Avatar: The Last Airbender


AVATAR: THE LAST AIRBENDER live action featuring all characters (IMDb)

Mea Marvin | Opinion Editor

March 17th, 2023

It was a Sunday night, boring with nothing to do. I wanted to wind down and relax but also not be engulfed in the pressures of social media. I picked up the remote and scrolled through Netflix, not really expecting to find anything interesting. That’s when my eyes did a double take. They had made my favorite childhood show into a live action!

That excitement quickly turned into skepticism, though. As we all know, shows, books, or movies that are made into a live action can be a hit or miss – and it’s usually a very bad miss. 

Still enthralled by exploring my old favorite, Avatar: the Last AirBender, I decided it was time to test the waters. I am so glad that I did. To my pleasant surprise, the producers of this show absolutely nailed it. The portrayal of the elements in bending seemed so realistic and the show’s plot was not butchered. They remained true to the original storyline but made the show even more impressive. 

ANIMATED VERSION of all the characters — see the resemblance? (Amazon).

Another important factor that I noticed is the fact that the show wasn’t overly-modernized. Many live action remakes attempt to make the characters more “relatable” by including in the script what they think is “slang” to most teenagers. I know I’m not the only one who doesn’t want to watch the painfully forced words “slay” and “rizz” stumble out of an actor’s mouth in the completely wrong context. 

Senior Ava Knochenhauer exclaims that “[she] is so excited to see how the rest of the live action progresses. It’s nice to watch something familiar but so alive at the same time.”

I was amazed by the accuracy of the characters that mirrored the animated version. This maintained the nostalgia of the older show but added a new element of excitement and realisticness to the series. It included a new sense of maturity to the film as well while keeping the mystical fun alive. 

The first season of the show only has about 8 episodes in it, but they all range from 47-63 minutes long. Each episode is action-packed and imaginative, leaving the audience with wonder and anticipation about what comes next. It was an amazing experience for me to revisit this show in a new light and I can’t wait to see how they portray the rest of the show. 

After watching the live action, I actually returned to the animated version and watched the entire thing through once again. I was shocked when I realized younger me never fully finished the show and I never knew how it ended! The ending was everything the end of a great show should be: exhilarating, satisfying, emotional, and wonderous. 

The show made me laugh and feel like a kid again for all of the best reasons. When I watched this show it allowed me to escape the pressures of teenage life temporarily. I highly recommend watching both the animated version and the live action version of Avatar: The Last AirBender. (I do advise watching the live action first and the animated second!)

Another great part of this show is that we get to see how all of the characters live on through their children and grandchildren in The Legend of Korra, which is my current project. 

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