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'Avatar' special edition will feature iTunes Extras exclusive to Apple

post #1 of 43
Thread Starter 
Apple has landed a major exclusive with the highest grossing movie of all time, as a special digital edition of "Avatar" is coming with new bonus features exclusive to iTunes.

"Avatar iTunes Extras Special Edition" will be available on iTunes beginning Tuesday, December 20. Twentieth Century Fox and Lightstorm Entertainment said in a press release on Friday that the new edition will feature "first-of-its-kind interactive features."

"Avatar" is currently available for preorder on iTunes at a price of $19.99 for the high-definition copy, and $14.99 for standard-definition. The new special features will let movie watchers "deconstruct some of the most memorable scenes to reveal how James Cameron applied special effects to create the breathtaking world of Pandora."

The new features will allow fans to control scene deconstructions in simultaneous views and interact with the performance capture and visual effects levels in 17 of the film's scenes. The new "Green Screen X-ray" feature will give users an interactive look at the visual effects, allowing them to see the original green screen footage used to create scenes in the movie.

"Digital platforms like iTunes usher in new ways to interact with and watch movies like Avatar," said Aubrey Freeborn, senior vice president of marketing and product management for Worldwide VOD and Electronic Sell-Through at Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment. "These new interactive features enhance the experience and encourage digital ownership."

The iTunes-exclusive edition of "Avatar" will also include an original screenplay from the director, Cameron, as well as a novella with some scenes broken out into dialogue. It will also include a gallery of 1,700 images.



In addition to generating nearly $2.8 billion in worldwide box office, "Avatar" is also the top-selling Blu-ray disc of all time. It was nominated for nine Academy Awards, and won three for Best Cinematography, Best Visual Effects and Best Art Direction.

iTunes Extras debuted with the launch of iTunes 9 in 2009, and are intended to allow digital movie sales to compete with traditional DVDs and Blu-rays, which often feature bonus content and behind-the-scenes footage in addition to the film. But iTunes Extras typically replicate the content found on physical discs, while the upcoming release of "Avatar" will feature new and exclusive interactive content.
post #2 of 43
to bad the iTunes Extra's don't work on the 2nd Generation AppleTV so pretty much useless...
post #3 of 43
This is smart. Apple needs something (lots of things) that are exclusive to their products if they want to fight off Android.

Not only that, but usually the digital download is missing all the extra stuff that you get on disk. Exclusive content might start to make up for the other stuff that consumers miss by not buying the Blu-ray.
post #4 of 43
Too bad the film's only strength is visual, the plot is the same as 1000 other movies. Maybe there should be en extra where dances with wolves has all the skin tones made blue?
post #5 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

... The new special features will let movie watchers ... allow fans to control scene deconstructions in simultaneous views and interact with the performance capture and visual effects levels in 17 of the film's scenes. The new "Green Screen X-ray" feature will give users an interactive look at the visual effects, allowing them to see the original green screen footage used to create scenes in the movie.

"Digital platforms like iTunes usher in new ways to interact with and watch movies like Avatar," said Aubrey Freeborn, senior vice president of marketing and product management ... "These new interactive features enhance the experience and encourage digital ownership."
...

It has to be said that this is total bullshit.

This is almost word for word the same as the "new features" of DVD's when they came out. Multiple camera angles, layering, scene deconstruction, all this is currently possible with DVD's and yet at the same time actually isn't done at all because no one cares about this stuff.

Over all the years and multiple thousands of DVD's that I have owned, I have only seen one movie (an old David Bowie movie) that ever used multiple camera angles and alternate scenes. It's just a gimmick like 3D is a gimmick, but this is a gimmick that's rarely even used and seems to be of little interest to the public as well.
post #6 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rtapps View Post

Too bad the film's only strength is visual, the plot is the same as 1000 other movies. Maybe there should be en extra where dances with wolves has all the skin tones made blue?

Love it.

I have tried to watch this movie a bunch of times but it's so bad I just can't sit through it. I have never made it past the first reel of Dances with Wolves for the same reason.
post #7 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rtapps View Post

Too bad the film's only strength is visual, the plot is the same as 1000 other movies. Maybe there should be en extra where dances with wolves has all the skin tones made blue?

