Avatar: The Last Airbender getting live-action Netflix adaptation. Yip-yip-YIPEE!

Around 10 months ago, I created a post titled “11 ways to make a good Avatar: The Last Airbender adaptation.”
In that post I detailed everything I felt 2010’s The Last Airbender did wrong, in comparison with the fantastic Nickelodeon cartoon it was based on, Avatar: The Last Airbender, and how to fix these problems in a new adaptation.
I stated my hope that one day the series would get another live-action adaptation but found it to be highly unlikely, based on the tremendous disaster that was M. Night Shyamalan’s adaptation.
However, today I learned, much to my shock and excitement, that I was 100% wrong in that statement.
This is because it has been revealed that Netflix will be adapting Avatar: The Last Airbender in live action with the original show’s creators, Michael DiMartino and Brian Konietzko, at the helm as executive producers.
When I heard this I was literally cheering because not only does it appear that Avatar: The Last Airbender may finally get the treatment it deserves in live-action, but it also appears that DiMartino and Konietzko are aiming to fix the numerous problems we all had with The Last Airbender. 
Many of the things I mentioned that had to be fixed in my “11 ways to make a good Avatar: The Last Airbender adaptation” post seem to be top priorities for the creators as well.
Three of the big points I raised in that post about what a new adaptation would need in order to be good were that it had to be a series and not a movie, had to be helmed by people who respect the original series and the adaptation had to stay true to the character’s races and cultures.
Well, not only is the adaption going to be a series on Netflix that is being made by the original creators who obviously respect the show, but it also looks like they will fix the whitewashing seen in Shyamalan’s adaptation.
The pair addressed this head on stating, “we can’t wait to realize Aang’s world as cinematically as we always imagined it to be, and with a culturally appropriate, non-whitewashed cast. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime chance to build upon everyone’s great work on the original animated series and go even deeper into the characters, story, action, and world-building.”
This quote from the pair has very positive implications towards where this new adaption is heading.
Not only will it aim to represent the characters accurately but it also aims to build upon the show, hopefully in ways that do not contradict the original in a negative way.
It has also been revealed that the show will begin production in 2019 and when it will actually air on Netflix is anyone’s guess.
While some people are skeptical about this, I for one remain hopeful and very optimistic towards its quality.
That is not to say that I wholeheartedly believe this show will be good because its release date is very far off and a lot could go wrong between now and then.
But it will be a series, the right people are behind the project and they are aiming to fix the mistakes of the past.
I cannot wait to see the adventures of Aang, Katara, Sokka, Toph, Zuko, Iroh and all the others, in live-action.

Top 10 Avatar: The Last Airbender Characters

Avatar: The Last Airbender is one of my favourite shows of all time.
It not only has a fantastic story, along with animation, music, action sequences and themes but incredible characters as well.
Some of these characters are even among the best in television history so I am going to count down what I consider to be the top 10 best.
Before that though, I have a few honorable mentions of Commander Zhao and Firelord Ozai, who are good characters, just not good enough to get on the list.
So, these are who I consider to be the top 10 best Avatar: The Last Airbender characters.

10. Suki
Suki
When we were first introduced to Suki in Book One, episode four, The Warriors of Kyoshi, she seemed like a very interesting character but only one that would be recurring and not a part of the main cast.
This, for the most part, was true because we did not see her for the rest of Book One and she was only in a little of Book Two before she got captured by Azula.
It is in Book Three where she is made a part of the main cast after being rescued from the Boiling Rock Prison.
She would go on to take part in the final battle, helping Sokka and Toph destroy the Firelord’s airships, even saving them both at one point.
Suki may not get that much development, due to her limited screen time throughout the series, but she is still a really cool character due to her unique fighting abilities as a Kyoshi Warrior and her relationship with Sokka.

9. Mai
Mai

I am going to be honest and say that when Mai was first introduced I did not really care for her.
Yes, her skill with knives was pretty cool but character wise she just fit the trope of a moody uncaring teen.
The reason she is on this list though is due to her actions in the Book Three episode, The Boiling Rock Part 2.
It is in this episode where she betrays Azula to save her ex-boyfriend Zuko, leading her to say one of my favourite lines in the series, “I guess you miscalculated. I love Zuko more than I fear you.”
This was a really great moment for her because it showed her dedication to protecting those she cares about.
This along with the explanation of why she is so moody in the episode The Beach was enough to put her on my list at number nine.

