Is 'Avatar' really eco
Director James Cameron, in fact, was on Capitol Hill just last week, talking about how his movie is "a call to action" for those who care about protecting our planet.
Or, you know, Pandora's. I have no problem with Cameron using the film as a platform for discussing these issues. Kudos to him for doing it. Here's where I do have a problem, though.
Today's release of "Avatar," on both DVD and Blu ray in 2D and with no extras, is only the first pandora bracelet online store of three versions slated to pandora charms countries hit the marketplace within the next year. In November, just in time for the holidays, another "Avatar" set will be released, with extras. And then, when the technology is ready, Cameron estimates that a 3D version of "Avatar" will be available for home viewing sometime in 2011. Which forces me to ask the question: Which part of releasing a movie three different times on DVD complete with three times the plastic wrap and three times the packaging is good for our environment?
Cameron tells Entertainment Weekly that the extras had to wait until a later release because they include deleted CGI scenes that needed proper visual polish before they could be suitable for viewing. (You also can see them in August, apparently, when "Avatar" gets re released in theaters.) Some consumers may find this triple dip approach annoying simply because as with so many other DVDs that go the same route it's a pretty blatant attempt to snooker people into buying the same movie more than once.
I'm not a huge fan of the practice, but hey, it's business. If "Avatar" fans don't want to buy it three times, they don't have to, assuming, of course, they're even aware that it's getting multiple re releases, which is a separate conversation.
I just find it richly ironic that a movie held up as a shining example of eco consciousness is, essentially, dumping more stuff than necessary into the environment. If I were Fox and I think we've established pretty clearly that I'm not, but role play with me for a second I would at least package these DVDs in some sort of eco friendly, recyclable material. When Paramount released "An Inconvenient Truth" a few years ago, they eschewed the usual plastic jewel case, and instead encased the DVD in a barebones, cardboard wrapper made from 100 percent post consumer waste, recycled material. If Fox is going to release additional incarnations of "Avatar," the studio should follow "Truth's" lead. Yes, green DVD packaging does cost more. But surely the most lucrative movie ever made can afford it, right?
What do you think? Do the multiple releases of "Avatar" bug you on this sustainable substance oriented Earth Day? Or am I getting a little too Al Gore here?
It's not just you, and it's not too Al Gore. Even beyond the ecological implications of such a strategy, I just find it very annoying that we're asked to repeatedly put out money for the same movie over and over. The same thing was done with the Lord of the Rings movies and the various Star Wars movies. For the most part, if the movie comes out with little or no extras, I simply try (note I said "try") to avoid buying it until the Super Special Deluxe Special Edition comes out. That's fine, when the movie's been out for a while, and there's a documented instance of material that the director wanted to use, but was asked (or legally obligated) by the studio to cut. Daredevil is a fine example. People complained about the movie, and for years there was talk about a Director's Cut that the studio felt was too long. The director finally got to release it, and it was much better than the theatrical release of the movie. Most of the time, though, if you watch Deleted Scenes on a DVD, you can see that there's a reason those scenes were cut. In any case, I don't like having to buy a version of the movie I haven't seen. I want to buy the movie I saw in the theater. I liked that movie. These Unrated Cut DVDs (especially when it's the only one available) should have the option to watch the movie with or without the extra footage. The theme is basically "manufacturers and companies are bad, earth good. Me hungry". I don't really think Cameron has the right to say the movie is "a call to action" after the massive amount of energy he used to make the movie. If he really wanted to conserve energy and be environmentally friendly,he shouldn't have even MADE the movie. the extended version DVD's. He clearly communicated it to the fan base. And it wasn't much more than a 3 month wait plenty of time to rent the originals.
And the only time the extended versions were screened in theaters was leading up to the release of the final movie (my husband and I got tickets for all three at the Uptown we went to the first movie, were scared at all the cosplay, and skipped the second movie. Hubby is a big Tolkein fan but not THAT big ;) ). Most fans I know actually waited patiently for the extended versions. Because after the first one, it was clearly evident that it was worth the wait.
I defy James Cameron to put together a similar set of detailed, thorough behind the scenes extras like Peter Jackson did. Ditto for having multiple, separate commentary tracks (actors, director/producer, special effects). You may have paid double the price than the original version, but it was well worth it for the quality of the extra features. I have a copy of the "special collector's edition" of "Titanic" I picked up in a bargain bin, because the one extra DVD is pretty damn weak on its' extras.
I also think it's well worth noting that many fans of the LOTR movies are already rejecting the Blu Ray release, because they don't think it's worth the money. The LOTR extended version demographic is/was a fairly discerning bunch.
Unlike the rage over Avatar. People who love that movie seem to be obsessed with it. So while yes, New Line made scads of money on LOTR, peoples jewelry the manner in which they did so pleased their core fan base (at least at the time all this re releasing is irking now). They knew they had to please the fan base to keep the franchise humming.
James Cameron and 20th Century Fox could give a rat's poop, as evidenced by how the best movie showing times all seemed to be 3 D, and therefore gave you more expensive tickets to buy. I'm not a gung ho environmentalist, just your basic recycler, but the way this movie's been "greenwashed" really kind of bugs me. It seems lazy and halfhearted to me like an easy way to say, "Oh look at us! We totally support this Important Cause! BUY OUR PRODUCT!" without, you know, considering the actual implications of a fairly serious and complex issue, or actually engaging in any meaningful debate about it. (It reminds me a little of an opinion I read a while back about breast cancer products that for some corporations, it's an easy way to say, "look, we support women!" without addressing some of the more complicated issues attending it, like pay disparity.)
"Avatar" is a pretty sci fi version of pandora jewelry retailers Pocahontas with giant cat people, and I'm prepared to accept it as that. But if you're trying to represent it as an ecological fable? Mmm, not so much. I don't understand why they don't spend the marketing money now to finish the deleted scenes and the extras, and sell it in a month or so. It would save alot of money I think. Plus, there is no reason why it shouldn't be released in recycled cases. Finally, I think the movie sales will go down dramatically each time a new version comes out because you only need one copy of the movie, and when the extras come out, people can just watch them on the internet. If anything, the producers should combine the 3D version and the version with the extras into one awesome combo! Finally, I don't think it is wise to re introduce the movie into city theaters because people have seen it already.
The extras and deleted scenes should only appear in the DVD. This way, more people can enjoy it over and over again. It's a great movie, but there are some flaws with the distribution to home theaters.
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