Avatar (Blu-ray) Official AVSForum Review - AVS | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
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Official AVS Blu-ray Disc Reviews > Avatar (Blu-ray) Official AVSForum Review
Ralph Potts's Avatar Ralph Potts 12:09 PM 04-23-2010
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The Review at a Glance: (max score: 5 )

Film: attachment.php?attachmentid=109945&d=1210373692

Extras: attachment.php?attachmentid=109939&d=1210373637

Audio/Video total rating:

( Max score: 100 )

100






Studio and Year: 20th Century Fox - 2009
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Feature running time: 162 minutes
Genre: Fantasy/Adventure/Sci-fi

Disc Format: BD-50
Encoding: AVC (MPEG-4)
Video Aspect: 1.78:1
Resolution: 1080p/24


Audio Format(s): English DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio, Spanish/French/Portuguese Dolby Digital 5.1
Subtitles: English SDH, Portuguese, Spanish
Starring: Sam Worthington, Zoe Saldana, Stephen Lang, Michelle Rodriguez, Sigourney Weaver, Giovanni Ribisi, Laz Alonzo, Wes Studi, CCH Pounder
Written & Directed by: James Cameron
Music by: James Horner
Region Code: A

Blu-ray Disc release Date: April 22, 2010







"Enter the world"



Film Synopsis:

A reluctant hero. An epic journey. A choice between the life he left behind and the incredible new world he's learned to call home. Return to James Cameron's Avatar - the greatest adventure of all time.



My Take:

Let’s face it James Cameron knows how to create a motion picture that seems to truly represent his vision as a filmmaker. I am probably one of the only few reading this that didn’t see Avatar in the theater. My kids saw it but my wife and I just never got around to it. I am a fan of Cameron’s and have been for years but this is a film that deep down I felt I wanted to experience for the first time in my own theater room. I wasn’t disappointed. Avatar is the name given the biologically engineered, genetically matched and remotely controlled “suits” created so that humans could interact with the indigenous humanoid Na’vi of the distant planet of Pandora. A fertile and lush world inhabited by a host of alien species and a precious material known as unobtainium, a room temperature, super-conductor for energy, which makes it very valuable. A joint military/civilian scientist outpost has been established on Pandora for the purposes of mining it however the Na’vi are not open to intruding outsiders and their colony rests on the area where the highest concentration of unobtainium is located. Jake Sully is a former marine and paraplegic whose recently deceased twin brother was slated for the Avatar program. Because Jake is a genetic match for his brother he has been brought to Pandora to take his place. He meets with both the military and civilian personnel who both have completely different agendas. The military is employed by a corporation seeking the unobtainium and the scientists, holding the key through the Avatar program, seek to study the planet and its inhabitants. Jake is brought into the fold and quickly learns how the corporation/military want their agenda met when they instruct him to use his recently acquired relationship with Neytiri, a female of the Na’vi to gather intelligence to help supplant the tribe. After living among the Na’vi and being instructed in their customs through Neytiri Jake begins to lose focus on the mission. He becomes enamored by their world and finds himself falling for Neytiri. Once this becomes evident the corporation instructs the military to move in forcibly which results in a standoff that leaves Jake right smack in the middle. Does he assist in the destruction of the Na’vi and the world he has grown to love or does he stand with them in defense of their home against a mightier and better prepared army?

Avatar’s premise about an undercover that becomes seduced by the world which he is infiltrating is certainly nothing new. Formulaic or not this story strikes all the requisite chords and has enough substance to keep interest from waning. Quite honestly I think that for me the real attraction here is found both in the combination of the story’s elements and the visual stimulation contained in the imaginary world created by James Cameron. I am a sucker for the good versus evil, little guy taking on the giant concept so this one lured me in early on. Being a fan of Cameron’s past works this felt like slipping on a brand new pair of shoes and already having them broken in. I can’t say that everyone will feel the same but I found Avatar to be highly entertaining and well worth an evening spent.



Parental Guide:

The rating is for intense epic battle sequences and warfare, sensuality, language and some smoking.






AUDIO/VIDEO - By The Numbers:
REFERENCE = 92-100 / EXCELLENT = 83-91 / GOOD = 74-82 / AVERAGE = 65-73 / BELOW AVERAGE = under 65

**My audio/video ratings are based upon a comparative made against other high definition media/blu-ray disc.**


(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)

Audio: 100



  • Dynamics: attachment.php?attachmentid=109948&d=1210373699

  • Low frequency extension: attachment.php?attachmentid=109948&d=1210373699

  • Surround Sound presentation: Detail:%20%3Cimg%20src=

  • Dialogue Reproduction: attachment.php?attachmentid=109948&d=1210373699



Video: 100


(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)


  • Resolution/Clarity: attachment.php?attachmentid=109948&d=1210373692

  • Black level/Shadow detail: attachment.php?attachmentid=109948&d=1210373692

  • Color reproduction: attachment.php?attachmentid=109948&d=1210373692

  • Fleshtones: attachment.php?attachmentid=109948&d=1210373692

  • Compression: attachment.php?attachmentid=109948&d=1210373692

Avatar comes to Blu-ray Disc from Fox featuring 1080p AVC encoded video that has an average bitrate of 33 mbps and lossless DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio sound that has an average bitrate of 3.8 mbps.

