June 19, 2024
Avatar Airbender Season 1

Avatar Airbender Season 1 Review

 

Avatar Airbender Season 1 cast includes Elizabeth Yu, Ken Leung, Gordon Cormier, Kiawentiio, Ian Ousley, Dallas Liu, Paul Sun-Hyung Lee, and Daniel Dae Kim.

Albert Kim created it.

Michael Goi, the director

Netflix is the streaming service.

Language: (subtitled) English

Runtime: Eight one-hour episodes.

What It Concerns:

With high production values, a cast of well-known actors, and the timeless story of a reluctant hero out of time trying to find the strength to battle the tyranny of an empire—all the classic elements we loved from the original series—Netflix’s new live-action adaptation of Avatar: The Last Airbender brings Aang and his friend to the streaming service to retell the story of the animated show’s first season.

Examining the script:

The original animated Avatar Airbender Season 1 The Last Airbender indeed raised the bar for TV storytelling in general due to its distinctive characters, well-crafted storyline, and intriguing world-building. Therefore, it was not surprising when Hollywood chose to adapt the TV series into a successful blockbuster film. Unfortunately, M. Night Shyamalan directed one of the worst live-action adaptations ever, losing all the elements that made the original series a modern classic. The Netflix producers are a great example of what not to do in this regard.

The show feels the closest to the original material in this sense, while it also deviates from it in both positive and negative ways. Thankfully, Netflix has given the show’s producers eight full hours to tell the story of the first season, which concentrated mostly on Aang, our main character, having the bravery to return to the conflict he had previously fled from, unlike the Shyamalan movie, which only gave them less than two. The season does a fantastic job of telling the timeless story of the reluctant hero in Avatar: The Last Airbender. Though some alterations may enrage purist fans, there is still enough harmony to preserve the essence of the original.

Sometimes the dialogue feels forced as well, although this is also true of the performance, so it might be unfair to hold the writers responsible. The live-action series is more serious and aims to be more adult than the animation series, which is more lighthearted. This is the biggest shift in the writing, though. This is a double-edged sword since certain characters suffer from a lack of humor, and the darkest events lose their force as everything else falls into the same range.

Star Achievement:

The Last Airbender presents a solid mix of established characters and newbies, which fits perfectly with the narrative the show seeks to convey. The adult roles are all convincingly portrayed and feel quite natural. For instance, Ken Leung plays the villainous Commander Zhao to perfection, while Daniel Dae Kim feels like the ideal Fire Lord Ozai. These adult performers are all enjoying themselves immensely and playing their parts with conviction. The youngest cast members, though, don’t always deliver consistent excellence.

Although it would have been great to see more of the humor that made the character so enjoyable, Gordon Cormier does an excellent job portraying Aang. He can capture the physicality of the character as well as his most innocent side. Ian Ousley is excellent as Sokka; certainly, he is still the most humorous of the main three, but not as much as in the original because this adaptation of the program aims to be more serious. But Kiawentiio’s portrayal of Katara feels incredibly unrealistic; it lacks the spark that makes Katara such a joy to watch, and at times, her reactions seem incredibly forced.

Music & Direction:

The visual effects in Avatar: The Last Airbender manage to bring the world to life in a way that we have never seen before; the temples, islands, and creatures all look amazing, so props to the VFX teams that allow us to see Appa and Momo in all their glory, even though we would like to see more of them in every episode. The film feels expensive and in many ways surpasses the production quality of the Shyamalan film. Still, Zuko’s scar is incorrect; rather than appearing like a terrible burn, it now resembles a black eye.

The show’s direction and youthful actors’ performances may be its weakest points because they consistently adopt the TV aesthetic that characterizes a lot of streaming content these days. The majority of the battle sequences suffer from the terrible habit of having too many cuts, which means that the director mostly fails to produce action moments that look fantastic. Currently, the process of writing battle scenes seems outdated and laborious. Fortunately, the bending effects are well-executed and impactful.

Final Thoughts:

The acting in Avatar: The Last Airbender may not always be up to par, and the show may not always achieve the ideal tone balance that made the original animated series so remarkable, but overall, amazing production values allow the series to successfully preserve the spirit of the original and present the world of Avatar in the most spectacular way possible. I’m eager to see what the program accomplishes with the next stories, especially the dramatic ending, as there is a lot of room for improvement in the upcoming seasons.

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