What is with Zuko saying he would burn down the village? As far as I know, igloos melt.
Because it sounds more intimidating than saying "I'm going to melt down your village." Plus, there are plenty of people. People burn rather well.
Plus all the wood fixtures; they had teepees and clothes lines and even racks to hang pots from to cook. How long would it be before the Southern Tribe could get all that back?
A few critics have been under the impression that the movie happens in a post-apocalyptic universe. Most fans shrugged this off, but there might be something to it, therefore once and for all distancing it from the series itself. Which may not be a bad thing.
There's no way this is set in the future with society broken down (neither was the show set in the future, even with the steam punk elements). The only critic I remember who thought TLA was set in a "post-apocalyptic universe" was Roger Ebert. Not really sure why he was under that impression, though, because nowhere in the opening narration did it ever say that this story was set in a post-apocalyptic Earth (not even during the movie).
Ebert wasn't the only critic under the impression that it was set in a post-apocalyptic universe, just the biggest name, and the most puzzling as he's enough of a fan of the series to know that it's not the case in the original. Some reviews have cited ambiguous wording in the opening narration, along with what might be ruins of contemporary landmarks.
Hey, remember those kickass flamethrower cannons the Fire Nation used to burn through the Northern Water Tribe's ice walls? Yeah, about that.....why do they even need flamethrower cannons if they can just bend the fire to do that themselves?
Because they were bending the fire to do that themselves. It's a tool to enhance firebending. Remember, these people are nowhere near as proficient in firebending as those in Old Days (before the war). They don't know how to bend fire like that anymore, because of how corrupt the Fire Nation has become...However, give them a metal tube to channel fire through, and they can do it a lot better.
The new reason for Aang running away from being the Avatar seems clumsy. Why would a twelve year old boy give a shit about being told he can't have a family? Come to that, why would an Airbender give a shit about being told he can't have a family? Non-related friends and loved ones would basically be an Air Monk's definition of family.
 Because having a family was NOT the main reason Aang ran away. The order in which he said his reasons was 1) "I couldn't have a normal life." and 2) "I couldn't have a family", indicating that the loss of having a normal life, due to the responsibilities of the Avatar, was a bigger deal for him than the loss of having a family. Aang didn't elaborate on why couldn't have a family until after Katara decided to ask, which was after he said his reasons... Aang is a just a kid. Kids don't always react rationally when told about big changes in their lives. For all you know, Aang didn't fully understand the meaning of what the monks/sages told him, and overreacted because he naturally doesn't know any better.
Okay, so Shyamalan changes firebending to require pre-existing fire to manipulate to bring it in line with the other bending arts. So why then, are there still firebending masters who can create their own fire? Why create new Elemental Baggage for firebending only to immediately make exceptions that still follow the original rules, without explanation? What's the justification for that? Can master Air, Earth and Waterbenders create their own elements now too? And can waterbenders create water on the fullmoon like the firebenders all can during the comet?
Because Movie!Firebending does not require pre-existing fire. That was the point of showing Iroh create fire. The reason the other firebenders in the movie use sources is not because it's the only way to firebend. It's because because they don't know how to bend sourcelessly. The war has caused them to forget the "Old Ways". That's the main example of how corrupt the Fire Nation has become.
Yeah, no. It wasn't pointed out or indicated at all in the movie. The concept of their corruption removing standard Firebenders' ability to bend from chi is Fanon at best.
I heard somewhere (can't remember where- but I'll try to find where and credit them when I can) that the more advanced Firebenders, like Iroh, could make fire out of their chi (or something), and that it was really hard and only the super-advanced can do it. I don't know the whole deal with it, but there ya go.
Second question: No.
Okay, so the Fire Nation apparently overcame their handicap with Their Machines. Why, then, didn't they use those machines in the movie? Most of the fighting was done on foot.
They DID use those machines whenever they could. Off the top of my head, the battles in the movie included 1) a surprise prison uprising, where they apparently weren't expecting trouble from their prisoners because only the Avatar could give hope to the World, 2) a hunt for two fugitives inside the walls of a fortress, where war machines wouldn't be practical, and 3) a siege where they did have their invincible Machines present, but they were held back by the Northern Water Tribe's walls. Am I missing one?