Cool, you care so little about the movie that you took the time to read an article about it, log in, and then post a comment on said article.
post #8 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rtapps View Post

Too bad the film's only strength is visual, the plot is the same as 1000 other movies. Maybe there should be en extra where dances with wolves has all the skin tones made blue?

And what better way to way to experience a visual-only movie than in glorious 720p?

Still the reason I'm buying Blu-Rays.

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post #9 of 43
even though i rarely watch extras, i'll stick with blu ray
post #10 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by Prof. Peabody View Post

This is almost word for word the same as the "new features" of DVD's when they came out. Multiple camera angles, layering, scene deconstruction, all this is currently possible with DVD's and yet at the same time actually isn't done at all because no one cares about this stuff.



But people here will claim that Apple finally cracked it, and so they watch the gimmicks and love them. Hell, people here claimed that iAds were worth watching!
post #11 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rtapps View Post

Too bad the film's only strength is visual, the plot is the same as 1000 other movies. Maybe there should be en extra where dances with wolves has all the skin tones made blue?

Very funny. And the movie's only visual "strength" was the 3D, otherwise it's just an ugly blue-tinted movie. Even though it's supposed to be about machine worshippers against Nature, there's no green on Cameron's planet. The animals are all ugly, and so is the skinny-hipped "romantic interest." In 2D, it's a bunch of adolescent battle scenes with a doctrinaire anti-corporate, anti-American axe to grind.

I hate to be so negative, but releasing this in 2D is nothing to brag about. Maybe it's aimed at the anti-3D snobs, and those who have dodgy stereo vision, which turns out to be maybe 10% of the population. But then Cameron should have made a better 2D movie for them.
post #12 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by SteveLV702 View Post

to bad the iTunes Extra's don't work on the 2nd Generation AppleTV so pretty much useless...

Or the iPad. Then again if this sells well perhaps it will push a change in that situation

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A non tech's thoughts on Apple stuff 

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post #13 of 43
I didn't know Avatar wasn't available in iTunes until now. Why the delay I wonder. Then again, I bet most fans have the 3 disc special edition already, so I doubt the iTunes release will be any interesting over that.
post #14 of 43
Funny that Steve said that Blu-Ray was a "big bag of hurt" because iTunes movie are a steaming pile of... well you know. Besides the fact that the bitrate is crap and the resolution isn't HD by any stretch, it's a completely worthless purchase/format. Blu-Rays look a million times better, the extras don't work on every media device Apple sells, and they aren't even HD. Why anyone would buy inferior quality film content they can't use across the Apple ecosystem is baffling. I'll keep using the "big bag of hurt" because it's superior in every single way to iTunes film content. Oh, and it's a damn shame that even Microsoft has true 1080p content on Xbox Live. Sure it's not on par with Blu-Ray, but it's MILES ahead of iTunes and will continue to be. Shame Apple is so damn bullheaded about Blu-Ray. If they'd offer it in a Mac mini I'd have bought two of them already. On for each 46" TV I have in my house, iTunes content looks like garbage on my tvs.
post #15 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by HKZ View Post

...Why anyone would buy inferior quality film content they can't use across the Apple ecosystem is baffling.

Because (unfortunately), convenience trumps quality. I'm with you though, I thoroughly enjoy watching my movies using "bag of hurt" technology.

Quote:
Originally Posted by HKZ View Post

If they'd offer it in a Mac mini I'd have bought two of them already...

Think about it, if you could watch Blu-ray movies on a Mac, then you'd have at your disposal a medium that would provide a direct comparison to iTunes HD movie content. With such an A/B comparison, I don't think they'd ever sell another iTunes HD title again. Especially when they want $19.99 for a 720p copy.
post #16 of 43
Avatar will not stand up to the test of time, such as the likes of Casablanca, Blade Runner, The Shawshank Redemption. I was yawning my head off for most of it, I only went because my sister worked for the company that did the graphics and dragged the whole family along.
post #17 of 43
WOW. The George Lucas of the modern era.....James Cameron, milking every nickel he can get out of one movie, and you know what...he'll do it. Gotta hand it to him, smart business man. Then the next movie will come out and we will see multiple DVD, 3D, Blu-Ray, iTunes versions he and the distributors can possibly come up with. I bought into the "expanded" blu-ray version, so there ya go, and I haven't even watched it yet.
post #18 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by HKZ View Post

Why anyone would buy inferior quality film content they can't use across the Apple ecosystem is baffling.

