Here it is: the very first trailer for the gigantic Netflix fantasy project “Avatar: The Last Airbender”. And it shows that fans have nothing to fear.
What a gigantic flop it was when M. Night Shyamalan completely lost his way in the genre in 2010 and slapped one of the worst cartoon and anime adaptations ever made onto the screen with “The Last Airbender”. If you don’t believe it, stream the work of art on Amazon. If it weren’t for “Dragonball Evolution“, Shyamalan’s disaster movie – not referring to the genre – would have had to repent long ago.
This began with the completely wrong casting for almost every single role, including Hollywood’s notorious whitewashing, i.e. the casting of non-white roles with white actors, and continued with the completely rushed and, for outsiders, confusing plot, right through to the grotty computer effects, which would have made even those responsible for the cinematic crime “A Sound of Thunder” laugh out loud and point their fingers at the screen.
It is therefore only understandable that fans of the animated series, which was originally produced for Nickelodeon with three seasons and 61 episodes, initially groaned in agony when Netflix announced a new live-action adaptation as a series in mid-2020. A petition was even launched to remind those responsible for the ambitious production to make a faithful adaptation without casting capers and major changes to the original story. They were primarily concerned about the departure of original creators Bryan Konietzko and Michael Dante DiMartino from the Netflix project due to “creative differences” – business as usual.
The total budget is said to be 120 million US dollars (via The Economic Times), 15 million US dollars for each of the eight planned episodes. By today’s standards, this is comparatively moderate, but in the event of a flop, every US dollar is still lost money that Netflix could have invested in other projects. But apparently the investment was worth it, as the first trailer for “Avatar: The Last Airbender”, which was unveiled during Netflix Geeked Week, promises:
Wow, that looks extremely promising, indeed downright spectacular, what is being served up. Of course, it is the job of a teaser trailer to stir up interest. And if you approach something without any expectations at all, you can only be pleasantly surprised anyway. Nevertheless, this is so much better in every respect than Shyamalan’s 2010 flop.
Avatar: The Last Airbender should finally give the fans what they have been dreaming of
Showrunner Albert Kim (“Sleepy Hollow”) proved just how close to his heart the original is with the first images for “Avatar: The Last Airbender”, which were recently presented to the public: Aang (Gordon Cormier), Prince Zuko (Dallas Liu), Princess Azula (Elizabeth Yu), Fire Lord Ozai (Daniel Dae Kim), General Iroh (Paul Sun-hyung Lee) and Admiral Zhao (Ken Leung) not only look great, but also exactly how you would imagine the characters to look in a live-action adaptation. The costumes also don’t look as if the actors have simply been dressed up in cosplay costumes. This is all too often a major shortcoming in such film adaptations.
With the live-action series based on the successful manga “One Piece“, which was at least as skeptically eyed in advance, Netflix was not only able to inspire its existing fan base, but also win over countless new ones. This gives us hope that “Avatar: The Last Airbender” will also achieve this feat when it is made available on February 22, 2024. Fingers crossed!