The independent student newspaper at the University of Illinois since 1871

The Daily Illini

The independent student newspaper at the University of Illinois since 1871

The Daily Illini

The independent student newspaper at the University of Illinois since 1871

The Daily Illini

The independent student newspaper at the University of Illinois since 1871

The Daily Illini

Review | ‘Avatar: The Last Airbender’ returns to Netflix as live-action remake

Photo courtesy of IMDb
Poster of Avatar: The Last Airbender.

Rating: 8/10


Water, earth, fire and air: These are the ever-famous elements that are telekinetically manipulated in the Asian- and Arctic-inspired world of Aang and the other avatars before him. 

“Avatar: The Last Airbender” premiered on Feb. 22 and racked up over 22.2 million viewers within the first four days of its release. 

There’s a reason the show received so much attention. The story builds on the beloved 2005 animated Nickelodeon series of the same name, making it the first addition to the “Avatar” series since the polarizing 2010 movie. 

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Fortunately for lovers of Aang’s world, Netflix’s live-action show delivered where the movie fell flat. Consisting of eight one-hour-long episodes, fans of the series are treated to a truly binge-worthy series for the first time since 2008, the release date of the last season of the original series.

Adapting a similar — almost exact — storyline to the classic series, Netflix’s “Avatar: The Last Airbender” excels in multiple fundamentals of creating a good television series.

A primary strength of the series lies in its pacing of the narrative. The show closely sticks to the original storyline, but also has space for further development when exploring different characters. There is a respectful balance between the classic show and new innovation. 

The show follows Avatar Aang (Gordon Cormier) as he learns to master the Avatar state in order to protect and keep balance in the universe against the Fire Nation. 

Cormier captures the bubbly and clever personality of the young Avatar, who battles the pressure of his responsibility to upkeep the peace among the four elemental nations. 

On his journey, he is kept company by waterbender Katara (Kiawentiio) and her brother Sokka (Ian Ousley) as they face the fire nation prince Zuko (Dallas Liu) and Uncle Iroh (Paul Sun-Hyung Lee). However, the real enemies are the feared Fire Lord Ozai (Daniel Dae Kim) and Azula (Elizabeth Yu). 

The casting is almost spot-on when compared with the animated series, showing much improvement on the failed 2010 film. With the newly added Best-Casting Oscar for the following Academy Awards, this show could very likely be in the running for its top-notch cast selection.

When comparing the animations from the Nickelodeon series, the real-life cast looks almost identical with a few natural differences. Sometimes, it would feel like watching the animated series. 

The story starts with the initial attacks on the water, earth and air nations by the Fire Nation on the behalf of Fire Lord Sozin. The graphics and technology used in the action sequences are detailed and emotional while still being appropriate for younger audiences. 

It is a testament to the advanced technology used in today’s films, allowing audiences to truly enjoy the wholesome series without getting too realistic with the injuries depicted on screen.

With its stellar cast, breathtaking visuals and faithful storytelling, it offers both longtime fans and newcomers alike an opportunity to embark on an epic journey through the four nations. 


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