Netflix’s Avatar is a failure because it doesn’t understand why animation even works

I definitely think it would be a little bit silly, and certainly an over-exaggeration, to say that the original animated Avatar: The Last Airbender is a perfect show. It’s an incredible show, with an approach to colonialism that feels surprisingly solid both because it’s a kids show (and an American kids show made in the 2000s, to boot). Not to mention a stellar cast of characters, a fun and well-developed concept, and a narrative drive that keeps you coming back for more.

Most importantly, though, it was an animated series that really leaned into the strengths of its medium – and I just don’t think Netflix‘s live action adaptation really understands why animation works at all.

For a good few years now, it’s become a bit of an industry trend to adapt classic series or films that were originally animated, and turn them into live action. We’ve seen Disney do it plenty of times, and more recently the world of anime has followed suit with shows like One Piece (a fellow Netflix live action adaptation) also getting the treatment. But across the board, these news takes on beloved stories just never quite get what’s so appealing about the original. And it’s because they’re animated.

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