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Avatar: The Last Airbender live-action show on Netflix (now sans its creators).


Werthead
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Korra I think was much more ambitious, tonally and in terms of what it was trying to do, than Avatar, but I don't think it maximised its potential, though it came close on occasion. Avatar is pretty traditional - it's really the Hero's Journey played straight - but it maximises what it could do with its tone and characters. Avatar was also much more consistent, whilst Korra could be very choppy in quality.

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1 hour ago, Werthead said:

Korra I think was much more ambitious, tonally and in terms of what it was trying to do, than Avatar, but I don't think it maximised its potential, though it came close on occasion. Avatar is pretty traditional - it's really the Hero's Journey played straight - but it maximises what it could do with its tone and characters. Avatar was also much more consistent, whilst Korra could be very choppy in quality.

Yep. I admire the ambition, in Korra, and salute their decision to not settle on a formula. In fact, for all that "same soul born again and again to save the world" sounds like the basis for a highly repetitive set of stories, the creators have managed, by rotating the cultures the Avatar is born into, as well as their gender identity and sexuality, to make this an exciting way to explore very different identities, in conversation with each other. 

Korra herself is a huge personal favorite. Flawed, complicated, but with a very nicely done arc that, at its heights, genuinely matches what they did with Zuko in ATLA. The secondary characters is where LoK falls a bit, though I'd argue there's plenty of good ones there, and Mako is the chief failure and the writers never really made anything of him. 

Edited by fionwe1987
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23 minutes ago, Liffguard said:

Doesn't look terrible, seems like a pretty faithful adaptation, at least in terms of visuals.

I suppose my question is, what's the point? Has there ever been a live-action adaptation of an animated story that was better than the original? What does this bring to the table?

If it makes people watch the original (which is getting pretty long in the tooth at this point; it celebrates its 20th anniversary next year), why not?

My main issue is that it's taken such a titanic amount of time and money to bring just the first season of eight episodes to the screen, it's probably going to be an absurd amount of time to wait for Season 2.

 

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4 minutes ago, SpaceChampion said:

Does Hamlet need an excuse to make new versions of it?  I don't think ATLA does either.  Great stories should be retold.

When Hamlet is redone it is often with very different mediums and direction. It's also almost always a ego piece.

I don't have a huge problem with it being retold in a different medium - though anime vs live-action doesn't gain nearly as much as it used to back in the day - but retelling stories was also done when we couldn't just watch the original over and over again. We do different versions of plays because they're live performances. We don't have to do that any more. 

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1 hour ago, Werthead said:

My main issue is that it's taken such a titanic amount of time and money to bring just the first season of eight episodes to the screen, it's probably going to be an absurd amount of time to wait for Season 2.

Only 8 episodes? That seems rather short even with more lengthy episodes. There is either going to be a lot left out or they are rushing through the material. Season 1 of the original is rather episodic, but these episodes are needed for world and character building.

If they go like this, which I would consider the barest essentials

EP1: The Boy in the Iceberg/Avatar Returns

EP2: Southern Air Temple

EP3: Warriors of Kyoshi

EP4: The Great Divide Part 1  The King of Omashu

EP5: The Great Divide Part 2 The Winter Solstice Part 1 & 2

EP6: The Great Divide Part 3  The Storm/ The Blue Spirit

EP7:  The Siege of the North

That leaves one episode of stuff where you can slot in Jet, Haru, Jun, and/or Jeong Jeong. That is really cutting it close.

An adaptation of season 2 definitely needs more than just 8 episodes.

And speaking of the trailer, I have  nitpicks:

- Why is Azula there and shooting an arrow?

- Why do we see the Firelord's face?

- Where are Zhao's glorious sideburns is Zhao?

- Why does it appear like Zuko is trying to defend himself in the Agni Kai against his father? In the original he refused to fight, not just failed to fight.

 

Edited by ASOIAFrelatedusername
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18 minutes ago, ASOIAFrelatedusername said:

Only 8 episodes? That seems rather short even with more lengthy episodes. There is either going to be a lot left out or they are rushing through the material. Season 1 of the original is rather episodic, but these episodes are needed for world and character building.

I heard that those 8 episodes are actually total run time longer than the original.  480 minutes vs 460.

Edited by SpaceChampion
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14 minutes ago, ASOIAFrelatedusername said:

Only 8 episodes? That seems rather short even with more lengthy episodes. There is either going to be a lot left out or they are rushing through the material. Season 1 of the original is rather episodic, but these episodes are needed for world and character building.

If they go like this, which I would consider the barest essentials

EP1: The Boy in the Iceberg/Avatar Returns

EP2: Southern Air Temple

EP3: Warriors of Kyoshi

EP4: The Great Divide Part 1  The King of Omashu

EP5: The Great Divide Part 2 The Winter Solstice Part 1 & 2

EP6: The Great Divide Part 3  The Storm/ The Blue Spirit

EP7:  The Siege of the North

That leaves one episode of stuff where you can slot in Jet, Haru, Jun, and/or Jeong Jeong. That is really cutting it close.

