Though not truly an anime, Avatar: The Last Airbender was done in the style of anime, and is probably the closest thing America has to anime. M. Night Shyamalan’s adaption of the children’s show fell short of fans’ expectations. With character development lacking, characters being left out, and events being either out of order or left out completely the movie disappointed almost everyone. Because there is so much to cover this article was split into two parts, as part two this article will cover the characters and events that were either changed or forgotten.
The spirit of the show is kept light hearted by some of the quirky characters and events that happen. One of the main interaction that was left out was that of the Kyoshi Warriors. One of Sokka’s main crushes, Suki, was one of those warriors. Suki is a returning character later on in the series, how does Shyamalan plan to cover that up? Two other characters that were left out, though are not as major as Suki, were Jet the rebel that Katara had a crush on, and King Bumi, the crazy king that Aang knew a hundred years ago. Both of these characters were not really essential to the plot, but they are both characters that gave the story a rounded feeling.
The story basically remained the same, at least the beginning and the end, with Shyamalan’s movie; however, some key events were changed or missing. In the movie the group goes to an Earth village that the Fire Nation has taken over, they are led there by a child who was earth bending stones and attacking soldiers. Here Aang gives a heartwarming speech to the people of that village for them to rise up against the Fire Nation. That is where the main difference is, in the show they are lead to a village by a kid their age, who is taken captive by the Fire Nation after saving a man from a collapsed mine with earth bending. Feeling guilty for getting him arrested by the Fire Nation, Katara, with the help of Aang and Sokka, pretends to earth bend, and gets herself arrested. She is the one who tries to convince the earth benders to rise against the Fire Nation.
An event that was left out was the groups travel to the Crescent Island where Aang met with Roku in the spiritual world. The movie also portrayed Roku as a dragon, when in the show the dragon was Roku’s spirit animal, like Appa is to Aang. Another completely missing event was one that was mentioned in the first part of the article, where Ihro was kidnapped, and Zuko chooses to go after him. This is a key turning point for Zuko, because he has a change to go after and capture Aang, but he finally realizes that his uncle is more important.
Despite the events above, the biggest mistake that M. Night Shyamalan made was changing the ending. In the movie, Aang masters water bending and uses it to defeat the Fire Nation, but in the show that is not the case. In the show, after mediating, being kidnapped, and the moon spirit being killed, Aang turns into a big blue monster in his avatar state, and defeats the Fire Nation that way. He does not master water by the end of the first season, and Katara vows to teach him.
Avatar: The Last Airbender is amazing as far as children shows go, but the movie is a waste of money. Sure, the graphics were amazing, and the fight scenes well done, but that does not make up for the lack of character development, and the warping of the story line. The movie gets a two star rateing and the show gets a five star.