Is Avatar: Home the Half-Sequel That'll Change Blockbusters Forever?
In the past couple weeks, Avatar's been like that bad pizza from last night's drunken bender: You loved it at the time, but now it just won't stay down. Last week we found out that its DVD/Blu-ray release was going to help save the Earth, but even that pales in comparison to what we're hearing this morning about Avatar: Home. It's the sequel you're having when you're not having a sequel -- the "added value" theatrical re-release that'll cut back on the war scenes, play up supporting characters, and ensure James Cameron and Fox clean up every one of those hundreds of millions of dollars left on the table by moviegoers around the globe.
Speaking at a press conference in Berlin to promote the upcoming disc release, Cameron and producer Jon Landau cautiously let slip a few things about why you'll want to see Avatar in cinemas again -- even though you already own it on disc. For one thing, it's now to be known as Avatar: Home, and it's a direct challenge to his naysayers and those who think 3-D has to be applied to everything hitting multiplexes. As quoted in Der Spiegel online, the conversation revealed:
"We're going with the 170-minute running time, which is the maximum for IMAX, but there'll be 55 minutes of previously unseen footage in there," Cameron said. "You'll actually be seeing less of the battles and we're not going to be re-releasing in 3-D." Given the proliferation of 3-D films in the past few months in the wake of Avatar's success, it was a revelation that provoked gasps from the European press contingent.
"I've heard the criticisms about the action focus and the spectacle coming at the expense of everything else, and I want people to see that this is about the characters and the story first and foremost," Cameron continued. "What you'll get in Avatar: Home is more about Pandora's ecology and how it reflects what we risk losing here on Earth. It's deep stuff and people need to dig into it. The 3-D distracts from that, as immersive as it is. To that end, we've cut down the war sequences to accommodate the message."
But the changes to Avatar: Home are also meant at ensuring the sequel is as anticipated as any film could be. Cameron explained: "The other major thing is that we spend about 12 minutes going 10 years into the future, so we see how Jake adjusts to life on Pandora - how he copes with being one of the few of his species, the problems he and Neytiri have conceiving a hybrid-hybrid baby and the ongoing role Dr. Grace Augustine's spirit has in guiding the planet. She's like Obi-Wan, I guess, though she'll be dressed better! Basically, it takes us up to the point where we begin Avatar 2, with Jake unable to hide that he wants off Pandora, that he needs to get back into his old skin and into the fray. So, the re-release constitutes and essential bridge between the two films."
Excuse us, and this is developing, but holy crap! Count on Avatar: Home to see Cameron's opus ride out the year as it began it: atop the box-office.