Re-releasing The Biggest Movie Ever is something of a risky move.
With the initial shock and awe of Jim Cameron’s breakthrough visuals now lessened by familiarity, there’s a real opportunity for second-wave audiences to ask if the Emperor is looking a bit underdressed.
For anyone needing a reminder, paraplegic ex-Marine Jake (Sam Worthington) accepts a mining mission on the planet Pandora.
After obtaining his “avatar” body begins to embrace the culture of the indigenous Na’vi, much to the consternation of his military-cum-corporate-lackey superiors.
But what about the new footage? While adding up to a mere eight-ish minutes, it’s surprising what a difference the seamless additions make.
Admittedly the “extended sex scene” is a bit of an anti-climax (pun fully intended), and the addition of new creatures only adds weight to the already saggy middle portion: hunt, chase, repeat...
Other new bits, though, add some much-needed depth to the human vs. Na’vi conflict.
Most crucial is a scene where the Na’vi launch a counterattack following their home’s destruction, which goes a long way to correcting their dubious portrayal in the original as a primitive tribe unable to defend themselves without help from lone white crusader Jake.
Fundamental problems remain: the dialogue’s short on quotablilty and the characters are hardly classic Cameron.
As for Unobtanium, the writer/director might as well have called it MacGuffinium and had done with it.
But while this new cut won’t convert any naysayers, but does create a richer, more socially textured Pandora in preparation for the planned slew of sequels.
Avatar die-hard? Go see. Missed it on the big screen? Go see. Never got what the fuss was about? Move along, move along…