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July 20th, 2008


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01:24 am - The Weekend That Killed Fandom
Oh my God, you guys, this fucking weekend.

1. The Watchmen trailer
2. The Dark Knight
3. Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog, Act III
4. The Avatar series finale

This was like the most anticipated weekend of all time. So how did it all measure up?

Watchmen Trailer

This. Was. AWESOME. It looks to be an incredibly faithful adaptation; Zack Snyder obviously took great care to re-create specific panels. I've been re-reading the book, and it is still awesome. Exquisite storytelling. And the trailer looks like the movie is going to get it right tonally; the music especially gives it that dark, foreboding, epic feel, with a beat that feels like clockwork. Dr. Manhattan looks awesome, and I love that they used the line from Rorschach's opening narration, which I think tells the non-comics audience that this is not your typical superhero movie.

I've watched it several times now, and it makes me all flaily. I will be even more flaily once I finish re-reading the book.

The Dark Knight

Oh man, this movie was so fucking hardcore. Holy fucking shit. I rewatched Batman Begins a few days ago, and The Dark Knight makes it look like a walk in the park. Like that movie, however, Dark Knight takes its sweet time getting started, but because it's not an origin story full of training montages, it's not as slow and probably more rewatchable. But once it gets awesome, it stays awesome and intense for two goddamn hours.

The Joker is fucking terrifying. I still find it hard to believe Heath Ledger is really dead, and I keep expecting to hear that it's all been an elaborate hoax or a dream. But I was rarely reminded that I was even watching Heath Ledger because all I could see was the Joker. I heard that he read The Killing Joke to get into the role, and it showed. I re-read it on Thursday, and its influence on the movie was apparent. I appreciated the movie a whole lot more with the comic fresh in my mind.

This movie is PG-13, but it's a hard PG-13. It feels like an R-rated movie.

Maggie Gyllenhaal is pretty.

I'm sure you weren't waiting for my endorsement or anything, but if you were, you can have it. And now, some spoilery thoughts.

SPOILERS BEGIN

THE DARK SPOILERS

THE DARK SPOILERS RETURN


When I say the movie was hardcore, I mean that I truly believed that anyone could die at any time. I thought they'd actually killed Jim Gordon and was so confused and dismayed, especially because I remembered scenes with the Joker from the trailer, but I figured they'd been cut or something. I thought one or both of the boats would blow up. I thought Two-Face would kill Jim Gordon's son. It was just that kind of movie.

Our audience laughed at the pencil trick, and I was surprised because I thought it was awful and sadistic and basically said all bets were off with this guy, and that was not funny.

THINGS OUR AUDIENCE CHEERED:
  • The first appearance of the Batpod
  • Flipping the truck
  • The Batpod running up a wall and flipping around
  • The reappearance of Jim Gordon
  • The prisoner throwing the detonator out of the window
  • The asshole deciding not to blow up the prisoners
  • The end
  • The dedication to Heath Ledger
Since Memento, Christopher Nolan has been one of my favorite directors, and he has yet to make a movie I don't like. I love that he's managing to make great movies on a Hollywood budget, still doing crazy things like shooting the Joker upside-down/downside-up, which was so fucking disconcerting and cool and so perfectly symbolic of the Joker's desire to turn the world upside-down.

The movie was not perfect, but I don't care. I'm still amazed at how goddamn intense it is and yet how grounded it is. Take away the costumes, and this movie would still work as a fantastic crime thriller. The Joker doesn't need crazy makeup and scars to be terrifying; he's terrifying because he's a force of chaos with no motives. Two-Face doesn't need a disfigured face to be terrifying; he's terrifying because he's a good man gone horribly wrong. And Batman, of course, is not that different from the people he hunts. I always love the idea in superhero stories that the costume becomes the primary identity, and the person underneath becomes the mask.

THE DARK SPOILERS STRIKE BACK

Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog

Oh man, such hilarity! I told you about this months ago, but if you weren't aware it was up, you have until midnight EST to catch it online for free, but after that, I think it'll still be available on iTunes for a mere four bucks. And it's worth it, since it gets better the more you watch it. Some of the songs are terribly catchy, and there are gobs of great lines.