8. Appa and Momo
Appa and Momo
Appa and Momo are basically the mascots of the show.
Appa, a sky bison, is Aang’s lifelong friend who has stuck with him through thick and thing and Momo was discovered as the last winged lemur in The Southern Air Temple.
Both stick with Team Avatar throughout the series and are mainly used for comic relief, especially Momo.
However, they also provide emotional moments for the show as well as Appa’s kidnapping was one of the big driving points for Book Two.
It was through the separation of Aang and Appa that we got a good look at how strong their friendship was through how both of them were reacting to their separation.
Appa was also very important to the show due to him being Team Avatar’s main form of transport.
While, Momo may just be comic relief and not important to the story he is still a lovable character that is shown to have a lot of heart, just like Appa.
Appa and Momo may be mascots but they are some of the best of any show.

7. Katara
Katara

Katara is the strong-willed mother figure of the series and provides a lot of emotional heart for the show.
I was genuinely surprised that I placed her at only number seven but that comes from no fault of her own, just that I like the characters further down the list more than her.
Katara herself is still a fantastic character who grows a lot from beginning to end.
In fact, some of the best episodes of the series are Katara centric like The Puppet Master, where Katara had to use the inhumane technique of Bloodbending to save her friends.
Then there was my second favourite episode of the series The Southern Raiders, where Katara and Zuko went to hunt down the man who killed her mother.
This episode had a lot of great growth for Katara, like with her going so far as breaking her vow of never bloodbending again when she thinks she has captured her mother’s killer, and her deciding not to kill Yon Rha but does not forgive him.
Throughout the show we have seen Katara at her best and lowest points presenting a strong character with a lot of emotional depth.

6. Aang
Aang.png

You might think it is a problem for me to consider the main character of the series, Aang, to be only the sixth best character but, like Katara, he is a fantastic character, just not as good as the ones further down, which shows how fantastic the entire cast of Avatar: The Last Airbender is.
Aang is the Avatar, the only one who can control all four elements and bring balance to the world.
It just so happens that he is also a fun loving goofball who would rather have fun with his friends than save the world.
This does not mean he is neglectful of his responsibilities though because, after realizing what his disappearance has done to the world, he takes on his responsibility as the Avatar, despite him never wanting to be.
Just like Katara, Aang grew a lot throughout the series, having matured a lot in the final episodes of Sozin’s Comet. 
We got a look at his tragic backstory in The Storm where it was revealed he ran away from home after he learned the monks were going to take him away from his adoptive father Monk Gyatso when he got frozen in the ice, dooming the world to 100 years of war.
Watching his journey from here to Sozin’s Comet was great to see and only made better with how his character arc played into the themes of the show.

5. Sokka
Sokka

Sokka may just seem like comic relief when you see him in the first episode but he is so much more than that.
You only need to compare him to the comic relief of the series’ follow up The Legend of Korra, Bolin, to see that Sokka is the perfect type of this character.
Bolin’s sole purpose in The Legend of Korra was comic relief so there was little to no depth with his character, while Sokka, on the other hand, had so much more depth despite being comic relief, thus making him a more interesting character.
He was the smartest person in Team Avatar, constantly figuring out ways for them to get out of tricky situations.
Even better, he got a lot of great character development as well, both through the relationships he had and his character arc.
We got to see him grow through his loss of Yue and eventually learning not to be too overprotective of Suki, when dealing with the aftermath of that loss.
Sokka’s feelings of inadequacy were also addressed in episodes like Sokka’s Master and The Day of Black Sun Part 1, and this all lead to him becoming an experienced warrior by the end of the series.
Sokka was a great character with a lot of heart.

