Published by Whitman Publishing / Titan Books
James Cameron’s “Pocahontas in Space” may not have been the first 3D cinema experience, but it’s certainly proven to be the third dimension’s most prominent emissary. While cynical cinephiles interpreted Avatar’s success as further proof that visual gimmickry will compensate for all manner of plot deficiency, the fact remains that Cameron’s vivid land of Pandora is a wondrous creation begging to be further explored.
Fittingly, the Avatar Collector’s Vault Book 3D brings the 3D spectacle to your coffee table. A hardback guide contained within a sturdy slipcase and itself housing an abundance of cards, stickers and fold-out images, it’s a deluxe package that doesn’t expand significantly on the small corner of Pandora witnessed in the movie, but offers a heavily illustrated plot synopsis complete with tangential character bios and information on Pandora’s gaudy flora and fauna. And in case it needs mention, a pair of cinema-style 3D glasses is also included.
The Vault’s 3D effect is, much like its cinematic inspiration, a bit hit and miss. The landscapes benefit from that extra dimension, as do the images of human airships and mechs, but shots of the blue-skinned Na’vi often come across as blurred and washed-out. The 3D approach notoriously bleaches a film of its colour; here the effect is not only more noticeable but adds a layer of haziness to the book’s vivid blue beasts and digital vistas. That said, the airborne jellyfish lifeforms are almost as effective on the page as they were on screen.
Priced at £34.99, the Avatar Collectors Vault is a somewhat conflicted package. It’s a little too pricey for children, and the 3D effect will likely deter potential collectors looking for some high quality stills – though to be fair the book does have plenty of those too. But… Christmas is looming, and the book is arguably more a gift than a reference guide. Received in this context, Whitman Publishing has definitely succeeded in creating an alluring hardback that will have friends and family oohing and arring over its “sticky out bits” for the forthcoming festive period. Of the extras sealed within the book’s many folds and pockets, my particular favourite had to be the profile cards. These distinctly shaped character images make up a set of playing cards; a nice touch that might just give this particular “experience” some longevity once the 3D novelty has worn off.