Did The Walking Dead just doom itself with its latest episode?

3 and a half stars
Spoilers for The Walking Dead season 8 episode 8.

The mid season finale of The Walking Dead, The Way It’s Gotta Be, was a good episode overall but may have just doomed the show itself.
Coming into this episode, we all knew something big was going to happen, based on what the show runners said, and boy did it.
But maybe what happened was too big.
Because in this episode they actually set up the death of Carl Grimes.
Carl Grimes, the very future of The Walking Dead and they are going to kill him in the mid season premiere.
In the comics Carl has a hugely important story going forward and his very presence in both the comics and show defines who Rick is.
So, I believe that killing Carl was the worst possible decision they could have made because, without Carl, the story will no longer be as impactful.
The Walking Dead may have just doomed itself.

carl grimes
Carl’s upcoming death may have just ruined the future for The Walking Dead show.

Another thing I did not like was the spoilers.
The Walking Dead is terrible at keeping secrets because so many important deaths have been spoiled.
Noah and Aiden’s deaths in season 5, spoiled.
Glenn and Abraham’s deaths in the season 7 premiere, spoiled.
And now we have Carl, which was also spoiled for me.
I do not even go looking for the spoilers, I just run into them on accident and then the show is ruined for me.
The show really needs to get a handle on the spoilers being leaked.
Then there was Ezekiel’s storyline, which I found to be pretty ridiculous, considering how Ezekiel was able to free all his people.
Although the one thing I did like about this storyline was how they humanized Gavin again.
Then there was the explosive bombing of Alexandria.
Am I the only one who found this to be not that impactful?
I do not know why but a lot of the action in season 8 has not felt very intense for me.
This is strange because in this episode we have multiple buildings exploding and yet I do not even feel thrilled by it.
However, this episode is not all bad.
I loved the storyline with Maggie and, despite how much I hate what they are doing with Carl, Chandler Riggs did a fantastic job this episode.
He easily delivered his best performance as Carl.
The best scene he was in was when his possibly final confrontation with Negan.
The Negan and Rick fight was also fun to see.

rick vs negan
The Rick vs Negan fight was one of the highlights of the episode.

Like I said earlier, this was a good episode.
But the lack of excitement I felt during the action and the implications of Carl’s certain death left a bitter taste in my mouth.
I honestly do not think The Walking Dead can come back from this.
Well, at least I still have the comics.

11 ways to make a good Avatar: The Last Airbender adaptation.

Recently, I got into a show called Avatar: The Last Airbender.
It is a truly great show with a fantastic story, characters and world building and is already one of favourite shows.
So, since I loved the show so much, I wanted to re-watch the live action adaptation of the show The Last Airbender, directed by M. Night Shyamalan.
I first saw this film in theaters and I found it to be a pretty forgettable experience.
I honestly could not remember that much about it, even though a lot of people consider it to be one of the worst adaptations ever made.
So I grabbed by pen and pad of paper, sat down, watched the movie and wrote down everything I found problematic with it.
Do you want to know how many things I wrote down?
163.
That’s right, I found 163 reasons to hate this movie.
163 reasons across five pages, four of which were double sided.
I was astonished by how mind numbingly awful this movie was.
It truly is one of the worst adaptations of all time, right up there with Dragonball: Evolution and The Cat in The Hat adaptation.
So, naturally, I wanted to review this movie to give it the scathing response it deserves.
However, after watching and reading numerous reviews of the movie I learned that everything bad that can be said about this movie has already been said.
The movie came out seven years ago so everything that needed to be said about the movie has been.
I would basically be beating a dead horse at this point.
So I am going to do something different this time.
I am going to list 11 ways to make a good Avatar: The Last Airbender live action adaptation.
I will talk about scenes from the movie and why they are so terrible, comparing them to the show and how to make it better.
So let’s not waste anymore time and get onto reason number one.

 

1. Don’t try to compact an entire season into an 103 minute film.

avatar-the-last-air-bender-season-1
there are 20 episodes in the first season of Avatar: The Last Airbender and these episodes go for around 23 minutes on average.
In total that adds up to the first season being 460 minutes long.
The movie tries to cram 460 minutes of story, lore and character development into an 103 minute film.
It was a disastrous decision to try and compact the first season into one movie because there is so much story to tell in so little time.
Because of this, 90% of the dialogue in The Last Airbender is exposition, giving us absolutely no time to get to know the characters and become attached to them.
We do not care what happens to Aang, Katara and Sokka like we did in the show because we do not know them as people because of the overload of exposition.
This is not the only problem with this however, as compacting season one into a single movie means various important storylines had to be cut down or removed all together.
The worst offender is the romance between Sokka and Yue.
In the show, their romance was sadly tragic.
Over the course of three episodes, we got to see Sokka and Yue grow closer and fall in love, until Yue had to sacrifice herself to become the Moon Spirit and bring balance back to the world.
When this happened in the show, it was a really tragic moment and you felt sorry for both Sokka and Yue.
In the movie however, you get none of this emotion because their entire romance has been cut down to a single line of dialogue, through Katara’s never ending and boring narration.
“My brother and the princess became friends right away.”
This line of dialogue is what establishes Sokka and Yue’s relationship and when we see them again it is weeks later and they have already fallen in love.
We do not get to see their journey to falling in love so when Yue has to sacrifice herself we do not feel anything because we have not been given a reason to care about her and Sokka’s relationship.
This is because there was no time to develop it, due to the fact that the entirety of the first season was condensed into a single movie.
If Avatar: The Last Airbender is going to be correctly adapted, it needs to give the story and characters more time to breathe.
Instead of making three movies, I think you could easily make seven movies to cover the entire series.
However, if this was done, it would create problems of its own.
The story of Avatar: The Last Airbender takes place within a year so if there are seven films then the actors will age very unrealistically.
Also, the show is a very episodic series.
Each episode has its own story to tell and if you were to put these stories into a movie format then it could feel very disjointed.
So how do you fix this?
Well, do not make a live action movie, make a live action TV series.
Avatar: The Last Airbender is just not something that would work in movie format due to its limited time frame in the story and its episodic nature.
If you want to tell the story right it would have to be on a television format.
Only then could it be done justice.

