The Last Airbender Live-Action: Everything You Need to Know

The world was shaken since the first time they saw the official trailer of The Last Airbender live action. Expectations were high because of the highly improved visuals, as well as the casting (albeit the ATLA community is still at a divide regarding whether it’s a hit or miss.) Now, we finally get to see The Last Airbender live action in its element.

Photo from Rolling Stone

It has been almost two decades since its animated debut, Avatar: The Last Airbender. However, if you didn’t know, this isn’t the first time a live action version of the popular series is made. In 2010, an ill-fated version was released, directed by M. Night Shyamalan and produced by Paramount Pictures. This was negatively received by viewers, hence, the 2024 version definitely has bigger shoes to fill to satisfy a then-dissatisfied audience.

One main difference the 2024 version has compared to 2010 is that the remake has a culturally appropriate cast, promising a faithful recreation of the source material. From the impressive costuming, CGI that aligns with the narrative, to the detailed cast builds, the remake is very much anticipated by fans to see if it could live up to their expectations.

Photo from Vox

This February 22, 2024, Netflix finally released the live-action adaptation. One thing undeniable is the visually stunning cinematic experience it offers.

Creative Differences and Unknown Deviations

Prior to its release, deviations were already made known to fans such as the omission of the misguided character of Sokka. Fans expressed their disagreement against this decision, as this characteristic is necessary to show Sokka’s character growth, and how the journey and the entire gang slowly changed him. Complaints were raised, saying how detrimental it is for modern adaptations to change characters who will be perceived today as problematic, when in fact, these things are necessary for storytelling. Media isn’t only supposed to immediately show what’s right and only what’s right, but it should also teach audiences to be critical about the actions of characters. A similar discourse occurred when The Little Mermaid (2023) removed the “body language” line in Ursula’s villain solo, “Poor Unfortunate Souls”.

Photo from Deadline

The original creators of Avatar: The Last Airbender, Michael DiMartino and Bryan Konietzko also left the project in 2020 due to their objection to some of the decisions made for the remake. In spite of this, Netflix continued to bring Avatar to life with the creative team they have.

Photo from Syfy

As of now, the Rotten Tomatoes score for the first season stands at 59%, with an audience approval of 75%. Audience reception is still at a divide, with some saying that the changes are a disservice to the spirit of the original series, and the other half being grateful to get to experience watching the beloved show in a different format. At the end of the day, it’s still important to watch the show first in order to craft an objective opinion. Regardless of the mixed reviews, it’s still definitely worth the watch before we open our mouths.

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Ashley Cañete
Ashley Cañete

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