I don't think you need a whole ep for Kyoshi, especially if you bring them in for more eps around. You absolutely don't need that much for Omashu. And a couple of the other characters that you mentioned probably are going to be cut because having a lot of extras around for one ep gets expensive. 

While I think season 2 is pretty lean, season 1 is VERY flabby. There's a lot to cut and the eps were only 20 minutes anyway. My bigger concern is if they're going to bring forward more of Azula and the Firelord's storylines from season 2 that's going to cause some other things to slip. 

14 minutes ago, ASOIAFrelatedusername said:

- Why is Azula there and shooting an arrow?

This is a showrunning thing - if you're going to have a major recurring character you want to cast them early and you want to give them more stuff to do, and Azula is absolutely going to be that kind of character. I'm actually a bit surprised that we're not going to have that with Toph. 

14 minutes ago, ASOIAFrelatedusername said:

- Why do we see the Firelord's face?

Because he's a handsome man, and there's no reason not to show his face. 

14 minutes ago, ASOIAFrelatedusername said:

- Where are Zhao's glorious sideburns is Zhao?

My theory is that Zhao is going to be replaced by Azula. 

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10 minutes ago, SpaceChampion said:

I heard that those 8 episodes are actually total run time longer than the original.  480 minutes vs 460.

7 minutes ago, Kalbear said:

I don't think you need a whole ep for Kyoshi, especially if you bring them in for more eps around. You absolutely don't need that much for Omashu. And a couple of the other characters that you mentioned probably are going to be cut because having a lot of extras around for one ep gets expensive. 

The issue is that I don't think you can just mash the plot of different episodes together. The material needs room to breath as well as  a clear line separating it from other plots. This way it looks they are episodes with lots of fast paced adventures and episodes with important and emotional plot points.

10 minutes ago, Kalbear said:

While I think season 2 is pretty lean, season 1 is VERY flabby. There's a lot to cut and the eps were only 20 minutes anyway. My bigger concern is if they're going to bring forward more of Azula and the Firelord's storylines from season 2 that's going to cause some other things to slip. 

I emphatically disagree. The only episode that is completely cutable is The Great Divide and maybe the Fortune Teller . All other episodes contribute something meaningful that I would miss even if they weren't as good as others, e.g. Bato of the Nothern Water Tribe.

Bringing in Azula and the Firelord and replacing Zhao is, I fear, going to distract from Zuko. It would also overuse Azula.

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10 minutes ago, ASOIAFrelatedusername said:

The issue is that I don't think you can just mash the plot of different episodes together. The material needs room to breath as well as  a clear line separating it from other plots. This way it looks they are episodes with lots of fast paced adventures and episodes with important and emotional plot points.

I think you can but not the way you're thinking about it. What I'd do is have a lot of simultaneous plotlines in eps that move things forward for everyone and not have them quite so siloed to individual eps. 

10 minutes ago, ASOIAFrelatedusername said:

I emphatically disagree. The only episode that is completely cutable is The Great Divide and maybe the Fortune Teller . All other episodes contribute something meaningful that I would miss even if they weren't as good as others, e.g. Bato of the Nothern Water Tribe.

 

I didn't say cut episodes - I said cut flab. The episodes have real pacing issues at times and a lot of slow discussion of things. In addition they often required the ep to be resolved in 20 minutes meaning you needed a standard beginning/middle/end resolution in that ep - that goes out the window when you're going for 50-60 min runtimes with no commercials. 

 

10 minutes ago, ASOIAFrelatedusername said:

Bringing in Azula and the Firelord and replacing Zhao is, I fear, going to distract from Zuko. It would also overuse Azula.

You might be right, but that'd be one place I'd go. Zhao from a story beat element serves a very similar purpose to Azula, except he's not as compellingly connected to Zuko. It doesn't give you as satisfying an ending for him at the end but otherwise him opposing Zuko and wanting to get the glory for himself while showcasing the ruthlessness of the fire nation is pretty much Azula's beat too. 

Plus Azula is fucking amazing and having more of her early is a good thing. 

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27 minutes ago, Kalbear said:

I think you can but not the way you're thinking about it. What I'd do is have a lot of simultaneous plotlines in eps that move things forward for everyone and not have them quite so siloed to individual eps. 

So like having Sokka having his sexism beat of him while Katara goes of and convinces Haru to train his bending? That would still man massively overcomplicating things and it could get really contrived.