Neil Patrick Harris definitely deserves a pizza-trophy. Nathan Fillion can have a trophy. And Felicia Day should have a pizza. With me.

THE SPOILERS ARE NOT...QUO

SHINY NEW SPOILERS

THE DELTOIDS OF SPOILERS


The first time I watched Act III, it was after The Dark Knight, and I was looking for something light and cheerful like the first two acts. And then Joss fucking Whedon pulled his trick yet again, and it was depressing and mildly enraging. The second time I watched it, I knew what was coming, and I could appreciate it more as a tragedy rather than an expected comedy. The final shot/word kills me.

I think I'll probably make my peace with it after a while, viewing it as an origin story rather than a silly musical romp, but...man. Couldn't this just have been fucking fun? Wouldn't that have been better for everyone? A dead Penny is not what I need, Joss. It's a valid storytelling choice, sure, but this was supposed to be fun entertainment. Sometimes that is what we need. I love Joss Whedon and his work, but geeeeeeeez.

Ha ha ha ha David Fury and Marti Noxon. And then Doug Petrie and Drew Goddard.

I think my favorite song is a close match between "Bad Horse"/"Bad Horse (Reprise)" and "Brand New Day." So very catchy.

Basically, there needs to be a sequel.

THE SPOILER LEAGUE OF SPOILERS

Avatar

Aah, I don't know what to do with myself now that Avatar is over. At least there are some sort of one-hour specials later on? Or something? We really like specials these days.

THE PHOENIX SPOILERS

THE OLD SPOILERS

INTO THE SPOILERS


I am far too tired to write about this many episodes at once. So, of course, it's probably just best to focus on the last one. But first, a few thoughts on the ones leading up to the finale, since I never wrote about them.

"The Western Air Temple": Zuko's practicing his speech and impersonations? SUPER GODDAMN HILARIOUS.

"The Firebending Masters": Zuko and Aang bonding? Also hilarious.

"The Boiling Rock": Zuko and Sokka bonding? See above. Also, Suki is made of awesome, and OMG MAI AND OMG TY LEE OMG. So much awesome in those episodes (mostly Part 2).

"The Southern Raiders": Zuko and Katara bonding? Not that hilarious. Badass, instead. Loved the flashback technique.

"The Ember Island Players": So meta it almost hurts. The first time I watched, it was late Friday night, and while I enjoyed it, I was slightly irked by the episode itself. When I watched again with gymble and her husband and upanashad, who laughed their asses off, I sort of forgave the episode for making no sense and just had fun with it. I do kind of love them for admitting that "The Great Divide" sucked, even though by doing so, they robbed it of its distinction of being the only episode never to be referenced again.

This season has had its issues, and it failed to reach the heights of awesomeness achieved by season two, so I didn't expect the finale to be totally amazing and perfect, just good enough with a healthy dose of awesome. And that's what I got. I will love it, flaws and all, because that's how I roll.

I loved the sand sculptures. I loved that Toph wanted her life-changing field trip with Zuko. I loved the return of Jun. I loved the return of the White Lotus Society. I loved that Bumi took back Omashu during the eclipse. I loved Aang's commiserating with past Avatars, as it at least made most of the things we learned in "Escape from the Spirit World" truly canon. I loved the tearful Zuko/Iroh reunion. I loved that Azula's mental breakdown basically stemmed from huge trust issues resulting from Mai and Ty Lee's betrayal and compounded by Ozai's turning his back on her. I loved that she was still scary when she was crazy. I loved Azula's crazy laugh. I loved that they actually let Sozin's Comet arrive, just like they let the Day of Black Sun fail, just like they let Ba Sing Se fall. I loved the music, as always. I loved Sokka and Suki as a couple. I loved Toph metalbending the shit out of everyone. I loved airship slice. I loved the use of the boomerang. I loved that I kind of want to make out with Suki now. I loved the sheer power of the mass firebending at its most destructive. I loved Zuko holding his own against Azula. I loved Katara waterbending the shit out of Azula. I loved Ozai ferociously attacking Aang. I loved Firebender Jetpack Day. I loved Bumi stacking tanks. I loved Avatar Aang's swirly elemental ball of power. I loved that in the end, it was AANG, not the Avatar, who brought the fight to a close. I loved Ty Lee joining the Kyoshi Warriors. I loved Fire Lord Zuko reuniting the world and bringing a new era of love and peace. I loved Zuko and Aang being friends. I loved Zuko asking his dad where his mother is. I loved everyone together in Sokka's picture. I loved the whole crazy awesome lovable show.

