A fan edit shows how the film adaptation of Avatar: The Last Airbender ruined one of Katara’s best season 1 moments. Katara and her brother Sokka were two water benders who just happened to discover a mysterious boy in an iceberg during the very first episode of Avatar: The Last Airbender. Their world is divided into the Earth, Water, Fire, and Air nations, with certain citizens able to “bend” their respective element to their will, with practice and dedication.
M. Knight Shyamalan’s 2010 film based on the beloved Nickelodeon animated series is still almost universally disliked by fans to this day. One of the biggest qualms critics and fans alike had with the movie version was the utter injustice it did to characters like Katara. In the animated series, the trio had journeyed to the North Pole in order to find a water bending master. Master Pakku agreed to train Aang but flatly refused to train Katara, due to the Northern Water Tribe belief that female water benders were only meant to heal and not fight. One of the greatest things about Katara’s character is her determination and strength of will. Of course she challenged Pakku to a match, which resulted in an epic fight that is easily one of the most memorable scenes of season 1.
Unfortunately, Katara’s fight with Pakku in the film was so watered down to the point where it was hard to even call it a fight. Twitter user chuuzus shared a video comparing the animated and film version of the scene, which can be seen below:
Not only did The Last Airbender failed to cast POC actors for the leading roles (with the exception of Prince Zuko), but it also completely failed to get the characters right. Ultimately, the main reason why the original Avatar series was so beloved was the incredible cast of characters, who weren’t perfect by any means, but went through so many trials and tribulations, ultimately leading to their triumph in the final season. While Katara could be stubborn with a big temper at times, it was only because she possessed a great sense of will when it came to fighting for what was right.
The film adaptation failed Katara’s character on so many levels, but this moment with Pakku stands out because it’s such a defining character moment for her. Yes, she does technically lose her battle with Pakku, but through her sheer determination and excellent raw water bending talent, Pakku finally acknowledges her as a student. Katara’s fight with Pakku was meant to be a huge turning point for her, but in the movie, it just falls flat with laughable CGI and choreography. Hopefully, the upcoming live-action Netflix adaptation will give Katara and the other characters the arcs they deserve.
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