4. Toph
Toph

Sokka may be the comic relief character but I always felt like Toph was the funniest character of the series.
Her blind jokes always got a laugh out of me.
Despite being blind, she is one of the most powerful characters in the Avatar series due to her unique sense of vibrations that allows her to fight in a very different style to everyone else.
She is a very fun character with a lot of spunk and heart.
Although she is one of the more underdeveloped members of Team Avatar, Toph is still one of my favourites because of her great personality.
We first meet her in The Blind Bandit fighting in a pro-wrestling match, a fantastic way to introduce her that really showed her characteristics and her skill set.
Toph also had many inspirational moments throughout the series, like her inventing metal bending in The Guru. 
This was an excellent scene that really showed Toph overcoming the odds.
Toph is a character who, out of everyone in the show, I would probably want to be friends with the most due to her fun personality and inspirational strength.

3. Azula
Azula

What can I say?
I love a great villain and Azula is the best one in the entire series.
She is not only my favourite villain in Avatar: The Last Airbender but one of my favourite villains of all time.
That shows what an excellent character Azula is.
Azula is, without a doubt in my mind, a complete and utter sociopath.
That may seem extreme for a Nickelodeon show but it is the only thing that makes sense.
She threatens her “friends” with physical injury if they do not join her mission, she taunts Sokka about what she has done to Suki and, worst of all, as an eight-year-old girl she celebrated when she learnt her father planned to kill her brother and laughed about it.
Yet, despite being a completely despicable person, Azula is still fascinating to watch.
Seeing her plan to overthrow the Earth Kingdom in The Guru and The Crossroads of Destiny was brilliant to see play out and her scolding line to Long Feng, “don’t flatter yourself, you were never even a player” is probably the biggest insult in TV history.
Then, despite all the terrible things she had done, the show actually succeeded in making me feel sorry for her at the end.
Watching her slowly descend into madness was very sad to see because she had gone from basically perfect in every way to a shell of her former glory.
The only problem I have with Azula is we do not know what happened to her.
I do know from reading the comics she escaped and is still causing trouble but she is not mentioned in The Legend of Korra and I just want an explanation as to where she is.
Azula is the best villain in all of Avatar and one of my favourite villains ever.

2. Iroh
Iroh

Iroh is the kind of guy who any person would be happy to have as their uncle.
He stuck by Zuko and supported him when no one else would.
Iroh has had some of the most emotional moments on the entire series as well.
When he celebrated his dead son’s birthday in The Tales of Ba Sing Se it was very emotional and his reconciliation with Zuko during Sozin’s Comet always makes me cry tears of joy at how beautiful it is.
Iroh always has great advice for people, as can be seen when he helps Toph in The Chase and is one of the most spiritual characters in the entire characters, except for the Avatar of course.
He also had his own little arc as it is revealed years before his son’s death he was a lot like other Fire Nation royalty as he planned to burn Ba Sing Se to the ground.
However, after Lu Ten’s death, Iroh became more spiritual and calm, joining the White Lotus when he realised what his Nation was doing to the world.
Iroh will do was is right above all else and is Zuko’s true father figure.
Heroic, kind and a father figure to everyone, Iroh is my second favourite Avatar: The Last Airbender character.

1. Zuko
Zuko
Honestly, who else could it be?
Zuko is not just the greatest Avatar character but one of the greatest characters of all time.
I know this might seem like a bold statement but I do not think I am exaggerating at all here.
Just look at his arc throughout the entire series.
He starts of as a conflicted villain, then becomes an anti-hero, then the conflicted villain again, until he finally realizes what is right and becomes a hero.
He goes through so much development throughout the series and all of it is excellently handled.
We got to see Zuko go from the conflicted, angered, banished prince to the confident, content, new Firelord.
It was not an easy journey, however, as Zuko made many mistakes along the way, most notably relapsing into his desire for his father’s approval by turning on Aang in The Crossroads of Destiny.
Despite this, we all saw that Zuko was redeemable through episodes like The Blue Spirit and Zuko Alone.
This all culminated in the two-parter The Day of Black Sun, where Zuko decided to do the right thing  and join the Avatar to help defeat his father.
Watching Zuko face off against Ozai after so much abuse from him was very powerful, especially when he utilized Iroh’s technique of redirecting lightening.
From here we had the satisfaction of, after so much great build up, Zuko redeeming himself by helping each member of Team Avatar and then facing Azula for the throne with Katara.
Zuko’s arc is one of if not the greatest character arc ever put to screen and watching him grow was a pleasure to see.
Zuko is, without a doubt, the best character in Avatar: The Last Airbender.

