The change of animation of the upcoming films of the Last Airbender is a mistake

The next Avatar Studios films would be in CG, risking losing the craftsmanship that made The Last Airbender’s style look great.

The next Nickelodeon Avatar: The Last Airbender the movies will be CG animations, as CEO Brian Robbins announced, risking a loss of craftsmanship that made the original 2D series great. The channel recently wowed fans by signing creators Michael Dante DiMartino and Bryan Konietzko for a multi-film deal and the creation of Avatar Studios, which will oversee production of the new films and series within the Avatar franchise. But a recent comment from Robbins suggests that some or all of the upcoming projects will break with the series’ 2D styling in favor of contemporary 3D animation, missing a major facet of the original’s appeal.


Avatar: The Last Airbender raced on Nickelodeon from 2005 to 2008, and over the course of three seasons he racked up rave reviews and praise. The inventive world-building, tight plot, mature themes and balanced tone contributed to the show’s solid reputation, knocking out the derogatory designation of “children’s show” to rank among the greats of prestige television. of all time on IMDb’s 250 Best Shows list. Among the many famous elements of the series was its animation, which paid special attention to detail in its depiction of Eastern aesthetics, especially fighting styles. To create the device of “bending” in the world, many traditional martial arts disciplines were studied and applied to combat choreography in a way that resonated with the cultures and characters of the world.

Related: If Aang Didn’t Freeze, Could Katara Have Been The Avatar?

So when Robbins described “a series of CG films and a new Avatar seriesSome fans were understandably upset. If the films break with the style that worked so well for the original series, they risk leaving behind much of the craftsmanship and attention to detail that went into it. Avataranimation and visual language. Certainly, with the resources at Avatar Studios’ disposal, there is every chance that DiMartino and Konietzko will ensure that there is no drop in quality for these Avatar: The Last Airbender sequels, but such a change leaves the door open, while also shocking longtime audiences, as the series’ pursuit of visual style would more likely retain these key elements.

Avatar the Last Airbender animation reference for earthbending

Translating Avatar: The Last Airbender From script to screen was no small feat, especially given the care taken in the narrative anchoring of the visuals in the cultures of the Four Nations world. Animation studios in South Korea, like JM Animation, who worked on 32 of the show’s 61 episodes, had fast turnaround times, and their efforts to avoid taking shortcuts while bolstering the writers’ vision. in a timely manner are to be commended. Avatar has always been the product of two lineages: a passionate appreciation for anime and eastern cultures, and uniquely western sensibilities in storytelling and characterization.

But computer-generated 3D animation has become the industry standard for feature films, and the days of 2D feature film releases are on the verge of fading, if not already over. Some franchises have updated their designs more gracefully than others. Space Jam: a new legacy (2021) has been criticized for his portrayal of Looney Tunes. Meanwhile, Studio Ghibli, a mainstay of critically acclaimed Japanese animated feature film, recently released its first 3D animated film. Earwig and the witch (2020), translating their signature style into the medium in a way similar to Pixar’s Ghibli influence. Luca (2021). Disney was also acclaimed for the visuals of its Frozen films (2013 & 2019), Moana (2016) and others. Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse (2018) took an innovative approach to the problem by walking a hybrid tightrope, featuring 3D models with various 2D elements dotted throughout the frame at one point.

Perhaps Avatar Studios will take inspiration from these examples to navigate their own creative transition. With no comment yet from DiMartino or Konietzko on Robbins’ statement, it’s unclear in which direction the new one. Avatar: the last Air master projects will be heading, nor even if the CG remark applies to the upcoming series in addition to the movies. Fans have already been burnt when it comes to expansions on this beloved story and world, from the infamous M. Night Shyamalan The last air Master (2010) flop at the next Netflix show which also scorned both creators. With their blessing, however, there remains hope for the future of Avatar.

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