Updated: Jul 28, 2019
This is the beginning or Part 1 of this blog series. In it, I address the issues with the story-line of the film and provide perfect solutions for them. I also address specific episodes and whether or not they should be included in the film, and why.
If you've found this blog on the Internet, congratulations you should earn a medal!! Then I also assume that you are probably just like me. You went to theaters or rushed to your nearest Redbox to get a copy of The Last Airbender film. If you went the DVD route, you popped all your popcorn, got snuggled into your blanket, and you cranked the surround sound speakers to "infinity and beyond" waiting to have your mind blown. Moments later, the credits roll by and you are confused, horrified, and some how mad all at the same time. What. The. Flagnar did you just watch? You just wasted an 1 hr and 43 minutes worth of your life on trash. Words cannot describe how passionate and in love you are with the avatar series, and yet now you feel betrayed and back-stabbed by the live action-film adaptation. You want the show "to be done justice" and have a better film adaption, but you are not sure how it could be made better.
Simmer down there "cham-pi-on!" This post is the first in a series where I will point out the painfully obvious mistakes made by Paramount and M. Night Shyamalan, and then provide my own solutions to said problems. Now, what do you get out of this post? Well, first off I hope it cools you down and gives you closure, knowing that someone out there knows what they are doing. Second, it should give you an idea of how a new version of the film could made better. Third, and I would suggest maybe the most important of all, I hope this post gives you excitement for this website's project.
If you are wondering what I mean by "this websites project," then I assume that you also yelled "uno!" with 15 cards still in your hand, crossed the road when the red hand was flashing with 5 seconds left on the countdown, and you didn't care to look at this website's "home" or "about" page. XD It's okay, repentance is real, just go take a look now or pull it up in a tab for later. Seriously though, read it! I think you would be thrilled to see what we are up to and we could use all the support and feedback we can get to make it better. OOOkay then! On to the fixing that terrible movie!
- side note - If you guys enjoy this article, please help a new blogger out by leaving a heart at the bottom of the page, and sharing it with your avatar friends. Thanks! "Flameo Hotman!"
As the title states, the first problem with the film is the plot (aka, the storyline for you non-English majors out there). Allow me to briefly explain what I feel like the problem is as well as what the Internet, in it's great wisdom, has said:
The studio, producers, and basically anyone in charge attempted to crunch approximately 5-6 hours worth of storyline into 2 hours of film.
After this horrendous "crunching," they chose some of the worst filler episodes to be in the film.
They left out crucial episodes with crucial characters that either had vital importance to the plot in season 1 or are going to be vital in season 2 and 3.
They completely altered the original source material. I understand having some creative license and bringing something new to the table like we are. however, you don't change major plot points like turning a giant spirit fish into a giant tidal wave.
Finally, I get that the gang travels a lot, but the film made it feel like we were jumping, dodging, rolling, and flying all over the place. It made it very hard for an audience to tell where we were.
These are my proposed solution on how i would fix the issues above. You don't have to agree with them with all or any of them. however, if you do disagree or think you have a better idea I would love to hear it in the comment section below!
Instead of making one film, break it up into at least two films per season. So for example "season one, part one. Season one, part two." This allows more time for both bare-bones and other essential episodes as well as any characters they would introduce to make it into the film.
If you need filler episodes, NEVER pick "the great divide," or "imprisoned" as they are hated by fans and add nothing to the story. There is a reason why they fit as stand-alone episodes on TV.
I get that in a film there is only so much time to tell the plot. however, you have to give us more than the bare-bones episodes, aka the "skeletal episodes" (ep. 1-3, 7-8, 12, 13, 18-20 for s1). Meaning, not only do you have to fit those episodes in and get Aang to the north pole, but it is imperative that you give us other episodes that have required characters that come into play later on. Below this article will be a list of episodes ( in no particular order) that I feel are vital to keeping in the film. I will also explain why i think you should for each episode.
As far as having a creative license i get that. However, adding or changing new material should add to the story, not change it. see our change from opening the film with a PG-13 airnation genocide isn't changing the story. Yes, the film doesn't start with the typical four elements montage, but that's because it doesn't need to and it doesn't add to the story. The film will already follow the source material closely enough that it will feel like we just remade the show in live action. Instead, there needs to be a few new things, here and there, to make the series feel fresh again. Our opening doesn't change the story, it adds to it. Fans want to see how exactly did the firenation get up "unclimbable mountains," what did the genocide look like, and where was sozin during the battle? We are adding to, not changing, the story. When you leave in Yue's storyline and the moon going dark but you don't show the merging of the avatar and spirit koifish, that storyline crumbles. That's because it's all about balance, that's why the symbol of yin and yang is used. so you just swept the rug from underneath the point of having her storyline in the film.
