DVD SRP: $57.99
DVD Running Time: 533 Minutes
DVD Bonus Features:
· Behind-the-Scenes with the Avatar Cast & Crew
· Avatar Pilot Episode with Audio Commentary
· The Making of Avatar – Inside the Sound Studios
· The Making of Avatar – Inside the Korean Animation Studios
· Avatar Documentary
For many years now, my TV time has been severely limited. At first by choice and then from the fact that I am so incredibly busy as a musician, educator and now parent. There’s hardly time to watch movies from my queue and I only have a couple of TV shows I religiously watch, most of the time catching up online. I do try to watch some of Teagan’s DVD’s with her, but the repetition sometimes drives me crazy! So when Terresa presented me with the first season DVD’s of Avatar: The Last Airbender-Complete Book 1 Collectors Edition cartoon television series to watch and review I thought, “cool” but then, “when am I going to find the time for this!”
My background on the series was a little vague. I do have an Avatar: The Last Airbender poster I got from ComicCon last summer hanging in my music room. I use the poster, that shows the main character Aang hanging around with a flock of flying bison, to compare and contrast elements in art with elements in music. Something I thought my kids could relate to. Plus, it’s a really gentle and pleasing piece of art. But, the only knowledge I had of the series was mostly due to the coming attractions we saw for The Last Airbender live action movie. To find out that each nation in the movie has its own natural element, on which it bases its society, my interest evolved and inspired some new ideas for my music class. So, with only that knowledge on hand I decided to give the cartoon series a go…
Terresa and I sat down to watch the first episode to see if it maybe was a little young for us. From the opening credits I knew right away this was definitely more than “just for kids”. Although the character’s design is definitely heavily influenced on the popular anime style that’s the rage with kids lately, the root of the show draws deep on ancient philosophies and traditions. The graphics feature beautiful Chinese characters, calligraphy and Asian influenced art. And the most important and powerful part of the introduction-the presentation of the manipulation (“Bending”) of the 4 classical elements of our world: Water, Earth, Fire and Air. Each element has it’s own fighting style and weapons based in harmony with specific Chinese Martial arts.
I did mention we sat down to watch one episode that night. Well, we ended up watching the entire first DVD! Although it made for a late night, we could not believe how much fun and interesting this cartoon was! The Complete Book 1 series (out of 3 Books) follows the adventures of the main character Aang and his friends, who must save the world by defeating the evil Fire Lord and end the destructive war with the Fire Nation. Aang is the Avatar, an Airbender who is the only person in his generation capable of controlling and manipulating all four elements to his will and the one tasked with maintaining peace between the Four Nations of the world. Aang is 12 years old and he and his giant flying bison Appa have been frozen in an iceberg for the past 100 years. For the duration, and right after Aang’s disappearance, the Fire Nation, realizing that according to the Avatar cycle the next Avatar will be born an Airbender, launches a genocidal campaign against the Airbenders. This way they can ensure that the next Avatar will not try to foil their plot for world domination.
Aang becomes unfrozen by a fourteen-year-old Waterbender girl named Katara, and her older warrior brother, Sokka from the Southern Water Tribe. The three travel to the Northern Water Tribe so Aang and Katara can learn Waterbending.
So, after a lapse of 100 years, the Avatar-spiritual master of the elements-has returned. And just in time as the Four Nations (Water, Earth, Fire and Air) have become unbalanced. The Fire Nation wants to rule the word, and its first conquest will be the Northern Water Tribe! So it’s up to Aang and his gang to head up an incredible journey traveling across the world to help Aang find a master so that he can learn all four bending ways and bring the one hundred year old war to an end and peace to the world.
From that synopsis you can tell why we had to see what was next for our heroes. The choreography and fight sequences are astounding. You can tell TONS of time went into researching cultural relevancy and authenticity. The characters are cute, but tough and carry an amazing burden on their shoulders. You can sense the emotion, growth and adventure they are about experience. There is also a heap of hilarious sequences and comedic relief strategically sprinkled throughout each episode. I was amazed by this show and had to keep reminding myself this was originally on Nickelodeon and basically, at first, for the under-14 demographic.
The entire Avatar: The Last Airbender-Complete Book 1 Collectors Edition is a newly designed limited edition 7-disc collector’s edition that includes the entire Book 1: Water compilation, packed with special features, an exclusive behind-the scenes documentary and a beautifully illustrated paperback book that provides a unique view of the amazing designs, storyboards, paintings and animation from the series.
I am blown away by the production, musically and visually as well as the premise and the creative cultural influence. My wife and I are hooked on the action and charming humor, love the characters and have become huge fans of Avatar: The Last Airbender. I have not been this captivated and thrilled over a cartoon series in years! We’re not sure if we’ll get a chance to see the movie version before it leaves theaters, but we will seek out and look forward to viewing Books 2 and 3 on DVD. I also look forward to viewing the series again once my 2 1/2 year old daughter has matured. It does get violent and very dark and intense but not in a gory or gratuitous way. This was an electrifying experience and time well spent. I highly recommend checking out Avatar: The Last Airbender-Complete Book 1 Collectors Edition!
Interested in purchasing Avatar: The Last Airbender-Complete Book 1 Collectors Edition? It is currently available on Amazon.com for $25.49!
The PR firm is generously offering ONE (1) That’s IT Mommy reader Avatar: The Last Airbender Book 1: Water Volumes 1-4 (see image below)
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