You're going to want to pick up the movie-only edition of Avatar coming out on DVD and Blu-ray April 22—you know you will. It's mastered at the highest quality possible, up to James Cameron's own personal standards, and it doesn't even have trailers on it, because they wanted to use all the space to show how great Pandora looks.
But in November, Cameron plans to release another home edition of Avatar, this time with bonus content. He previewed some of the deleted scenes he plans to include as an extra feature.
"I think it'd be fun for fans in November to really get a chance to look under the hood of what we were thinking when we made the movie," Cameron said in a group interview on March 23 in West Hollywood, Calif. "Even though we took things out, I think they'll see why we took them out, but that doesn't mean we can't enjoy them in and of themselves. For example, there's a whole four-and-a-half-minute sequence of scenes that takes place on Earth before Jake even flies to Pandora. We'll stick that in kind of an additional scene supplement. You can see it if you want to see it, but you're not going to get to watch the movie as a continuous experience with that being the opening."
Cameron is planning to reinstate some deleted scenes for a possible theatrical release this summer. "The stuff we would put back for the re-release in the summer if we pull all that off—and I'm not sure that's going to happen—if we do, they're not going to be talking-heads scenes that are boring," Cameron continued. "We have tons of that as well, lots of character stuff that was taken out. I think there is a winnowing process. You do make decisions as you go along, and some of those decisions should be irrevocable. Other decisions, maybe based more on running time or pace, it's okay to reinsert some things. It doesn't change the major kind of transition moments of a movie."
In the Na'vi love scene, Cameron actually cut out shots of Jake and Neytiri attaching their queues (braids) as they do to bond with animals and nature. Cameron is game to put some full-frontal Tsahaylu back in the re-release.
"They don't do it in the film because, quite frankly, people were freaked out by it," Cameron explained. "We're just going to put it back in. If we do the re-release, that will be one of the things that we look at possibly reinstating."
There is a bar fight involving Jake Sully in his wheelchair. However, that only belongs on the November DVD release. "You'll get it in November but not reinstated into the body of the film, because that takes place on Earth in the beginning, and that's not how the movie begins," Cameron said. "I think once those key creative decisions are made, I don't think you go back from them. You'll have it in the supplement. We're not going to put that back, because I now really like the way the film opens."
The visual effects artists at Weta Digital have to begin work now to have the deleted scenes completed in time for a November DVD release. "We're just getting into it," Cameron said. "I've earmarked the scenes that I want to have completed by Weta, because that has to be done now. A lot of those decisions about the supplement are going to be made over the next few months."
The April 22 DVD and Blu-ray is also a 2-D version of the film. The Blu-ray presents Avatar in higher quality than any 3-D print. Without 3-D lenses, the picture can be its brightest. The Avatar team does hope to bring a 3-D edition of the film to homes someday. Producer Jon Landau thinks technology is almost ready.
So far, 3-D Blu-rays have used red and blue glasses, which discolor the film to reproduce the 3-D effect. Landau and Cameron won't settle for that with Avatar. "We won't go out with the red and blue glasses," Landau said in a separate interview. "That's why we want to wait. We want to wait until there's, number one, a penetration of hardware in the homes, so that we're not out in front of any demand for it. Number two, to really see how people are utilizing it, to see what works. Look, that might be six months, it might be 18 months, it might be three years. Only time is going to tell as this stuff starts coming to bear. I can tell you, over the past four plus years we've been working with technology companies, consumer electronic companies on trying to bring 3-D to the home. It's been very exciting this past month to see how the public has embraced 3-D televisions and 3-D Blu-rays. I was in Best Buy—Best Buy in North America is sold out on all their 3-D televisions."
Cameron concurred that clear 3-D films will be available and that Avatar will be ready for them. "Oh, you're not going to have red and blue glasses, absolutely not," Cameron said. "It's already all either polarized or shutter. The 3-D home systems are spectacular. Make no mistake, this stuff is going to be amazing."
Avatar hits the street April 22, Earth Day, on DVD and Blu-ray.