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The Californian

The Official Student-Run Newspaper of California High School

The Californian

The Official Student-Run Newspaper of California High School

The Californian

Avatar: the Last Airbender comes alive once again

Brooke Hirsch
Appa comes alive in the new Avatar live-action remake.

“Avatar: The Last Airbender” is an animated show that regained a lot of popularity during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Now, Netflix is going to be releasing the first season of a live-action adaptation of the show on Feb. 22.

The animated show is set in a fantastical world inspired by Asia. In this world, some people are gifted with bending, the ability to manipulate air, water, earth, or fire. While most are gifted with just one element, the Avatar is able to bend all. 

A remake is something the series could do with. “Avatar: The Last Airbender” has dated visuals and a romantic subplot, which could be redressed, making a remake the perfect opportunity to revamp the original show. 

Before the show gets its due credit, a blaring red flag must be addressed. Michael Dante DiMartino and Bryan Konietzko, the co-creators of the original show, left the live-action project while it was in the works in 2020.

They both said that despite Netflix saying it wanted to go with their vision of the show, the duo’s creative decisions were being ignored.

“Though I got to work with some great individuals … the general handling of the project created what I felt was a negative and unsupportive environment,” Konietzko wrote in an Instagram post.

The creators leaving this project isn’t a good sign for this release, especially with how rare it is to find popular shows that handle the same themes as “Avatar: The Last Airbender” while still being family-friendly.

“Avatar: The Last Airbender” is a show that managed to tackle big problems such as struggles with anger and guilt, loss of family and loved ones, and other heavy topics. It also inspires hope, peace, redemption, and love which was part of why the show regained popularity during the pandemic since its viewers were dealing with similar struggles and it inspired hope in its viewers, according to the Washington Post

The show has a lot of mature messages that are truly hard to find in a show that’s still rated for kids seven and up. That unique way of writing for the entire family is something that has a very good chance of being lost with its writers.

“Netflix’s live-action adaptation of Avatar has the potential to be good. It might turn out to be a show many of you end up enjoying,” DiMartino wrote in his blog. 

The show may be different but “Avatar: The Last Airbender” has a large fanbase. There’s still a chance that a fan of the original narrative could enjoy the show.

The trend of Netflix’s live-action adaptations has led to many flops. “Fate: The Winx Saga” and “Death Note” failed to win over critics on Rotten Tomatoes. But Netflix’s recent “One Piece” adaptation hit its mark with an 85 percent on Rotten Tomatoes. There have been more well-received Netflix live-action adaptations in recent years. They might’ve gotten into the swing of things.

“This was a chance to showcase Asian and Indigenous characters as living, breathing people,” Albert Kim, the writer, showrunne, and executive producer, wrote.

Kim wrote more about how he wanted to work on this project to show this world to others. A fan of the original show, he wants to bring it to life with visual effects and have Indigenous and Asian people represented in real life. 

This was a chance to see “Avatar: The Last Airbender” in a more serialized format to linger on story beats more. But the biggest thing Kim and his team wanted to do was make this an authentic adaptation.

The teaser and trailer for the live-action show were showcased on Netflix’s Geek Week. After watching the stunning visuals in the teaser and trailer for the show, viewers were eager to see bending in the show. 

Bending, a key part of “Avatar: The Last Airbender”, is usually portrayed by doing martial arts and moving the element in question. It’s very VFX-heavy but could look amazing if done well.

But we’ve only been exposed to one fire bending kick in the trailer and one image of water bending, which doesn’t give away much. 

Fans can expect this show to be spectacular in a way that can honor the original with both its values and visuals. 

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About the Contributors
Johanna Jayakumar, Staff Writer
Johanna Jayakumar is a sophomore starting her first year at The Californian newspaper as a staff writer. She want to get better writing skills and know her limits more. She really likes music and playing video games.
Brooke Hirsch, Staff Writer
Senior Brooke Hirsch joined the newspaper team as a photographer and possibly an illustrator. She’s been interested in drawing since childhood and loves a good story. If you want to talk about movies until you feel sick, talk to her.

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