Created by: Michael Dante DiMartino, Bryan Konietzko
Starring:Janet Varney Dee Bradley Baker</>
“The era of bending is over. A new era of equality has begun!”
Back in the year 2005, Nickelodeon started to air a show called Avatar The Last Airbender, which quickly turned into a massive success with three seasons and a feature film (which doesn’t exist). What made this show so incredibly popular was its originality, seriousness, humor and fantastic action sequences that made many kids, including me, returning to it week after week. After the show came to its natural conclusion, the fans hoped for another book (or season) to the show but the creators said they were done.
Around the summer of 2010, it was announced that a new show was to come out called The Legend of Korra (Formerly known as Avatar: The Legend of Korra). Fans heads exploded in anticipation and when it was finally aired, the ratings were through the roof with 4.3 million viewers per episode.So with all that said, its safe to say that ive been a huge fan of this series even before it came out, but what is it about? The show takes place about 70-80 years in the future with Aang having passed on, and Korra being the new Avatar. While she has mastered the arts of firebending, earthbending, and waterbending, she still needs to learn airbending from a new teacher named Tenzin in Republic City. One of the masterstrokes of this new series is completely being faithful to the original series while making new ideas and fully realizing them. An example of this being “Pro-Bending” a new sport that takes the three bending forces and puts it in a sport that makes me (a person who hates all sports) want to buy season tickets to such events. But with this passage of time also marks the transition into a semi steampunk style that fits the tone and atmosphere of the show quite well. The antagonist, Amon (played by Steve Blum) is quite intimidating and actually has a huge stage presence whenever he is on screen, chewing up the scenery with is mysterious nature. That’s not to say that this series is perfect, there is a love triangle that feels forced in the middle of the series that seems to go on a little bit longer than necessary and also the ending being a complete Deus Ex Machina (act of god) that comes out of nowhere. But I will say that the ending for the antagonists is BALLSY. This having never before been in a Nick show before, and while I won’t spoil it, my reaction to it was simply, “Woah.”
“Save your breath, you’ve already made it clear how you feel about me.”
Ladies and gentlemen, this is the new standard for animation quality on blu-ray. In a word: unbelievable. Having seen the first half originally in standard definition, and then seeing the second half in 720p, this outdoes pretty much every 2D animated blu ray I’ve seen. In 1080p the details are astounding. If one looks closely one can see the brush strokes in the backgrounds, and grit flying through the air. Flesh tones and all colors for that matter, pop and look extremely natural. While I have read some complaints of the black levels crushing at points, I noticed that it was just a shade of brown and not the crush. There’s no blending, halos or any other defects. As far as my standards go, this is a perfect transfer.
“NO! Not my Cabbage Corp!”
Audio quality for a Nick show sounds better than ya’d think. Presented in a DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 mix, one could not ask for a better mix. Elements fly from one speaker to the other, and the subwoofer works overtime on the impacts. Original music by The Track Team is fantastic, with its Asian and jazz influence and neither the effects nor the music ever drown out the audio coming from mostly the center speaker. A part of me wishes they would have a soundtrack only mix, to listen as the music swells and bounces from one speaker to another with the different instruments. While not the most aggressive mix ever made, it gets the job done fantastically.
Packaging and Bonus Features
“From here on out, its going to be the lap of luxury for us.”
Blu-ray Exclusive Audio Commentaries: All twelve episodes feature an audio commentary with co-creators Michael Dante DiMartino & Bryan Konietzko, as well as a bunch of guests including co-executive producer Joaquim Dos Santos, composers/track team Jeremy Zuckerman and Benjamin Wynn, and voice actors Janet Varney (Korra), David Faustino (Mako), Steve Blum (Amon) and Seychelle Gabriel (Asami). The bad news is that the commentary was recorded out of order so at times it goes all over the place. Otherwise, the DiMartino/Konietzko-helmed tracks will be a blast for series fans and newcomers alike. Varney is present in almost every commentary, but each participant makes the most of their time. Breezy, entertaining, informative and down-to-Earth the discussions of the production and process are well worth absorbing and only deepen one’s appreciation for the show and all the hard work that went into every frame, design and performance.
Blu-ray Exclusive Animatics (HD, 53 minutes): A lengthy selection of creator-favorite animatics for scenes in “Welcome to Republic City,” “The Revelation,” “The Voice in the Night,” “The Spirit of Competition,” “And the Winner Is…,” “When Extremes Meet,” “Turning the Tides” and “Endgame.” As an added bonus, a picture-in-picture window plays each scene’s finalized animation alongside its animatic.
The Making of a Legend: The Untold Story (6 minutes): This tongue-in-cheek “Legend of Puppetbender” featurette finds the cast and crew taking jabs at one another by way of felt-puppet avatars. It’s cute, but doesn’t really bring any behind the scenes material to light. It was funny that they clearly say who their target audience is though. (College kids)
Overall (Not an average) 9/10