This is a stellar high definition presentation that boasts rich, delineated primary colors, beautifully lush pastels and vibrant hues that are vivid, bold and striking in high definition. The video quality is nothing short of mesmerizing in its depiction of the film’s digitally crafted images. Objects onscreen are exquisitely detailed with a luminous and sparkling clarity that seems infinitely lucid and three dimensional. It never left me wanting for fine degrees of subtle refinement and texture. The attention to detail in the construction of the Na’vi’s physical characteristics is truly impressive and can be fully appreciated thanks to this presentation’s exquisite level of definition. Contrast is strong and blacks are deep without compromise to delineation. Shadowy areas exhibit excellent depth of field and visible gradational stages. The various wide angle shots of the visually complex world of Pandora look absolutely stunning. Flesh tones are not overtly complex in tone but appear diverse in subtle structure and complexional makeup. This is a sophisticated visual design that uses real imagery mixed with CGI. The end result is a flawless and superlative video presentation that truly evokes the spirit and emotion of the film.

The DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack is reference quality and is sure to please those who like to play their systems loud. I had high expectations for this soundtrack and this lossless audio presentation didn’t disappoint. I was treated to an impeccably detailed, powerfully dynamic, and demonstrative surround sound experience. Multi-layered sound effects are appropriately placed within the soundfield so that their purpose was definable yet never overstated. The mix makes effective and often aggressive use of the surround channels to elongate the front soundstage and reproduce the spatial and discrete sounds of this demanding soundtrack. The front and rear sound fields are integrated with precision which enables a seamless transference during panning sequences. The listening position is submerged into a 360 degree web of sound that is sometimes riveting as it bombards the senses with a combination of well placed sound effects and musical ambience. Dialogue is supremely articulated with excellent focus, clarity and descriptive intonation. Low frequency detail can be substantial as it occasionally reaches seismic levels that will test the limits of lesser subwoofers. The extended dynamic range of the recording coupled with the inherent high resolution audio encoding renders the bombastic nature of battle with superlative high level sonics and authoritative bass transients that are deep, powerful and sometimes timber rattling. I found its ability to render fine detail, and subtle nuance to be excellent. As viewers I think we sometimes miss some of the intricacies that go into the design of soundtracks such as this. Not so in this case as even seemingly inconspicuous minutia within the recording is detectable. I thoroughly enjoyed every minute with terrific soundtrack.

Avatar on Blu-ray is truly demonstration worthy in every regard as it looks and sounds sublime.




Bonus Features:

There are no bonus supplements included with this release. Disc one is a BD-50 Blu-ray Disc containing the high definition version of the film and also includes a new THX trailer that rolls after the credits. Disc two is a DVD containing the standard definition version of Avatar.



Final Thoughts:

So was all the hype worth it? I think so. I enjoyed Avatar and found it to be a highly entertaining film indicative of the large scale and visionary style productions that we have come to expect from writer/director James Cameron. I had high expectations for its release in high definition on Blu-ray from Fox and I was not disappointed. This is a technical marvel that exudes the very best that we as enthusiasts have come to expect from the Blu-ray format. No matter how large your screen or how precise your audio equipment this presentation will knock your socks off. The lack of any bonus supplements is of course a disappointment. With the announcement of the multi-disc special edition slated for release later this year the decision to buy this one may be questionable. Personally I feel that this is worth adding to your collection but if you’re on the fence give it a rent. Either way I guarantee you won’t be disappointed with its visually arresting images and superb sound quality. Enjoy!









attachment.php?attachmentid=109949&d=1210373731






Ralph Potts
AVS Forum Blu-ray Reviews





Reference Review System:


