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Live Action “Avatar”, More Like Bad “Avatar”

The new live-action show fundamentally fails at being what “Avatar” is
Uncle+Iroh+is+holding+the+infamous+white+lotus+piece%2C+a+clever+bit+of+foreshadowing+that+is+not+obvious.%0APhoto+courtesy%3A+CinemaBlend
Uncle Iroh is holding the infamous white lotus piece, a clever bit of foreshadowing that is not obvious. Photo courtesy: CinemaBlend

The new live-action “Avatar The Last Airbender” does a terrible job at being a TV show, let alone follow up to the greatness that was the original animated show. The main issue with the new show is in its pacing and giving of exposition. The animated show did an incredible job at worldbuilding, and introducing all the elements of the world at a pace that was conducive to the audience. 

First and foremost is the introduction of the Fire Nation. In the original show, the Fire Nations’ power is built up over time, allowing the audience to get a sense of the scale of their power. The first fire bender that is introduced is Zuko, an exiled prince who commands a metal battleship. He gives a good fight that team Avatar barely escapes from. Then, later in the season, we see Zuko’s battleship dwarfed by the other battleships in the Fire Nation, and this visually shows without any dialogue just how powerful the Fire Nation is. Meanwhile, the new live-action show does not attempt to create any buildup or let the audience naturally come to understand the scale of the story. Instead, they try to force it, which is ironically less effective. 

The live-action show presents the destruction of the Air Nomads right away. This is a very poor decision for a lot of reasons. First, the power of the Fire Nation during Sozin’s Comet is shown. This removes the buildup to Sozin’s Comet which made the series finale of the original show so impactful. The audience does not see what the comet does to firebending until the final episode. This means the audience knows what fire bending normally looks like, so they have a sense of the scale of how powerful it is with the comet’s power. But when it is shown right off the bat, it is hard to gauge how strong the Fire Nation is. Not to mention it ruins the reveal that Aang has when he finds the ruins of the air temple in the original show. It was a big moment when he found out that he was truly the last airbender, and no one else made it. The live-action show is too quick to tell the audience everything. It removes intrigue from the show and undermines important emotional beats. When Aang sees his former mentor dead in the snow it does not have the same meaning as it did in the original show because he already knows what happened. This removes important character interactions as well because Ketara and Sokka in the original show were working to protect Aang from the truth so he would not be hurt. This revealed a lot about how these characters interact with each other. The new show lacks in exploring the character dynamics that made the original so good. 

Another issue is that the new live-action show is not fun. In an attempt to be more “mature,” it sacrifices key elements of who the characters are. A good example is the treatment of King Bumi. In the live-action show, King Bumi reveals right away that he is Aang’s old friend from one hundred years ago. Not only that, Bumi is disappointed and even upset at Aang for disappearing for one hundred years. In the original show, King Bumi recognizes Aang, but he does not reveal it at first. Instead, he messes with Aang the whole episode because he is having fun. This makes the reveal at the end of the episode so much better. This new show just wants to be sad for some reason. The character’s happy personalities are what make the show, and with that removed, everything becomes more bland. 

The show being live-action does not help either. Avatar in animation is the perfect medium for the show. The bending of the elements is fluid and exciting in animation, and the characters can be quite expressive. They can pull off moves that are not possible in live action. This is not to say live-action Avatar is impossible, but it is a challenge. One that was not met in this show. The animated show is colorful and lively, while this new show has a dull color palette, and the tone feels melancholic. Overall, this live-action show is only good at being a really expensive advertisement to watch the original show. 

 

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About the Contributor
Noah Shackelford
Noah Shackelford, Reporter
Noah is a senior and a first-year reporter for the Antler Express.
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Live Action “Avatar”, More Like Bad “Avatar” | Antler Express

Live Action “Avatar”, More Like Bad “Avatar”

by Avery Anderson | March 12, 2024 1:20 pm

The new live-action “Avatar The Last Airbender” does a terrible job at being a TV show, let alone follow up to the greatness that was the original animated show. The main issue with the new show is in its pacing and giving of exposition. The animated show did an incredible job at worldbuilding, and introducing all the elements of the world at a pace that was conducive to the audience. 

First and foremost is the introduction of the Fire Nation. In the original show, the Fire Nations’ power is built up over time, allowing the audience to get a sense of the scale of their power. The first fire bender that is introduced is Zuko, an exiled prince who commands a metal battleship. He gives a good fight that team Avatar barely escapes from. Then, later in the season, we see Zuko’s battleship dwarfed by the other battleships in the Fire Nation, and this visually shows without any dialogue just how powerful the Fire Nation is. Meanwhile, the new live-action show does not attempt to create any buildup or let the audience naturally come to understand the scale of the story. Instead, they try to force it, which is ironically less effective. 

The live-action show presents the destruction of the Air Nomads right away. This is a very poor decision for a lot of reasons. First, the power of the Fire Nation during Sozin’s Comet is shown. This removes the buildup to Sozin’s Comet which made the series finale of the original show so impactful. The audience does not see what the comet does to firebending until the final episode. This means the audience knows what fire bending normally looks like, so they have a sense of the scale of how powerful it is with the comet’s power. But when it is shown right off the bat, it is hard to gauge how strong the Fire Nation is. Not to mention it ruins the reveal that Aang has when he finds the ruins of the air temple in the original show. It was a big moment when he found out that he was truly the last airbender, and no one else made it. The live-action show is too quick to tell the audience everything. It removes intrigue from the show and undermines important emotional beats. When Aang sees his former mentor dead in the snow it does not have the same meaning as it did in the original show because he already knows what happened. This removes important character interactions as well because Ketara and Sokka in the original show were working to protect Aang from the truth so he would not be hurt. This revealed a lot about how these characters interact with each other. The new show lacks in exploring the character dynamics that made the original so good. 

Another issue is that the new live-action show is not fun. In an attempt to be more “mature,” it sacrifices key elements of who the characters are. A good example is the treatment of King Bumi. In the live-action show, King Bumi reveals right away that he is Aang’s old friend from one hundred years ago. Not only that, Bumi is disappointed and even upset at Aang for disappearing for one hundred years. In the original show, King Bumi recognizes Aang, but he does not reveal it at first. Instead, he messes with Aang the whole episode because he is having fun. This makes the reveal at the end of the episode so much better. This new show just wants to be sad for some reason. The character’s happy personalities are what make the show, and with that removed, everything becomes more bland. 

The show being live-action does not help either. Avatar in animation is the perfect medium for the show. The bending of the elements is fluid and exciting in animation, and the characters can be quite expressive. They can pull off moves that are not possible in live action. This is not to say live-action Avatar is impossible, but it is a challenge. One that was not met in this show. The animated show is colorful and lively, while this new show has a dull color palette, and the tone feels melancholic. Overall, this live-action show is only good at being a really expensive advertisement to watch the original show. 

 

Source URL: https://antler.express/12342/entertainment/live-action-avatar-more-like-bad-avatar/