It has been confirmed today that Avatar will be released on Blu-ray and DVD in the UK on April 26th 2010. As yet there is no word of a release date for the 3-D version of the film which will probably be announced when 3-D technology becomes mainstream and more affordable in the home, so it could be a while yet.
Just got round to seeing Avatar in IMAX 3-D. Instantly, from the very first scene, you know that you are about to witness something special. The film is visually stunning and James Cameron utilises the 3-D effect brilliantly, using depth to the fullest without overly pushing the effect out of the screen. Some 3-D films try to exaggerate the effect unnecessarily, which causes image separation and is therefore hard for your eyes to adjust. The camera technology in this film is so good that your eyes don’t have to over compensate and the large polarising glasses retain the vibrant colours of the 2D version.
The 3-D in Avatar is most effective and not surprisingly so, with scenes that have obvious depth, such as the sleeping pod room, the AMP suit hanger, the briefing room full of RDA soldiers or scenes high in the huge Home Tree, looking down to the distant jungle floor of Pandora below. The projected 1.78:1 image, which almost fills the huge 65ft x 48 ft IMAX screen, assists the 3-D effect so much so that it sometimes gives you the feeling of vertigo. The sheer size of the screen transports you into the lush alien world and seems to connect the audience more emotionally with the characters.
One slight disappointment however was that, as IMAX is still projected from 70mm film (as opposed to being entirely digital) the orientation of the film running through the projector still produces a certain amount of blurring and strobing when there is a lot of fast motion on the screen. To help compensate for this, the 3-D separation is purposely held back by the compositors on certain action scenes, resulting in a less exaggerated effect, which seems to be more pleasing to watch.
Is 3-D the future of cinema? Well for now it seems to be looking that way, especially on the IMAX screens, currently drawing audiences back with record breaking box office figures BoxOfficeMojo.com. If only the technology existed where IMAX 3-D was entirely digital and without the glasses. I think Avatars’ success though, is not only down to the new (ish) 3-D technology, but word of mouth about the breathtaking CG and quality of the performance capture, with some people even going back to see the film several times. The release of Avatar will hopefully push the technology along at a faster pace and we should start seeing quality non anaglyph 3-D in our homes sooner than expected.
Although the story may have been told many times before and there are obviously influences from James Cameron’s other films, as it turns out, the film proves that this is definitely not a bad thing at all.