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The Legend of Korra - Book One: Air(TV) (2012)
This hit Nickelodeon series follows the events of "Avatar: The Last Airbender". The next Avatar, a waterbender from the Southern Water Tribe named Korra, journeys to Republic City to master Airbending, as well as make a name for herself and stop a rising threat from a group of revolutionaries known as the Equalists.
For more about The Legend of Korra - Book One: Air and the The Legend of Korra - Book One: Air Blu-ray release, see the The Legend of Korra - Book One: Air Blu-ray Review published by Kenneth Brown on June 30, 2013 where this Blu-ray release scored 4.5 out of 5.
Starring: Janet Varney, David Faustino, Seychelle Gabriel, J.K. Simmons, Mindy Sterling, Dee Bradley Baker
Narrator: Jeff Bennett
Directors: Joaquim Dos Santos, Ki Hyun Ryu, Melchior Zwyer
» See full cast & crew
The Legend of Korra - Book One: Air Blu-ray Review
The cycle of the Avatar begins anew...
Reviewed by Kenneth Brown, June 30, 2013
It's been five long years since Avatar Aang, having narrowly mastered all four elements, defeated Fire Lord Ozai and restored peace to the Four Kingdoms. Well, five long years since Michael Dante DiMartino and Bryan Konietzko's wildly (and rightfully) popular three-season Avatar: The Last Airbender saga reached its climactic conclusion. As far as the new Avatar and the people of Republic City are concerned, it's been more than seventy years, and times have certainly changed. So too has the series, which manages to feel both wholly Avatar and wholly new. And while that will no doubt make it difficult for some fans to immerse themselves in The Legend of Korra, those who do will be treated to yet another stirring, wondrously animated, masterfully conceived and beautifully designed epic that starts strong, satisfies on the whole, and ends on a promise that the already announced Books Two through Four will be even better.
Feisty seventeen-year-old girl Korra (Janet Varney) has been raised knowing full well who and what she is: the Avatar, the one person among the Water Tribes, the Earth Kingdom, the Fire Nation and the small remnant of Air Nomads capable of controlling all four elements. However, while Korra is proficient with water, earth and fire, air-bending continues to elude the hot-headed teen. That soon begins to change, though, when she moves to Republic City to learn from airbender Tenzin (J. K. Simmons), the middle-aged son of the previous Avatar, Aang. And it's a good thing too. She'll need every element she can muster to face Amon (Steve Blum), a mysterious masked freedom fighter who's somehow developed the ability to permanently rob benders of their elemental abilities. Leading a growing army of Equalists, Amon has sworn to rid the world of bending by any and all means necessary. Now, with the help of Korra's loyal polar bear-dog Naga, three new friends -- Pro Bending brothers Mako (David Faustino) and Bolin (P. J. Byrne), and non-bender Asami (Seychelle Gabriel) -- Tenzin and his family, and Toph's adult daughter Police Chief Lin Beifong (Mindy Sterling), the young Avatar must master air, contend with a selfish councilman named Tarrlok (Dee Bradley Baker), gain the public's trust, face Amon, and restore order to a city at war with itself.
It's much easier to detail the few areas in which The Legend of Korra falls short than to go on and on about all the things the twelve-episode first season gets right; which amounts to everything else. Conceived and largely produced as a standalone miniseries (before Nickelodeon responded to its success by tossing more seasons at the creators), the story wraps up much too quickly, with much too tidy a resolution, and with the sort of deus ex machina DiMartino and Konietzko spent three seasons of The Last Airbender avoiding. Aang's story left little room for such convenience. It also took far more time to explore its world, physical and spiritual. Korra is still an addicting tale, but too many aspects are shortchanged: Korra barely ventures into the spirit world, spends next to zero time communicating with past Avatars, and doesn't seem in any great hurry to connect with Aang's spirit, much as his past plays a role in her present. (All issues the creators will presumably address over the next three seasons.) It doesn't help that the series establishes a fascinating villain in Amon only to summarily dismiss him by Book One's end.
That said, just about every complaint I had while watching The Legend of Korra stemmed from my unflinching love of The Last Airbender. Every time I was disappointed with Book One: Air, it was only because I was comparing it, its characters, and its scope and scale to those of the original. Which says a lot. Korra is as accessible to Avatar newcomers as it is invigorating for longtime devotees; no small feat considering how dense the two series' shared mythology is and how fundamentally different the two series are. Had DiMartino and Konietzko simply cannibalized spare parts from The Last Airbender, The Legend of Korra would have been stale and less absorbing. Had they drifted too far off the beaten path, the new show would have suffered the wrath of its hungry fanbase. No, the balance isn't perfect, and there are some obvious growing pains. But Book One's conclusion leaves the Avatar, the Four Kingdoms and Republic City wide open to expansion or change. DiMartino and Konietzko could take Korra anywhere. The sky is quite literally the limit.