2. Cast the right actors

last-airbender cast
The casting for The Last Airbender was handled incredibly poorly.
Every single character who played a role in the story was cast wrong.
Most of the actors in the movie are not bad actors though, they are just wrong for the characters they were cast as.
For example, Dev Patel is a good actor but he was not right for the role of Zuko.
However, while I can say a lot of the actors cast in the movie were good actors, the same cannot be said for our three leads.
That being Noah Ringer, Nicola Peltz and Jackson Rathbone, who play Aang, Katara and Sokka.
These three were the worst people you could cast to play these characters.
Jackson Rathbone was in Twilight so that is reason enough not to hire him.
I have never seen Nicola Peltz be good in anything and she looks nothing like Katara.
And Noah Ringer as Aang is, in my opinion, one of the worst casting decisions in history.
Now this is not because of Ringer’s poor performance as Aang but why he was cast in the first place.
Ringer filmed himself doing martial arts and sent this in to Shyamalan as his audition tape.
Shyamalan saw this and immediately cast him as Aang, without even considering his acting ability.
Aang is the main character in the series, if the actor playing him gives a poor performance then the entire thing falls apart.
Ringer had no acting credits to his name before being cast as Aang.
My problem is not that Ringer was an unknown before the movie, my problem is his acting ability.
The most important thing when casting Aang was casting someone who could act.
It did not matter if they did not know martial arts, you could have them be taught it after they were cast.
Shyamalan should have been thinking this when he cast Ringer but he clearly was not.
However, this is not all that is wrong with the casting, there is also the whitewashing.
Whitewashing is one of the most controversial topics in the movie industry today.
However, in some cases, I think it can be given some leeway.
For example, The Death Note Netflix adaptation was changed to be set in America so it could relate to an American audience.
It would have been weird to see the entire cast be Japanese, since this adaptation is set in America, so they naturally had to change some of the races of the characters.
(Although, they probably should have made more of an effort to include Japanese actors.)
The Last Airbender movie however, has no such excuse.
The world of Avatar: The Last Airbender is deeply rooted in Asian culture, with each of the four nations representing that.
The Fire Nation was based off Japan, The Earth Kingdom was based off China, The Water Tribe was based off Inuits and the Air Nomads were based off Buddhist monks.
So it makes absolutely no sense to see white actors living in Inuit culture, especially when the rest of their village is entirely Inuit.
How do you get white people from that?
Even worse is the Fire Nation being changed from Japanese to Indian.
This is worse because our heroes are white and this caused many people to pull a racism complaint against the movie.
Now given that Shyamalan himself is Indian, I think it is highly unlikely he is racist towards his own race so this is most likely due to incompetence than anything else.
Still, this does not excuse the fact that casting actors that do not fit the cultures of the world in the movie was an awful decision.
If the show is going to be adapted correctly, the actors will need to represent the cultures seen in the show and need to be appropriately chosen based on their acting ability.

3. Accurately represent the characters

Avatar
The characters in The Last Airbender are nothing but former shells of their TV counterparts.
The characters seen in Avatar: The Last Airbender were incredible.
Almost each and every one of them was compelling in some way and a joy to watch.
The movie however, completely strips away everything that was compelling about these characters.
Once again, Aang, Katara and Sokka are the main focus of this change.
Aang and Katara are completely devoid of any personality in the movie.
In the show Aang was a naive, playful kid who wanted to have fun but in the movie he is an emotionless robot who we do not care about.
In the show Katara is a strong motherly figure but in the movie she is reduced to a boring narrator, who has absolutely no point being in the movie.
Sokka is the only one with any semblance of a personality but it has completely changed from the show.
In the show, Sokka was not only the comedic relief but the idea guy.
Whenever the group got into a bad situation they could always count on Sokka to think of a way out of it.
However, in the movie, Sokka’s personality is completely changed from the comedic, idea guy to a moody Anakin Skywalker wannabe.
These characters are not compelling like they were in the show, they are completely boring and they are not even the worst offenders.
No, that honor goes to Fire Lord Ozai, the main villain played by Cliff Curtis.
In the show Ozai did not have much of a character but they made up for that by making him threatening.
For the first two seasons we only saw Ozai in shadow and when we finally did see him in season three he was still played up by showing the power he held and his evil ways, through his plan to commit mass genocide.
In the movie however, all of that fear is taken away because Ozai is just seen walking around, spewing boring exposition, like every other character in the movie.
The only thing Ozai had going for him in the show was that he was threatening and if you take that away he is a really weak character.
My problem is not that they showed Ozai’s face so soon, it is that he lacks all the fear that his counterpart had in the show.
What makes it worse is that it would have been so easy to make him scary, while showing his face.
For example, you could have a scene where a high ranking general in the Earth Kingdom army is captured by the Fire Nation and brought before Ozai for interrogation.
Ozai’s generals are also in attendance and they make threats to torture the man if he does not reveal the Earth Kingdom’s plans for the war.
The man refuses but, while the generals are angered by this, Ozai does not seem concerned.
This is later revealed to be because he knows Sozin’s Comet will come within a year so any plans the Earth Kingdom has cannot hope to stop him.
This makes the man being interrogated useless to Ozai so he kills him with his lightening bending, shocking his generals.
This would have shown Ozai to be a threat for three reasons.
One, it shows he is completely merciless when he murders the Earth Kingdom general.
Two, it shows his power through his lightening bending, which we have not seen yet.
Finally, it shows he is to be feared because even his own generals are afraid of him because of how they react to Ozai killing the Earth Kingdom general.
This would have established Ozai as a threat and made him a compelling villain.
But no, in the movie they just have him walking around spewing exposition, great.
The only characters who escape this boring and bland fate in the movie are Zuko and Iroh, played by Shaun Toub.
They are the only characters who seem remotely similar to their counterparts in the show.
Although, the portrayal of Zuko’s scar is particularly insulting.
When making an adaptation of Avatar: The Last Airbender you need to represent the characters correctly so we can be invested.
The characters were already beloved in the show, there was no reason to change them.
Another important thing about the characters that should not be changed is how you say their names.
In the movie Shyamalan changed the pronunciations of Aang, Sokka, Iroh and even the word Avatar.
He did this because he wanted to be more correct to the Asian culture Avatar: The Last Airbender is rooted in.
This was a bad idea because these are established characters, their names do not need to be changed.
That being said, I could at least understand why Shyamalan did this… or at least I could if he was not being a complete hypocrite by doing so.
You cannot change the characters name to be culturally correct only to be un-culturally correct by whitewashing the cast, how ignorant is Shyamalan?
The names of the characters should stay the same as the show’s creators originally intended.

4. Manage the budget correctly

It cost $150 million to make The Last Airbender and yet, somehow, this was not enough to make the film.
When you watch the movie it makes so much sense that whoever was in charge of the budget failed spectacularly because of how the CGI was incorporated into the movie.
Now, a lot of the CGI was actually pretty good.
It was nothing special but you could still watch it and actually believe it was there, for the most part.
However, it is still clear that for some reason they did not handle the budget correctly when making the movie.
Why?
Because of Appa and Momo.
It is incredibly surprising to see that, despite how prevalent both were in the show, they are mostly absent in the movie, only making a few brief appearances.
Appa is mostly never shown completely.
We only see bits and pieces of him at a time and, when we do see his face, it is nightmare fuel.
Seriously, how they made the adorable Appa’s face look like a Koala and human hybrid monster is beyond me.
Momo is also largely absent, only appearing in at least two scenes in the movie.
It is obvious they did not have the budget to put these two in the movie as much as they should have been.
However, the handling of the budget causes even worse problems, this time with the bending.
There are quite a few times in the movie where it seems like something epic is happening with the bending, only for it to be something small.
This is probably due to them not being able to create what they originally intended because of the way the budget was handled.
It explains so much.
It explains why it takes six guys to move one rock, it explains why the Water Benders act shocked when Aang makes the water rise, something any of them could do in the show and, worst of all, it explains why there are no Bending in shots, when there clearly should be.
There are two scenes in this movie where someone should be bending an element but nothing is happened.
By far the worst one is when the Fire Nation arrives to invade the Northern Water Tribe.
Right before this, Aang and Katara are practicing their Waterbending for almost a solid minute, only nothing is happening.
There is no Waterbending whatsoever, when there clearly should be so it is just a solid minute of them doing nothing.
It is incredibly confusing that despite the $150 million budget they did not have the money to create these things with CGI.
To put it into perspective you need only to look at The Lord of The Rings, with the final movie in the trilogy costing $94 million to make.
So that movie cost $56 million less to make than The Last Airbender yet, despite this, was able to use its budget appropriately and CGI everything it needed to.
The Last Airbender was so much more expensive so what happened?
How did a movie that cost more do so much less?
If another adaptation of Avatar: The Last Airbender is going to be made it needs to make sure the budget is being handled appropriately so characters like Appa and Momo are included more and the bending can be more exciting for the viewer.
Speaking of which…