Top 10 Avatar: The Last Airbender Episodes.

I love Avatar: The Last Airbender.
Created by Brian Konietzko and Michael DiMartino It is easily one of my favourite, if not my favorite TV series out there.
Despite being a Nickelodeon show, Avatar: The Last Airbender managed to be so much more than just a kids show.
It had fantastic characters, a great story and themes, and amazing animation and music.
All of these factors combine to create some truly incredible episodes of television so I am going to list my top 10 favourites.
However, before that, I want to briefly mention the 10 episodes that I considered to go on this list but did not quite meet the mark.
So, here is numbers 20-11 of my favourite episodes of the show.

20. The Winter Solstice Part 2: Avatar Roku – Book One, episode eight. 
19. The Drill – Book Two, episode 13.
18. Avatar Day – Book Two, episode five.
17. The Desert – Book Two, episode 11. 
16. The Fire Bending Masters – Book Three, episode 13.
15. The Ember Island Players – Book Three, episode 17.
14. The Puppet Master – Book Three, episode eight.
13. The Blind Bandit – Book Two, episode six. 
12. The Avatar State – Book Two, episode one.
11. The Siege of the North Part One and Two – Book One, episodes 19 and 20.

These were fantastic episodes but were not as good as the ones I am about to mention, which are some of the best episodes of any show I have ever seen.
Without further ado here is my top 10 favourite Avatar: The Last Airbender episodes.

 

10. The Day of Black Sun Part One and Two – Book Three, episodes 10 and 11.

the day of black sun.jpg
This two part episode felt more like a season finale that halfway through one, with its amazing action and character development, along with the fantastic cliffhanger.
It follows Team Avatar and various recurring characters as they launch an all out assault on the Fire Nation during the Day of Black Sun, where an eclipse will render all firebenders unable to bend fire.
This is thought to be the perfect time for Aang to defeat the Firelord but, unfortunately, it is a trap set by Azula, who learnt of the invasion plan all the way back in Book Two.
The first episode of The Day of Black Sun serves to reintroduce the recurring characters and set up a feeling of hope before the battle, with Aang kissing Katara, however, this hope is dashed by the end of the episode when Aang unable to find Ozai in the throne room.
This leads into the second part where Aang, Sokka and Toph face off against Azula who is ready for them with her fighting skills and mind tricks.
By the end the invasion has failed and Team Avatar are forced to retreat with the younger characters while the rest of their army stays to surrender.
The actual victory of this episode does not go to them but to Zuko who, after two and a half books of development, finally takes a stand against his father and decides to join the Avatar.
The moment when Zuko redirects Ozai’s lightening gives me chills every time.
The Day of Black Sun is a great two-part episode with fantastic character moments, especially from Zuko, and leaving off with a feeling of despair.

 

9. The Guru – Book Two, episode 19.

The Guru

One word: chakras!
In all seriousness this episode had a lot of growth for numerous characters with Aang gaining spiritual guidance to unlock the Avatar State, Sokka reuniting with his father Hakoda after many years and Toph becoming the first metalbender.
Of all these growths, Toph’s is my favourite because the way she invents metalbending is shown by visualizing her vibration senses and Guru Pathik’s narration, which makes it very inspiring.
Toph is certainly “the greatest earthbender in the world.”
As for the other growths Sokka’s interactions with Hakoda did lead to some funny moments and Aang learning to unlock his chakras from Pathik, like Toph, was also very inspiring.
However, while this episode does have a lot of inspirational moments from its characters, it also has a feeling of dread throughout.
By the end of the episode Katara has been captured, a trap has been laid for Zuko and Iroh and Azula’s plan to conquer the Earth Kingdom is coming to fruition.
This combination of inspirational moments with an underlying feeling of dread prepares the audience for the insane finale that would follow this episode.
The Guru is a fantastic episode that gets you pumped for what is coming.

