You seldom see a review of The Dragon Prince that doesn’t refer to its spiritual predecessor Avatar: The Last Airbender. You might recognize the name of Aaron Ehasz, the head writer of Avatar, as one of the creators of The Dragon Prince. Even Jack De Sena, the voice of our boomerang-wielding Sokka, leads as Prince Callum.
Many of the hallmarks between these two shows overlap. These two children’s animated shows are worlds apart yet close in resemblance. Let’s dive into the shared motifs of The Dragon Prince and Avatar: The Last Airbender and why they’re proof that you should watch the Netflix fantasy series, whose second season arrived today.
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Science and spirituality intermingle in one man’s off-kilter quest for absolution. In this dark comedy To Dust, a Hasidic cantor by the name of Shmuel (Géza Röhrig) pursues scientific answers to his spiritual question. In Shmuel’s Jewish spirituality, the soul finds peace when it decays into dust. If the body isn’t dust yet, then the soul is still around. In his heart and nightmares, Shmuel senses his wife’s soul will suffer for a long time if her body doesn’t decompose soon enough.
Thus, Shmuel ventures outside his community onto a journey of blasphemy to bring himself peace. Hilariously, he ends up dragging along a community college biology professor (Matthew Broderick) onto his quest. With its dose of orthodoxy, To Dust is an unorthodox film about how far one man goes to take his grieving process into his own hands. Director and writer Shawn Snyder discusses the Jewish influences and how Röhrig and Broderick came to be.
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The televised Fox production of Rent Live, other than the production hiccups that led to it being majorly pre-recorded rather than actually “live,” resurrected both the problems and affection I had with the original stage musical. The lyrics still resonated with me even if I now scratch my head at the story, characters, and the handling of the historical context.
In 2007, I was a middle schooler in Texas exploring the concept of sexuality. As a middle schooler under a conservative father, I understood sexuality and love as the traditional binary, male and female, husband and wife, bride and groom, boyfriend and girlfriend. My knowledge of queerness was developing. My father told me that marriage had to be between man and woman and that men holding hands or a woman marrying a woman is unnatural. Then Rent showed me a love duet between two men.
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