 5. Portray the bending accurately

waterbending
The bending of the elements in the show was just fantastic.
Everything about is was so well done because it was based off actual martial arts.
Firebending was based off Northern Shaolin, Waterbending was based off Tai Chi, Earthbending was based off Hung Gar and Airbending was based off Ba Gua.
This made bending feel like an art form and made it much more exciting to watch.
What made it even more impressive was how, if you removed the animation of the bending from the show, you would still be able to tell how the element was being bent based off the character’s movements.
So, how did they translate this to the movie?
Well, they just flailed their limbs around of course!
Instead of the stylized, artful movement we got in the show, in the movie we get nothing more than the characters just flailing around.
No style, no art, no interest from the audience.
Worse still, when you are watching it, you have absolutely no idea how their movements translate to what is being bent.
For example, there is a scene where Aang generates a tornado by jumping around doing back flips and, in the final act of the movie, he does a dance to create a giant wave.
None of these movements even remotely translate to how the elements are being bent.
You should be engaged when watching the bending but instead you are left asking how any of this even works.
Another big problem with the bending in the movie is that it takes forever.
When Aang escapes from Zuko and Iroh, when he is a captive on their ship, he does a much longer than necessary bending move to escape the room.
During this time both Zuko and Iroh could have stopped him or Aang could have just run out of the room and shut the door on them but neither of these things happen.
The bending happens so slow that it opens up so many plot holes, like why the villains do not attack the hero when they have the clear opportunity to do so because they are taking forever to do a complicated bending move?
The portrayal of the bending in the movie is just insulting and should have been handled so much better.
The movie should have simply based the bending off how the show did it.
It was already laid out for them, all they had to do was copy the movements.
But instead they decided to create their own style of it, leading to awkward and overly long bending scenes that just left the audience bored.
Either portray the bending like the show did, with style and actual martial arts or do not bother at all.

6. Make the action exciting.

boring action
The action in The Last Airbender is so boring, while in the show the action was quick and engaging.
Every single action sequence, no matter how small had you interested.
Comparing the action from the show to the live action movie is like comparing an ant to a boot.
For the movie, Shyamalan decided to shoot the action with long tracking shots.
There are three tracking shot action sequences in this movie and only one of them is interesting and this is only because Aang is fighting two Fire Nation soldiers, while everyone else is fighting in the background.
The other two are some of the worst action sequences I have ever seen.
Doing tracking shots was the worst way to shoot the action in The Last Airbender.
The action is so slow because of the long take tracking shot and, as we wait for the camera to move so it can focus on another piece of action, nothing is happening.
Nobody is doing anything because they are waiting for the camera to get into place and we can clearly see this.
It makes the action feel so artificial and a chore to sit through.
The worst action scene is the one where Zuko, disguised as The Blue Spirit, frees Aang from his captivity.
There are so many mistakes with this action scene.
For one, we do not see Zuko and Aang working together until the end of the fight so we do not see that they work together well, like we did in the show.
There are also so many technical issues, like when Zuko swings his swords at nothing.
But the worst moment of the entire action scene is when Aang is surrounded by at least 50 Fire Nation soldiers.
Any one of them could attack and kill him at any time but they just stand there.
(I actually wish of them would kill him, it would mean the movie would be over a lot quicker.)
The action in The Last Airbender is just appalling.
In an adaptation of Avatar: The Last Airbender the action should be quick and stylized, just like the show.
The action needs to be exciting.
Avatar: The Last Airbending is a martial arts story, the action is incredibly important.
If the action is not done right then the movie will not work.

7. Do not make unnecessary changes

I understand that when adapting something, be it a book or animated show, you have to make changes because not everything will work in live action.
However, that being said, the changes made in The Last Airbender to the original source material is just mind boggling.
The changes made either bring up huge plot holes in the story, diminish the story greatly or flat out ruin future stories and character arcs.
One obvious change that everyone points to is placing the Earthbender prison on earth rather than a metal ship, like in the show.
This change makes absolutely no sense since the Earthbenders should have no trouble escaping the prison, due to it being made out of earth so when Aang gives his big speech about rising up it is not a triumphant moment because all you are thinking is, “way to go captain obvious.”
An even worse change was making Firebenders need to have preexisting fire with them when they bend, rather than generating their own fire.
Shyamalan made this change because he thought it was unfair for the Firebenders to be able to generate their own element, while the other benders had to have their element around them in order to bend it.
But this was the point.
It was supposed to be an unfair fight because then it made sense why the Fire Nation had been able to take over mostly everything.
If they have to bend from preexisting fire then how have they been able to take over most of the world?
All the other Benders would need to do is put out all their fires when they fought and they would win the war.
But the worst change made in the entire movie was not a big plot detail but a single line of dialogue.
When Aang goes to get advice from the Dragon Spirit about how to defeat the Fire Nation the Dragon Spirit says this: “As the Avatar you are not meant to hurt others.”
This line of dialogue may seem insignificant but it flat out destroys Aang’s character arc throughout the entire series.
In the final four parts of the show it was a big dilemma for Aang if he should kill someone but if the Avatar is not supposed to hurt people then that means previous Avatars have ended situations like Aang’s peacefully before so therefore there should be no dilemma.
If the Avatar is just not supposed to hurt others then it completely eliminates that inner conflict so Aang’s entire character arc is destroyed.
The changes made in this movie around beyond ridiculous.
They add nothing to the story and only generate huge plot holes or ruin stories and character arcs.
The things that were changed did not need to be changed, they were fine the way they are.
Something should only be changed if it does not work in live action and all three of the changed things I mentioned would have worked in live action the way they did in the show.