 

8. The Chase – Book Two, episode eight.

the chase

This episode starts out slow but it builds and builds to a hectic finale where one of the fates of the main characters is put into question.
After picking up Toph in The Blind Bandit it is in this episode that we see how Team Avatar interact with her, in particular Katara who has a problem with the way she acts.
These feelings are further amplified with the ever constant presence of Azula, Mai and Ty Lee as they relentlessly pursue the group.
This eventually leads to Toph leaving and encountering good old uncle Iroh and, in a heartfelt scene, the two give one another advice on how to deal with their problems.
It is with the chase itself though that most of the episode’s tension rises, as shown by the title.
The culmination of this building tension comes with the confrontation between Aang, Azula and Zuko in a ghost town, which makes for a great fight sequence.
It gets even better when Katara, Sokka, Toph and Iroh show up to help in defeating Azula, which leads to the shocking moment of Azula gravely injuring her own uncle with her firebending.
This was the second instance that displayed how deranged Azula could be and generated much fear for the fate of Iroh.
Overall, The Chase had a great build up to an intense conclusion and the episode ending with the characters having a much deserved rest.

 

7. The Avatar and the Firelord – Book Three, episode six.

the avatar and the firelord

The Avatar and the Firelord serves to explain how the Fire Nation started the war and to push Zuko further towards redemption.
It is here that we learn not only the backstory of Avatar Roku but Firelord Sozin as well, as the two were friends in their youth.
Roku relays this story to Aang and how his friendship with Sozin turned sour after he began making plans to spread Fire Nation influence by invading the other nations.
What follows is the tragic tale of their doomed friendship, which ends when Sozin leaves Roku to die in a volcanic eruption.
This episode had many other good elements as well by showing us what a fully realised Avatar could do, when Roku attacks Sozin and when he tries to delay lava and ash from destroying his home.
There was also Zuko’s storyline, where he learns he is not just related to Sozin but Roku as well, who is his great grandfather.
This bridged the gap towards The Day of Black Sun episodes, where Zuko would betray the Fire Nation to help Aang, and it was done really well.
It is the doomed friendship between Roku and Sozin that makes this a fantastic episode though because the writers managed to give it a tragic feel in only 23 minutes, which is a great accomplishment.

 

6. The Storm – Book One, episode 12.

The Storm

The Storm is an episode I hear a lot about when people talk about the best episodes of Avatar and justifiably so.
This episode delves into the backstories of both Aang and Zuko, detailing why Aang ran away and how Zuko got his scar.
Both are very tragic tales that help us relate to the two characters very well.
We see how both had seemingly good lives before one moment lead to it all crashing down.
For Aang it was being declared the Avatar and for Zuko it was speaking out at a war meeting against sacrificing Fire Nation lives.
After Aang was declared the Avatar everyone treated him differently and he was going to be taken away from Monk Gyatso, his adopted father.
This caused him to run away with Appa and getting frozen in ice, dooming the world to 100 years of war.
We got to see Aang’s pain and guilt as he relived running away, making him incredibly sympathetic.
It is Zuko, however, who has the more tragic past because after speaking out of turn in his father’s throne room he is forced to duel him.
Zuko refuses and this results in Ozai scarring him for life and banishing him until he can capture the Avatar.
This was a brutal moment that really brought understanding to Zuko’s actions and also gave us our first subtle hint at Azula, the best villain of the series.
The look that Aang and Zuko share as they both escape the storm is the best cut in the entire series as it shows how both are on similar paths, without knowing it.
The Storm made us understand Aang and Zuko better as characters and was the first hint of Zuko’s redemption.
I can clearly see why a lot of people love this episode and I do to.