JVC DLA-RS20 1080p High Definition Front Projector (Calibrated by Jeff Meier)
Stewart Filmscreen - Studiotek 130 G3 100” 16x9 Screen
Anthem AVM50v THX Ultra 2 Preamp/Video Processor
Sherbourn Technologies - 7/200 Seven Channel Amplifier
Oppo BDP-83 Universal disc/Blu-ray Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
Toshiba HD-XA2 HD DVD Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
Sony Playstation 3 Blu-ray disc Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
Oppo 970HD universal disc DVD Player (480i HDMI)
Philips TSU9400 Pro Series Touch Panel Remote Control
Canton "Ergo" Series speakers
Axiom Audio QS8 Quadpolar speakers
SV Sound PB-13 Ultra (Rosenut finish)
APC AV S15BLK Power Conditioner/Surge Protector
Furman SPR-20i Stable Power Regulator
Wireworld, VizionWare, Audioquest, Best Deal Cables - Audio/Video/Speaker Cabling
Cool Components - CP-CP102 cooling package


texastengu's Avatar texastengu 12:16 PM 04-23-2010
Thanks for the XLNT review Ralph. I'm gonna pick it up on the way home today after work.
JJHXBR's Avatar JJHXBR 12:20 PM 04-23-2010
I was hoping you were going to review "Avatar" Ralph and you didn't disappoint!
I watched this last night and was totally IMPRESSED.
PQ & AQ were quite simply AMAZING.
The blu-ray version extracts every minute detail with colors that are vibrant and lush. Black level rendering was also superb.
AQ of the blu-ray Avatar was top notch even if this doesn't take the new LFE crown.
Personally I found the overall AQ very well balanced packing plenty of LFE punch.
Will watch this again and "Avatar" has now become my new REFERENCE blu-ray movie.
Thanks Ralph for your review.
sb1's Avatar sb1 12:22 PM 04-23-2010
Thanks, Ralph. Fully agreed on your assessment.
IAM4UK's Avatar IAM4UK 12:26 PM 04-23-2010
Nice that the emphasis on this "initial" release was simply on the best image and sound they could present on bluray. This movie was the most expensive to make (I think), and the visuals are truly impressive.
Djoel's Avatar Djoel 01:14 PM 04-23-2010
Fantastic, it's going to be a good weekend

DJoel
DaGamePimp's Avatar DaGamePimp 01:23 PM 04-23-2010
Over-all it's a spectacular outing but I don't think the Video deserves a perfect score as it is not 'perfect' throughout. It is about as close to perfect as we can probably expect within the limitations of our current media and that's probably what this review takes into consideration but a score of 100 to me means 'absolute' throughout the entire production and I don't feel that is the case here.

Just my .02 .

Jason
MrTripps's Avatar MrTripps 01:35 PM 04-23-2010
A movie like Avatar is why you own a blu-ray player. Yes, the story is a mix of Dances With Wolves and The Smurfs. Yes, the studio is double dipping by releasing the extended version in November. Avatar is the most visually stunning movie I have ever seen. I got mine the day it came out ($22 at Best Buy). Amazon has it a couple of bucks cheaper if you don't mind waiting (and buy something else to get the free shipping).
chirpie's Avatar chirpie 01:38 PM 04-23-2010
Quote:
Originally Posted by IAM4UK View Post

Nice that the emphasis on this "initial" release was simply on the best image and sound they could present on bluray. This movie was the most expensive to make (I think), and the visuals are truly impressive.

Believe it or not, there are other more expensive films. Spiderman 3 (don't ask me where the money went) and Pirates 3: At world's end and Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince all were higher than Avatar's official $237 mil. Still not exactly cheap. :-)
rafay's Avatar rafay 01:41 PM 04-23-2010
Just watched the movie last night...stunning audio, superb graphics and very well directed and produced movie.

I'm sure it was well-worth-the-money 3D movie to watch in theaters...too bad, I couldn't watch it earlier.
BigScreenDreamer's Avatar BigScreenDreamer 01:46 PM 04-23-2010
100 video/100 audio does not surprise me at all. In fact, it was EXPECTED.
If you have a set-up that can handle it, this transfer will freakin' blow your mind.

Wow. Day 2 and I'm still in a daze.
Looking forward to watching it with the family.

And I'll be getting the next edition, too.
Simply awesome.
Gelinas's Avatar Gelinas 01:56 PM 04-23-2010
thanks for the review, Ralph.
I am not surprised by the 100 in the least bit.
I can't wait to watch this one.
KBI's Avatar KBI 01:59 PM 04-23-2010
Ralph is the man.. He adds a certain intangible the other reviewers lack. I seen Avatar at BB.. This is really what BR is all about when it was first introduced. Beyond hi def. Avatar just set the bar higher.. Easily the best HD picture I have seen. & it's a 'superbit' BR. I wonder how much better BR can look & sound without the extras..
KBI's Avatar KBI 02:02 PM 04-23-2010
Quote:
Originally Posted by BigScreenDreamer View Post

100 video/100 audio does not surprise me at all. In fact, it was EXPECTED.
If you have a set-up that can handle it, this transfer will freakin' blow your mind.

Wow. Day 2 and I'm still in a daze.
Looking forward to watching it with the family.

And I'll be getting the next edition, too.
Simply awesome.

