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Avatar: The Last Airbender fans claim Netflix series was ‘butchered’ amid complaints over plot changes and CGI

Avatar: The Last Airbender viewers have weighed in on the new live-action series.

Released on Netflix earlier this week, the series is a remake of the acclaimed children’s animation of the same name, which was previously adapted into a critically panned feature film by M Night Shyamlan.

Avatar follows the adventures of Aang (Gordon Cormier), a monk-like child able to manipulate the four elements: water, earth, fire and air. The original series aired between 2005 and 2008 on Nickelodeon.

While the series has received a mixed response from fans, a good amount of criticism has focused on the show’s use of CGI and green screen effects, as well as changes to the plot of the original.

“Overall if you have the chance to watch the original… just watch the original,” one person wrote on X/Twitter. “Avatar is a beautiful cartoon full of life lessons and an amazing cast of characters that’ll stay with you, if you want a watered down version with bad CGI then the remake is for you.”

Another commented: “I think live action Avatar isn’t that bad, but of course changing story knowing what was in animated show feels wrong and some cgi scenes when surroundings looks blurry and feels like there are in diffrent room.”

“Watched all 8 eps and Netflix Avatar adaptation completely missed the mark for me,” someone else wrote. “Character development mostly ruined, storylines and lore butchered as they’re mixed together, messy pacing, 80% dialogue is exposition, no nuance to themes...”

Gordon Cormier as Aang in ‘Avatar: The Last Airbender’ (COURTESY OF NETFLIX)
Gordon Cormier as Aang in ‘Avatar: The Last Airbender’ (COURTESY OF NETFLIX)

“Live action Avatar has literally BUTCHERED this show,” another person remarked. “It wouldn’t be so bad if they kept the same storyline but noooooo.”

Others, however, were more positive about the visuals, with one person writing that the CGI “carries” the other weaker aspects of the show.

“People complaining about the CGI in Netflix’s Avatar are insane. It genuinely looks great way more often than not,” another fan wrote.

Earlier this week, one of the series’ stars, Ian Ousley issued reassurance to fans who were concerned over changes made to the character of Sokka from the original series.

Gordon Cormier as Aang in ‘Avatar: The Last Airbender' (COURTESY OF NETFLIX)
Gordon Cormier as Aang in ‘Avatar: The Last Airbender' (COURTESY OF NETFLIX)

“The animated show really is the heart and soul of what our live-action show is. We were not trying to take out anything,” he said. “Obviously we took out that [sexist] element, but he still has that attitude. Not a sexist attitude, but it’s morphed into more of – in Sokka and Katara’s relationship – ‘I’m the leader and you’re the follower’ situation. Stuff like that.”

He continued: “He’s still the Sokka we know and love from the cartoon. I don’t even think fans would notice some of those things, honestly, [when] watching our show… He definitely still has his arcs and his lessons in the show.”

Avatar is one of a number of high-profile live-action animation adaptations to have been released by Netflix in recent years. It follows on from last year’s One Piece series, and a live-action remake of the hit anime Cowboy Bebop, both of which garnered mixed receptions from critics.