Monday, 22 November 2010

The One Where Avatar Gains 18 Minutes

I'm writing this as I go, so bare with me.

I feel awful, and as GC will tell you, I never get sick.

So I skipped my Black Ops date with @KyeLani and @DiaryOfALedger, wrapped myself up, and invested 3 hours in the new Extended Cut of Avatar.

So... was it worth it?
As I say, I'm writing as I watch. The first thing that hits me?

The opening is brilliant. Pure genius.

Far from starting in Chyro, we start on Earth. Like I always felt we should.

Maybe four minutes of Sully, in his wheel chair, picking fights - just a ball of pent up aggression.

We get to see those legs, ("Lieutenant Dan, I've got magic legs!" - Name the film below for a DoodleBuddy).

It just sets the scene light years ahead of the previous one.

We realise that Sully has always wanted this adventure, but he's lost all motivation to have it. Bits like him running riot on his first time as an Avatar suddenly make more sense. That we've already seen his legs, and how he lives, means we should enjoy him test driving the Avatar more.

And doesn't Earth look amazing?

Cameron fore shadows the Blue world of Pandora perfectly. The neon colours could be Tokyo, but when Sully is finally kicked out of the club, onto his back, the view above is Vegas. Pure Neon lights, like the tunnel in the Strip. And the colour changes. Blue.

When the guards tell him about his Brother he keeps reciting how the strong prey on the weak - again, fore shadowing what will come next.

The best is yet to come though , as we pan into the coffin of Jake's brother, and see the flames cover his face - not in a T2:Judgement Day way, no gore, just vivid colour. Then the flames fade out, and it's Jake, and not his brother - in cyro. Far, far more in keeping with what is coming.

A little slower maybe, but hardly a grinding halt.

Plus we realise the monologue of Sully is exactly that. He talks of himself far more in the third person - knowing what kind of a person he is.

Then for the next forty minutes or so, we're into the chassis of the film everyone loves to hate. I stand by saying opening on Earth adds a sense of direction for Sully, but haters - and there are lots, will say, "what's the point if the film ends up in the same place?"

Its a fair point.

Theres a crucial line of added dialogue, though.

Neytiri was indeed Grace's favorite student, and her sister was killed. Straight away, we realise Neytiri has a past too, and it is catching up on her. Of all the cuts, considering this is a beat of no more than twenty seconds, I can't understand why JC cut this.

Then, another great scene. Where Grace  berates Jake for not looking after his real body enough. The more time he spends in Avatar form, the more his human self loses weight. It's a brilliant scene - and sets up telling us how Neytiris sister was killed.

I'm also convinced Cameron has tweaked the sound. This may be myself watching it last time, with out the speakers "as they should be", so maybe not. That elephant/Rhino thing sounded way better, and more fierce, though.

I just clocked the time, and I'm 80 minutes in. An "OK" amount of new stuff. Weird how you can equate time like that. Jack Ass 3D is only 80 minutes long, total!

It's not dragging mind. Know what I just thought, though? This is definitely a 3D movie. I can't believe there is a Panny at £1200 bucks, (only 42", mind - and they say the bigger the better to immerse yourself)... or a Samsung at £899 bucks.

I think I just decided to buy a 3D TV, next year.

I'll break it to Mrs T later. While I'm still poorly.

Wow. The new hunting scene is brilliant. Death from above, indeed. It's essential because it shows us  Sully is being accepted - making that way less drastic. It also leads on to the the attack from the Turok (red dragon)... almost as a lesson for Sully. Don't get cocky, kid.

Oh, here we go *makes frat pack noises* Cat sex!!

To be fair, it's tastefully done - and again sets up a pivotal scene - where he finally has his appetite back, in "real life" - just as the truck clears the Forest.

Giving some context to that scene really helps.

And the scene of the Na'vi attacking a tank - then, from an Aliens style head camera seeing the wreckage the next day... why cut it? It makes the attacking of home tree far more balanced.

Overall? Cameron was right to cut it all, (people don't do long films, do they?) - but 100% right to add the scenes back in.

Me? I'm not sure I'' ever need the Theatrical edition again.

Oh... what's this... 45 minutes of deleted scenes...?