Netflix's 'Avatar: the Last Airbender': Good Adaptation of an Epic Animated Series

I confess I was nervous about watching Netflix’s live version of Avatar: The Last Airbender. I liked the animated series on which it’s based, and I had no idea whether Netflix could be true to that.

All in all, I thought Netflix did a good job.

The animated series aired on Nickelodeon for three seasons (from 2005 to 2008). I particularly liked its storyline, which was influenced by Chinese martial arts and Asian and Native American cultures.

If you’re not familiar with it, the series is set in a world where the people of four nations—the Fire Nation, the Earth Kingdom, the Air Nomads and the Water Tribes—have the ability to “bend,” or manipulate, the elements. Peace between the nations is ensured by the Avatar, who is born with the ability to bend all four elements.

Aang, a 12-year-old Air Nomad, is the latest Avatar. The Fire Nation exterminates his people as part of an effort to conquer the other nations. He survives, but goes missing for 100 years. When he returns, he befriends Katara and Sokka, two teens from the Water Tribes. The three set out to the other nations on Aang’s sky bison Appa so Aang can learn how to bend the other elements and restore harmony to a war-torn world.

As to the Netflix series, I was happy to see a cast of mostly Asian and Pacific Islander actors. A shoutout to Gordon Cormier, who has particularly expressive eyes. I thought he was a good pick to play Aang. Daniel Dae Kim was perfectly cast as Fire Lord Ozai.

Lim Kay Siu, who acted as Aang’s mentor Gyatso, is a Singapore actor whose career I’ve followed for a long time. I’ve seen him perform on stage, and he’s wonderful.

All the acting in the series is of high quality, and the special effects and sets also are generally good. I was pleased that the series didn’t deviate too much from the original story.

Netflix has already announced that the series will be renewed for a second and third season, due to its success with viewers around the world. Yay!


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