8. Include important storylines and characters

suki
Along with changing things about the story however, the movie also removes incredibly important storylines and characters as well.
If a sequel to this movie had got the green light, Shyamalan would have royally screwed himself because of the incredibly important things he left out of the first movie.
Suki and The Kyoshi Warriors, Roku and the past Avatars and the hints to the White Lotus organisation, all of these very important things are missing in the movie.
So much is missing that it would have really badly affected the second movie.
If Suki and The Kyoshi Warriors do not exist in this world then how does Azula take over Ba Sing Se?
Azula captured Suki and The Kyoshi Warriors, took their outfits and disguised herself and her friends as them and used this to infiltrate Ba Sing Se to get close to the Earth King.
From here, she organised a coup with the Dai Li and took over the city.
But since Suki and The Kyoshi Warriors do not exist here, how is Azula supposed to infiltrate Ba Sing Se?
It is missing elements like these that would have ruined the story going forward.
These things were essential to the plot but they were entirely left out.
However, the most egregious thing missing from The Last Airbender is the spirit Koh and the Ocean Spirit using Aang to turn into a giant monster to defeat The Fire Nation attack.
It was a shame that these two things were not in the movie because they establish so much.
First we have Koh the Face Stealer, a spirit who will steal your face if you show any emotion when talking with him.
Koh is an incredibly disturbing character and brought so much fear and tension to the show.
He also showed the power of the spirits and what some were capable of.
Then, we have the Ocean Spirit using Aang’s power to turn into a giant fish monster, after the Moon Spirit is killed.
Once again, this would have helped to show the power the spirits hold in this world and set up their future importance, like when the Lion Turtle gave Aang the ability to remove another’s bending.
(Although the Lion Turtle is technically not a spirit it still is a mystical creature so seeing Koh and what the Ocean Spirit could do really set that up in the show.)
Having this happen would also have served as a great climax for the film and would have awed the audience with what power the spirits and the Avatar held.
Instead this is replaced with Aang just forming a massive wave to scare off The Fire Nation, which is such a let down.
If there is going to be a good Avatar: The Last Airbender adaptation then these things need to be included in it.
Removing things characters like Suki and The Kyoshi Warriors would only diminish the story going forward and not featuring the scenes with Koh and The Ocean Spirit removes all the intensity that final episode of Season One had.
These things have to be included or the story will not work as well.

9. Deliver good exposition and show don’t tell.

As I have said previously the exposition is a huge problem in The Last Airbender.
First of all, it is everywhere.
We have not time to get to know the characters because nearly every single line of dialogue is exposition.
Like I said in my first point, this is because they compacted an entire season into a single movie.
If you want to have the characters be memorable through their dialogue and actions you need to give them time to breathe, give the audience time to know them and do not have them constantly spew exposition the entire movie.
However, the exposition is not only bad because it goes on the entire movie, it is also bad because of how poorly it is delivered.
For one, it is completely unnecessary in many scenes.
The worst example of this is Katara’s constant narration.
She either tells us what we already know or things as we are seeing them happen.
For example, when they go to The Southern Air Temple, Katara tells us Aang’s backstory when he literally told us the exact same story not ten minutes ago, we do not need to hear it again.
Then when the characters arrive at The Northern Water Tribe, Katara explains everything that is happening, like presenting themselves to the royal court, Aang revealing he is the Avatar and Sokka and Yue falling in love.
The problem is we do not need Katara’s narration in this scene.
We can see the characters being introduced to Princess Yue, we can see Aang showing everyone he is the Avatar and we can see Sokka and Yue have a thing for each other, we do not need Katara explaining things we can already see.
Not to mention that the exposition defies a common rule in storytelling, show don’t tell.
Instead of showing us what is happening in the story they just explain it.
For example, we get an entire scene of Katara and Sokka’s Grandma explaining why she thinks Aang is an Airbender.
Why not just have Aang airbend when Katara and Sokka meet him like he did in the show so we know he is an Airbender?
Even worse is the exposition scenes about Aang and Zuko’s backstories.
In the show their backstories are shown as flashbacks and we see them happening side by side so we can see these two characters are actually very similar.
However, in the movie we just get other characters talking about their backstories.
We only get small flashes of what happened and they lack any emotion.
They do not even appear side by side so we do not see the parallel between the two characters, which was incredibly important.
But there is one other bad thing about the exposition and that is it does not explain everything.
For a movie that is 90% exposition it sure leaves some very big questions.
For example, in the show’s intro everything was explained, we weren’t left with any questions.
However, the movie’s intro goes even longer than that and it does not even explain everything.
After the intro the audience does not know that The Fire Nation has invaded the rest of the world, that the war has being going on for a hundred years or that all the men have left The Southern Water Tribe.
These are incredibly important plot points for the movie and it does not explain them.
It really does show why this movie is so awful when it is 90% exposition and even that exposition is not handled well at all.
When adapting Avatar: The Last Airbender you need to explain everything in the intro so the audience is not left with any questions.
More importantly you need to show not tell.
The reason the movie is so boring is because the characters are constantly trying to explain everything to the audience when just seeing it happen would make us understand it.
We do not need an explanation of Aang and Zuko’s backstories we need it see them, in their entirety, in order to understand who they are as people and to connect with them.
If this is not done properly then the adaptation will fail spectacularly, which this movie did in spades.

10. Include the music from the show

Now this point is not an absolute necessity.
You do not need to have the music from the show to make a good adaptation of Avatar: The Last Airbender.
In fact, I would argue the music by James Newton Howard, is one of the only good things about the movie.
However, the music in the movie does not hold a candle to the greatness of the original music from the show.
The music in Avatar: The Last Airbender was perfect.
It could be thrilling, engaging, even tear educing when played along the right scenes, like when Iroh celebrates his son’s birthday.
The music perfectly fit the scenes and what was happening and even felt relevant to the show with the Asian culture it was set in.
You could not only use the music from the show in the adaptation to great effect but you could also add to the music.
It has been over a decade since the show first aired, you could make the music sound more epic or even get the composers from the show to write new pieces for the adaptation.
It could really help the adaptation to have the original music and also an advancement on it.
But, like I said, you do not need this to make a great adaptation of Avatar: The Last Airbender but it would certainly go a long way.

11. Hire the right director

shyamalan
I saved this point for last because it is by far the most important.
This is because almost every since problem with The Last Airbender can be traced to M. Night Shyamalan.
He wrote the script, he cast some of the actors, he directed those actors, he shot the action scenes, he decided to remove important storylines and changed the story to the point where it would make no sense going forward.
To put it simply, Shyamalan was one of the worst people who could have chosen to direct an adaptation of Avatar: The Last Airbender.
Shyamalan only knows how to make one kind of movie, confined thrillers.
This is why his movies The Sixth Sense, Unbreakable and Split work so well, because Shyamalan is an expert at filming these kinds of movies.
However, whenever he tries to step outside those bounds and include a wider world context, like he did with The Happening, After Earth and of course The Last Airbender, he fails spectacularly.
The signs were already there that he could not make a movie adaptation of the show but he was chosen away.
When choosing someone to write and direct an adaptation of Avatar: The Last Airbender, you need to pick someone who knows how to write and direct a project like that successfully.
Someone who can make action exciting and create developed characters effectively in a story like this.
But the biggest reason Shyamalan should not have been chosen to direct this movie is because, despite what he says, I do not believe he respects Avatar: The Last Airbender.
Why else would he change the characters from such likable people to former shells of what they used to be?
Why else would he remove important plot points and add new ones that ruined the story?
And why else would he not try to extend the story in order to give it more time to breathe and be fleshed out so not every single line of dialogue was boring, worthless exposition.
The most important thing to do when adapting Avatar: The Last Airbender is to choose a director, who not only knows how to direct this type of series, but also respects the original source material enough to know how to adapt it to live action correctly and not butcher it.

 

Conclusion:

The Last Airbender is awful.
It is one of the worst adaptations of all time.
It fails not only as an adaptation but as its own stand alone movie and this really is a shame because it has drug the legacy of a fantastic show through the mud.
Even though I only first watched Avatar: The Last Airbender a few months ago, I already know this one of the greatest epic tales I have seen.
It deserves to be ranked up there with other fantastic stories like Star Wars, Lord of The Rings and Harry Potter but it is not because of this horrible train wreck of a movie.
If the movie had been good it would have firmly established the show as the master storyteller it is, but now when people look back on it they only see an awful film.
I would like to see another adaptation of the show because I want to see it done justice.
I want to know what Avatar: The Last Airbender would like in live action only, you know, good.
But honestly, I can’t see this happening, considering how much the movie has butchered the show’s legacy.
I can only hope that one day, if someone chooses to adapt Avatar: The Last Airbender, they take the same things about the show to heart as the rest of us do.
Until then we’re stuck with this butchered, mess of a film.
But at least we still have the show because, despite the movie’s awfulness, it cannot take away from what is undeniably a fantastic show that I will continue to watch for years.

