Saturday, October 19, 2013

Legend of Korra Book 2, Chapters 7-8 reviews

So the Avatar mythos now has its "Batman Begins" origin story! How was it? You can either get my in-depth thoughts in the audio, or you can read my bullet points below.

-- OK, so... why did Korra need amnesia? This whole thing played out like a fanfiction writer's excuse to make the main character sit still and watch her own life (or in this case, a past life). Granted, it gave us a nice chance to look at an avatar significantly more competent than our current one, but still...

-- How does the healing water work? Was that fire thing the sage did like a magical MRI? Why did she need to be submerged? Couldn't meditation work? What does any of this have to do with amnesia? How did the sage know that this particular method would put the avatar in touch with her past lives? Why did Wan make her watch this thing and not the light spirit? If she needed to find the light spirit, Raya, why didn't she get to communicate immediately with her once she came up in the flashback sequence? ANSWER ME!

"It just raises too many questions." (Why isn't this clip anywhere online on its own?)
-- I can't be the only one who noticed this: Did anyone else watch the opening sequence of Wan's flashback and immediately go, "Oh, so this was written while they were watching Aladdin?" Seriously, the rooftop running, food stealing, tattered clothes, giving the food to less fortunate instead of eating himself, the "I'm not like the rest" Diamond in the Rough-style story. It's shot for shot.

I think we were one song sequence away from Disney being able to sue for outright plagiarism. It worked, don't get me wrong, but that was so obvious I'd have to assume anyone who's ever seen Aladdin was raising their eyebrow almost immediately.

Heck, the lion turtle staring down Wan even reminded me of the Cave of Wonders! Tell me you don't see it.

-- So the new animation studio started work after weeks of hype! And... I didn't like it. I'll probably wind up in the minority because it did do a lot well and nothing was (technically) wrong, but I was not impressed at all. About a minute into the flashback I was thinking, "Hey, isn't the sky supposed to go BEHIND the scenery?"

The work looked considerably faded compared to the show's more vibrantly colored animation predecessor, the bending (besides waterbending) looked choppy, and I know it's a flashback, but why did the Lion Turtle look so bizarre? His neck was reaching out like a giraffe and he looked super skinny compared to A:TLA Book 3, Chap. 19.

It's not bad, and to be fair, they only had about two minutes of actual time in the present, so it'll probably improve, but after all the hype for this animation team I expected much, MUCH better.

-- If you ignore the terrible set-up job to necessitate the flashback, Part 1 was brilliant. It set up the world, got me invested in Wan's character, made him likable and competent and set up a real conflict. I was curious how the Spirit of the Earth thing happened, and this actually is an impressive way to set that up while simultaneously advancing the main story and why spirits might act out of character.

It really was like Batman Begins. The character's setup actually ends up overshadowing the conflict itself.

-- Part 2, on the other hand... Was this supposed to be three parts originally? Because they rushed through the other three elements absurdly fast. They put so much effort into showing how Wan perfected firebending through the dragons, but I never got to see him work with the moon, sky bison or badgermoles. Instead, we get a montage! With exposition dumps!

-- And then the episode's wrap-up was pathetic. Less than two minutes in the show and Wan is still going through his dying sequence. Korra's amnesia arc looks unbelievably pointless when it gets rushed out the door like this. It was like the staff knew they had created a better program using Wan and wanted Korra removed from the picture quickly so we wouldn't remember how poorly she is comparing so far this year.

Overall, I loved this two-parter (Part 1 more than 2). A great origin with really cool elements to the mythos added. The animation needs time to perfect itself, but I'm sure it'll get there. I'm legitimately pumped to see where this goes now.

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