The Avatar Blu-Ray Experience: Still Good on a TV Screen?

avatarThe biggest movie of all time is now available on DVD and Blu-Ray, and if you’re wondering why this review wasn’t written a month ago, that’s because 20th Century Fox didn’t send me a copy to review until this week. Apparently, a lot of websites and newspapers were asking for a copy to review, and FilmJabber wasn’t given first priority. It’s OK, we know The New York Times is jealous of us for being cooler, even if they get more attention.

Frankly, I’m a little surprised Fox even spent the money to send out review copies of Avatar at all. After all, the movie isn’t exactly unknown, having been seen by just about everyone in the world two times over. It’s been rumored that even Osama bin Laden was spotted attending an IMAX in Afghanistan (or Pakistan, depending on which report you read). In its first four days of release, the movie sold more than four million DVD copies and 2.7 million Blu-Rays, good for $130 million. As if James Cameron and Fox needed more money.

Beyond the awareness factor, there’s really nothing to review. As expected, this first Avatar-to-own release has absolutely no special features, meaning that all you get is the movie on DVD and the movie on Blu-Ray (the version I’m reviewing is a two-disc set). Everyone’s already seen the movie, so there’s no point in reviewing it, which means the only true question to answer is:

Is it as good on TV as it was on the big screen?

The answer is simple: no. Avatar is still a well made, visually impressive movie, but without a huge screen bearing down on you with 3D flakes of ash and gigantic blue people running around, the movie definitely isn’t as awe-inspiring. The effect might be achieved with a high definition projector, but on a 42-inch plasma, Avatar is now just a typical action film. A good one, but not an all-immersive one.

Does Avatar lose its edge as a result?

No. I’ve heard of some people saying Avatar isn’t watchable on the small screen, which is a load of bullsh*t. Just as it was on the big screen, Avatar is a good movie, but not one of Cameron’s best. Since it relies so heavily on its special effects, it definitely loses some of its re-watchability, but it still delivers the goods.

For the few of you who have yet to invest in a copy of the movie, it’d be best to wait until the holidays: undoubtedly, Fox will released a more feature-rich version soon enough.

By Erik Samdahl
Related categories: DVD Releases, Movie Reviews
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