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The Student News Site of Agua Fria High School

OwlFeed

The Student News Site of Agua Fria High School

OwlFeed

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David Reynaga
Lifestyle Reporter

Introverted, Gamer, and Lazy. These are three words David Reynaga used to describe himself. Coming from Los Angeles, California, 16 year old David is now a junior who has just recently arrived at Agua...

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Sam Rowles
News Reporter

As the class of 2026 enter Agua Fria, new personalities and people come into our campus. Many of these freshmen came into our Journalism class and made our class fun and thrilling. One person specifically...

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Does the new Avatar: The Last Airbender Live-Action series meet fans expectations?

Photo+Credit%3A+https%3A%2F%2Fwww.instagram.com%2Fp%2FCzolF5jvYgY%2F%3Figsh%3DZHBxNGc4ajI5MXh3
Photo Credit: https://www.instagram.com/p/CzolF5jvYgY/?igsh=ZHBxNGc4ajI5MXh3

Water, earth, fire, air. It was February 21, 2005, when Avatar: The Last Airbender first aired on Nickelodeon. Created by Michael Dante DiMartino and Bryan Konietzko, it follows the journey of Aang, the last Airbender and the Avatar, who must master all four elements (air, water, earth, and fire) to bring balance to the world and defeat the tyrannical Fire Nation. Along with his friends Katara, Sokka, and Toph, Aang faces challenges, forms alliances, and confronts his destiny to prevent the Fire Nation from dominating the world. The series explores themes of friendship, loyalty, and the consequences of war, blending action, humor, and character development.

Just like any animated series being adapted to live-action, there will be some scenes or characters that aren’t accurate to their original characters fans adore. The 2014, live-action for instance, is one of the worst live-action movies viewers who aren’t even ATLA fans consider the worst adaptation. Reasons such as bad directing, casting, acting, mediocre action, incorrect pronunciation, and lack of humor. Such as the new live-action, there are some similarities that are absolutely perfect and some factors that boil my blood.

To start off, let’s take a deep dive into the main character’s personality. Yes, it can be difficult to portray the character you’re playing sometimes; to perfectly represent what they stand for, and who they are. However, it’s not always the actors who are at fault. Although 112 years old, Aang still has the mind and body of a twelve-year-old boy from the Southern Air Temple. He’s playful, open-minded, a kid at heart, and adventurous. Everything he knows is from the Monks’ teachings which form the boy we see in the series. Props to Gordon Cormier as he’s a wonderful actor, but the producers did him wrong. In the original, when Aang figures out who Bumi is, he’s ecstatic to see his friend and mature about how his old friend challenged him. In the live-action, however, Bumi seems to only challenge Aang due to his disappearance for 100 years and “fail” his duty as the Avatar. He shames Aang’s entire culture and him, acting like a maniac. The complete opposite of the cartoon Bumi. Not to mention he has no hope in his friend’s success and only thinks about the bad things in life. 

Katara. I have a bone to pick with the producers and how they had Kiawentiio portray Katara as this hesitant, weak girl who can’t fend for herself. Katara is fierce, independent, righteous, and unhinged. She will help those in need with no hesitation and won’t back down. For instance, expecting to master Waterbending from a waterbending master at the North Pole, she was rejected simply because she’s a girl. Rather than standing there feeling defeated, she challenges him to a duel to prove her worth and she does! They completely watered down her rage and I’ll never forgive them for that. 

Now for Sokka. They removed his misogyny! Yes, misogyny is horrible, but by doing this, we see a lack of character development. He viewed women as someone who belonged in the kitchen, cleaned for the family, and incapable of fighting for themselves. It was not until a girl used his lack of warrior knowledge against him that he started to reflect on his views. We love character development and we love it more when the character learns from their mistakes and becomes a better person! Suki teaches him that crossdressing isn’t about conforming to societal gender norms or being “girly” but exposing how embracing a form of attire is associated with resilience, honor, and strength. By removing any mention of sexism, we viewers miss crucial messages.

Besides his lack of misogynistic behavior, he’s not funny. Sokka isn’t funny at all. It’s a fact that without Sokka, the Gaang (group name) would be bored as heck as shown in Book 3, episode 4. We don’t hear his contagious laugh and funny jokes because this Sokka is too serious. The actors are more like their characters when they’re themselves. Crazy.

Changing the personalities of the main characters is one thing, but adding new scenes is another and honestly something Netflix would do (not surprised). Why does Commander Zhaoi go to Kyoshi island? Why does Aang talk to Avatar Kyoshi, Kuruk, and Yangchen? Why does Aang fly when the only Airbenders who do are Laghima and Zaheer? Aang is very talented, extremely even, that’s why he got his arrow tattoos at such an early age but that doesn’t mean he discovered the weightlessness by relinquishing his earth attachments. Although my questions will never be answered, it’s good to ask them, which is why I want to know why Princess Yue can bend. Not only is she a non-bender but she is obedient when it comes to her people (the people of the Northern Water Tribe), and will do anything to flourish her tribe to the fullest which is why she decided to marry Hahn in the original way which she did not here. Finally, they slightly scraped a part of Suki’s sense of independence and strong will. I will agree the qualities remain, but when she stalked Sokka, it made me want to quit because Suki isn’t a chaser!

