The full screenplay for James Cameron's Avatar is now online. No, not a bootleg, but a PDF courtesy of 20th Century Fox, who want YOU, potential Academy Awards Voter, to give it a read and decide it's worthy of a little golden man.
Okay, I'm done. I like Avatar. Give Avatar several Oscars. Give it Best Visual Effects, Best Sound Mixing, and, hell, give it Best Director, but even the most ardent Avatar fans have to concede that its story doesn't even approach new ground. I mean, really, who's going to argue that Avatar's story is all that exemplary anyway-
Back to the matter at hand. I gave the screenplay a good skim and of course there are dropped subplots and excised scenes, but very little of it feels like it had to be in the movie. However, take a look at the first few pages, where Cameron makes it very clear that Earth is a toxic, urban wasteland with no nature and almost no wildlife and that Jake Sully is a self-destructive, depressed drunk. In the final cut of the film, it is only implied late in the third act that Earth is a dump, making the human antagonists seem simplistically, callously evil and while Jake is not a happy man, we never see him as low as we do in these opening scenes. These scenes feel vital to the movie, giving Jake an adequate introduction and establishing that humanity's colonialism has roots in desperation. It was the wrong decision to cut them.
My two cents. I found the studio-approved download over at Coming Soon.