Friday, 13 August 2010

AVATAR back for more of your money

Yes, AVATAR makes it way back to the big screen in an attempt to snaffle more of your hard-earned cash and the excuse for this is a whacking great 8 minutes (yes, 8 minutes) of new footage.

Now 8 minutes sounds like quite a lot, but consider that the film originally ran to 162 minutes which means that there will be a whole 5% more to see. Are you actually even going to notice that since it is presumably not going to be one new 8 minute sequence? And don't forget that James Cameron thought that these 8 minutes weren't even worth being in the original movie. It's unlikely to be some recently recovered footage of the actors delivering hitherto unnoticed oscar-worthy performances is it?

This brings us to the whole issue of 'Director's Cuts'. Now where a film has been messed up by a studio or has been restored with recently discovered footage then we have no issue with putting out the new version. The recent BLADE RUNNER boxset came with 5 different versions of the one film and we went ahead and bought that anyway. But when a film comes out with the director's vision intact and then is re-released with a chunk of stuff that he didn't want to put in first time around then that's called profiteering.

Enhancing the experience for a new medium is also something that we don't have a problem with. When you're sat at home and can pause the DVD to nip upstairs to the loo or make a cup of tea then the extended versions of THE LORD OF THE RINGS are an entirely different proposition than being stuck in your cinema seat with your legs crossed not wanting to miss a thing.

So, why do we have a problem with AVATAR being re-released into the cinema? Well, we don't in principle. Some films ought to be re-released and we have loved big screen showings of THE WIZARD OF OZ, IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE, DOUGALL AND THE BLUE MOON CAT, ET THE EXTRA TERRESTRIAL, IT CAME FROM OUTER SPACE and many others which we had only ever seen on TV or hadn't seen on the big screen for a long time. The cinema is the only place to see these films in their full glory, but they were brought back in their original form with no pathetic excuses about adding in extra bits. If you want to go back to Pandora and see AVATAR on a big screen with 3D glasses on to witness again the wonder, scale and epic beauty of the computer generated vistas then that's fine, but don't be lured back by the promise of 8 minutes of new stuff just tacked on for that very purpose.

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