The original “Avatar” film from 2009 has been released on home video in 4K UltraHD and other formats. The releases highlight is an impressive number of bonus features. There are about 30 minutes of new bonus material in two new pieces taking a look back at the film. There are about three hours of previously released features too. The feature length documentary “Capturing Avatar” from 2010 clocking in at 98 minutes as well as 17 traditional featurettes totally more than 90 minutes. I have included the full listing of the bonus features at the end of this post, for full technical specs here is the original press release.
The two new pieces were not overly engaging to me. The first is a 20 minute discussion led by Jon Landau with the cast and a second is a relatively short 10 minute piece featuring some memories of the cast and filmmakers with several clips from production. I did enjoy revisiting some of the original behind the scenes pieces and looked at them through the lens of how the technology has evolved over the years.
I thought they missed an opportunity to talk about the historical context of the film and how big the original film was. Also thought they could have discussed bringing the World of Avatar to Disney’s Animal Kingdom. It seemed like a great opportunity to cross promote and share some more details of the land.
Note, a handful of the bonus features found on in this release can be found on Disney+.
If you are a fan of bonus material or just want to learn more about Avatar the comprehensive selection in this offering makes it worth considering to add to your collection. The other primary audience for this release are those looking to build up their 4K library.
Memories from Avatar (21 minutes)
Producer Jon Landau leads a spirited conversation with cast members, Sam Worthington, Zoë Saldana, Sigourney Weaver and Stephen Lang, recalling warm memories from production and reflecting on the extraordinary success of Avatar.
Avatar: A Look Back (10 minutes)
In this retrospective, cast and filmmakers reflect on their extraordinary journey making Avatar, the groundbreaking technologies they used to create an unparalleled cinematic experience, and the profound effect the film had on audiences worldwide.
Capturing Avatar: (1:38 total running time)
Journey with James Cameron and crew in this feature-length documentary, as they embark on a film the likes of which the world had never seen.
- Part One – After years of testing, research and design, James Cameron’s tackled Avatar, “the most complex film” in his storied career.
- Part Two – Actors and technology are pushed to the limit as James Cameron pushes the boundaries of a groundbreaking, new filmmaking paradigm.
- Part Three – James Cameron used ground-breaking technology to merge the virtual and live-action elements of his film.
- Part Four – The edit room became ground zero as music, sound and visual effects were finalized in order to make the film’s release date.
Featurettes (1:31 total running time)
Take a closer look at the creation of Pandora and the making of Avatar with featurettes on key aspects of production design, performance capture, and the post-production process.
- Sculpting Avatar – Explore how clay maquettes were sculpted to help bring Avatar’s characters and creatures to life.
- Creating the Banshee – Discover all that went into designing the Banshees, high-flying predators of the Pandoran sky.
- Creating the Thanator – James Cameron and team reveal how the most terrifying beast in the Pandoran rain forest was brought to the screen.
- The AMP Suit – Explore the design of the AMP (Amplified Mobility Platform) and discover why it was the perfect weapon for Colonel Quaritch.
- Flying Vehicles – Explore the design of the RDA’s gunships and how they helped ground the story in a realistic world audiences could connect to.
- Na’vi Costumes – Discover the costumes of Avatar and why it was essential to create real-world costumes for characters that were seen only in a virtual world.
- Speaking Na’vi – Delve into the complex Na’vi language created for Avatar, and the challenging task for the cast who had to speak it.
- Pandora Flora – Explore the science behind the Pandoran rainforest, including the exotic plants and bioluminescence.
- Stunts – James Cameron and Avatar’s stunt coordinators discuss how they learned to move like a Na’vi, ride a Leonopteryx, and more.
- Performance Capture – Discover how the actors’ actions, emotions and spirit were captured in performance and transferred to a virtual character.
- Virtual Camera – Discover the virtual camera system that allowed James Cameron to apply camera angles, lighting and movement to his scenes long after the performance capture phase was completed.
- The 3D Fusion Camera – Explore the newly designed 3D Fusion camera system which enabled the filmmakers to create an immersive stereographic experience.
- The Simul-Cam – See how the newly created Simul-Cam seamlessly integrated the virtual world with the live action camera, allowing Jake’s avatar to appear in a scene with real-world actors.
- Editing Avatar – James Cameron and the film’s editors reveal the unique challenges they faced editing Avatar, and the benefits of “learning as you go”.
- Scoring Avatar – Composer James Horner and James Cameron discuss how Avatar’s score was grounded in the familiar while evoking a breathtaking new world.
- Sound Design – Explore the sounds of Pandora, including the Banshee, Direhorse and Thanator, as well as the near-future engineering sounds of the Dragon, Scorpion and more.
- The Haka: The Spirit of New Zealand – On the final day of production, the New Zealand stuntmen honored James Cameron with a traditional Haka dance.
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** A review copy of this release was provided to us