To start off, I’m gonna say this: Yes, I have watched the entire TV series.
Warning: This may contain spoilers to both the show and the movie. Read at your own risk!
Now in my opinion, the movie was a very good realistic-movie interpretation of the TV show. Obviously, they had to change and trim a few lengthy bits, but unlike some other movies they kept it going and they didn’t remove anything too important to the storyline. But they did make some mistakes.
First mistake would have to be the pronunciation of Aang’s name. If it was designed to be pronounced as ‘Ung’ then that’s how it would’ve been spelt. Throughout the movie I got a little distracted by the simple fact that he couldn’t even pronounce his own name correctly, seeing as the TV show actually originated from the United States, as where the cast in the movie are also from. Same country, having two completely different pronunciations for one name? Crazy.
Second mistake would have to be their choice of some of the cast. The biggest disappointment for me would have to be Prince Zuko’s uncle. He was supposed to be a happy old man, yet they actually made him quite boring. Fine, it might seem childish that I actually laughed whenever he showed up in the TV show with his tea, but he was such a powerful and unusual character that they shouldn’t of destroyed when remaking the show into a movie. The same would have to go, I’m afraid, to Aang. Not only did he not seem like the happy and unusual kid the show made him out to be, but he also didn’t seem interested at some points. Of course, when they were by the river and Katara was practicing waterbending and he couldn’t do it, he actually played Aang’s part well, but the rest was a kind of disappointment. I could go on, but I think that would be enough for now.
Next I’d actually like to congratulate the director and producers on the effects used. The elements would have to be the hardest thing to generate in the way it is used in the show, but I think they pulled it off nicely. Unlike the TV show, the movie was able to make every element hard to control. You just have to look at the water, as unlike in the show it sometimes splashed in the wrong way, to see how hard bending the elements would be in a real life situation. It nicely showed that even though benders had quite an extent of control, you could never fully control any of the elements. The same goes for the smoke that goes all over the place when bending fire, the dust flying around when bending earth, and all the extra wind when bending air. All of this was pulled off in a fantastic way, even if at some points the water and ice didn’t seem completely realistic.
Next I’d like to point out some of the flaws in the locations of some things. Most importantly I have to mention the layout and location of Monk Gyatso’s body. In the TV show it’s obviously a sacred place where he’s kind of on a pedistal, while in the movie it’s in the middle of an outdoor battleground on the floor. Secondly, the location of the statues of all the previous Avatars. In the show, it was a very large, locked indoor room, where they were all lined up in a grid. In the movie however, it was in a sort of courtyard outdoors, and they were lined up along the circular walls (going up) with the previous Avatar sticking out a bit on the lowest level. These, I’d have to say, are the two biggest mistakes the producers made in the movie. They are the most important parts and were too much away from the TV series and seemed to be less important.
Lastly, I think they should have said at some point, maybe in the title or at the start of the credits, that it was only the first book. Yes, I saw how it said ‘Book 1: Water’ at the very start, but it didn’t say that the whole movie would be dedicated to the first book. If they had expressed that the next one was being made, or was almost ready, I would have been happy.
So, I give this movie an 8/10.