On the same day, I saw trailers for a sequel to Pixar’s Inside Out and a live-action remake of Avatar the Last Airbender. Which just reinforces that big money media creators don’t want to take risks on original ideas.
But those trailers struck me because they are both important intellectual properties for me.
I am prepared that Inside Out is the most meaningful movie Pixar has made. While it had a fantastic way of expressing the BET (Basic Emotions Theory) model, it doesn’t actually have any fantastic elements. The emotion characters and the mental landscape are just a narrative way to describe the protagonist’s emotional journey.
When we were getting ready to move across the country, I made sure our son watched Inside Out so it would be part of his mental reference pool. I didn’t tell him why because that would have made it ‘work’ to him. It still resonated with him.
And the trailer made it clear the sequel was adding more emotions, which messes with the BET model. (To be fair, they didn’t use surprise. And to be even more fair, most of what I know about the BET model comes from a children’s science show I watched with my son)
That said, Pixar proved me wrong when I thought a sequel to Toy Story couldn’t work so I have hope.
The Great Divide, the eleventh episode of Avatar the Last Airbender, is a train wreck. It has the characters acting out of character, involves a conflict which has nothing to to do with the overall series with dislikable characters and is anvilicious without being effective.
It is the only bad episode in the entire series.
While it’s not my favorite series, Avatar the Last Airbender was excellent in its animation, its voice acting and its writing. I love Doctor Who (THAT is my favorite series) but it has had plenty of stinkers. (I still argue Delta and the Bannerman has to be judged as a weird experiment and not by regular standards)
Actually, if it wasn’t for the amazing reinterpretation of One Piece, I’d have no hopes at all for the live action Avatar, just because One Piece proved it could be done.
But if both new works are trash, that doesn’t invalidate the original works.