102, 105, 106, 109: Alternate Montage with Grace's Story, 112: Neytiri's Flyby, 121 Alt 1: Sturmbeest Hunt, 151: Extended Love Scene, 174-176: Drums of War, 178: They Bulldozed a Sacred Site, 276: Tsu'tey's Fall, 282: Strumbeest Attack, 332: Extended Thanator Fight, and 348: The Last Shadow)

DISC TWO - AVATAR BLU-RAY (Theatrical Release Version, Special Edition Re-Release, and Collector's Extended Cut), Direct Access to New/Additional Scenes - Special Edition Re-Release (39: Herd, 44-45: The Schoolhouse, 60: Purple Moss, 64 Alt 1: I Don't Even Know Your Name, 81J: What Does Hold Them Up?, 102, 105: Extended Montage, 112: Neytiri's Flyby, 121 Alt 1: Sturmbeest Hunt, 151: Extended Love Scene, 174-176: Drums of War, 276: Tsu'tey's Fall, 282: Strumbeest Attack, 332: Extended Thanator Fight, 348: The Last Shadow), Direct Access to New/Additional Scenes - Collector's Extended Cut (002-019: Earth, 39: Herd, 44-45: The Schoolhouse, 60: Purple Moss, 64 Alt 1: I Don't Even Know Your Name, 69A: Sylwanin, 81J: What Does Hold Them Up?, 102, 105, 106, 109: Alternate Montage with Grace's Story, 112: Neytiri's Flyby, 121 Alt 1: Sturmbeest Hunt, 151: Extended Love Scene, 174-176: Drums of War, 178: They Bulldozed a Sacred Site, 276: Tsu'tey's Fall, 282: Strumbeest Attack, 332: Extended Thanator Fight, and 348: The Last Shadow)

DISC THREE - BONUS FEATURES #1: Behind-the-Scenes Presentation Hosted by Jon Landau (NEW), Colonel Miles Quaritch RDA Promos (NEW), A Message from Pandora, Deleted Scenes: Never-Before-Seen (User's Guide for Viewing Avatar Scenes with Unfinished Shots, 19: Stingbat Attack, 20: Pandora Rules, 21: Jake Meets Norm [First Cut], 26: Jake Sees Decanted Avatars, 30: Norm Is a Living God, 35A: Breakfast with the Scientists, 36A-37: You're in My World Now, 64: Grandma's Teylu, 79: Pied Piper, 81B-D: Going to the Mountains, 81K: Interspecies Booty Call, 91: Norm's Attitude Improves, 93A-98: Learning Montage Section Early Cut, C120A: We're Buying Time, 122-123: Hunt Festival, 131: Driving Range, 131A-148: The Dreamhunt, 164-172: The Challenge, 174-178: The Drums of War [Full Version], 209-211: Escape, 224A: The Eye of Eywa, 232: You're a Long Way from Earth, 235-236: Battle Camp, 248: Kick Some Blue Ass, 277: Wainfleet Kills Norm, 287: Neytiri Kills Wainfleet [Alt Wainfleet Death], 288-327: The Avatars Attack, 350-351: New Life), Scene Deconstruction (Welcome to Your New Body, First Run, First Sortie, Night on Pandora, Shahaylu, Seyzey, You're Mine, First Flight, Toruk Macto, You Are Omaticaya Now, I Am One of You, I Trusted You, The Aftermath, I See You, Fly with Me, You Chose Me for Something, and Eywa Has Heard You), and Archives: Script, Artwork, Marketing (Theatrical Trailer, Teaser Trailer, Sam Worthington and Zoe Saldaña Special Shoot, Avatar: The Original Scriptment, Avatar: Screenplay Written by James Cameron The Art of Avatar [The World of Pandora, The Creatures, Pandora Flora, Pandora Bioluminescence, The Na'vi, The Avatars, Maquettes, Na'vi Weapons, Na'vi Props, Na'vi Musical Instruments, RDA Designs, Flying Vehicles, AMP Suit, Human Weapons, Land Vehicles], Avatar: The Songs, and Pandorapedia.

DISC FOUR - BONUS FEATURES #2: Memories from Avatar (NEW - on the previous 4K), Avatar: A Look Back (NEW - on the previous 4K), Capturing Avatar, Featurettes (Sculpting Avatar, Creating the Banshee, Creating the Thanator, The AMP Suit, Flying Vehicles, Na'vi Costumes, Speaking Na'vi, Pandora Flora, Stunts, Performance Capture, Virtual Camera, The 3D Fusion Camera, The Simul-Cam, Editing Avatar, Scoring Avatar, Sound Design, The Haka: The Spirit of New Zealand), and Production Materials (The 2006 Art Reel, Brother Termite Test, The ILM Prototype with Motion Capture Reference, The ILM Prototype without Motion Capture Reference, Screen Test - Sam Worthington [Raw Footage], Screen Test - Zoe Saldaña [Raw Footage], Zoe's Life Cast [Raw Footage], James Cameron Speech: Beginning of Live Action Filming [Raw Footage], ILM VFX Progression, Framestore VFX Progression, [HY·DRAU"LX] VFX Progression, Hybride VFX Progression, Prime Focus VFX Progression, Look Effects, Inc. VFX Progression, and Crew Film: The Volume).

The combo pack also includes a Movies Anywhere Digital Code that has the following additional Digital-exclusive extras: Raw Footage Production Elements (Screen Test: Sam Worthington and Zoe Saldaña, Screen Test: Stephen Lang, Screen Test: Giovanni Ribisi, Screen Test: Joel David Moore, Screen Test: CCH Pounder, Screen Test: Laz Alonso, Speaking Na'vi: Rehearsal, Wētā Workshop: Walk & Talk Presentation, and Crew Short: The Night Before Avatar), Pandora Discovered, and Pandora: The World of Avatar.

At the time of its release, Avatar was technically a cinematic marvel that paved the way for so many other films that utilize CGI and upgraded techniques for special effects.  It was the first of its kind (until Avatar: The Way of Water took special effects even further in 2022),  and it is still incredible to watch.  With several more films in the series planned, it is worth starting one's home entertainment collection with both this release and Avatar: The Way of Water: Collector's Edition, also available now.

Grade: A-

Cast:
Directed By:
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Running Time: 189 minutes
Distributed By: 20th Century Studios

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For more information about Avatar visit the FlickDirect Movie Database. This release has been provided to FlickDirect for review purposes. For more reviews by Allison Rose please click here.

Avatar images are courtesy of 20th Century Studios. All Rights Reserved.


FlickDirect, Allison   Rose

Allison Rose, a Senior Correspondent and Critic at FlickDirect, is a dynamic presence in the entertainment industry with a communications degree from Hofstra University. She brings her film expertise to KRMS News/Talk 97.5 FM and broadcast television, and is recognized as a Tomatometer-Approved Critic. Her role as an adept event moderator in various entertainment industry forums underscores her versatility. Her affiliations with SEFCA, the Florida Film Critics Circle, and the Online Film Critics Society highlight her as an influential figure in film criticism and media.


Read More Avatar Reviews

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It turns out you cannot count James Cameron out.  It appeared kind of telling that the trailers for the movie had to tell you who this guy was and why we should care.  The likely 20-something targets for the movie were maybe 10 when Titanic came out (2007...
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Avatar 3D Physical Media: Blu-ray Review
Immerse yourself in the captivating world of Avatar. A visually stunning, action-packed thriller in 3D that sets a new standard in movie-making. Unforgettable. (A+)
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Physical Media: 4K UHD Review
Cameron is a master filmmaker whose movies will endure long after he stops making movies.
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