4k Movie, Streaming, Blu-Ray Disc, and Home Theater Product Reviews & News | High Def Digest
Film & TV All News Blu-Ray Reviews Release Dates News Pre-orders 4K Ultra HD Reviews Release Dates News Pre-orders Gear Reviews News Home Theater 101 Best Gear Film & TV
Ultra HD : For Fans Only
Ranking:
Sale Price: $47.7 Last Price: $ Buy now! 3rd Party 26.79 In Stock
Release Date: December 19th, 2023 Movie Release Year: 2022

Avatar: The Way of Water Collector's Edition - 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray

Overview -

Another day, another release of Avatar to quite literally dive into. The smash hit sequel The Way of Water follows its predecessor into the realm of Dolby Vision Double Dips with a new 4K Disc Collector's Edition set. The excellent A/V is one thing, but sweetening the deal is over four hours of fascinating band new additional extra features that are all worth checking out. The restrictive packaging and the proximity to the previous release are frustrating keeping this from being an immediate pickup for collectors and even then, a set like this might appeal to only a select few franchise diehards, For Fans Only

Avatar: The Way of Water reaches new heights and explores undiscovered depths as James Cameron returns to the world of Pandora in this emotionally packed action adventure. Set more than a decade after the events of the first film, Avatar: The Way of Water launches the story of the Sully family (Jake, Neytiri, and their kids), the trouble that follows them, the lengths they go to keep each other safe, the battles they fight to stay alive, and the tragedies they endure. All of this against the breathtaking backdrop of Pandora, where audiences are introduced to new Na’vi cultures and a range of exotic sea creatures that populate the majestic oceans. Nominated for numerous Academy Awards® including Best Picture, the James Cameron-directed film became the third highest-grossing box office film of all-time and set a new benchmark for visual effects. Produced by Cameron and his longtime partner Jon Landau, the Lightstorm Entertainment production stars Sam Worthington, Zoe Saldaña, Sigourney Weaver, Stephen Lang, Cliff Curtis and Kate Winslet. Joining the illustrious adult cast are talented newcomers Britain Dalton, Jamie Flatters, Trinity Jo-Li Bliss, Bailey Bass and Jack Champion.

 

OVERALL:
For Fans Only
Rating Breakdown
STORY
VIDEO
AUDIO
SPECIAL FEATURES
Tech Specs & Release Details
Technical Specs:
4k Ultra HD Blu-ray + Blu-ray + Digital
Video Resolution/Codec:
2160p HEVC/H.265 Dolby Vision HDR
Aspect Ratio(s):
1.85:1
Audio Formats:
English Dolby Atmos, Eng lish 2.0 DTS - HDMA, English 2.0 Dolby Digital Descriptive Audio, English Family Friendly 5.1 Dolby Digital, French 5.1 Dolby Digital, Spanish 7.1 Dolby Digital Plu
Subtitles/Captions:
English SDH, French, Spanish
Release Date:
December 19th, 2023

Storyline: Our Reviewer's Take

Ranking:

Between two theatrical viewings, the 4K UHD streaming review, the 4K Disc review, the Blu-ray 3-D review, and this NEW 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray review, I think I’ve seen Avatar: The Way of Water six times now. In one year. I mean, I like the movie, I think it’s a better overall film than the first Avatar, but I think I might take a break from Pandora until the third film’s release in 2025. Except I can’t! I still have the new Blu-ray 3-D disc of the first film coming in for review. It’s a good thing I like James Cameron’s blue cat-aliens otherwise I’d have gone insane by now! 

Read my 4K Streaming Review of Avatar: The Way of Water for my full thoughts on the film.

Vital Disc Stats: The 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray

Avatar: The Way of Water returns to 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray for a new four-disc 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Collector’s Edition - that we really should have gotten from the start. The 4K is again pressed on a BD-100 disc with a BD-50 for the 1080p version and an additional two BD-50 discs for the trove of bonus features. The disc loads to Disney’s standard language menu, allowing you to run right into the film or continue into the main menu.

And just like the Avatar: Collector’s Edition, all four discs are held in an artistically beautiful but frustratingly restrictive gatefold digipak with hardstock slipcase with raised features. Rather than resting in cradles, all four discs rest in intensely tight sleeves that grip the discs so tightly if you’re not careful you risk ripping the paper digipak. Seriously, you’ll want disc cleaners on standby each time you pull the discs out because you’re going to smear fingerprints all over the place. The sleeves are just too narrow with the internal security grips too tight to easily eject the discs for playback. Consider acquiring alternate packaging if you intend to watch these often.

Video Review

Ranking:

Here we are again analyzing Avatar: The Way of Water on 4K, only this time it’s a Dolby Vision HDR presentation that’s actually on disc - a true rarity for the House of Mouse. While I still believe the standard HDR10 treatment was very good for what it gave, this is a case where the Dolby Vision pass certainly makes a difference. Watching through while doing several disc flips, the main difference maker I spotted was much cleaner and clearer details in low light scenes - which is pretty often in the film. Anytime there’s firelight, or the interiors of the ship during the climax, I felt like details like skin textures or the practical real-life sets were easier to see than the standard HDR10 disc. This might not be an immediate apples-to-oranges difference maker for some, but I imagine those with larger screens will easily spot the improvements. Watching this again almost immediately after watching the first Avatar in Dolby Vision, it really is something how far the tech for the virtual creatures and Na’vi have come to creating photo-realistic lifelike digital creations.