There were things I didn't love, of course. Azula's breakdown was sad to watch. And she was less hot when she was crazy. The trauma-induced chakra unblocking was sort of whatevs, but, hey, I do love the Avatar state. The Deus Ex Lion-Turtle really bugged me because it came out of nowhere and imparted this great wisdom that even past Avatars didn't know (although latropita says that's the point, that it's something new), and it was never foreshadowed or hinted at ever (UM HOLY FUCKING SHIT I TAKE IT BACK: "Hey, look at these weird lion-turtle things," says Aang). And, as gymble's husband noted, it was animated like something out of Monty Python. Most importantly, however, we couldn't understand a fucking thing it said. The voice was digitized too heavily, and it was clearly supposed to be saying meaningful, important things, and here Aang was taking someone's bending away, something we didn't even know was possible, and we couldn't understand how or why because the voice was so fucked up. Epic fail on your series climax, guys! We've been waiting all this time for Aang to defeat the Fire Lord, and we don't even know what's going on. But there were a lot of bright lights and loud music, so it was cool anyway. The lion-turtle bullshit was my major complaint, I guess; I can't think of much else besides, what the hell, where is Zuko's mom?? I guess that's what the specials will be about? You don't put a scene like that in a finale and then plaster THE END on the screen! Also, I'm not a 'shipper, so ending the series on an Aang/Katara kiss was sort of eye-rolly for me. I mean, yes, I assumed they'd be together, but I was hoping for something else in a series-ending shot.

Shit, I don't want it to be over.

AVATAR SPOILERS
Current Mood: tiredtired
Current Music: Arctic Monkeys - Do Me a Favour

(50 memoirs | Describe me as "inscrutable")

Comments:


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[User Picture]
From:latropita
Date:July 20th, 2008 08:58 am (UTC)
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That panel-to-frame comparison is really interesting, and also encouraging because it looks like the creators REALLY went into the source material.

My midnight audience cheered the appearance of the Joker and then kind of all gasped in horror at the pencil trick; my 7:30 showing of it (there was an entire row of like twelve-year-old boys behind us) cheered at the pencil trick. What. I actually feel like TDK is muuuch harder to rewatch, because it's so depressing. BB is not a romp in the park, but TDK is just so dark and so sick in parts. It does hold up once you know all the twists though, which had been a concern.

I am like still totally incapable of formulating full responses about Avatar without getting all emotional. SHOOOOOOW.
[User Picture]
From:latropita
Date:July 20th, 2008 09:00 am (UTC)
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Also, the music in the Watchmen trailer is AWESOME. I have been in a little musical puddle all weekend basically, because that was awesome, the Bond trailer music was awesome, the T4 sound was awesome, Dr Horrible's songs were awesome, TDK's soundtrack is awesome, AVATAR MUSIC IS ALWAYS AWESOME...njsdf.
[User Picture]
From:wolfpilot06
Date:July 20th, 2008 09:41 am (UTC)
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Re: Avatar

Heck yes, the ending was epic. I found myself rolling back just to try to figure out what the heck that Deux Ex Lion-Turtle thing was saying, and couldn't really figure out that last thing he said to Aang. Anyways. I had a strong suspicion that the only way Aang would stay true to himself and defeat Ozai without killing him was to take away his fire-bending somehow. =P Was not very surprised that it happened, only how it happened (IT'S THE AANG AND OZAI LIGHT SHOOOW!).

...truly, the fights were pretty awesome. Azula going crazy was kind of abrupt for me, since she was pretty cool and collected before this. It's not that I couldn't see that coming, what with the build-up of trust issues and whatnot; it's just that it happened so fast.

