Avatar Special Edition review

The future of cinema is now eight minutes longer…

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Re-releasing The Biggest Movie Ever is something of a risky move.

With the initial shock and awe of Jim Cameron’s breakthrough visuals now lessened by familiarity, there’s a real opportunity for second-wave audiences to ask if the Emperor is looking a bit underdressed.

For anyone needing a reminder, paraplegic ex-Marine Jake (Sam Worthington) accepts a mining mission on the planet Pandora.

After obtaining his “avatar” body begins to embrace the culture of the indigenous Na’vi, much to the consternation of his military-cum-corporate-lackey superiors.

But what about the new footage? While adding up to a mere eight-ish minutes, it’s surprising what a difference the seamless additions make.

Admittedly the “extended sex scene” is a bit of an anti-climax (pun fully intended), and the addition of new creatures only adds weight to the already saggy middle portion: hunt, chase, repeat...

Other new bits, though, add some much-needed depth to the human vs. Na’vi conflict.

Most crucial is a scene where the Na’vi launch a counterattack following their home’s destruction, which goes a long way to correcting their dubious portrayal in the original as a primitive tribe unable to defend themselves without help from lone white crusader Jake.

Fundamental problems remain: the dialogue’s short on quotablilty and the characters are hardly classic Cameron.

As for Unobtanium, the writer/director might as well have called it MacGuffinium and had done with it.

But while this new cut won’t convert any naysayers, but does create a richer, more socially textured Pandora in preparation for the planned slew of sequels.


Emma Didbin is a writer and journalist who has contributed to GamesRadar+, The New York Times, Elle, Esquire, The Hollywood Reporter, Vulture, and more. Emma can currently be found in Los Angeles where she is pursuing a career in TV writing. Emma has also penned two novels, and somehow finds the time to write scripts for Parcast – the Spotify-owned network that creates thrilling true crime and mystery podcasts.