 

5. Zuko Alone – Book Two, episode seven.

zuko alone

Zuko is the best character in all of Avatar and one of my favourite characters of any show and this episode really shows why.
In Zuko Alone, after splitting up with Iroh, Zuko encounters and befriends a young boy and his family in an Earth Kingdom village.
He teaches the boy how to survive, which is necessary because the village is being exploited by corrupt Earth Kingdom soldiers.
However, when these soldiers try to take the boy Zuko is forced to use his firebending to save him, exposing his true identity as prince of the Fire Nation.
This leads to everyone in the village, including the young boy, despising him and ordering him to leave.
This episode really puts the viewer into Zuko’s mindset and makes you feel for him.
He initially wants nothing to do with these people but grows to care for them, however, the moment he decides to stop looking the other way and help causes the people to hate him, due to his identity.
It is a sad life for Zuko, further established by the flashbacks to his mother’s disappearance.
However, this episode does not just establish more for Zuko but Azula as well.
This episode was the first time we saw how twisted she could be because, at only eight years old, she was laughing at and mocking Zuko when she learnt their father planned to murder him.
This episode established just how much of a sociopath she is.
But it is with Zuko where the heart of this episode lies because we see the difficulties he has with accepting his identity and what he really wants.
This episode made me really feel for Zuko and was a great continuation of his arc established in The Storm.

 

4. The Blue Spirit – Book One, episode 13.

the blue spirit

Speaking of The Storm, the episode following it, The Blue Spirit, was even better with another great continuation of Zuko’s arc.
After Katara and Sokka get sick, Aang has to go and get the cure for them, getting captured by the Fire Nation in the process.
However, just as it seems all is lost, a mysterious masked figure, known as the Blue Spirit, comes to rescue him.
After an exhilarating escape sequence the Blue Spirit is knocked out and Aang learns, much to his surprise, that his rescuer is Zuko, who was only helping him so he could capture the Avatar himself.
This leads to one of the most important scenes in the entire series where Aang stays by an unconscious Zuko’s side and, when he wakes up, asks if they could ever be friends.
Even though Zuko does attack Aang, the implications of this question are still huge for the series because it sets up Zuko eventually regretting what he has done and helping Aang defeat his father.
Watching Aang and Zuko team up to escape the Fire Nation stronghold, as well as being exciting, was also very important because it showed how well they could work together, which would later be seen in episodes like The Firebending Masters.
Episodes like The Storm and Zuko Alone may have foreshadowed Zuko’s redemption but it was The Blue Spirit that foreshadowed his eventual friendship with Aang.

 

3. The Crossroads of Destiny – Book Two, episode 20.

the crossroads of destiny

What a finale for Book Two this episode was.
The Crossroads of Destiny is a fantastic finale with the best cliffhanger of the series.
The feeling of dread felt throughout the previous episode, The Guru, comes to fruition here with everything that could go wrong happening.
Zuko helps Azula fight Aang thus betraying Iroh, The Earth Kingdom falls due to Azula’s plot and Azula appears to fatally wound Aang with a bolt of lightening while he is in the Avatar State.
Thankfully, Katara is able to heal Aang with water from the Spirit Oasis but for a moment it looked like the Avatar cycle was going to die with Aang.
This despair is further heightened with Earth King Kuei declaring that the Earth Kingdom “has fallen,” making an excellent cliffhanger to lead into Book Three.
This episode, along with these despairing scenes, had fantastic character moments as well.
Watching Azula outsmart Long Feng to take control of Ba Sing Se was thrilling to watch, along with Zuko deciding to help Azula and betray Iroh, who also got some great scenes when he showed why he was called The Dragon of the West and when he held off the Fire Nation siblings to help Aang and Katara escape.
There were also somber character moments as well when Aang had to let go of his feeling for Katara to enter the Avatar State.
With great character moments, an excellent final action sequence and all of this with a feeling of despair throughout, The Crossroads of Destiny is definitely The Empire Strikes Back of Avatar.