And the fact that Aang's technically a 12-year-old in mind, and Katara's, what, a 14-year-old, made me feel not-so-clean watching them make out on the screen. I like the two, but it always struck me as funny that they spent so much time kissing on screen as pre-pubescent punks. So yes, I too rolled my eyes at the ending scene. ;P

ALSOOOO~

The Ember Island Players episode felt horribly like filler to me, and didn't really seem to add much to the story at all. It really was very, very meta, and I was wondering if that was the writers' way of avoiding tons and tons of flashbacks to explain things in the finale (in a very hokey way).

However, I got a serious kick when Zuko (I think it was Zuko) turned to one of the others and went, "...Wait, did Jet just die?"

BECAUSE THAT WAS SO AMBIGUOUS IN THE SERIES, TOO. 8D That was probably the best part of the episode, aside from Toph cracking up, loving that she was represented by a burly man, and BFFing Zuko. Seriously, I want to make Toph my best friend. XD

But yes, it is super-sad that Avatar is over. :( It was incredibly awesome while it lasted.

ALSO: Re: Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along-Blog

It was really, really funny for the first two acts, but is it just me, or did the entire thing end so depressingly? ;___; Neil Patrick Harris is my new hero. Nathan Fillon is amusing and buff. I am amused that Dr. Horrible's villain friend has the power to make things moist. XD

[User Picture]
From:spectralbovine
Date:July 20th, 2008 09:48 am (UTC)
(Link)
(IT'S THE AANG AND OZAI LIGHT SHOOOW!)
Hee, I know!

Azula going crazy was kind of abrupt for me, since she was pretty cool and collected before this. It's not that I couldn't see that coming, what with the build-up of trust issues and whatnot; it's just that it happened so fast.
Yeah, I wish they'd had time to show a slower deterioration. Dammit, show, why aren't you an hourlong?

The Ember Island Players episode felt horribly like filler to me, and didn't really seem to add much to the story at all. It really was very, very meta
It was a lot of fun, but it didn't do a whole lot to move the story forward, and what it did do could have been done without a big hilarious meta plot device.

"...Wait, did Jet just die?"

BECAUSE THAT WAS SO AMBIGUOUS IN THE SERIES, TOO.

I know!! I kind of thought it was sort of inappropriate, but Sokka never really liked Jet, so he probably didn't lose any sleep over his apparent death.

But yes, it is super-sad that Avatar is over. :( It was incredibly awesome while it lasted.
So very awesome.

It was really, really funny for the first two acts, but is it just me, or did the entire thing end so depressingly?
I am 125% positive it is not just you.
[User Picture]
From:harper47
Date:July 20th, 2008 11:58 am (UTC)
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I agree with you re Dr. Horrible. (haven't seen Batman yet) I wasn't expecting a tragedy at all. In fact, I almost forgot that Act III was posting yesterday and then quickly watched it last night going what? Wait - no!!
[User Picture]
From:etherealclarity
Date:July 20th, 2008 02:00 pm (UTC)
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I haven't seen Batman yet, but I'm so very excited to see it (so I avoided that part of the post).

Dr. Horrible was awesome and catchy... and like you, the ending disappointed me at first, but I feel better about it upon re-watching. But... I want so much more now! Damn you Joss. They better not cancel Dollhouse... ever.

Avatar OMG! I'm so sad it's over, but I really liked the finale, so it works out. I too kinda though the lion turtle was a deus-ex machina of sorts, but only to the problem of whether or not Aang was going to kill the firelord. I like that they came up with an alternate solution, but it did seem to come out of nowhere. Hee... I love Sokka and Suki together. I wanted more Iroh though, because he's made of awesome. I'm glad Aang and Katara ended up together if only because I really didn't want to see Katara end up with Zuko. And I loved how Mai really came through in the end. And I loved Azula's breakdown... awesome! And I want more! Dammit.
[User Picture]
From:kibarika
Date:July 20th, 2008 02:18 pm (UTC)
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I like your assessment of act III of Dr. Horrible.
[User Picture]
From:soleta_nf
Date:July 20th, 2008 04:31 pm (UTC)
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I love Joss Whedon and his work, but geeeeeeeez.

