arts & entertainment B l u - r a y / D V D s
Avatar: The Extended
Collector’s Edition debuts
By Steve Fisher
JAMES CAMERON’S AVATAR: The
Extended Collector’s Edition hits warehouses
this month, and we know what you’re thinking: “I’ll wait for the Ultimate Edition.” The
practice of releasing films on DVD in numerous incarnations has occurred so often that
savvy consumers are wary of purchasing a
DVD set, only to find out something better is
coming out down the road. So The Connection
turned to the person who should know, better than any other, just how special this
release is: James Cameron.
“I sat down with 20th Century Fox and
The Costco Connection: How should
my own editing team,” Cameron tells The
Connection, “and I said, ‘Guys, this is it! This
is definitive. We’re going to go through every
piece of material we have. Anything that we
want to say in terms of making of film, docu-
mentaries, featurettes … say it now. Because
I’m not coming back to this well again.’ ”
What follows is more of Cameron’s con-
versation with The Connection.
viewers expect the extended-version edition
of the film to change their Avatar experience?
James Cameron: We’re offering three
major viewing experiences. The first one is the
film as you saw it in movie theaters when it
was released last December. The second is the
film as it was seen in theaters [last summer],
which is nine minutes longer. And the third
version, which is the extended all-bells-and-
whistles version, is 16 minutes longer, which
we’re calling the Extended Cut. Avatar has a
very high cost per minute, so I had to go back
to the studio and sell this idea: They now
needed to spend millions of dollars to finish
these shots. These scenes were removed from
the film long before the visual effects were
done. That was the whole point of taking them
out. Anything that we knew we were going to
cut for length, we put pressure on ourselves in
the editing room to take it out before we com-
pleted it. Otherwise, we didn’t realize the cost
benefit of taking it out of the movie.
CC: How did you decide which scenes
are finished for insertion into the extended
JC: This was the tricky bit. What I tried
to do was construct the longest possible version of the film that still had pace and a narrative flow to it. Primarily what we reinstated
was the same nine minutes we added to the
theatrical re-release plus a longer opening on
Earth plus a couple of other scenes that I
thought were important character scenes.
CC: What extra features are there in
JC: There’s a short documentary
called Message from Pandora, which
chronicles the aftermath of the release
of the film and the impact it had
internationally in terms of increasing
Above: James Cameron on the set.
Below: Cameron confers with
actors Sam Worthington and Zoe
Saldana as they prepare to film
scenes in special performance
capture suits that record every
nuance of movement and emotion.
The footage is later combined
with visual effects to create their
animated Pandora characters.
© 2010 FOX. ALL RIGH TS RESERVED.
NOVEMBER 2010 ;e Costco Connection 57