top of page

I do not care what the internet says, I love Netflix's live action adaptation of Avatar: The Last Air Bender.

Aang activates the Avatar state for the first time and freezes himself in water.

Okay now let me be clear on this, as an avid Percy Jackson fan I believe it is completely reasonable to dislike oversimplification of your favorite property to its detriment.

And based on what I have heard, yes it definitely does seem like the avatar live action adaptation is guilty of dumbing down and over-condensing/oversimplifying certain aspects of the original Animated series especially in the story and character development department.

But then again, one must understand that most people don't think of a show from the perspective of a hardcore fan, they just want a good show.

And yes when source material exists and it is disrespected that is something that should be pointed out. As the original material was someone's hard work and bastardizing it is something that should always be looked down upon, especially when it is on an adaptation from a less general medium to a more general one.

Because not as many watch animation as watch live action.

So naturally more people are likely to remember what they saw in the live action adaptation than in the animated series. and as such if certain story elements are missing or cut out it does do a disservice to the original.

Sokka and Katara in the crystal cave.

But that is where I stop agreeing with those who are calling this show as trash. Because you see nine is less than ten but it is still greater than zero. And that is only working on a linear scale.

You see I hate ratings out of ten on shows and other media I mean yes, they are straight forwards and easy to read. But that is part of what makes them reductive and misleading.

See shows or any other media are multifaceted and multilayered, to reduce them to a single number is reductionist and never will fully describe any show for everyone; sure for every individual aspect, a show can be reduced to a score like the lighting for eg can be only objectively good or bad, cant be both.

and then you can take all of that and reduce it to a small score, but firstly 7+3 is also a ten and so is 5+5 and I think based on preference some will watch the 7+3 and others will watch 5+5.

So where is Avatar the last Airbender? well its definitely batter than Avatar Ang

A still from that godawful Avatar movie.

And so I find myself in the same conundrum that I did during my review of Percy Jackson, if the shitty movie didn't exist, would I still like this show?

Well I guess the answer is yes, now you see there are many downright bad changes this adaptation makes to the original, like for example, Bumi was originally meant to be a goofy somewhat loveable character who puts Aang through trials to make him more resilient, and in the show he's a corrupt politician.

But then again, the show does justify it because Bumi did fight a war for 100 years while the Avatar(from his perspective) disappeared.

Bumi attack Aang

Sokka isn't sexist in this one... now... I know calling that a bad thing is weird, but hear me out. Sokka is sexist because he was forced to be "the man" of the family at a very young age, just like everything else, his sexism is a flaw.

A flaw that he must overcome, and does by the course of the story, the absence of his sexism is felt particularly in the Kiyoshi warriors arc, now Suki falling for Sokka is just, yeah she found a foreign cute boy and she... liked him.

And also Sokka's overcoming sexism arc is replaced by him seeking the approval of his father... which isn't sold well, since its not well integrated into the story.

Sokka hears his father's disappointment in him.

It's very obvious why Sokka isn't sexist, it's to match him with modern sensibilities, but, sexism exists, and people do overcome it. and pretending it doesn't exist fixes nothing.

And while we are on that little nugget, this reveal of Sokka's insecurity happens in the spirit world, and the spirit world's presence is greatly reduced, and as a result, the spirit of knowledge is an exposition machine and nothing more, and Koh the face stealer has a reduced role. wow.

Koh the face stealer

Now if you will see clearly, we are once again falling to the trap we wanted to avoid, we are comparing it to something else, the show has particular flaws only when compared to the original, just like it is better when compared to that god awful movie.

but what if neither existed? as it's own thing, how is it? Well on it's own, it is a fantasy show with some pretty decent CGI and an amazing story to boot.

And while we are on good things, Aang doesn't learn any other elemental bending in this season, now that can be a bad thing if you look at it a particular way, but it also serves to make the main team that much more of an underdog and make the urgency that much more present, as Aang literally doesn't have the time to learn other bendings.

Ang destroys a fire nation projectile with his Air bending

Now I know someone is gonna say, that the original exists, and this is an adaptation and therefore inherently a part of the work is already done, and it should be judged only as an adaptation.

To that I will say, most people don't watch thing this way, to the casual audience, this is just another show with a good story and good CGI.

And I must emphasize, just because this is based on something, doesn't mean work didn't go into it. I get it, letting a bad adaptation slide, does set a bad precedent, and simultaneously, why does everything animated need a live action adaptation as if that makes it superior? But neither of that means the opinion of those who like it is any less valid.

And that is my main point for writing this article. it is correct to oppose this as a bad adaptation, but those finding enjoyment in it are also valid.

And while we are on good things, Azula is introduced much earlier, and she is a treasure

Azula in the live action Netflix adaptation of Avatar the Last Sirbender

Whatever, the show is amazing, go watch it, okay byee.


bottom of page