While there are aspects of the show I would rather not place my eyes on ever again, I do love the fact that they show more representation of what the original presents than the 2010 live-action movie which was whitewashed. Pretty much every culture in Avatar was inspired by Asian culture like the Air Nomads inspired by Tibet Monks, the Earth Kingdom with China, the Fire Nation with Imperial Japan, and the Water Tribe based on Inuit culture. Keep in mind that while Inuits aren’t ethnically Asian, many of their ancestry is from North-Eastern Asia. This illustrates that cultural influences aren’t always a walk in the park as the Fire Nation draws inspiration from Chinese culture. Similarly, the Sun Warriors (Book 3, episode 12) extract inspiration from various cultures, strongly emphasizing Mesoamerican influences.

Photo Credit: https://www.instagram.com/p/C35wbIoPGSr/?igsh=MWRhemsxcmxxejNreQ==

It’s clear Michael and Bryan were and still are passionate about indigenous cultures and what’s a better way than indirectly educating children on a show about people controlling elements? Considering the fact that Katara’s “hair loopies” are an Inuit hairstyle called “qilliqti’ ‘ in Inuktitut, and they included that just proves how spirited they are about diverse cultures, which is unfortunate because due to creative differences, they left the project in 2020 was just most depressing news. As expected, fans were skeptical about Netflix announcing their plans for its own live-action adaptation. Bryan’s statement on Instagram shared, “When Netflix brought me on board to run this series alongside Mike two years ago, they made a very public promise to support our vision,” (August 12, 2020), but because it, well, Netflix, there was no follow-through on that promise. In addition, “Though I got to work with some great individuals, both Netflix’s side and our own small development team, the general handling of the project created what I felt was a negative and unsupportive environment.” 

As a response to Mike and Bryan’s posts, a Netflix spokesperson said, “We have complete respect and admiration for Michael and Bryan and the story that they created in the Avatar animated series. Although they have chosen to depart the live-action project, we are confident in the creative team and their adaptation.” That’s baloney. If you admire them so much, why drive them away? Netflix is a failure and wouldn’t get the money they have now if it wasn’t for those men and their creative team who constructed this masterpiece.

In full honesty, I’d give this a 4/10. It was very pleasing to look at, I loved the bending, clothing, setting, and cast. The actors did extremely well with the roles they were given, cheers for them but the writing wasn’t by cup of tea but what can you expect from Netflix? I’m not going to dwell on their horrible decisions just because they’re incapable of satisfying a fandom and disrespecting its creator. 

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About the Contributor
Nicole Jacobs, Lifestyle Reporter
Nicole Jacobs is a 17-year-old lifestyle reporter here in the Owl Feed Journalism Program at Agua Fria High School! Even though this might not be something she would want to be in her future, she is aware that this is a good start for whatever she decides to do! I asked Nicole what her favorite food was, and she stated, “ I love, I love the noodles and the spiciness it has when I am eating,” Nicole said when she spoke to me about her favorite food. She also does have various other favorite foods like sushi, and she also loves to drink apple juice and chocolate milk. Nicole has always had a passion for playing video games on her PC. She has also loved playing, “I love yelling at the kids who have something to say, it just adds fuel to the fire, it makes me excited cause I know I got something in my pocket to throw back at them. It’s a wonderful feeling, "Nicole also said.  She also has two siblings. She has a 26-year-old sister, and she also has an 18 year old sister, making Nicole the youngest. Although there can be things that make her really happy, there are also things that make her really angry. What makes Nicole really angry, or annoyed is when someone is speaking but they make it aware or obvious that they are not interested in keeping the conversation going. Another thing that gets her really annoyed is when she is listening to music and someone is trying to talk to her while she is listening to music because she really does enjoy listening to music. What gets her mad the most is when someone wakes her up really early, but who wouldn't be mad when someone wakes up really early? Of course, there may be some things that you hate, but you can never go wrong with loving something too. Nicole loves animals, Nicole has one dog but cats have always been her passion. She is looking forward to getting two cats, a black cat, and an orange cat. Even though she may be a really calm person there are some things that she fears, she has a fear of being deep in the ocean. If you did not know, this is a phobia called Thalassophobia. This phobia is when you are scared of being in deep waters. But, that does not mean that's stopping Nicole from feeling motivated into doing stuff! Nicole is different from others when it comes to being motivated. Some people get motivated by hearing good advice, Nicole starts to feel motivated when she sees someone younger than her being more successful. She did ask herself “Why are they more successful if they’re younger than. me”, she said. Nicole is originally from Arizona but her parents are originally from a different state and even from a different country. Her dad is originally from California, her mom was born on a military base in England. Her sisters are also originally from Arizona just like Nicole. Nicole loves going on vacations. One of her favorite vacations was visiting Georgia. When she goes to Georgia she does hang out with her older cousins and her sister in a small town in Georgia. While they are over there she did say “We meet up with friends and mess around “ Nicole said, she also stated that they ride on golf carts. And with all this here this was all about Nicole and who she is

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