Issue 174 of The Walking Dead brings us the moment we have all been waiting for since Issue 100.

5 stars
Finally after 74 issues, we finally got the scene we all wanted to see in The Walking Dead.
Going into Issue 174, A Solitary Life, I was actually pretty concerned.
So far, this story arc of The Walking Dead was not really doing it for me.
The conflict between Rick and Dwight seemed unnecessary and tedious, The Princess character was annoying and Beta met a hugely unsatisfying end.
I was really concerned that Issue 174 would suffer the same fate Issue 173 did, by giving us an unsatisfying death, that death being Negan’s.
I actually thought there was a high possibility Negan could die in A Solitary Life because I did not really think he had a place going forward in the story.
Thankfully though, he does have a place because Negan survives… for now at least.
The Issue starts with, well, Negan being Negan.
He is picking a flower to put on Lucille’s grave, while talking to it with his usual profanity of constant F bombs.
Negan remains a delight to watch and I really am surprised how much I have come to like him as a character, despite what he has done.
When we meet The Governor he was a character I loved to hate but Negan has become a character I hate to love.
He is just fascinating to watch and I really liked his arc in this Issue.
As the Issue goes along, we see Negan find another baseball bat and, after some debate, decides to create a Lucille 2.0.
However, he is then interrupted by Maggie holding him at gunpoint.
This is something we have wanted to see since Issue 100, when Negan killed Glenn, Maggie confronting him about it.
This scene was really moving and was obviously major turning points for both Maggie and Negan.
I particularly like how Maggie says all she can remember of Glenn is him with his bashed in skull, screaming her name in agony.
It is a chilling moment and really illustrates how much Glenn’s death still weighs on Maggie.
Negan’s reaction also surprised me.
I knew he regretted what he had done but I never thought he actually felt guilty about it.
Negan has said he has not felt emotions since his wife’s death so I felt it would be unrealistic if he was guilty about killing Glenn, however Kirkman handled this extremely well.
Negan compares Glenn to Lucille and feels guilty because he took someone’s Lucille away, when he lost his own.
It really brought you into Negan’s perspective.
Negan even wanted Maggie to kill him but Maggie refused, saying he is not worth it.
After this, it is clear that Maggie and Negan’s confrontation has changed the both of them for the better.
Maggie is able to seemingly put Glenn’s death behind her when she kisses Dante, who is hilariously left stunned by this and Negan has also seemed to put Lucille’s death behind him as well because he burns the second Lucille he had built.
This was a fantastic Issue.
It was great to see such an excellent issue, after the last few have been mediocre at best.
Negan was fun to watch, as always, and watching Maggie confront Negan about Glenn’s death and how they both grew from this confrontation was so satisfying.
It made me wonder where both characters would go in the future.

Wonder not only shows the perspective of its lead character but those around him as well.

4 and a half stars
“You can’t blend in when you were born to stand out,” Izabela Vidovic, who plays Olivia “Via” Pullman in Wonder, says.
Well, ahmen to that because Wonder is a great film that teaches us its OK to stand out.
The film is based off the bestselling novel of the same name, by R.J Palacio.
Jacob Tremblay stars as August “Auggie” Pullman a boy born with Treacher Collins Syndrome, a condition that has affected him his entire life.
Because his parents, played by Julia Roberts and Owen Wilson, are afraid of how other kids will treat him, Auggie has been home schooled for most of his life.
The film centers around Auggie entering the fifth grade and the struggles he and his family encounter because of this.
Wonder is a touching movie that had me smiling at how sweet of a character Auggie was, which was helped due to Tremblay’s great performance.
Tremblay truly is one of the best child actors out there today.
There is also the practical work that was done to make Tremblay look like a kid who had Treacher Collins Syndrome.
It is highly realistic looking, which helps the film a lot.

Auggie
Jacob Tremblay as Auggie

Along with feeling happy however, the movie also made me feel angry when I saw how some people treated his character.
I was practically astonished when, in one scene, even one of the bullies’ own mother showed disgust towards Auggie.
It really did open my eyes to show that it is not just kids that treat people like Auggie badly, anyone can.
Thankfully, the bullying in Wonder is handled realistically and this does feel like a real world situation.
But this film is not just about how Auggie struggles but how he triumphs as well.
I was left grinning from ear to ear when I saw this kid succeed and make friends, even though he had to go through some tough times to get there.
Wonder could also be incredibly funny at times.
There were quite a few pop culture jokes about Star Wars that left me in tears of laughter and there is even one particularly funny adult joke for older viewers (Don’t worry, the kids will not get it though!).
Another thing I really liked about this movie was we not only got to see how Auggie was dealing with his entrance into fifth grade but those around them as well.
Any other film would have only shown Auggie’s perspective but seeing how everyone else dealt with it was really refreshing.
We got to see his parents, Auggie’s new friends and even the bullies’ perspective on things.

owen and julia
Julia Roberts and Owen Wilson as Auggie’s parents.

We even got another storyline with Auggie’s sister Via.
Although, this storyline was not as good as Auggie’s one and did not really end correctly.
The end to Via’s story just felt really rushed, in my opinion.
Other than that though, this was a really good movie.
It has tonnes of heart and left me feeling happy, angry and sad at multiple times and really did teach me a few things.

Time for Eugene to die after this episode of The Walking Dead

four_half-stars_0
Contains Spoilers for The Walking Dead season eight episode seven, Time for After

The Walking Dead has delivered another fantastic episode with its seventh episode of season 8, Time for After.
This episode was another Saviour centered episode, just like episode five and, just like that episode, it is one of the best episodes of the season.
Eugene was a particular standout of this episode, with actor Josh McDermitt doing a great job.
It was exciting to see Eugene’s character arc in this episode and I loved how it was symbolized.
When Eugene is having a conversation with Gabriel, (the same one they had in the comics, only much earlier) light is covering Gabriel, giving him an almost angelic look while Eugene is covered in shadow, foreshadowing him doing darker things as he helps Negan rather than his friends.
I also loved the scene where Eugene had an outburst at Gabriel after witnessing many Saviours die.
McDermitt gives his best performance on The Walking Dead in this scene.
However, although McDermitt does give a great performance as Eugene, I can’t help but fear that his time on the show might be over by season eight’s end.
It really does not feel like Eugene is redeemable at this point so I think it is likely he could die some time this season.
eugene
Another character given time to shine in this episode was Dwight, who had various interactions with Eugene.
Although these scenes were great, it did make me wonder why Dwight did not just shoot Eugene during their rooftop confrontation.
Dwight is clearly not above murdering Eugene and it would be pretty easy to make it look like an accident so Negan would not suspect anything.
Then we get get the second storyline of the episode with Daryl, Tara, Michonne and Rosita going to attack the Saviours, going against Rick’s plan.
Thankfully Rosita and Michonne do not go through with it.
I was really glad to see Rosita be against the plan because it shows how much she has grown since last season.
However, Daryl and Tara still went through with the plan and this possibly led to the Saviours escaping at the end of the episode.
I like Daryl and Tara but these two need to keep a clear head or they are going to get people killed.
The final storyline in this episode saw Rick bring Jadis and the trash people over to their side.
It was very exciting to see Rick be able to defeat a Walker and three of the trash people, including Jadis, while tied up.