I agree Blu Ray is superior to an iTunes download. But nevertheless I continue to buy/rent movies form iTunes because:

(1) It's more convenient

(2) I suspect 1080p is not the end of the story for movie res. Resolution will continue to increase over time, such as when the new 4k x 4k panels start coming out. Perhaps Apple will let me upgrade my movie collection for $1-$2 per file, like they did with songs (128kbit -> 256kbit for 99c), but with Blu Ray I would have to pay full price again.
post #19 of 43
One of the worst movies of all time, from the trite "unobtanium" and the cliché of evil corporations and mindless military leaders down to the atrocious physics which are so bad that they could only exist in an alternate universe. Complete Hollywood schlock; no wonder it was so popular. I kept waiting for this exercise in mind-numbing boredom to end -- and this from a diehard fantasy and science fiction fan. Imprisoned in the movie theater, I think I felt something like Patrick McGoohan who was constantly dismissed in The Prisoner with "Be seeing you." Only in this movie it is "I see you." Ble e e e c c c h h!
post #20 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by gumguy View Post

Then the next movie will come out and we will see multiple DVD, 3D, Blu-Ray, iTunes versions he and the distributors can possibly come up with.

So this would be a bad time to mention the 3D rerelease of Titanic

http://trailers.apple.com/trailers/paramount/titanic/

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post #21 of 43
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Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

"Avatar" is currently available for preorder on iTunes at a price of $19.99 for the high-definition copy, and $14.99 for standard-definition.

oddly, i see only the $14.99 SD pre-order option...
post #22 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by cjcampbell View Post

One of the worst movies of all time, from the trite "unobtanium" and the cliché of evil corporations and mindless military leaders down to the atrocious physics which are so bad that they could only exist in an alternate universe. Complete Hollywood schlock; no wonder it was so popular. I kept waiting for this exercise in mind-numbing boredom to end -- and this from a diehard fantasy and science fiction fan. Imprisoned in the movie theater, I think I felt something like Patrick McGoohan who was constantly dismissed in The Prisoner with "Be seeing you." Only in this movie it is "I see you." Ble e e e c c c h h!

I hear you. I found myself looking around the cinema at the other patrons, wondering if the real sci-fi was in the theatre. i.e. have I been transported in to a parallel universe when sh*t is good and good is sh*t.
post #23 of 43
We bought the DVD and ripped it to our media library -- a headless Mini with 2 2TB external drives.

We can access it on any of our Macs or AppleTV with iTunes sharing.

We can access it on any of our iPads with StreamToMe.

I guess that I am an old (72) romantic, but I like the movie -- as do my daughter and her 3 kids.

I've bought a few iTunes extras... Nothing special, and no real surprises.


I think I am going to buy this... Just to "see what they've got"

We have FCP X and FCP 7, and my 16-year-old granddaughter is pretty good at making home movies -- from story boarding, scripting, shooting to editing.

The scene deconstruction should be informative.

I am also intrigued with the idea of interactive video... From several perspectives.
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post #24 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by HKZ View Post

Funny that Steve said that Blu-Ray was a "big bag of hurt" because iTunes movie are a steaming pile of... well you know. Besides the fact that the bitrate is crap and the resolution isn't HD by any stretch, it's a completely worthless purchase/format. Blu-Rays look a million times better, the extras don't work on every media device Apple sells, and they aren't even HD. Why anyone would buy inferior quality film content they can't use across the Apple ecosystem is baffling. I'll keep using the "big bag of hurt" because it's superior in every single way to iTunes film content. Oh, and it's a damn shame that even Microsoft has true 1080p content on Xbox Live. Sure it's not on par with Blu-Ray, but it's MILES ahead of iTunes and will continue to be. Shame Apple is so damn bullheaded about Blu-Ray. If they'd offer it in a Mac mini I'd have bought two of them already. On for each 46" TV I have in my house, iTunes content looks like garbage on my tvs.

You forgot that iTunes movies are Presented in Dolby digital 5.0! Wow... Nothing could be better than that. What year is this 1999?

The quality of the picture and sound don't make a bad movie good, but they sure make a good movie better.

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post #25 of 43
We saw it in 3D at the huge IMAX theatre in North Seattle when it first came out. I just don't think that watching it again - even on our 67" big-screen HDTV set - will be able to top that.
post #26 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by coffeetime View Post

We saw it in 3D at the huge IMAX theatre in North Seattle when it first came out. I just don't think that watching it again - even on our 67" big-screen HDTV set - will be able to top that.

