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This movie is considered a reference disc in 3D and the extensive CGI use makes it a great story to be seen in that medium
on June 8, 2016
SKIP THE 2Disc THEATRICAL EDITION -- BUY THE SPECIAL EDITION OR 3D VERSION INSTEAD
1. A special edition including 20 minutes of additional footage was released just months after Theatrical Edition. (But fans weren't told until it was too late)
2. No special features in 2 disc Theatrical Edition. If you are a fan, of all the discs in your collection this is the one you really want the extra stuff.
3. 3D version also now available, though not in the extended version yet. This movie is considered a reference disc in 3D and the extensive CGI use makes it a great story to be seen in that medium, as are most animated movies. Hopefully a 3D Extended Version will be released soon.
Regarding the multiple releases while holding back on the whole package: The studios are becoming so brazen. Offering bare bones Blu Rays shortly before re-releasing the movie with additional footage was a classless act that kicks dirt in the face of fans. I completely understand the business side of the equation. However, I think we would all like to see them release multiple versions and let fans decide how much they need verses how much to spend. At least release a complete package a year or so on. There still isn't an extended 3D version US general release at the time of my update Dec 2014. The first 3D release was just the theatrical edition, even though the extended footage was already available. It's like pulling teeth to get these studios to release everything fans want in a single package, even down the road. After all the releases we have had, they really owe it to fans to do something for us, rather than themselves. We all understand the business side and multiple releases are no surprise. But seriously, this is somewhat an old movie now! Avatar is a particularly egregious example of this practice.
If 3D doesn't interest you regardless, then you are set with the Avatar Special Edition. That is the one I recommend until the 3D Extended Edition comes out. I originally wrote this article as a one star protest review, but there are so many versions of the movie out now and reviews to all of the versions are linked on Amazon to each release so it's better just to explain what to look for. Other worthy reviews cover both the general plot and the content differences between the standard and extended content. I will leave those aspects to them rather than duplicate it.