Discussion in 'Science Fiction & Fantasy' started by Agent Richard07, Mar 23, 2012.
Anybody else is reminded to Tom Cruise in Eyes Wide Shut? With the mask on of course.
I watched the episodes again on their broadcast premiere yesterday, and I noticed something about episode 2 that I missed the first two times. I realized that Mako and Bolin were essentially showing Korra the same thing that Tenzin was trying to teach her with the spinning paddle thingy, how to dodge and evade. First when Mako was doing the rope-a-dope move, "bobbing and weaving" to dodge the attacks and save his energy before striking back, then when Bolin told her how she had to keep her stance loose and mobile so she wouldn't be a sitting turtle-duck (or whatever). It was the same principle as the airbender style, a focus on evasion and redirection. But when Tenzin tried to teach her that, she resisted because it was couched in the Air Nomad culture and philosophy that she found alien, and so she didn't see it as something she could understand or internalize. But pro-bending is a competitive, aggressive sport, and that's a mindset she can readily relate to. So when she saw that the same principles of giving way and evading could be an integral part of competition, that's what enabled her to accept and understand Tenzin's lessons.
But that was worked into the story so subtly that I didn't realize what was going on. I'd figured it was just the urgency of the situation, when she was on the verge of losing, that forced her to focus and start using what she'd learned. Now I see there was more to it, and it was very cleverly and subtly seeded throughout the pro-bending scenes. That's really impressive writing. Gotta love those layers.
I finally got to see this (with my two kids), and we all really liked it.
Unfortunately Nickelodeon is one of the few non-HD channels in my cable lineup, so I have to suffer through SD quality. Ugh!
Things I liked:
+ Korra herself (more aggressive version of Katara)
+ Toph's daughter, the chief of police, I see her as a reluctant future ally
+ Tenzin's kids are great comic relief and will probably continue to be so.
Things I liked less:
- The pro bending team. The two boys are very generic looking, I cannot tell them apart, nor do I know their names.
I'm looking forward to learning more about the villain(s). I like the idea someone suggested earlier that they might create weapons from pure metals not susceptible to earth bending. Chi-blocking will clearly play a large part.
Mako's the thinner, surlier one who firebends (he's been described as "Zuko without the angst"), and Bolin's the stockier, more gregarious and goofy one who earthbends. I've had no trouble telling them apart. (Note also that the pro-bending helmets have patches on the forehead that are color-coded by nation/bending ability: orange for fire, blue for water, green for earth, the same as the dominant eye colors for those respective nations.)
I really liked the pilot, and I already really like the characters, particularly the relationship between Tenzin and Korra. I also really liked Tenzin's children. It's pretty tragic that those are the only air benders so far, though.
I hope they deal with the fact that Katara has to train the reincarnation of her dead husband. That must be brutal.
I'm not sure we'll be seeing much of Katara from now on. Korra appears to have mastered her water bending already, although I'm sure she did instruct her.
Yeah, I have a feeling Katara's appearance in the pilot was kinda like McCoy's in Encounter at Farpoint. A way to comfortably connect the two shows for the pilot in a way that wouldn't be a distraction from the new show's story.
Yup. As we saw in A:TLA, the training cycle goes air, water, earth, fire -- or in Korra's case, water, earth, fire, air (and so on for each new Avatar -- note that the Avatars themselves cycle through the nations in the same order, for instance from Kyoshi to Roku to Aang to Korra). The episode opened with Korra completing her firebending training; and since she's Southern Water Tribe by birth, naturally waterbending would've been the first skill she mastered. And she is 17 years old, so she's much farther along in her training than Aang was when we met him. So she's completed her studies in the other three disciplines, and air is the only one left.
Also, Master Katara is played by Eva Marie Saint, who was billed as a "Special Guest Star." That probably means we won't be seeing her regularly.
If it was addressed in the show I didn't catch it, but doesn't having two brothers, one a firebender & the other an earthbender imply that their parents and/or grandparents are from different nations?
I thought that was a nice subtle way to illustrate just how much has changed in 70 years and indeed, what Republic City is all about.
Something else that caught my attention; if matey-bloke-who's-name-I've-forgotten is currently the only the only airbending master, does that imply that his two siblings that Katara mentions are either waterbenders, less accomplished airbenders or not benders at all? Given their parentage the last option seems the least likely.
That's right -- according to what I've read, they're the children of a mixed marriage. And you're right, it does illustrate the melting-pot nature of the Republic.
Tenzin's older sister Kya (named for Katara's mother) is a waterbender, and the middle child Bumi is a non-bender. At this point, the only living airbenders are Tenzin and his three children Jinora, Ikki, and Meelo -- and of course Korra, potentially (and maybe the fourth child that Pema is carrying, if Katara's intuition is valid).
Something The Last Airbender did really well was the music, and I'm glad to see The Legend of Korra continuing to have some really fun music - I especially loved the "jazzy" bit that played when Korra was running from the cops.