 

2. The Southern Raiders – Book Three, episode 16.

the southern raiders.jpg

The Southern Raiders deals with the conclusion not only of Katara’s thirst for vengeance against her mother’s killer but also of the antagonism she holds towards Zuko for his betrayal in The Crossroads of Destiny.
This episodes with, once again, a fantastic action sequence, which is a thing Avatar always gets right.
Watching Zuko battle an unhinged Azula was exciting and lead into the conflict between him and Katara with the scene where everyone is praising him at a campfire, only for Katara to point out how he betrayed them.
This makes Zuko decide to help Katara find the man who killed her mother and it is from this point that we see a different side to Katara.
She is full of hatred and plans to do terrible things to the man who killed her mother as can be seen with her using bloodbending, the forbidden technique first shown in The Puppet Master, on a Fire Nation soldier she mistakenly thinks is the killer.
This darker side to Katara was something we had never seen before and it was rather sad to see her go through this.
Her pain all culminated in the her confrontation with her mother’s killer.
While most shows would have done something cliche like have the killer reformed and have Katara forgive him, Avatar does something entirely different.
The killer, Yon Rha, is now nothing but a sad, pathetic, old man who offers to let Katara kill his mother instead of him.
He has become so pathetic that Katara decides he is not worth it and spare his life but does not forgive him.
However, this does lead her to forgive Zuko for his prior actions in a heartfelt scene.
While this episode does get rather dark and deal with heavy subject matter, it not without its funny moments as well.
When Zuko goes to ask Sokka about what happened to him and Katara’s mother and finds him waiting for Suki with a rose in his mouth always gets a laugh out of me.
The Southern Raiders is a dark episode that is not without humor, that displays themes of rage, grief and forgiveness.

 

1. Sozin’s Comet Part One to Four – Book Three, episodes 18-21.

Avatar Aang

Wow.
That is all I had to say when watching the four part series finale of Avatar: The Last Airbender, wow.
This was an absolutely incredible way to end the series and, combined, these episodes are the best the show has ever given us.
I thought about counting these episodes separately but, at the end of the day, I just could not do it.
These episodes need to be talked about as a collective whole because they all flow together to create one of the best finales in television history.
I am not kidding because everything that made Avatar such a fantastic show culminates in this finale.
It has by far the best music, animation, sound design, action and character moments of the entire series.
In the four part finale, Sozin’s Comet finally arrives pushing Aang into his confrontation with Firelord Ozai, which will decide the fate of the world.
Meanwhile Sokka, Toph and Suki go to stop the Firelord’s forces, Iroh leads the White Lotus to liberate Ba Sing Se, and Zuko and Katara face off against a completely insane Azula.
These final two episodes were amazing and really left the viewer with closure, while the first two episodes of this four part finale also served as fantastic build up.
Learning of the Firelord’s evil plan to commit genocide against the Earth Kingdom using the comet really set the stakes and watching Zuko tearfully reunite with Iroh always makes me cry.
This all builds up to the final two episodes with the battle for the fate of the world, with some truly fantastic moments.
One of these was the gradual decline of Azula’s sanity.
Watching a character, who had started off as a poised calculating villain, slowly transform into a deranged mad woman, who is left crying and struggling like a wild animal to escape, actually made me feel sorry for her.
The two big fights between Zuko and Azula, and Aang and Ozai are also the best of the series.
The big question of whether Aang will have to kill Ozai in the final fight is presented throughout the four episodes and it all culminates in the dramatic scene where Aang is able to defeat Ozai by removing his bending, a power given to him by a Lion Turtle.
This, to me, was very inspirational, seeing Aang overcome the odds and being able to end the war without resorting to taking a life.
The final moments of the last episode were also a great conclusion for the series with almost every character getting a proper send off.
Watching Aang and Katara kiss as the shot pans up over Ba Sing Se was a fantastic final shot for the series.
Sozin’s Comet is not just the perfect finale but one of the best series finales ever put to screen.
If you watch it, I would highly recommend watching all four parts at once because it flows together like a movie.
It is an excellent conclusion to an excellent epic.

The Legend of Korra Book One: A great start, which is almost ruined by an atrocious love triangle.