But, but....you'll be able to deconstruct certain key scenes.
post #27 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by ascii View Post

I hear you. I found myself looking around the cinema at the other patrons, wondering if the real sci-fi was in the theatre. i.e. have I been transported in to a parallel universe when sh*t is good and good is sh*t.

The movie is so bad that I have to wonder if James Cameron is not actually a comedic genius. Avatar may well be the greatest send-up of Hollywood and its culture and politics since Blazing Saddles. Viewed as satire, the movie shows biting wit, originality, and intelligence. And Cameron certainly had the motive to do something like this, particularly in the way Lord of the Rings was treated before its release. It may well be that Avatar is revenge served cold.

Unfortunately, though, I don't think Cameron is that smart.
post #28 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by ascii View Post

I agree Blu Ray is superior to an iTunes download. But nevertheless I continue to buy/rent movies form iTunes because:

(1) It's more convenient

(2) I suspect 1080p is not the end of the story for movie res. Resolution will continue to increase over time, such as when the new 4k x 4k panels start coming out. Perhaps Apple will let me upgrade my movie collection for $1-$2 per file, like they did with songs (128kbit -> 256kbit for 99c), but with Blu Ray I would have to pay full price again.

4k will definitely be the next- but depending on your distance and screen size it might not matter. It wouldn't in my house (although 1080p does). Here is an awesome chart. If your distance doesn't help with 1080p, then iTunes movies are just as good (although your sound won't be nearly as good. Once you go lossless it's hard to go back).

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post #29 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by cjcampbell View Post

The movie is so bad that I have to wonder if James Cameron is not actually a comedic genius. Avatar may well be the greatest send-up of Hollywood and its culture and politics since Blazing Saddles. Viewed as satire, the movie shows biting wit, originality, and intelligence. And Cameron certainly had the motive to do something like this, particularly in the way Lord of the Rings was treated before its release. It may well be that Avatar is revenge served cold.

Unfortunately, though, I don't think Cameron is that smart.

I almost replied before I saw your last, sadly true, sentence. Glad you added it.

Well, he's clever and very driven, but he needs to hook up with a mature script consultant or writer. I don't think he reads much, so there's no depth available to him. He has no distance on the Hollywood clichés, including the knee-jerk liberal view that corporations are bad, the people and nature are good, etc. He's basically a hardware guy.

On topic, the extras could be interesting if you get to see how he did the 3D, the whole idea behind the movie. But still you don't get to SEE the 3D. Apple needs to solve this problem, and eventually they will.
post #30 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by Andysol View Post

4k will definitely be the next- but depending on your distance and screen size it might not matter. It wouldn't in my house (although 1080p does). Here is an awesome chart. If your distance doesn't help with 1080p, then iTunes movies are just as good (although your sound won't be nearly as good. Once you go lossless it's hard to go back).

A better direction and a more important step for future HD resolutions would be to increase the frame rate. There is a large part of the population (myself included) that still see movies as a series of still images, especially when the camera pans.

There isn't much point to those giant detailed CGI scenes that the camera swoops over in movies like Avatar or Lord of the Rings, if all one sees is a bunch of blurry static frames.

Also, it's been known for ages that the best "glasses-free" 3D effect of all can be obtained merely by pumping up the frame rate to an order of magnitude higher than it currently is. Even those of us that can't see the individual frames consciously, apparently see them unconsciously and the addition of ten times the frames makes everything seem "3D" to the average viewer.

Even 720p at three or four hundred frames a second looks amazing.
post #31 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by Andysol View Post


Yup, I guess that's similar to Apple's "Retina" concept - the distance at which extra res makes no difference any more.
post #32 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by Prof. Peabody View Post

Love it.

I have tried to watch this movie a bunch of times but it's so bad I just can't sit through it. I have never made it past the first reel of Dances with Wolves for the same reason.

Someone should make a fan edit where the plot and dialog is taken out so it can be watched as a tech demo.

I liked the Pandora flyby at the end credits, too. It screamed video game engine demo.
post #33 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by Andysol View Post

4k will definitely be the next- but depending on your distance and screen size it might not matter. It wouldn't in my house (although 1080p does). Here is an awesome chart. If your distance doesn't help with 1080p, then iTunes movies are just as good (although your sound won't be nearly as good. Once you go lossless it's hard to go back).


