DVD: Avatar (12A)

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The Independent Culture

The publicists for the DVD release of Avatar were unable to send out review copies of either the standard disc or its big daddy Blu-ray equivalent ("the ultimate high definition experience for home viewing audiences", apparently).

Instead, they invited viewers to a screening of the film. Which misses the point rather: surely one reason why James Cameron's epic CGI sci-fi is the highest-grossing movie ever, is that it was marketed as a movie that absolutely had to be seen on a silver screen, and in 3D – hence the inflated ticket prices, and the blockbusting box office receipts.

Whatever people's criticisms of the film's familiar-seeming plot or its sledgehammer-subtle political overtones, most agreed that it was a magnificent spectacle. I happened to think that the straightforward, almost mythic narrative acted as a strong thread to lead Avatar's audience into the visually ravishing world of planet Pandora.

On the small screen, though, the script's failings are sure to show, while the visuals will underwhelm anyone who saw them in all their IMAX glory – which was pretty much everyone.

The film, as seen on a cinema screen, deserves a solid four stars. But while the special features sound suitably snazzy (an "interactive" trailer; an immersive exploration of the movie's locations; and the "Pandorapedia" guide to the planet), I'm not sure I'd want to watch it on a telly.