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Avatar: The Last Airbender- The Complete Series Blu-ray Review

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“Avatar: The Last Airbender” is easily one of the best animated series.

After discovering the frozen body of the Avatar Aang and his flying bison Appa, Katara and Sokka (members of the Southern Water Tribe) find themselves embarking on an epic journey with Aang as he seeks to master the 4 elements- waterbending, earthbending, firebending, and airbending. Why does Aang need to master the elements? Well, he has to be a savior as the Fire Nation threatens dominion over everyone. Speaking of the Fire Nation, the other central character of this series is Zuko- an angry, conflicted, banished prince of the Fire Nation who wants to capture the Avatar and regain his honor. Naturally, things don’t go his way and he soon finds himself on another path.

Of course, there’s more story than just that. Other key plots involve other allies (Toph and Momo), a comet which could spell doom for Aang and company, Aang’s past and training, saving people, run ins with the Fire Nation, creatures, Katara’s waterbending skills, Freedom Fighters, other Tribes, villains such as Zhao, Fire Lord Ozai and Azula, pirates, spirits, Aang’s powers, a kidnapped Appa, a character who switches alliances, Mai and Ty Lee, romance, and travels to everything from temples to cities.

If all you know about “Avatar: The Last Airbender” is the horrifically bad live-action film, allow me to fill you in on what you’re missing. Over the course of 3 seasons and 61 episodes, “Avatar: The Last Airbender” gave viewers something special in the form of an anime influenced animated series. Unlike most animated series which are comprised of self-contained stories, formulaic stories, and rehashed plots, ‘Avatar’ offered up something different from the norm. Not only did creators Mike DiMartino and Bryan Konietzko develop a brand new mythology, but they created a richly layered serialized adventure that you don’t often see in American cartoons. Everything you could possibly want from a series is here. The characters grow from season to season, there’s breathtaking action, there’s lovable main and supporting characters (shoutout to Iroh!), there’s an immense amount of world building taking place (there’s even more in the solid spin-off series “The Legend of Korra”), there’s a satisfying overarching story, there’s no fat or filler, the voice work is perfection, and, above, all, there’s delightfully quirky humor. I’m not overselling it when I say this series is a joy from start to finish.

Note: The complete series Blu-ray set of “Avatar: The Last Airbender” is now available at Best Buy and will be available at other retailers on June 5, 2018.

Video/Audio:

Presentation: 1.33:1 1080p. How does it look? Expect to see richer colors with this hi-def release.

Audio Track: 2.0 DTS-HD MA. How does it sound? From the dialogue to the rip roaring action, this track soars like Appa.

Extras: * “Behind The Scenes Kung Fu Featurette”- An extra about the types of martial arts that the bending powers are based on. * “The Making Of Avatar- From Real Life To Animation”- Bryan Konietzko acts out scenes and then the animated versions are shown. * Credits * Original animatics of episode 15 and 21. * “Behind The Scenes: The Voices Of Avatar”- A behind-the-scenes look at the the voice recording process and cast members talking about their characters. * “Ask The Creators Featurette”- The show’s creators answer a few questions. * “The Making of Avatar- Inside The Sound Studio and Inside The Korean Animation Studios”- 2 featurettes about sound and the animation studio. * “Behind The Scenes With The Avatar Cast And Crew”- An extra that recaps the plot and contains cast and crew members talking about the characters and story. * Commentary on the test animation pilot episode by Mike DiMartino and Bryan Konietzko. Interesting to see the changes and differences compared to the real pilot. * Commentaries for the following episodes: “The Northern Air Temple” (Benjamin Wynn and Dee Bradley Baker), “The Waterbending Master” (Mike DiMartino, Bryan Konietzko, and Aaron Ehasz), “The Siege Of The North Part 1” (Mike DiMartino, Bryan Konietzko, and Aaron Ehasz), “The Siege Of The North Part 2” (Mike DiMartino, Bryan Konietzko and Aaron Ehasz), “The Blind Bandit” (Mike DiMartino, Bryan Konietzko and Ethan Spaulding), “The Chase” (Mike DiMartino, Josh Hamilton and Giancarlo Volpe), “Journey To Ba Sing Se Part 1: The Serpent’s Pass” (Mike DiMartino, Bryan Konietzko, Josh Hamilton), “City and Walls of Scerets” (Elsa Garagarza, Mike DiMartino and Bryan Konietzko), “Lake Laogai” (Tim Hedrick, Mike DiMartino and Bryan Konietzko), “The Earth King” (John O’Bryan, Joaquim Dos Santos and Mike DiMartino), “The Crossroads Of Destiny” (Mike DiMartino and Bryan Konietzko), “Sokka’s Master” (Sifu Kisu, Mike DiMartino and Bryan Konietzko), “The Beach” (Katie Mattila, Joaquim Dos Santos and Bryan Konietzko), “The Avatar And The Firelord” (Jeremy Zuckerman, Benjamin Wynn, Mike DiMartino and Bryan Konietzko), “Day of Black Sun” (Mike DiMartino, Bryan Konietzko, Jeremy Zuckerman, and Benjamin Wynn), “The Western Air Temple” (Mike DiMartino and Bryan Konietzko), “The Southern Raiders” (Mike DiMartino, Bryan Konietzko, Dante Basco, and Andrea Romano), “The Ember Island Players” (Mike DiMartino, Bryan Konietzko, Jessie Flower and Jack De Sena) and finally “Sozin’s Comet Part 1” (Mike DiMartino and Bryan Konietzko). While there are behind-the-scenes stories to be had here, the tracks are largely nothing to get excited. Expect lots of back patting and joking around. * An interview between Mike DiMartino, Bryan Konietzko and M. Night Shyamalan who directed the live-action film (shudder) * “The Essence of Bending With Bryan Konietzko and Sifu Kisu”- More discussions about how martial arts are depicted in the series. * 3 shorts * An animated graphic novel titled “Escape From The Spirit World” * “The Women Of Avatar: The Last Airbender”- A featurette on the strong female characters in the show. * “Book 3 Finale Pencil Test Animation”- Mike DiMartino and Bryan Konietzko show off early drawings for the finale. “Into The Fire Nation At San Diego Comic-Con”- A nearly 40 minute Q&A with cast and crew.

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May 28, 2018 - Posted by | Blu-Ray review | , , , , , , ,

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