Friday, August 27, 2010
Forthcoming Avatar Special Edition DVD Reinstates the Film’s Original Earthbound Opening
So Avatar is back in theaters today with nine extra minutes. But as we told you not long ago, this version of the film will hit DVD in November, and when it does there will be a further seven minutes added, making the film sixteen minutes longer than the original theatrical cut.
Now James Cameron is talking about what will be in that longer cut of the film. One of the things going back in is the original opening of Avatar, which started out on “a dystopian, Blade Runner-ish Earth.”
Cameron talked to The Oregonian, saying,
…if you buy the box set in November, you can sit down, and in a continuous screening of the film, watch it with the Earth opening.
We’ve long known that this opening was shot, but ended up being cut because it was a bit slow, and Cameron wanted to just put audiences on the way to Pandora as soon as possible.
He reiterates that in further comments from the interview.
[The Earth opening] works very well. It just takes a long time to get the movie started. You have to be sort of predisposed to like the movie like a fan, you know what I mean? And then you can sit and you can have a great ride — a different telling of Avatar. Not inconsistent — it’s just the stuff that happened off-camera.
It’s about 4 1/2 minutes of stuff. And it was in for the longest time. It was very late in the day that we took it out. I walked in one day and said to my two editors, ‘Guys, I want each of you to cut a new version of the start of the film, Reel 1, that doesn’t have any Earth in it at all.’ And they looked at me like I was out of my mind. And I said, ‘No — it’s gonna work.’ They had to figure out the details. I said, ‘Just grab a couple of things to use as flashbacks, and start it in space when Jake opens his eyes.’
In the interview Cameron explains that while that sequence was cut late in the game, it still featured unfinished effects, which Fox spent “a million bucks or whatever” to finish.
So this November box set will feature that opening, a bit of other footage and then “like 45 minutes of unfinished deleted scenes.”