BY CHRISTOPHER HEIM
The Epic Final Season is now available on Blu-ray and DVD
“Legend of Korra: Book 4 – Balance” is the fourth and final season of the “Avatar: The Last Airbender” sequel series, which began in 2012 with “Book 1: Air.”
“Book 4” takes place three years after the events of season three, with Avatar Korra still recuperating from the damage she suffered from her fight with S3 antagonist Zaheer. Meanwhile, a dictator named Kuvira has risen to fill the power vacuum in the Earth Kingdom, sending the world into chaos. Now it is up to Korra as she struggles to pull herself together in time to prevent another world war. Real-world topics regarding war, PTSD, fascism and weapons of mass destruction are sprinkled throughout the story along with themes of forgiveness, compassion and acceptance, making S4 probably LOK’s most thematically ambitious season.
S4 mostly continues the quality hot-streak of S3, with plenty of awe-inspiringly intense action sequences that are made better by the flawless animation from Studio Mir. My only major complaint is that some of the supporting characters (Tenzin, Bumi, Kai, Kya) are sidetracked given the “Game of Thrones” scale of the story, which is a shame.
While not quite on the level of near-perfection as S3, “Book Four: Balance” provided a sufficient swan song for a show that will be treasured for years to come.
DVD Extras: When it comes to extras, LOK fans once again have two choices between either Blu-ray or DVD. While both contain all thirteen episodes of the season, what sets them apart are the extras offered.
The most noticeable difference is the number of commentary tracks by the creators, cast and crew. The regular DVD contains four episodes with commentary tracks while the Blu-ray has a commentary track for all thirteen.
Another difference is that the Blu-ray copy contains all three of the three to four minute entries of the webisode prequel “Republic City Hustle,” which detail the history of Mako and Bolin three years before the events of the series, showing their efforts to survive on the streets of Republic city as orphans, as well as how they met the Triple-Threat Triads. It’s animated in a painterly 2D-style similar to “Song of the Sea.” Perplexingly, the DVD copies only contain the first part of the series!?! What a tease!!
Both DVD and Blu-ray contain “Kuvira vs. Prince Wu,” which is a short commercial spot from Nickelodeon that compares Kuvira to the goofy Prince Wu. Nothing too special there, but each DVD/Blu-ray case also contains a pretty awesome mini-poster designed by co-creator Bryan Konietzko, showcasing Korra connecting to the spirit world.
Features that are exclusive to the Blu-ray include:
- The “Legend of Korra: 2014 Comic-Con Panel Featurette”: a 35 minute documentary that features the creators and the voice actors for Korra, Mako and Bolin discussing the series. Consists of early audition tapes, early production sketches showcased by the creators and the cast/crew’s feelings towards the show coming to an end.
- “The Legend of Puppetbender Presents: The Making of a Legend: The Untold Story – Part II”: an eight minute comedic behind-the-scenes featurette in which sock-puppet versions of LOK characters give “Spinal Tap”-esque insight into the “making” of the show.
Conclusion: If you are a fan of the show and want the complete experience when it comes to supplemental material, the Blu-ray copy is the way to go if you don’t mind paying the ten extra bucks ($12.99 vs. $22.99).