I actually prefer the original series music, I didn't really like the jazz music... felt like I was watching Cowboy Bebop or something
I thought the music here was richer and better than in A:TLA. It's by the same composer, but it has a lusher, more cinematic flavor, maybe because this show skews to an older demographic. The jazzy bits were just one of the flavors we heard, and there were a lot of really striking and beautiful cues. I'd love to have a soundtrack album of the first two episodes.
I can't wait to see what happens when Korra discovers the Avatar state and manages to commune with Aang. Hopefully they will have a Solstice episode that will cover the latter.
The creators have described it as Asiatic Jazz.
^Yeah, I heard that. But what I'm saying is that most of the music we heard was not in that jazzy style, but it's the only part of the music anyone seems to be mentioning. I'm trying to broaden the conversation to acknowledge the rest of the music, much of which was amazing. I was particularly struck by the cue early in episode 1 where Korra took her polar bear-dog out onto the ice for a walk, the scene just before Tenzin and his family first appeared. My thought on hearing that was "very Tan Dun."
There was one musical cue that reminded me a lot of some of Murray Gold's work on Doctor Who but with an Asian sound, the "mournful/thoughtful" piece. I can't place the exact setting of it, but it was really striking.
Wow... that was amazing.
Spoiler: The Power Plant
Lightning benders provide electricity for Republic City? I would have guessed it would have been a coal plant. Maybe they are just auxiliary power.
Also, Mako is the freaking Batman.
Was it on this morning? I forgot to look for it.
Wow, you mean you haven't restructured your whole life around making sure you don't miss a moment of Korra? Inconceivable!
It's on again at 3 PM Eastern today (Saturday), as well as 7:30 AM and 8 PM tomorrow, Monday at 4:30 PM, Thursday at 5:30 PM, Friday at 8:30 PM, and next Saturday at 8 AM.
Since you haven't seen it yet, I'll spoiler-code the big stuff.
Amazing is a pretty good word for it. I was concerned that the first two episodes didn't do enough to spell out the stakes of this series, but this one more than made up for that. It was very powerful.
Spoiler: The Revelation
It was frightening how large that anti-bending crowd was. There must've been thousands there, maybe tens of thousands. How did things get so bad in Republic City? Why is there so much animosity toward benders? Probably it's just that things are tough economically or whatever and the benders are being blamed because they're different, and because a lot of them are in power, and because the bender gangs are making people's lives miserable on the small scale. But how did the city go so far astray from Aang's vision of harmony? Is it just because they've been without the Avatar for 17 years?
And the revelation of what Amon is capable of was simply stunning. I was genuinely shaken by that. How it is even possible that he could do something that only Aang was ever able to do? (I briefly wondered if somehow he could actually be Aang, but then I realized, duh, Aang must be dead or Korra wouldn't exist, or at least wouldn't be the Avatar.)
It was a bit contrived that Bolin just happened to get recruited for a job by the triad on the same day this was happening, thus conveniently leading Korra right to Amon's big rally. But I can live with that, since the rest was so impressive.
As for the former, that was exactly what I expected -- that they'd use lightning-benders to create electricity (which is hardly a major spoiler, just a background detail). What is interesting is how common the ability seems to be. Seventy years ago, lightning-bending was a top-level skill that, as far as we saw, was possessed only by members of Sozin's dynasty (Ozai, Iroh, and Azula could generate lightning; Zuko could only redirect it). Now it's become much more commonplace. Which is similar to the proliferation of metalbending since Toph first discovered it. I wonder what reforms and institutions Aang, Zuko, and their allies put into place in building this new civilization that enabled such high-level abilities to proliferate to this degree.
But then, maybe it's just an improved educational system. There are analogies in our own history, a lot of things (like literacy or computer programming) that were once the disciplines of an elite few but are now far more universal. An increase in urbanization brings more people within reach of higher education and advanced knowledge, and improvements in communication and transportation allow knowledge to be spread faster and more widely. So in the Avatar World, advanced bending knowledge that was once in the hands of a few great masters spread widely around the world, and therefore only accessible to a limited few, may have become more common knowledge.
Spoiler: The Revelation
And yes, Mako did have a rather familiar origin story, though not quite the same as Bruce Wayne's, since it was a fellow firebender who took his parents. So he can't really blame it on an outside, separate group that he can pit himself against.
Which is exactly what Amon is doing. If anyone here is Batman, a masked figure who's declared war on the group responsible for killing his family, it's Amon. And it's potentially ominous that Mako has experienced the same loss the drives Amon. That makes me wonder if he could be susceptible to Amon's rhetoric and maybe change sides. (Or if Bolin could, but they made a point of having Mako be the one to tell his backstory in the same episode that Amon revealed his very similar one, which suggests they're drawing a parallel.)
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