Updated: Jul 28, 2019
In part 2 I discuss the issues with the characters in the film, not the actors who played them. I talk about what they lacked compared to the characters in the show, or I discuss the fact that some key characters were cut out and why they shouldn't have been. So, enjoy! :)
Hey, welcome back! Glad you made it to the second part of my "How To Redeem The Last Airbender Movie" blog series. I'm glad to see that you liked the first one and want more, or you thought it was retarded and wanted to see if I could top it in anyway. Either way, I'm glad you are back. XD In this article I will address the problems and solutions the film had with the characters or lack there of. So buckle your seat-belts, toss out the "in case of emergency guide," and grab your caprisun juice bottle because we are about to get salty!
If this is the first article of the series that you stumbled upon, then click here to start at the beginning (Part 1 - Plot), then come back and finish this article, and click here (Part 3 - Bending... being written) to go to the next post in the series. If you want the crowning jewel of my blog, click here to go to "What Netflix's Avatar can learn from TheLastSnag.com."
With that said here are the problems that I had with the characters of the Film, which the Internet clearly agrees with, and how I would propose to fix them.
- side note - If you guys enjoyed this article, please help a new blogger out by sharing it with your avatar friends and family. Thanks! "Flameo Hotman!"
Let's get the obvious one out of the way. The Characters in the movie were nothing like the characters in the show. Sokka was not funny and Iroh lost most of his cleverness, philosophy, relaxed attitude, and humor. Zuko arguably wasn't as furious or anything like he was in the first season of the show, nor nearly as developed as he should have been. Katara was nowhere near as motherly or "girly" as she should have been. Aang was super serious and not childish at all. General Zhao didn't have a temper at all like in the show, and the attempt to portray his bragging ego was horrible. The FireLord's face is shown in one clip then they tried to hide it in another. Like what they heck? talk about spoiler alert. Azula... well she was fine since she only got 3 seconds. However their was no Suki and Yue and her relationship with sokka was horrible and rushed. There was no hahn to really add to the tension of the should be love triangle, nor to get sokka off the mission so he could protect Yue.
You either excluded completely, dumbed down, or filmed and then cut out vital characters to not just the first season, but future seasons as well.
The few characters you did put in, like haru and Yue, got so little screen time that they were under developed, or a waste of time from other characters that should have been in the film. You also altered Haru to be younger and afraid when he had no reason to have his personality changed from the original source material.
I understand that in adapting a work from it's original form to a new format, parts of the original will be altered. That is unavoidable in the process of adapting a TV show with unlimited story time to a film bound to about two hours. However, their is such a thing as a film series which would allow more time for character development. We need to have time to be able to grow with the characters and feel what they are feeling. This would provide plenty of time for the audience to connect with the characters. We get to enjoy the happiness and thrills that a silly/childish aang provides. We feel the sadness of having katara's mother die. We feel the frustration and loneliness that Zuko feels being banished and trying to just get home and be loved. We feel the sense of duty and responsibility with the coming of age and becoming a leader that Sokka goes through. You can't rush the story making it all plot driven that you loose the charm of the show. Which was the characters and their development.
'Completely excluded, dumbed down, or filmed and cut vital characters.' The most obvious character that was excluded and has to be in the first season is Suki and the keyoshi warriors. Suki is the unsung 6th member of the group by season three. I have no clue how they would want to suddenly include her in the 3rd season without having introduced her in season first. While her contributions in season three are easily overseen, they are crucial. For example, in the finale of the series where sokka and toph are taking out the war balloons, they are trapped and about to be killed. The only way the escape is that suki shows up by ramming another balloon into the one they are on. If she never shows up, that would have been the end of sokka and toph. In season two, having her in the show allows Azula the ability to sneak into Ba Sing Sei and overthrow the earth kingdom. THis allows the firenation to practically win the war and take over the world. If Suki had not been in the first film, how could azula take her disguise for such an ingenious infiltration, She can't. So though her presence may be small, the contributions suki makes to the group and the show/film are huge! Suki should never have been cut from the film.
Yue, oh yue. Her story also needed more time on screen. The north pole should be more than 20 minutes on screen (more like 40-60). There is a lot that goes on and we need time to watch Yue's and SOkka's relationship develop. Which until the battle, is basically the main point of the north pole, THat and aang learning waterbending leading to Katara's fight. We need to have enough time to put Yue in a tough emotional situation. Marry the guy she likes, or the one she hates for her people and duties sake.
Haru, buckle your seat-belts ladies and gentlemen. While I have nothing aginst him and his episode, putting him in the film and changing him the way they did was... one of the dumbest things they did. The episode is all about hope, which is a great theme to have, but Katara already depicts that theme if done correctly. Second off, it's a stand-alone episode for a reason. It's not really influential or vital to the main storyline. Even then, if you are including it, don't change haru. He's not a pre-teen, he's a teenager like the rest of the gang. He should not be under 10, he should be like zuko, in the 16-20 age range. he is also an earthbender, which learn from toph trying to teach aang, requires grit and will. One has to be brave and stubborn enough to stand in front of a boulder and tell it to move, not you. Thus making Haru shy and timid as some eight year old is pathetic and very unrealistic as it is not in harmony with the reality of the show's world. in conclusion, he and his episode should not be in the film.
In conclusion of part 2, the main take away is you can't alter, leave out, or rush characters and their development too quickly. If you do, you ruin the twinkle the original series had and you ruin the film, which is what happened with Paramount's movie.
If you made it this far down, good for you, i'm proud of you. I would love to hear your ideas and opinions in the comments section below. Do you agree with my article's opinion, if so why and if not why? How would you fix the issue of character development and personality in the film?
Click (here for part 3... being written) and if you missed the beginning click (here for part 1.)