4 stars
I was pleasantly surprised when I watched the show Avatar: The Last Airbender.
What I originally thought was a show just for kids turned out to be a fun, inventive and thought provoking show that is now one of my favourites.
So, naturally after loving it so much, I had to check out the follow up series The Legend of Korra’s fist season, Book One: Air.
Book One follows the new Avatar, the titular Korra, on her adventure to bring balance to the world.
When I talk to people about both shows most people agree that Avatar: The Last Airbender is fantastic.
However, opinions on The Legend of Korra are rather mixed.
Some love it, some hate it and some just think it is okay.
Personally, I really enjoyed Book One of The Legend of Korra.
It is certainly no Avatar but, as long as you go in expecting that, you will have a really great time with it.
Over 12 episodes we are given a very real world scenario, instead of the basic save the world plot from the previous show.
I was amazed with how far the show went to talk about real world issues like bigotry, terrorism and radicalization.
It made it a very relatable story, since this stuff happens so often in our real world.
Another thing I really liked about the story was when it is set.
The Legend of Korra is set 70 years after the previous show and since then the world has entered an Industrial Revolution and is now in the timeline somewhere around the late 1800s to early 1900s.
This allowed the audience to get reintroduced into the world through its new technology, which lead to some very interesting concepts.

republic city
Republic City, where the story takes place.

Then there are the characters who, although not having the depth or layers that the characters of Avatar had, are very likable.
We not only got new characters like Mako, Bolin and Asami but we also got to see what the old characters were doing in the 70 years we missed.
We even got to see some of these characters’ descendants, like Tenzin, the son of Aang, and Lin, the daughter of Toph, both of which are very relatable.
My favourite of the news characters though, would have to be Korra.
Korra is essentially the mirror opposite of Aang and actually wants to be the Avatar.
She is confident and relishes in her identity.
Her first line in the series is literally ‘I’m the Avatar, you gotta deal with it!”
However, even though she loves her position as the Avatar, she is a flawed character, which makes her all the more relatable.
She has fears, weaknesses and the pressures of being the Avatar sometimes get to her.
Korra was definitely the most developed character.

korra kicks ass
Korra, the new Avatar, is my favourite character in the show so far.

I also really liked the villain Amon, who creates a terrorist organisation to get equal rights for those who do not have bending.
Amon’s goals are good and do seem like he has the people’s best interests at heart but it is the lengths he takes to achieve his goals that make him a villain.
This makes him a very interesting villain because we have not seen one in the Avatar series that wanted to make the world better yet, instead of just wanting to take over the world.
Now although I do think a lot of this content was great but could not surpass Avatar, there are two elements added to The Legend of Korra that most certainly did.
These elements are the animation and the music.
The animation has only got better since Avatar and it draws you in to every fight scene.
Even better is the music.
I could not count how many times I found myself in awe of this music because it was so good.
It fit the tone and style of the show perfectly.
However, not everything was done perfectly because there was one element of the show that almost ruined it for me.
What was this?
The love triangle.
I am going to be completely honest, I cannot stand love triangles.
They are unrelatable, unrealistic and just a really contrived way to create drama.
That being said, I could have accepted it and pushed it aside to enjoy a lot of the show… if the love triangle had not driven the plot at times.
The story constantly stops dead so it can beat you over the head with this love triangle and it is aggravating every time.

stupid love triangle
Asami looks at Korra and Mako jealously, another aggravating moment in this needless love triangle.

Worst of all, one episode is entirely driven by this love triangle and somehow expands it by turning it into a love square briefly.
This was episode five The Spirit of Competition, which is now the worst episode I have seen so far in the entire Avatar series.
Yes, it is even worse than The Great Divide from Book One of Avatar.
At least that episode had some enjoyable moments.
Here, I was unable to enjoy anything because it was all driven by the stupid love triangle.
It drove me nuts.
It is such a shame because if this love triangle had not been in the show then it would have been almost just as good as Avatar, but with it in there it it falls short.
Thankfully though, they seem to have wrapped up the love triangle by the end of Book One so, hopefully, I will not see it again when I watch Book One.
Overall, The Legend of Korra Book One was a great way to start the show.
It had a great story and setting, relatable characters and fantastic animation and music.
If it was not for the love triangle this would have been a fantastic start.

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 one 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 from 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 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 this 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 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 to 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 inducing 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 dragged 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 and Lord of The Rings 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.

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 recap episode I can remember.
This episode actually did something creative with the idea, turning it completely on its head.
When making a recap 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 recap 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.