Netflix's Avatar: The Last Airbender Trailer Fixes the Movie's Biggest Mistake
Everything changed when the new trailer dropped.
Every Avatar: The Last Airbender fan remembers, despite their best efforts to forget, the lamest scene in M. Night Shyamalan’s unspeakable Last Airbender adaptation: a group of earthbenders, each furiously stomping and doing elaborate martial arts movements, summon... a tiny rock. The moment embodied the disappointment of the first live-action adaptation of the beloved Nickelodeon animated series, suggesting it wasn’t possible for reality to match the incredible feats of combat from the original cartoon. But 14 years later, Netflix is proving otherwise.
The official trailer for Netflix’s Avatar: The Last Airbender has arrived, giving us a fresh glimpse of the story of Aang, the 12-year-old airbender tasked with saving the world from the oppressive Fire Nation. More importantly, it gives us a look at what combat looks like — and it doesn’t disappoint.
The fantasy world of Avatar: The Last Airbender is divided into four nations: Earth, Water, Fire, Air. Within those nations are a special few born with the ability to manipulate those elements, a skill called “bending.” But only the Avatar — a figure reincarnated each generation with the task of keeping the world in balance — has the power to master all four.
The last Avatar went missing a century ago, and the world has plunged into chaos thanks to the totalitarian Fire Nation, who wiped out the Air Nomads and are threatening to conquer the rest of the world. So when waterbender Katara (Kiawentiio) and her brother Sokka (Ian Ousley) discover the Avatar, Aang (Gordon Cormier), frozen in the ice, they kick off a race to stop the Fire Nation and help Aang restore balance to the world.
The trailer shows Katara and Sokka’s discovery of Aang, as well as the great and glorious purpose bestowed on the reluctant Avatar, but what’s most impressive here is the bending. Some key fight scenes are teased here: Zuko’s (Dallas Liu) duel against his father, Fire Lord Ozai (Daniel Dae Kim), Fire Nation soldiers wreaking havoc, and Aang literally blowing people away. The show looks to seamlessly blend the sleek fight choreography — which is all based on real-life martial arts — with VFX of the elements moving in tandem. It all looks quite impressive, with none of the old movie’s embarrassing qualities.
Netflix has obviously poured a lot of money into this series, which has the potential to be another runaway live-action hit like last year’s One Piece. If not, at least we’ve got the animated film from original creators Michael DiMartino and Bryan Konietzko on the way.