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Review: Avatar: The Way of Water – Digital Release

Avatar: The Way of Water is now available digitally from many retailers including Movies Anywhere, Prime Video and Apple TV.  This initial home release includes the blockbuster film as well as over three hours of bonus materials.

The bonus material is organized into three primary groups.   Inside Pandora’s Box, More From Pandora’s Box and Marketing Materials & Music Video.   Each group can be played as a whole or by chapter.   The offerings follow a very traditional bonus feature format but are of a longer length than many recent offerings.

Inside Pandora’s Box clocks in at over two and a half hours and consists of 14 chapters exploring all aspects of the film’s creation highlighting the challenges the cast and crew encountered on the project and how they created new technology to achieve the final film.

More from Pandora’s Box is an additional four featurettes clocking in at just under 30 minutes exploring special teams within the production.  This includes a look at the Lab, the Troupe and Stunts as well as Casting.

The last section is Marketing Materials and Music Video.  This section only has two trailers and the music video and clocks in at just under nine minutes.

Me being the geek that I am found the chapters that explored the how the film was technically made were the most interesting.  A fair number of the featurettes dove into these behind the scenes topics.  I enjoyed learning more about the way they did the motion capture and the amount of technology and work that goes into each and every shot to capture the performance, create the world, and then put it all together.   Even though it is is a virtual environment the filing involved a fair about of physical props, sets and action done by the actors and student performers during the capture process.   Included in the material are also a few comparisons from the processes of the original film that was released in 2009 to the current films.

If you are an Avatar fan or just curious about what went into making the film the breath and depth of the bonus features offered on this initial release should make it worth considering for your library.   Compared to most films now a days the number of topics explored and the time spent on each was substantially more.

No details on a physical release or on a Disney+ release date have been shared yet.  If this follows the trend of other films the Disney+ release will not include the bonus features so if you are looking for those the digital or anticipated disc release will be your only options.  For more details on this home video offering including a trailer here is the original press release from March.

[Update June 2023] Avatar: The Way of Water arrived on Disney+ June 7th and on various disc formats June 20, 2023The Disney+ version included a number of bonus features.  The disc versions mirrored the digital.

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** A review copy of this film was provided to us

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