Our Avatar: The Last Airbender review focuses on the characters, as well as the biggest episodes of four books. The epic story of Avatar: The Last Airbender follows the journey of Aang, a young boy torn between fulfilling his fate as the long-awaited Avatar and just wanting to be a regular kid.
Aang is called upon to lead the fight against the vicious Fire Nation to restore balance in his war-torn world. Aided by a protective teenage Waterbender named Katara and her bull-headed warrior brother Sokka, Aang proceeds on a perilous journey to save the world while sometimes shaking off his heavy responsibilities so that he can enjoy being a kid. Avatar: The Last Airbender premiered in February, 2005 on Nickelodeon.
While the animated television series was wildly popular and earned top ratings, the live-action movie M. Night Shyamalan’s The Last Airbender, which premiered Friday, July 2, 2010, was a flop at the box office and received terrible reviews.
Aang is the Avatar, the one person in the world who can bend all four elements: Water, Earth, Air and Fire. He is also the last of his people, the Airbenders, after the Fire Nation destroys them all in the war. During the war, Aang was frozen in ice. He is discovered 100 years later by Katara and Sokka. Aang is wise for his years, but playful, and insecure about his duties as the Avatar.
Katara is the last Waterbender of her tribe, the Southern Tribe. After she and her brother, Sokka, discover Aang, they journey to the North Pole so that she can strengthen her Waterbending skills. She is a leader, fierce, and eventually falls for Aang.
Sokka is a Non-bender, but he is a warrior, strong and cunning. Sokka is the clown of the group, always cracking jokes and more concerned with his stomach, at times, than the importance of helping the Avatar.
Zuko is the Fire Nation’s prince, who is exiled after displeasing his father. Zuko is perhaps the most complicated character in Avatar: The Last Airbender, traveling on his own journey. At first he is consumed with capturing the Avatar in order to win the approval of his father. Later, he realizes his path lies in a different direction than the Fire Nation’s.
Iroh is Zuko’s uncle, a wise man who plays himself off as a fool. He was also disgraced by the Fire Nation after he was defeated, by his own choosing, at the Earthbending capital, Ba Sing Se. Iroh guides Zuko with great patience, waiting for the day his nephew will realize his true path.
Zuko’s sister, Azula, is as treacherous as their father. She is greedy, stopping at nothing to defeat the Avatar and Zuko, as well.
Toph is a blind, but powerful, Earthbender the team recruits after discovering her competing as her alisa, “Blind Bandit.” Toph uses her Earthbending skills to maneuver, sensing vibrations in the ground. Toph is gruff and haughty, but proves to be a loyal friend and tough fighter.
Appa is Aang’s flying bison, who helps the team travel the world. He was frozen in ice along with Aang for 100 years.
Momo is the flying lemur Aang adopts after visiting his home. Momo is affectionate and helpful, gathering food and leading the team to targets as needed.
Important Avatar: The Last Airbender Episodes
In the third season premiere, The Avatar finally awakens after his life-threatening battle at Ba Sing Se to find that he has a full head of hair and a burning desire to finally defeat the Firelord. When Aang wakes up, he finds himself aboard a captured Fire Nation ship after sustaining serious injuries at the end of season two. Katara, Sokka and their father are with him and they recount the events that led the four to the ship and how they plan to attack the Fire Nation. Aang struggles to fight his own instincts to face the Firelord before he is ready, but ultimately accepts that he needs time to heal and regain his strength. Meanwhile, Zuko is dealing with his own issues as he journeys home for first time in three years, fearing his father will reject him once again.
The third season of Avatar follows Aang and his band of heroes during their latest attempt to save the world now that Ba Sing Se has fallen. The group heads to the Fire Nation to face the Firelord on his home turf, but the clock works against them as they travel from one Fire Nation town to another. They plan to strike before the day of black sun (an eclipse) that will cause the Fire Nation to lose their powers and leave them in their most vulnerable state. Meanwhile, Aang faces new challenges and is reluctant to master bending fire, the most difficult element he has yet to learn.
“Day of Black Sun”
In “Day of Black Sun,” Aang’s army is unlike any force seen before, with fleets of Waterbenders and a battalion of Earthbenders (including The Boulder, one of the best-known fighters) working together to pull off one of the most bizarre and ingenious invasion plans ever imagined. With Sokka, Katara and Toph at his side, Aang is determined to fulfill his destiny as the Avatar. He and the gang hunt down the evil Fire Lord for the ultimate showdown while the solar eclipse temporarily hinders the Fire Nation’s powers. But the question remains; is the Fire Lord ready for Aang? This special television event features the guest voices of Avatar fan and tennis pro Serena Williams as Ming (Uncle Iroh’s guard) and WWE wrestler Mick Foley as The Boulder.
“Western Air Temple”
After the Avatar and the gang flee from the failed invasion of the Fire Nation. Reeling from defeat and having left so many behind, the group hides in the Western Air Temple to devise a new plan. They are displeased to find Zuko when they arrive, even though they are in need of his assistance.
“Book Three” culminates in this two-hour television movie. After Aang’s unsuccessful attack against the fierce Firelord Ozai during the Day of Black Sun, he will finally face his mortal enemy and seal his destiny. Aang’s struggle with firebending becomes urgent as he learns he must confront the Fire Lord earlier than planned. Aang prepares mentally and physically for the attack as the comet nears.
The Avatar: The Last Airbender cast includes young and veteran actors, alike.
Zach Tyler (Aang) starred in The Ant Bully, prior to Avatar: The Last Airbender. His voice is also recognizable as Pablo in The Backyardigans.
Mae Whitman (Katara) is a busy actress, starring in hit TV shows like Parenthood and In Treatment. Her voice is most recognizable, however, for playing Tinker Bell in the Tinker Bell series of Disney DVDs.
Jack De Sena (Sokka) has spot on comedic timing. Currently he stars in Hulu’s Battleground, as well as Generator Rex.
Dante Basco (Zuko) has guest-starred on many TV shows. Recently he was Kenny Rogers in Firebreather and Tuck in Generator Rex. Mysteriously, he is listed as a cast member at IMDB for The Legend of Korra. Does Prince Zuko make a cameo appearance? (Update: No, he doesn’t, but his grandson does.)
Dee Bradley Baker (Appa, Momo) is well-known for all the clone characters he plays in Star Wars: The Clone Wars. He is also used to creating creature and animal sounds, such as Perry the Platypus on Phineas and Ferb. Dee Bradley Baker continues his connection with the world of the Avatar by playing Korra’s pet Naga in The Legend of Korra.
Avatar: The Last Airbender was created by Michael DiMartino and Bryan Konietzko who also serve as executive producers.
As an award-winning filmmaker, DiMartino has been a director at Film Roman for six years, working on the prime-time animated series King of the Hill, Family Guy and Mission Hill. During his tenure there, DiMartino animated and directed the short animated film Atomic Love, which has gone on to screen at festivals across the country including Sundance and the Los Angeles Film Festival. It also aired as part of the Nicktoons Network Animation Festival on Nicktoons Network.
Konietzko began his career in animation as a character designer at Film Roman for Fox’s prime-time series Family Guy. He soon moved to the post of assistant director for two more Film Roman shows, Mission Hill and King of the Hill, working beside animation director DiMartino. Konietzko then became a storyboard artist and later an art director for the Nickelodeon animated series Invader Zim.
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