Audio Review

Ranking:

Once again Atmos returns for Avatar: The Way of Water. I felt the streaming audio was very good and the active soundscape and object placement for sound effects, music, and dialog remains the same. However, I felt like there was a little more oomph to the mix here. Much like the Avatar Atmos mix, I did have to punch up my levels a little bit, but not as much as the streaming. I felt like low-end elements like explosions or bass notes in the score came through with a little more impact. Not a vast amount, it’s still very mid-range Atmos like a lot of Disney mixes, but this isn’t anything as bad as we’ve heard on some Marvel films over the years. Like Avatarnot quite demo-worthy, but still damned good.

Here’s what I had to say about the streaming experience:

Both iTunes and Vudu offer up Atmos audio tracks and it’s a hell of a mix. Overall I felt the iTunes had the better bass and LFE response but both kicked for an exciting immersive surround experience. There’s barely a second of the film that doesn’t offer some sort of fully-packed surround soundscape with plenty of overhead activity. The big action sequences obviously get the most care and attention but even the simple scenes of Sully’s kids swimming underwater provides a fully engaged front/center, side, rear, and height sonic experience. That last hour is 100% demo-worthy material. Throughout the show, the dialog is clean and clear without any issues. Simon Franglen takes over scoring duties for the late James Horner. Much like his work for The Magnificent Seven remake, you feel those old iconic Horner motifs while expanding the work with his own flavor. It’s a lovely accompaniment to the film and never overpowers the mix delivering maximum emotional impact for many key sequences.

Special Features

Ranking:

Bonus features see another boost with almost five hours of new extra features the previous set didn’t see. Similar to the first film’s Collector’s Edition, we see some really cool interactive scene deconstructions letting you see how they executed various pieces of some select scenes. There are some extra fluffy Jon Landau behind-the-scenes and cast interview segments that are interesting but really fall in the back-patting congratulatory category. At just over thirty minutes, there are some new deleted scenes in various stages of completion. Conceptually you can get a feel where these pieces would have come into the show, but seeing them even in their rough stages it’s understandable why they were cut. All told though, it’s a lot of interesting content. I especially liked the pieces that focused on art design and world-building.

Bonus Features Disc One

  • Inside Pandora’s Box (HD 2:32:14)
    • Building the World of Pandora
    • Capturing Pandora
    • The Undersea World of Pandora
    • The Challenges of Pandora’s Waters
    • Pandora’s Returning Characters
    • Pandora’s Next Generation
    • Spider’s Web
    • Becoming Na’Vi
    • The Reef People of Pandora
    • Bringing Pandora to Life
    • The RDA Returns to Pandora
    • The New Characters of Pandora
    • The Sounds of Pandora
    • New Zealand - Pandora’s Home
  • More From Pandora’s Box (HD 28:06)
    • Casting
    • Stunts
    • The Lab
    • The Troupe
  • Marketing Materials (8:51)
    • Nothing is lost - Music Video
    • Theatrical Trailer 1
    • Theatrical Trailer 2

Bonus Features Disc Two

  • NEW Behind-the-Scenes Presentation Hosted by Jon Landau (HD 36:56)
  • NEW Memories from Avatar: The Way of Water (HD 19:10)
  • NEW Production Design Panel Hosted by Jon Landau (HD 32:09)
  • NEW Deleted Scenes (HD 32:52)
  • NEW Scene Deconstruction (HD 24:49)
  • NEW Production Materials (HD 1:10:27)
    • “One Meal A Day”
    • Editing
    • 3D Technology
    • Virtual Camera
    • Bringing the RDA to Life
    • Tank Timelapse
    • Weta Reel
    • ILM Reel
    • CJ Jones Sign Language Guide
    • Jackcam
    • Shaman Blessing
    • Cliff Curtis Blessings
  • NEW Beyond the Big Screen: (HD 53:10)
    • Pandora - The World of Avatar
    • Crew Movie - Avatar - The Way of the Jimverse
    • James Cameron and Jon Landau Hand & Footprint Ceremony
    • Scene at the Academy
  • NEW Archives: Script, Artwork, Marketing:
    • Monday Night Football TV Spot (HD 2:02)
    • Original Script 
    • Artwork Gallery’Set Stills Gallery
    • Russell Carpenter Gallery
    • Advertising Gallery
    • Fan Art Gallery

Following the first film, we now have a bigger, better, more elaborate release with Avatar: The Way of Water Collector’s Edition. Without any alternate versions of the film, the real upgrade here is for Dolby Vision HDR and nearly five hours of new bonus features content to pick through. You’ve gotta hand it to Cameron and Lightstorm, they sure do love to pack in the extra content! While this is absolutely the best set available, it is damned frustrating to see it come out so soon after the first 4K release begging the question "why this wasn’t available from the get-go?" I can understand the first film needing more time to optimize the alternate cuts, but this one didn’t have that. If you didn’t pick up The Way of Water in 4K already, this Collector’s Edition is the set to get. But between double dipping and that frustratingly restrictive packaging (no matter how pretty it looks), this one really is For Fans Only