Which brings us to the things that make the first season so exhilirating. Sharp writing. Outstanding character design. Masterclass voice acting. Thrilling animation. Fluid action. Jeremy Zuckerman and Benjamin Wynn's score. It doesn't get more basic than that, or more advanced for that matter. One of the most striking, visually engrossing, fully realized animated series on television, The Legend of Korra has it all, perhaps even more so than The Last Airbender, which is suddenly showing a bit of age thanks to Avatar's latest incarnation. Each element locks into place perfectly, and there isn't a single episode that doesn't exhibit the same energy, ferocity and heart that made Aang's adventure the classic it remains. It's funny too. And expressive. And endearing. And charming. And infectious. And, and, and, and. No, the new Avatar's crew isn't as unforgettable as the dream team -- Aang, Katara, Sokka, Toph and Zuko -- and no, the villains, supporting heroes and secondary characters aren't quite as memorable. But Book One lays the kind of groundwork other ongoing series, animated or otherwise, would kill to have. So while The Legend of Korra isn't as strong as The Last Airbender, give it some time. By Book Four, you may be hard pressed to choose a favorite. Even if Aang and company prevail, I suspect Korra and her companions won't be far behind.
The Legend of Korra - Book One: Air Blu-ray, Video Quality
Aside from the usual TV animation anomalies -- minor banding, infrequent macroblocking (the worst of which tends to accompany Amon, who sticks to the shadows), and a few softer, pixelated shots per episode, all of which trace back to the series' source and are reasonably isolated -- The Legend of Korra's 1080p/AVC-encoded video presentation is quite impressive. Brimming with at-times rich, at-times evocative colors, vibrant primaries, inky blacks and striking displays of fiery reds, icy blues, earthy browns and crisp whites, each episode has a number of sights to behold. Contrast is vivid and consistent, anomalies are fairly uncommon, and detail is noteworthy. The animators' line art is clean and refined (with no significant ringing to report). The painterly backgrounds showcase their every last nuance. The integration of CG elements (specifically cars, airships and mechs) is almost seamless and the various mechanical vehicles exhibit very little aliasing along their edges. In fact, the majority of issues I found were encountered while going through the episodes frame by frame to take screenshots. In motion, I had a tougher time spotting the problems. (Barring the aforementioned soft shots, which are thankfully a rarity.) Eager fans will be rewarded, newcomers will be pleasantly surprised, and videophiles will be pleased.
The Legend of Korra - Book One: Air Blu-ray, Audio Quality
The Legend of Korra is nothing short of a proficient powerhouse thanks to its flawless, wonderfully cinematic DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 surround track. Like The Last Airbender, the new Avatar series boasts first rate sound design that puts other animated shows to shame. The LFE channel isn't familiar with anything less than involving, with enough bombast, impact and presence to make each bending battle an exciting ground-pounding, fire-roaring, water-surging event. The rear speakers answer the call to action too, unleashing accurate directional effects, transparent pans and disarming ambience, all of which create a fully immersive experience. Jeremy Zuckerman and Benjamin Wynn's score is given the run of the soundscape as well -- a blessing considering just how engaging the music and its composition is -- and dialogue is always crystal clear, convincingly grounded and perfectly prioritized. All told, I came away without any serious complaint, minus a small gripe that some scenes were a bit too front-heavy (all of which I ultimately shrugged off). Korra hits hard and never really relents, particularly for an animated TV series. I was swept up in its mastery of the sonic elements.
The Legend of Korra - Book One: Air Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
The Legend of Korra - Book One: Air Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
Though it isn't a continuation of Aang's story (let's be honest, the show we all wanted), The Legend of Korra is an excellent new series with a strong story, charming characters, terrific voicework, fierce bending action, invigorating music and sharp scripting. It's almost the complete package, and only suffers when compared to the original series. The next three seasons may change that, of course, but even if The Last Airbender triumphs, Korra needn't be ashamed at all. The 2-disc Blu-ray release of Book One: Air is easy to recommend too, thanks to its first class video presentation, enveloping DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 surround track, and generous supplemental package, which includes twelve BD exclusive audio commentaries. Fans and newcomers alike won't regret a purchase. Now if only Nickelodeon and Paramount would finally release all three seasons of The Last Airbender on Blu-ray...
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The Legend of Korra - Book One: Air Blu-ray, News and Updates
• Exclusive Giveaway: The Legend of Korra - Book One - July 9, 2013
Blu-ray.com, Nickelodeon and Paramount Home Entertainment are offering two members a chance to win a copy of The Legend of Korra - Book One: Air, the first season of the animated followup to the hugely popular Avatar: The Last Airbender series. Book One: Air arrives ...
• The Legend of Korra - Book One: Air Blu-ray - April 9, 2013
Nickelodeon has announced the Blu-ray release of The Legend of Korra - Book One: Air, the well-received first season of Michael Dante DiMartino and Bryan Konietzko's followup to their own hit series, Avatar: The Last Airbender. The Legend of Korra picks up several ...
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