This says that that 10 feet, you cannot see any differences between SD and 1080p on a 25 inch screen. It also says that at 15 feet, there is no difference on a 42 inch screen, and nearly no difference on a 46 inch screen.

I call bullshit to the whole thing.
post #34 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by Andysol View Post

4k will definitely be the next- but depending on your distance and screen size it might not matter. It wouldn't in my house (although 1080p does). Here is an awesome chart. If your distance doesn't help with 1080p, then iTunes movies are just as good (although your sound won't be nearly as good. Once you go lossless it's hard to go back).




it's not the resolution, but the bit rate. blu ray is something like 40mbps. it looks way better than a lot of the HD cable channels
post #35 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by al_bundy View Post

it's not the resolution, but the bit rate. blu ray is something like 40mbps. it looks way better than a lot of the HD cable channels

By "a lot", you mean all? High-End HD Cable channels are 720p and 13 mbps (on a slow scene). Nothing compares to Blu-ray. Everyone always mentions the video, but the sound is so insanely overlooked. Uncompressed and/or lossless audio is leaps and bounds better.

(Do I sound like a Blu-Ray fanboy)

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post #36 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by ascii View Post

Avatar will not stand up to the test of time, such as the likes of Casablanca, Blade Runner, The Shawshank Redemption. I was yawning my head off for most of it, I only went because my sister worked for the company that did the graphics and dragged the whole family along.

Excellent examples!

I'd add 2001 and Forbidden Planet (especially considering the latter's antiquity!)
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post #37 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by IQatEdo View Post

Excellent examples!

I'd add 2001 and Forbidden Planet (especially considering the latter's antiquity!)

Forbidden Planet sure had some amazing sets - ahead of it's time.
post #38 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by HKZ View Post

Funny that Steve said that Blu-Ray was a "big bag of hurt"

If I remember correctly, Steve used the term "big bag of hurt" to describe the licensing hurdles of Blu-ray, not the technology itself. I'm sure he recognized Blu-ray's A/V superiority to other formats (including iTunes) and worked as hard as he could to bring that level of quality to iTunes. The main reasons Apple never invested in Blu-ray (aside from the licensing argument, if it's valid), is that 1) it would further cannibalize Apple's iTunes Movies business, and 2) Apple is trying to move away from optical media anyway.

Realistically though, the infrastructure to deliver 1080p video with lossless or uncompressed audio through the Internet just isn't there. And even if it was, most people (unfortunately) don't care about that level of quality. They just care about convenience. Though the quality of its offerings is thankfully improving, iTunes is still more about convenience than anything else.

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post #39 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dick Applebaum View Post

I guess that I am an old (72) romantic, but I like the movie -- as do my daughter and her 3 kids. I've bought a few iTunes extras... Nothing special, and no real surprises. I think I am going to buy this... Just to "see what they've got"

We have FCP X and FCP 7, and my 16-year-old granddaughter is pretty good at making home movies -- from story boarding, scripting, shooting to editing. The scene deconstruction should be informative. I am also intrigued with the idea of interactive video... From several perspectives.

I really liked the movie too and am a big fan of James Cameron's films, despite his writing limitations. The behind-the-scenes supplements of his films are virtually courses in film making by themselves and should serve as an entertaining inspiration for your granddaughter.

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post #40 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by ascii View Post

Avatar will not stand up to the test of time, such as the likes of Casablanca, Blade Runner, The Shawshank Redemption. I was yawning my head off for most of it, I only went because my sister worked for the company that did the graphics and dragged the whole family along.

Avatar doesn't compare to the sophistication of movies like Casablanca, Blade Runner, or The Shawshank Redemption and I don't believe it ever tries to. Avatar, like the rest of James Cameron's films, is all about spectacle. He may not be a very informed or incredibly gifted writer, but he's certainly a smart and competent enough writer of spectacle to know how to get people to repeatedly come out to the movies in droves. I think he's a film making genius in that regard, though I'd agree with Flaneur's assessment that he would be well served by a well-read and seasoned script consultant or screenwriter to steer him farther away from Hollywood clichés. Utilizing the talents of a more versatile composer wouldn't hurt either.

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