null
Although, I was kind of hoping Rick would just kill Jadis because of how annoying she and her trash people are but whatever.
Then we get the closing moments of the episode where Rick sees, much to his horror, the Saviours have escaped.
And, if the trailers are anything to go by, the mid-season finale will be brutal.
There was also the announcement that there will be a big death next episode so we will probably get the question of what Rick was crying about in the first episode of season 8 answered.
There is also a spoiler floating around about who it is that dies and I hope it is wrong because I hate getting spoiled.
Overall Time For After was one of the best episodes of The Walking Dead season 8.
Like most of the episodes so far this season, it would not get on a top 10 list but it is still a really great episode.

Avatar: The Last Airbender, not just a kids cartoon but a sprawling epic.

5 stars
Unlike most fans of Avatar: The Last Airbender, I did not grow up watching the show.
I knew of it but I never watched it.
In fact, my first exposure to the show was the live action movie and we all know how that turned out.
So, imagine my surprise, when I learnt that a lot of reviewers I listen to considered this to be one of the greatest TV shows of all time.
After hearing this I naturally had to check it out and watch all three seasons of the show.
And you know what?
They were right.
Because Avatar: The Last Airbender is one of the greatest TV shows I have ever seen.
It is right up there with Death Note, Game of Thrones and Westworld, for me.
This surprised me to no end because, before this, I considered the show to be nothing more than a kids cartoon like Spongebob Squarepants.
But Avatar: The Last Airbender is not this.
Instead of your average kids cartoon the show is a sprawling epic, full of likable characters, engaging stories and excellent use of world building.
If I had one criticism of the show, it would be that initially it does not appear to be the epic story that it is.
The first episode did not really grab me like most of my favourite shows’ first episodes did.
However, after the first few episodes, the show expands its storytelling, creating a complex world and characters that left me engaged from start to finish.
The plot of the show feels more like an epic tale like Lord of The Rings.
The plot is that the world is divided into four nations, Earth, Water, Air and Fire, and each of these nations is able to control their own individual element.

Avatar map
Map of the four nations seen in the show.

The Avatar is the only one who can control all four elements but he disappeared 100 years ago, allowing the Fire Nation to invade the other nations in an attempt to take over the world.
100 years after the Avatar’s disappearance, Water Tribe siblings Katara and Sokka discover the Avatar, a kid named Aang, frozen in ice.
After freeing him the three set out on an adventure to stop the Fire Nation and save the world.
This is a really great premise and it is helped by the show’s storytelling, with each episode expanding our knowledge of the show’s world and its characters.
In fact, the characters are some of the best out of any show I have ever seen.
Every character stands out, from the heroes to the villains.
Aang is a lovable naive kid with a great moral code, Katara is a motherly figure who stands up for her friends and Sokka may be the comedic relief  but he is also incredibly smart and is extremely useful to the group.
Chasing after them is Prince of The Fire Nation Zuko and his uncle Iroh.
These two are easily the best characters in the series, with Iroh coming across as the kind old man who anyone would like to have as their uncle and Zuko has, in my opinion, the greatest character arc of any character I have ever seen.
If you compare Zuko from the start of the show to the end he is a completely different person and watching him make this journey of personal growth across the series was nothing short of enthralling.
And as the show went on even more great characters appeared like Toph, Azula, Suki, Ozai and many more.
I could literally make an entire post about why these characters are so good.

Team Avatar
The three main characters Aang, Katara and Sokka along with their pets Appa and Momo.

These great characters mixed with the intriguing story make for some fantastic episodes that are some of the best TV I have seen, like The Storm, The Crossroads of Destiny and The Southern Raiders.
Even the filler episodes are great.
Avatar Day has nothing to do with the main plot, yet it is a great episode because of its intriguing mystery plot and funny moments.
And then there is The Ember Island Players, which is literally the only good clip show episode I have ever seen.
This episode actually did something creative with the clip show idea, turning it completely on its head.
When making a clip show episode, The Ember Island Players should be set as the standard for what makes a great one.

the ember island players
The Ember Island players in the only clip show episode that ever had me invested.

There were only a few stumbles with episodes like The Great Divide, and Nightmares and Daydreams but these episodes do not detract from the overall greatness of the show.
The show is further improved by its soundtrack, animation and themes, all of which are excellent.
The soundtrack and animation are so unique in their style that if I stumbled across the show on TV I would instantly know I was watching Avatar: The Last Airbender.
The themes of the show are also presented really well covering spirituality and balance.
All of this greatness culminates in the four part series finale Sozin’s Comet.
It feels like the creators of the show were holding back on the music and animation until the finale because the music and animation on display in these final four episodes is nothing short of fantastic.
The themes are also best displayed in these episodes and the characters go really well with them, especially Aang, who had a great character arc in these final episodes.
If you watch the final four episodes, I would suggest you watch them all together because it feels like you are watching a movie.
Sozin’s Comet was a fantastic way to end the series, which is surprising considering most shows go on for too long or have lackluster finales, while Avatar: The Last Airbender ended its story perfectly.

Avatar State
the four part Sozin’s Comet was a fantastic way to end the series

Honestly, I cannot recommend Avatar: The Last Airbender enough.
I loved the show and it left me wanting more so I cannot wait to check out its follow up series The Legend of Korra.
Avatar: The Last Airbender is a fantastic show that deserves recognition for the epic story that it is.

The Disaster Artist expertly portrays the artist behind the disaster.

4 stars
In 2003 one movie left the world baffled, confused and unsure of whether to laugh or cringe at what they were seeing.
This movie was The Room.
Written, directed, produced and starring the larger than life Tommy Wiseau, The Room is considered to by many to be the greatest worst movie ever made.
The acting is laughably bad, the story and characters are inconsistent and numerous sub plots appear and disappear at the drop of a hat.
Yet, despite this, the movie has persevered to become a cult classic, with sold out showings the world over.
This movie is a complete enigma so I guess it makes sense that someone would want to make a movie about it.
the room
James Franco turns out to be that person because, much like Wiseau, he both stars and directs The Disaster Artist, which is based off the making of The Room.
However, unlike Wiseau, Franco was able to make a really good film.
The Disaster Artists is fascinating to watch, not only for people who have seen The Room but those who have not as well.
Franco stars as Wiseau and his brother Dave Franco stars as Greg Sestero, Wiseau’s friend, who played Mark in The Room.
The film highlights Wiseau and Sestero’s friendship and how it lead to the making of The Room.
Both Franco brothers give fantastic performances in this movie, especially James Franco.
I was originally concerned that he would just do a Wiseau impersonation the entire film but my fears immediately disappeared as soon as he appeared on screen.
Franco is not just playing Tommy Wiseau, he IS Tommy Wiseau.
It was fascinating to watch this strange character interact with others, who are often shocked and freaked out by his mannerisms.
“Is this guy for real,” is a common reaction among the characters.