27 minutes ago, Kalbear said:

I didn't say cut episodes - I said cut flab. The episodes have real pacing issues at times and a lot of slow discussion of things. In addition they often required the ep to be resolved in 20 minutes meaning you needed a standard beginning/middle/end resolution in that ep - that goes out the window when you're going for 50-60 min runtimes with no commercials. 

Again I have to say that I disagree. I never really had pacing issues within invidual episodes and I honestly recall any time where discussion was too slow.

27 minutes ago, Kalbear said:

You might be right, but that'd be one place I'd go. Zhao from a story beat element serves a very similar purpose to Azula, except he's not as compellingly connected to Zuko. It doesn't give you as satisfying an ending for him at the end but otherwise him opposing Zuko and wanting to get the glory for himself while showcasing the ruthlessness of the fire nation is pretty much Azula's beat too. 

But the issue is that Zhao does not have the same character as Azula. He is extremly hotheaded and glory-obsessed. In a way he is like Zuko, but without Zuko's compassion and sense of HONOUR!!! With that he serves as a nice foil for Zuko as they both chase after Aang.

Azula comes into play when we have already accompanied Zuko on his journey for a bit and slowly learned that he isn't simply a bad guy and a lot more conflicted. Book 2 then really dives into that conflict and Azula then helps providing further inside. There is a reason why don't have Zuko Alone in the first season. Zuko needed his failure at the Northern Water tribe and be subsequently declared a traitor and Azula comes in right at that appropriate time to rub the proverbial salt into the proverbial wound. I fear introducing her in season one is going to really mess with Zuko arc and misuse Azula in that arc. I think it needed all the elements it had to be this successful

And there is the distinct possibility that Azula being introduced this early means that she gets foiled as often as Zhao did. That really doesn't help with presenting her as a cold, calculating and efficient threat. Zuko and Zhao didn't suffer from that partially because of book 1's more episodic nature and tone and partially because they are a different kind of threat than Azula.

Edited by ASOIAFrelatedusername
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6 minutes ago, SpaceChampion said:

Zhao is in it.  Ken Leung from Lost plays him. 

You're right. He is at 1:25. I am still not convinced about the sideburns though.

And with that there is even less reason for Azula be there. Three villains unsuccessfully chasing Aang is a bit too much.

Edited by ASOIAFrelatedusername
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I think maybe Zhao could be Azula's mentor, to parallel Iroh and Zuko.  Zhao's anger and ambition she eats up as the only mentorship she'll ever receive from anyone would be different and probably better than the anime where she's just naturally evil and selfish.

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2 minutes ago, SpaceChampion said:

I think maybe Zhao could be Azula's mentor, to parallel Iroh and Zuko.  Zhao's anger and ambition she eats up as the only mentorship she'll ever receive from anyone would be different and probably better than the anime where she's just naturally evil and selfish.

Well first that would change Azula's character rather significantly. She comes into the series already as prodigy and a person very different from Zhao. Original Azula would resent Zhao and refuse any kind of advice, orders or mentorship from him.

And honestly why not just follow the original?

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18 minutes ago, ASOIAFrelatedusername said:

So like having Sokka having his sexism beat of him while Katara goes of and convinces Haru to train his bending? That would still man massively overcomplicating things and it could get really contrived.

That's what Netflix often does (see One Piece as an example). I expect they'll do something similar here.

18 minutes ago, ASOIAFrelatedusername said:

Again I have to say that I disagree. I never really had pacing issues within invidual episodes and I honestly recall any time where discussion was too slow.

K. Rewatching season 1 especially made me feel how slow a lot of it goes, especially the conversations where there are these really long pauses at times. 

18 minutes ago, ASOIAFrelatedusername said:

But the issue is that Zhao does not have the same character as Azula. He is extremly hotheaded and glory-obsessed. In a way he is like Zuko, but without Zuko's compassion and sense of HONOUR!!! With that he serves as a nice foil for Zuko as they both chase after Aang.

Azula's pretty glory-obsessed too, but sure - Zhao isn't as coldhearted. My point is that both Zhao and Azula serve similar story beats - which is a representation of the really bad parts of the Fire Nation and an antagonist for Zuko other than Aang. We need Zuko to both attempt to try and get Aang AND attempt to resist the Fire Nation. Azula and Zhao fit that niche. 

18 minutes ago, ASOIAFrelatedusername said:

And there is the distinct possibility that Azula being introduced this early means that she gets foiled as often as Zhao did. That really doesn't help with presenting her as a cold, calculating and efficient threat. Zuko and Zhao didn't suffer from that partially because of book 1's more episodic nature and tone and partially because they are a different kind of threat than Azula.

I think that's all fair, but again this is a different medium and having a lot of characters can be difficult in TV. That said, Zhao is in it so I don't know that it matters that much. If that's the case they'll almost certainly pull more of the Zuko/Azula flashbacks and storylines from S2 up.

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