When Hollywood poorly adapts a quality piece of work, everyone loses. It sucks for anyone to have to see a subpar or outright bad movie, but it's particularly heart-wrenching as a fan to see your favorite franchise take a dump on the big screen. Unfortunately, that's exactly what Avatar: The Last Airbender movie fans had to witness back in 2010, when Nickelodeon Studios and M. Night Shyamalan joined forces for what would be both parties' worst-reviewed film to date.
That effectively killed any studios want to bring Avatar: The Last Airbender to the big screen again. With that said, someone really needs to roll the dice again and give this fantastic franchise a chance to shine on the silver screen for the first time. In truth, it's a reality that could come true in the next decade, at least if fans push hard enough for Hollywood to give another movie a shot. It could be good, I promise! Here's why fans really deserve the opportunity to see Avatar: The Last Airbender make a comeback in a dark room filled with sticky floors and people munching popcorn.
Netflix's Live-Action Series Needs A Companion
As we learned last year, Netflix has acquired the rights to develop a live-action Avatar: The Last Airbender series. What's better is the studio has the original creators Michael DiMartino and Bryan Konietzko on board, and fully intend to create a product that's completely different than what fans saw in theaters. In short, they plan on doing it as close to the original series as possible.
So then, why would we need an Avatar: The Last Airbender movie? After all, a big budget and a full series could tell a pretty in-depth story, and the original creators are there to make judgement calls on what all can be skipped. It's already been seen the story can't really be condensed into one movie, so what would the purpose of even having one?
Two words: mega event. Imagine Season 1 building up to some big battle, with all the backstory, character development, and stakes all laid out throughout the season. Then we get to the big confrontation, which acts as a season finale of sorts to give a huge action packed pay off to a great season. It would give the series a chance to scale things up and make an event for fans to look forward to between seasons.
The Movie Was Nowhere Near An Accurate Representation Of The Show
In addition to being a poor movie overall, there's a lot about Avatar: The Last Airbender's movie that is not accurate to the original series. To start, many are well aware there was a whitewashing controversy in the selection of actors, and many fans took issue with the lack of Asian and Inuit actors in key roles.
That was really just the start, however, as the actual movie itself was just bad all around. Critics would call the plotting awful, the acting stiff (despite a talented Dev Patel playing Prince Zuko), and overall watching the whole movie was more of a chore than a joy. Fans were equally as unimpressed for reasons beyond the casting controversies, and suddenly a movie that was intended to be a trilogy was a single installment.
There were just so many missteps in the adaptation that it's almost better no movie were ever made at all just so someone could get a chance to actually do it right. Instead, Hollywood took what should've been a home run and made some baffling decisions that resulted in one of the most panned blockbusters of all time. Yet, the formula is all still there to make a great movie, someone just has to take it and adapt it without major changes.
Hollywood Needs Another Chance To Create "Bending" Effects On A Big Budget
"Bending" is one of the major draws of Avatar: The Last Airbender. In this universe, people are capable of mastering control of one of the respective four elements of their nation, and can manipulate it to accomplish every day tasks or use in battle. The Avatar is unique because he can master all four elements and be peacekeeper should issues break out between nations.
Seeing "bending" In live-action was absolutely one of the most exciting draws of Avatar: The Last Airbender's movie, and man, did it screw the pooch. M. Night Shyamalan's version seemed to take a more toned-down stance on the whole mystical art, and made most of the people within the world rather unimpressive with their bending skills, and nerfed the fire nation and their fire abilities in particular. Pretty disappointing for a $150 million budget.
Even by today's standards, that budget could be put to use to create some far more fascinating "bending" scenes that would stun audiences and help bring some of the magic from the animated series back to life. M. Night Shyamalan wasn't necessarily wrong in keeping things somewhat grounded, and maybe that's a solid note for the live-action series to consider. If there's going to be another movie though, you gotta have some big bending feats that justify that budget.
A Successful Avatar: The Last Airbender Movie Opens The Door For The Legend Of Korra Movie
Perhaps one of the lesser (but still cool) things about another Avatar: The Last Airbender movie is that if it were successful, there's a solid chance someone in Hollywood would make a movie out of The Legend of Korra. The sequel series was just as acclaimed if not more loved than the original animation, so one would assume there's easy money to be made.
Hell, there were rumors Paramount was pursuing an adaptation of The Legend of Korra even after Avatar: The Last Airbender tanked, which just goes to show there were people out there trying to make this happen. The rumors were ultimately shot down by Bryan Konietzko in 2012, as he expressed there are no plans for a movie in development. Probably for the best, as trying to adapt a sequel of a failed movie sounds like an awful idea.
That said, if we were living in a world where Avatar: The Last Airbender had a successful movie, then working it all towards The Legend of Korra is just a no brainer. A studio (or streaming service, hint hint) that can just get the ball rolling and make a serviceable series or movie is sitting on a plethora of content that people want to see in live-action.
Should Avatar: The Last Airbender get another chance at the movies? Sound off in the comments below, and be sure to stick with CinemaBlend for more on Netflix (opens in new tab)'s upcoming live-action series, and other goings on in movies and television.
Mick likes good television, but also reality television. He grew up on Star Wars, DC, Marvel, and pro wrestling and loves to discuss and dissect most of it. He’s been writing online for over a decade and never dreamed he’d be in the position he is today.
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