I did nauuuutt
Dave Franco is also great as Sestero and the film did a really good job of showing why he would befriend such an eccentric person.
The other actors, like Seth Rogen, also do a great job and there were even quite a few cameos in the film.
Although this did kind of take away from the film to be constantly going, “hey, is that who I think it is?”
The Disaster Artist is basically cut into two parts.
While the first part establishes Wiseau and Sestero’s friendship, the second part focuses on the making of The Room and this is where the movie really gets good.
Like Franco’s performance, I was also concerned about how the film would portray the making of The Room.
I was worried it would just be a bunch of jokes and scenes that only those who had seen The Room would understand.
However, once again, the movie surprised me.
While it certainly does have jokes about The Room, the audience is never left out.
It is explained why these scenes do not work in the film and in a very funny fashion.

making the room
Another thing I liked about The Disaster Artist was it did not deliberately set out to mock The Room.
It would have been easy to make fun of Wiseau and how he completely misunderstood how to make a film but the movie does not do this.
Although the movie does sometimes poke fun at Wiseau, it also portrays him in a way that makes you root for him.
We all have dreams of becoming famous or making something that people will appreciate that do not always work out and it is very engaging to watch Wiseau’s journey to actually accomplish it, even though it does not turn out like he hoped it would.
In fact, my favourite part of the movie was the ending, where it was established why this film is so ingrained in pop culture.
It left a smile on my face.
However, not all is perfect as the camera work sometimes stumbles a bit.
Most of the shots are hand held and this does not work for some scenes.
It felt like some of the scenes should have been static shots and, with the camera constantly moving around, it felt a bit jarring at times.
Still, The Disaster Artist is an enjoyable and oddly inspirational film that shows why The Room has become the cult classic it is today.
It made me want to go and re-watch The Room so I could both laugh and cringe all over again.

The Walking Dead delivers its weakest episode of season eight so far.

3 stars
The Walking Dead season eight has been pretty good so far.
There have been no standout episodes but every episode has been above average and often great.
This changes with the sixth episode, The King, The Widow and Rick.
I do not think this is a bad episode but it is average, at best.
Compared to the rest of the season, there is not much happening in this episode.
The biggest event of the episode was Rick being captured by the, oh so annoying, trash people, although it is obvious he will not be a captive for long.
Rick’s storyline was the shortest in the episode, as it only had a few scenes.
It opened moments before Rick arrived at the Junkyard, with Jadis constructing ornaments naked… for some reason.
Then Rick arrives and, one intro later, Jadis greets him, having put on her clothes in record time.
Seriously, how did she put on her clothes so fast?
Anyway, we finally learn why Rick was taking Polaroids of their victories against the Saviours, when he uses this as proof of their failures.
Jadis, however, locks Rick up anyway.
Although, it is obvious that Jadis will eventually join Rick, it is good that she said no because it would have been highly unrealistic had she said yes.
rick and jadis
Meanwhile we get a scene with Rosita and Michonne, trying to stop two Saviours from delivering a truck playing Opera music that will lead the Walkers at the Sanctuary away.
During this scene, Rosita blows up one of the Saviours with an RPG, which I found to be incredibly stupid.
They then meet up with Daryl and Tara and go to attack The Sanctuary, going against Rick’s plan.
I know they want revenge but this is a really stupid idea.
Why would they go against Rick’s plan when it is clearly working?
I hate it when the characters make stupid decisions just to advance the plot, when there were clearly other ways of doing so.
This storyline was by far the weakest of the episode.
Speaking of characters doing stupid things, Carl helps Siddiq kill some Walkers, when there is no reason to do so and nearly gets himself killed.
It felt like a gimmick to increase the tension of the episode, when really it just made me roll my eyes.
Although, Siddiq does seem like an interesting character.
I thought the character was someone else, other than Siddiq, but I was wrong about that.
I really did like how he remembers almost every single Walker he has killed, it was pretty funny.
carl and siddiq stupid
Meanwhile with the king storyline, we see how the deaths of Ezekiel’s people and Shiva is affecting him.
We get a very moving scene between Ezekiel and Carol that makes it seems like they will get together after all.
However, the writers seem to be forgetting that Carol was already in a relationship with Tobin so hopefully they resolve that and do not make it just a forgotten plot thread.
Besides, The music in this scene was excellent and perfectly reflected what was happening.
Despite the episode being the weakest of the season, for me, it definitely had the best music.
Finally we get the widow storyline, with Maggie deciding what to do with the Saviour prisoners.
This was my favourite part of the episode because we got more of a sense of who some of the Saviours are and it possibly hinted at a future storyline.
I like that we are seeing good Saviours as well as bad ones.
prisoners
The Saviour Dillon looks to be an interesting character going forward, due to his reluctance to fight and risk everyone’s lives.
He is a great contrast to Jared, in that regard because the two are polar opposites.
Gregory being locked up with The Saviours is also interesting because it raises the possibility of Gregory’s storyline happening much earlier than it does in the comics.
However, other than that, there really was not that much interesting happening in this episode.
Michonne and Rosita’s storyline felt more like filler to get them to join up with Daryl and Tara so they could go to The Sanctuary.
Rick’s storyline was very brief and offered so surprises because we saw that he got captured in the trailer and, although Siddiq seems like an interesting character, the scene with him and Carl killing Walkers was stupid.
The storylines at The Hilltop and The Kingdom were the only interesting ones but The Kingdom’s storyline was really short.
Then there was the fact of how stupid many of the characters were being just for plot convenience.
Overall a very average episode, with nothing exciting happening.
Hopefully we will get more next episode.

Death Note, an anime that is a masterpiece to a person who does not typically watch anime.

5 stars
You know, I am not a big fan of anime.
The only anime series I had an interest in was Dragon Ball and its subsequent series because I grew up watching it.
If a good anime was on TV that I had heard good things about, I would watch it but I had never considered any anime to be one of the greatest TV series I have ever seen.
However, all this changed when I saw Death Note.
Oddly enough, I have the notoriously hated Death Note Netflix adaptation to thank for discovering this series.
I saw many reviews condemning the movie for how it differentiated from the anime and manga, in the worst of ways.
Many people drew comparisons to the anime in their reviews and this is where my interest peaked.
Reviewers talked about amazing characters, themes of religion and what justice is and all of this wrapped up in an exhilarating cat and mouse game between two geniuses.
I made sure to buy Death Note as soon as I could and I was stunned at how incredible this show really is.
Death Note is a show with almost no action and yet every episode was so intense and had me on the edge of my seat to see what would happen.
The Death Note anime is actually an adaptation itself of the manga series, with the same name.
It follows Light Yagami, a high school student in Japan, who comes across the Death Note, a book that can kill anyone if you write their name in it.
Accompanied by a Shinigami, a god of death, named Ryuk, who acts as a spectator, Light takes on the name Kira and sets out to rid the world of criminals by using the Death Note and create a new world, where he is God.
However, Light’s goal is not secure because the world’s greatest detective L, who becomes aware of the mass killings of criminals, sets out to catch Light.
And so begins an intense game of cat and mouse between the two, with Light trying to kill L before he is caught by him and L trying to catch Light before he is killed by him.

deathnote
If I could describe Death Note in one word it word be fascinating.
Everything about Death Note is fascinating, from its religious themes and it presenting the question of what justice is to the audience, to Light and L’s game of cat and mouse.
It was amazing to watch these two geniuses try to outsmart one another through their constant, expert use of lying and manipulation.
I was astonished by how quick the two were to constantly outsmart the other’s full proof plans.
The conflict between Light and L was the definite highlight of the series, amplified by how great both characters are.
L was definitely my favourite of the two, with his quirky characteristics and his amazing levels of deduction blending seamlessly.
It was a delight to watch him pose a serious challenge to Light, through his amazing abilities of manipulation and deduction skills, in ways that no else could.
His standout moment, strangely enough, comes when we do not know what he looks like.
It is in the second episode and truly shows how much of a threat he will be to Light’s plans for a new world.
The fact that L is such a great character, despite us knowing almost nothing about his backstory, even his true name, shows how great of a character he is.

