I've listened to the audio commentary for the episode "Lake Laogai," and came to this conclusion: these people are not very interesting. Maybe it was the taxing labor of a television animation production that is to blame (I know my job sucks the life out of me, preventing me from blogging as often as I'd want), but DiMartino and Konietzko come across as timid, charmless, and unenthusiastic. Maybe, too, I'm simply spoiled by the idiosyncracies of my favorite filmmakers (Scorsese, Tarantino, Miyazaki, Kubrick, Spielberg, Coens, Altman, etc.) to the point that the rather level-headed nature of the Avatar creators' talk left much to be expected. Could their general, cheerful detactment be a sign of their strong connection to true Dao? (That would explain a comment made that DiMartino seems to take all bad production news with a smile.)
To give them the benefit of the doubt (how did I know this wasn't the worst commentary?), I listened to the commentary for the succeding episode, "The Earth King." It actually got worse. Now they seem to get excited about how you can "feel the weight" of those flying rock projectiles.
I sure as Hell did not feel the weight of those projectiles because, for reasons I'll detail much later: 1) scale is not relative; 2) the tempo never, ever changes, resulting in phony looking effects animation; and 3) the animation is so jerky that the physics of the projectiles are lost within the rigid compositioning of the drawings.
There was a moment I did feel, though, and wouldn't you know the filmmakers screw that moment up, too? Sokka stupidly tries to open an enormous palace double door. Suddenly, Aang Airbends the doors inside, off their hinges, knocking Sokka inside along with them. He skids to a stop on his face.
I felt that. It was a painful feeling, and while I didn't expect blood (there will be no blood in Avatar), I did expect some sort of reaction to this pain. Why the Hell does he rub the back of his neck?
Yes, Aang's winds wammed his entire back side, and I would have believed it had Sokka at least acknowledged his injured face. But no; the writers merely provide him the line (neck rubbing abound), "A little warning next time?" Tsk, tsk.
As far as reviewing goes, a large, coherent review of Avatar is out of the question. My thoughts aren't put together nearly well enough for such an undertaking. For now on, all Avatar-related criticisms will fall under the title "Sporatic Commentary on 'Avatar' ", followed by what the topic of that day will be. This certainly fits my short-attention span-induced mind better, and it allows me to more freely and clearly express my thoughts. Eventually, my ultimate motivation for doing all this grudging will be revealed...
All screenshots courtesy of Iroh.org -- [Tea . the Anti-Drug]