No favoritism here. Yes, Avatar REALLY deserves 100 across the board. Blow your mind is a understatement. I never seen the film in the theatre, doesn't interest me, but after viewing the visuals I have to own it.. Video like this can't be ignored.
threed123's Avatar threed123 02:05 PM 04-23-2010
Yup, the 2D version will be a big hit and that really is too bad. The biggest mistake in Hollywood was to release it in 2D. They should have waited for the 3D version to force movement in 3D HT technology. Now everyone will be bored with it by then. And add that just a few 3D titles are coming this year...oh, well.

That said, I sure would not give this movie 100 rating. Signourney's more than weird smoking habit--what the? The fact that all the non-military types looked like they showed up in 2008 street clothes--huh? I found that rather amateurish and embarrassing in an "A" film set in the future.

Oh well, it will make lots of money and in the end, that's really what it is all about.

Will I rent the blu-ray and be dazzled by it? Of course--I like eye and ear candy just like the next person.
elvisahmed's Avatar elvisahmed 02:10 PM 04-23-2010
100 that is cool and I am glad James Cameron went with 16:9 ratio (I guess people who have spent $$$$$ on a 2.35:1 setup won't be that happy) as majority of the people have that setup.
Toe's Avatar Toe 02:25 PM 04-23-2010
Quote:
Originally Posted by threed123 View Post


That said, I sure would not give this movie 100 rating. Signourney's more than weird smoking habit--what the? The fact that all the non-military types looked like they showed up in 2008 street clothes--huh? I found that rather amateurish and embarrassing in an "A" film set in the future.


The movie did not get a 100 rating, just the A/V.
General Kenobi's Avatar General Kenobi 02:30 PM 04-23-2010
Thanks Ralph!
I think this is the first time I can remember being excited to watch a movie I didn't like in theaters
wvasko's Avatar wvasko 02:33 PM 04-23-2010
Well I just finished the view and only paid 19.99 from Amazon and it was a very good buy. I'm not going to get into the scoring of movie just the fact that wife and I enjoyed it immensely. Toshiba 47ZV650U, PS3 and Zvox 550HSD soundbar.
sharkcohen's Avatar sharkcohen 02:36 PM 04-23-2010
It really does look and sound 100/100.
chirpie's Avatar chirpie 02:48 PM 04-23-2010
Quote:
Originally Posted by threed123 View Post

Signourney's more than weird smoking habit--what the?

That was deliberate to push a greater contrast between her human aging, stressed self, and her more youthful, healthy, energetic avatar.
mgkdragn's Avatar mgkdragn 03:07 PM 04-23-2010
I wish I was Ralph Potts, he's got the best job there is
audiomixer's Avatar audiomixer 03:10 PM 04-23-2010
Quote:
Originally Posted by mgkdragn View Post

I wish I was Ralph Potts, he's got the best job there is

I wonder how much the job pays?
moose517's Avatar moose517 03:16 PM 04-23-2010
great review, i've been waiting for it to appear for a few days. i missed it in theaters as well and i was truly blown away by the quality of this movie(and i had to watch it on a 26" monitor LOL). once i get a real tv for my place i'm gonna use this movie to show off my setup.
The Chosen One's Avatar The Chosen One 03:19 PM 04-23-2010
Quote:
Originally Posted by mgkdragn View Post

I wish I was Ralph Potts, he's got the best job there is

I don't... would be a bit weird suddenly being black.

I have read from other people (haven't seen the movie) that certain moments look good but a bit fakey since it was a lot more obvious then other parts thats where 3D really needs to "be used" to get the experience.
Ralph Potts's Avatar Ralph Potts 03:59 PM 04-23-2010
Quote:
Originally Posted by The Chosen One View Post

I don't... would be a bit weird suddenly being black.

I have read from other people (haven't seen the movie) that certain moments look good but a bit fakey since it was a lot more obvious then other parts thats where 3D really needs to "be used" to get the experience.

Greetings,

You never know you might like it..


Regarding the moments that appear artificial I would much prefer to hear your thoughts after you have seen it.


Regards,
DARQMAGE's Avatar DARQMAGE 04:10 PM 04-23-2010
Quote:
Originally Posted by The Chosen One View Post

I don't... would be a bit weird suddenly being black.

Couple days of R & R would fix that up..
croseiv's Avatar croseiv 04:26 PM 04-23-2010
Hi Ralph,

Thanks for the review! I agree with your assessement 100%. Video and audio are simply stellar.
R o d's Avatar R o d 04:40 PM 04-23-2010
It's interesting that all the positives about this film are for the visuals and the audio. I have no doubt that it is reference material for the HT, but I think Ralph's 3 1/2 stars for the film itself is fair, maybe even generous.
colombianlove41's Avatar colombianlove41 04:55 PM 04-23-2010
what an awesome score!
Tags: Avatar Three Disc Extended Collectors Edition Bd Live Blu Ray , Blu Ray Movies
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