The final correction I would make so it seems like less jumping and cutting around in the film would be this. Take a little bit of creative license and try to keep similar locations right next to each other instead of jumping back and forth. For example, Episode 10 'jet', and episode 7 winter solstice part 1, and episode 16 "the deserter" all take place mostly in a forest. EP. 16 probably wouldn't fit by the other two but you could do jet's episode first and then when the gang leaves they run into the village in the forest for ep. 7 to start. That way you avoid jumping from forest, to volcano island, to river and pirates, then suddenly back to a forest. If you keep the episodes with similar locations closer to each other without disrupting the original story, it would feel more natural and flow better.
I would love to hear your comments below on what you think of my ideas, if you agree with them, and if you disagree I would love to hear your solution.
If you enjoyed this post then click Here to read part 2 of the series where I fix the characters in the film. Click here ...(currently writing article)... for part 3 where I fix the appearance of bending in the film.
Below is the list i talked about earlier of the "extra" episodes i suggested keeping in the film and why I would keep them in. Hope you enjoy them!!
Episode 4 "kyoshi island" -
It introduces Suki who is the unspoken 6th member of the gang by season 3 and is required as azula's secret entrance into Ba Sing Se in season 2. She also helps to create and establish the awkward love triangle between sokka and yue. She also is key in the s3 episode "the boiling rock" in helping the team escape. It also introduces Avatar Keyoshi! who is A past life of Aang's who becomes important later on in Season 2 and in giving advice in season 3's finale episodes. So you have to have this episode for sure.
Episode 5 "the king of omashu" -
While this could be argued as another stand-alone episode and probably is, there are some key attributes about this episode that are a must. EVERYONE -- Loves -- BUMI! He is also vital to future episodes in season 2 and season 3 as he is a high ranking member of the white lotus, who are crucial in the final four episodes as well as throughout the series. They are also one of the few aspects of the show that are crossed over into Korra so you could make Korra into films if you wanted to as well. thus He, like all white lotus members, should have their episodes in the film to help introduce and establish them before the end of the series. Also, this episode captures a lot of the stylistic humor of the show and gives both sokka and bumi plenty of comedic light to shine. It would help lighten the tone of the film which is naturally dark and heavy with its overtone of war and genocide.
Episode 10 "jet" -
This episode is needed because its the first episode that blatantly states the theme of the whole show. Redemption vs. moral Depravity. A great video to recognize and discuss this theme in the show is "The Weight Of Cinema's" youtube video analysis about the theme (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7RsoseMEW-Q&t=570s about 2:45 seconds in.)
Besides the theme, it's also the first episode that develops Katara more as a character, besides her typical "motherly figure." It's the first time we see her act like a teenage girl and get all romantic and blindsided by love like any girl her age would be.
It's also important as it introduces us to Jet, who again, may not seem overly important to the season 1 plot, but is vital in season 2. He helps the gang accomplish the following tasks in season 2: 1) finding appa. 2) Looking into the Dai li and corruption of the government of Ba sing se. 3) looking into and eventually finding the underground base of the Dai li eventually leading to the season 2 finale, all thanks to jet.
Episode 15 "bato of the watertribe." -
This episode carries the emotional weight of the first season by both a gut-wrenching and tear-jerking moment of pain. Aang is disowned by katra and sokka for deceptively withholding the map to their dad from them. All because of aang's fear of being left alone, which is understandable since he feels mostly alone being the last airbender left ( but ironically he ends up getting left alone as his punishment.) It is also the first time we see a serious, season 3 like leader from Sokka as he performs a "right of passage" into manhood by floating his boat over some sharp rocks. This is important as the series develops sokka turns more and more into this leader like character (while still retaining his foundational humor) and this is the first time we see this particular side of sokka.
It also allows time for a minor character to be introduced, if there is time for her. Let me repeat that with an asterisk. *** IF there is time for her*** it allows June to make an entrance. Though she maybe be a fan favorite, she is not crucial to the plot.
One last time I just wanted to say thank you if you made it this far in the post. If you agree or disagree with anything I pointed out I would also love to hear you comment why below! Also, as the side note stated, please share it with your friends and family that love avatar. That would help me out a lot, thanks! Click here to go to post 2 in this "How To Redeem The Last Airbender Film Series."