My thoughts exactly!
[User Picture]
From:raelee
Date:July 20th, 2008 05:09 pm (UTC)
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Most importantly, however, we couldn't understand a fucking thing it said.

Yeah, that's exactly what was driving me crazy. I also didn't understand why it would make Aang not "exist" just because he was on the lion turtle. It's not like his being out on the water should have stopped his scent from being in the air.

Didn't really care for the last shot being on Aang and Katara kissing. I mean, I don't really have a problem with that even though it's not the pairing I would have chosen. It's that I wanted one last group hug. I was hoping that they'd kiss and then the original group would join them on the balcony for an old school Team Avatar hug. Alas!

But, really, I loved the rest for many of the same reasons you listed. I didn't even mind The Ember Island Players episode too much. Possibly because I watched several episodes in a row so I felt like it was a nice break in the more dramatic/action packed episodes that were busy wrapping up so many story lines. And it worked nice little stroll down memory lane as the series was coming to an end.

I plan to ask about Zuko's mother. Not nice to tease! Also, now I understand your fire flakes question. Although I assumed they were sorta like frosted flakes...

RE: Dr. Horrible - I felt the same the first time I watched and, to some degree, I still feel it. It's not an ending I want to re-watch time and time again... but I know it's Joss' work because it's something I feel compelled to watch several times. And I do think it was always meant to be an origins story and therefore wasn't surprised by what we got. It's just that once I met the characters... I wanted a different story. I guess that's what I love about Joss and what I hate about him at the same time.

Edited at 2008-07-20 05:10 pm (UTC)
[User Picture]
From:spectralbovine
Date:July 20th, 2008 07:21 pm (UTC)
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I also didn't understand why it would make Aang not "exist" just because he was on the lion turtle. It's not like his being out on the water should have stopped his scent from being in the air.
Yeah, what was up with that?

It's that I wanted one last group hug. I was hoping that they'd kiss and then the original group would join them on the balcony for an old school Team Avatar hug. Alas!
Right? Or maybe some sort of montage showing the new world with all the various nations (not just our heroes/villains) working together in harmony.

I plan to ask about Zuko's mother. Not nice to tease!
Not at all! Also ask them whether they had this lion-turtle business in mind from the beginning.

Also, now I understand your fire flakes question. Although I assumed they were sorta like frosted flakes...
Hee. Sokka first tried them back in "The Deserter."

guess that's what I love about Joss and what I hate about him at the same time.
*shakes fist*
From:harriettheelf
Date:July 20th, 2008 06:20 pm (UTC)
(Link)
Dark Knight - oh, it was wonderful. Heath Ledger made Jack Nicholson look like a preening jackass. *That* is the kind of sociopath/psychopath portrayal that is perfect for The Joker.

Also, hoo-wee has Christian Bale aged well since Newsies.
[User Picture]
From:spectralbovine
Date:July 20th, 2008 07:22 pm (UTC)
(Link)
Yeah, I've been wanting to see the first movie for a while to see what was so great about Jack Nicholson. I saw the Tim Burton movies many years ago, probably when I was too young to appreciate them.
[User Picture]
From:sjester
Date:July 20th, 2008 06:55 pm (UTC)
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Am I the only person in the world who wasn't upset about how Dr. Horrible ended?

I mean, I can see the depressing, but it doesn't bother me. Maybe I just like my comedy like my chocolate: dark.
[User Picture]
From:roxybisquaint
Date:July 20th, 2008 07:09 pm (UTC)
(Link)
That Watchmen trailer looks cool. I think I'll be adding the graphic novel to my reading list.
[User Picture]
From:spectralbovine
Date:July 20th, 2008 07:23 pm (UTC)
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You should! It's fantastic.
[User Picture]
From:shpyum
Date:July 20th, 2008 08:07 pm (UTC)
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Dr. Horrible ended exactly the way I expect all Joss to end, always: by stomping on my heart. (Me? Still bitter about Anya + Wash? Nooo)

Also, I may have cried like a little girl when Zuko and Iroh reunited.
[User Picture]
From:miniglik
Date:July 20th, 2008 10:00 pm (UTC)
(Link)
So, I walked J and the kids out of maka's apartment just before Azula was freaking the hell out and... yeah, didn't see that coming. She has crazy cartoon eyes! And uneven bangs!