L thinks
In comparison, Light is also thrilling and mysterious.
He is almost, if not just as smart as L but his Death Note gives him a considerable edge.
And, although Light is setting out to make a better world, his way of doing so and one of his main motivations raise serious questions about his morality and lead the audience to ask some very hard questions concerning their own morality.
Many people like Light and want his plan for a new world to succeed and this is actually quite amazing, considering that in any other series Light would have been the villain.
Although he is trying to make a better world by killing criminals, Light will stoop to no lows, killing completely innocent people if they get in his way and even goes as far as considering to kill his own family, when they get in the way as well.
Light also has a god complex, seeing himself as a god who will build the new world and punish anyone who defies him.
In the beginning, I was actually kind of rooting for Light but, by the end of episode 25, he had become a character I loved to hate and I wanted to see his downfall.
Light is also just as mysterious as L but not in the way you think because it is actually up for debate whether Light is evil or if the Death Note corrupted him.
At some point in the story Light temporarily loses the Death Note, removing all of his memories of it.
As a result, he becomes a law abiding citizen and would never do the things he did when he had the Death Note.
However, when he gets it back, he goes right back to his end game of creating a new world by any means necessary.
It raises some interesting questions about who Light is as a person.

Light
If either Light or L had been done even slightly wrong, the whole story would have fallen apart but to have both characters done so fantastically makes the story just incredible.
And Light and L are not the only great characters in the series.
Ryuk is also a great character and his role as a spectator had great importance because it was through him we learnt how the Death Note worked.
Other characters like Light’s father Soichiro and Light’s devoted follower Misa Amane are also great and have importance the story.
Two of my particular favourite characters along with Light, L and Ryuk are the two cops Touta Matsuda and Shuichi Aizawa, who were both interesting characters.
If you add this great cast of characters to its fantastic story and its themes of religion and justice, then you have an incredible show on your hands, which is exactly what Death Note is.
Death Note could do no wrong in my eyes.
But then episode 25 happened.
This episode is infamous among fans of Death Note because it completely shakes up the dynamic of the show.
Everything changes after this episode and the show feels very different from what is was before.
The problem with this?
After this point the show is great rather than fantastic
I still love the show after episode 25 but it is nowhere near as good as it once was.
Without the dynamic we had earlier, it feels like something is missing and some of the new characters are not as good as they could have been.
For example, after episode 25 we are introduced two new characters named Mello and Near, who L has been training to be his successors.

mello and near
These two characters are pretty weak compared to the other characters, with them being represented as types of L’s personality rather than actual characters.
Mello represents L’s emotional side, while Near represents his calculative side.
I just wanted a little more character development from them.
A lot of people seem to think the show should have ended after episode 25 but I do not believe this.
There was more story to tell and things to resolve so the remaining 12 episodes were necessary.
However, that being said, I do wish the show had maintained its original dynamic because, if it had, it would have been fantastic the entire way through.
And, even though after episode 25 the show had a downgrade in quality, the show was still great so this will not deduct a point from my overall rating.
Death Note is a masterpiece.
It is a fantastic anime and TV series that has you on the edge of your seat, even with the downgrade in quality after episode 25.
It has a great story, great characters and great themes and symbolism.
It is already one of my favourite shows, due to its gripping story that had me engaged, right to the end.
I highly recommend it.

 

What happened to Negan is no longer unknown in The Big Scary U.

5 stars

Spoilers for The Walking Dead Season 8 episode 5 follow.

The Walking Dead has delivered its best episode of season eight yet, with The Big Scary U.
The U, in this case, stands for unknown, as Gregory points out in the opening sequence, which is one of the longest, if not the longest, opening sequence in all of The Walking Dead.
This opening sequence goes on for a while but every moment of it is absolutely riveting, even though no action is happening.
Negan is scarier than he has ever been in this episode, as he yells at Simon for suggesting killing everyone at the Hilltop.
Jeffrey Dean Morgan is definitely the standout of this episode, delivering his best performance as Negan so far.
I cannot wait to see more of Negan in the rest of the season.
bloody negan
And it is about time we saw him too since both he, Gabriel and the rest of the main Saviours have been absent for four episodes.
It is kind of strange, considering that Negan is the leader of The Saviours and yet he has not been seen in the war since the first episode, although this is because Morgan had scheduling conflicts.
It was great to see the way Negan and Gabriel interacted this episode, with a scene ripped straight from the comics, when Negan reveals he had a wife to Gabriel… after Gabriel tries to kill him, of course.
Meanwhile, inside the Sanctuary, we see the remaining Saviours falling apart.
This gives us a clear indication of why Negan has been able to keep power so long, he is the only one of this group that can keep them together, no matter how extreme his methods are.
We got a really good look at who many The Saviours are, who we did not have a good sense of earlier, which I really liked.
First there is the new Saviour Regina, who we met in the season premiere.
We got a good look at who she is along with who Simon is.
Until this episode, Simon felt more like a generic henchman to me and I had no interest in him.
This episode changed that however as we saw how Simon reacts to this dire situation and we also got a sense of his backstory as well, if it was his backstory.
From what Negan says, it appears that Simon was in charge of The Sanctuary before he arrived and was incapable of leading.
This clearly translates to how things play out in The Sanctuary and it makes Simon seem like he will have a bigger role in the war to come.
simon broods
Also, Eugene has discovered that it was Dwight who is working with Rick and the others, although it appears he is keeping quiet about it, at least for now.
Hopefully he and Dwight will begin working together soon.
Finally we have a few scenes with Rick and Daryl, where we continue to see how dangerous Daryl is becoming.
He is willing to bomb The Sanctuary, even if it risks the lives of the innocent people inside.
Rick thankfully is against this and it leads to an interesting fight between the two.
This leads to a great callback to the first season with Rick telling Daryl “a choke hold is illegal,” which is what Daryl said when Shane choke held him in the first season.
The two then go there separate ways with Rick going to see Jadis and the Trash People.
However, along the way he sees a helicopter flying overhead.
I’m curious as to what this could mean for future storylines but also I’m wondering what is The Walking Dead’s deal with helicopters.
There was one in Season One, a second one in Season two, one in Fear The Walking Dead and now in this episode.
It is kind of weird how a helicopter is a recurring thing in the world of The Walking Dead.
helicopterjpg
Overall, this was a fantastic episode.
It is easily the best of the season so far, with great scenes like the one between Negan and Gabriel.
It is episodes like this that show The Walking Dead is not losing its cool.