Although, seriously, chains are supposed to hold her? Aang really needs to work his deus ex machina bending gentling mojo again on Azula.

I liked the giant turtle lion. Kind of creepy. It seemed a little odd, but I liked it. I mean, I still didn't like that they gave Aang another way out of his moral dilemma, but I thought it was cool.

I couldn't watch Katara/Aang kissing. That's some whacked out stuff there. A chick with an adult body kissing a 12 year old with a squeaky voice. Ewwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww

Also, Zuko and Aang at the end was all kinds of awesome. It's their story! The Avatar and the Fire Lord, bff again. But, seriously, isn't Zuko 17ish? Why is he so tiny? (Sokka too.) They have really large fathers! Does everyone grow a foot in their 20s? Heh.

All the blue v. red was visually cool. Cartoon-face exaggerations still annoy me.

Iroh was great. Bumi was hilarious. Sokka, Suki, and Toph were made of win. As was Zuko/Katara v. Azula and Aang v. Ozai.

They went a bit overboard on the villainish mwahahahahahing. I thought for sure it was preparation to make it OKAY to kill people (on a kids show). Since it wasn't, I'm fairly befuddled. I think perhaps only children get to be complex individuals on this show?



Edited at 2008-07-20 10:07 pm (UTC)
[User Picture]
From:spectralbovine
Date:July 20th, 2008 10:10 pm (UTC)
(Link)
And uneven bangs!
She had such great hair before!

Although, seriously, chains are supposed to hold her? Aang really needs to work his deus ex machina bending gentling mojo again on Azula.
Oh, good idea.

I mean, I still didn't like that they gave Aang another way out
Well, it's a kid's show. And it is kind of nice that they didn't make him compromise his principles. This isn't really a show about killing people. But Avatar: Hardcore Edition would be preeeeeetty sweet. (That WOULD be about killing people. Horrifically.)

Cartoon faced exaggerations still annoy me.
Me too.

Bumi was hilarious.
"Where's Momo?"

They went a bit overboard on the villainish mwahahahahahing. I thought for sure it was preparation to make it OKAY to kill people (on a kids show). Since it wasn't, I'm fairly befuddled. I think perhaps only children get to be complex individuals on this show?
I guess? And adults who are not evil? Ozai was sadly reduced to a one-dimensional megalomaniac at the end, even though it seemed like they were going to give him some layers once they showed us his face. They used up all their complex villainy on Azula. I'm glad they didn't cop out and make him, I don't know, regretful or something, though.
[User Picture]
From:mycenae
Date:July 20th, 2008 10:41 pm (UTC)
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Both audiences I saw TDK with cheered both the pencil scene and the scene where Batman breaks Maroni's legs. Clearly, we are assholes and would have blown up the other ferry.
(Deleted comment)
[User Picture]
From:eldritch_flame
Date:July 21st, 2008 12:05 am (UTC)
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Haven't seen The Dark Knight yet (sniff) and I don't want to read through the comments in case of spoilers, so I'm not sure if someone else has already posted this. But in case you still want to know, what I could make out of what the giant lion-turtle said was something like "In the era before the Avatars, we bent not the elements but the energy within ourselves. To bend another's energy, your own spirit must be unbendable or else you will be corrupted and destroyed." Still pretty much out of left-field, but at least it explains what the light show was all about.

And a big ol' WORD to everything you said (with the addition that I would've liked Mai and Ty Lee to be involved in the battle, but I was still happy with the resolutions we got for them).
[User Picture]
From:spectralbovine
Date:July 21st, 2008 01:12 am (UTC)
(Link)
"In the era before the Avatars, we bent not the elements but the energy within ourselves.
Ah, interesting. Which would explain why the Avatars didn't know about it.

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