So if they got this far with machines and bending is incredibly limited, who cares if Sozin's comet is coming? It probably won't be that big a boost if they can't summon fire and with the machines on hand.
The movie has made the Firebenders much more powerful than they are in the show, but their reliance on the machines means that benders need to be accompanied by a massive support staff. The Water Tribe doesn't seem significantly outnumbered at the Battle for the North Pole, but look at how many ships there are. Most of the crews of those ships probably have to stay behind to prepare fire bombs if necessary and to man the ships. But if two or three Firebenders could walk into a city and be ambulatory flamethrowers, they're set.
How are the movie's Firebenders more powerful than the show's?
Because their corruption has caused them to rely on an external source and yet they're still a match for the other bending arts. If Zuko had had to rely on a torch on the show, he would have been straight up fucked from day one. And because Sozin's Comet will put the Firebenders at show-level bending prowess, which will enable them to take over the world.
The movie Firebenders are only able to be a match, because everyone else plays nice and refuses to put out their sources of fire, which they can easily do on account of their ability to bend earth and water, which unlike fire can't be put out.
Assuming they can put it out. The spikey balls of fire that they chuck at cities they're invading could be burning fat or Greek fire or napalm or something that isn't easily smothered. Granted, it's a huge plot hole that they never even try, or at least explain why they're not trying, but there could be reasons why the other benders don't try to put out the Firebenders' fuel source.
In addition to the above point, firebending in the movie is shown to be capable of being expanded. Zhao had a small source behind him, but whenever he used that source (on two specific occasions), he was able to turn it into a giant firecloud. This is a demonstration how unique/strong the firebending arts is...
So? In the show, Zuko was able to hold his own against a competent, moon-empowered waterbender until dawn and melt the ice he was encased in by breathing. And that's with no external fire source of any kind.
Firebending might be capable of expanding fire, but just being able to create their own fire doesn't explain how that enabled the Fire Nation to exterminate the Air Nomads, especially since the Fridge Logic section of the series points out that Airbending doesn't require lethal moves to kill like water or earthbending. Airbenders can simply suck the air out of your lungs and kill you that way. While this explains the dead soldiers around Gyatso, the firebenders' ability to produce their own fire doesn't explain how they killed him.
Actually, the reason why they could exterminate them was because they timed their attack at the first coming of the Power-Up comet and simply overpowered the Air Nomad temples with sheer numbers and brute force. If anything, the movie's version of firebending would actually make this particular event even more unbelievable, as the comet only allows them to use fire without a source in the movie, without an actual power-up that would justify their victory...
Also consider how much of the Fire Nation's machinery (which is copied from the show) is powered in part by the firebenders' ability to make fire for the boilers in the tanks and battleships. Coal plays an important part, arguably, but there is no way that coal was powering the tanks seen in either movie or series. It takes too much coal to power something as quick and agile as the fire nation's land machines. (reference Zuko's powering of the War Balloon Boiler in The Boiling Rock Part 1) If anything, the firebenders are the weakest of all, which makes their rise to power even more confusing.
My best guess is that free firebending will just somehow sweep other benders out of the way and we'll be supposed to take its power for granted. (On the other hand, it could be a way of saying they really will be super-powerful a la the animated Sozin's Comet.)
Okay, so Iroh puts Zhao and his goons in their place with his display of awesome sourceless firebending. Why does everyone seem so shocked he can do this? He's a member of the royal family AND a war hero. Surely, he must've unleashed the fury before?
Because it's Iroh? Seriously, though, it might their way of replacing Lightning Bending, since they seem to be cutting out many plot points and God knows we don't need more explaining of the damn plot.
Source-based firebending in the movie!universe is the result of corruption by the previous Fire Lords....Iroh learned the "true" method of bending from the dragons/sun warriors. Thus the shock from the other firebenders, none of whom have any idea how he accomplished it. As to people being aware of his ability due to his social and military position, it's possible that he normally avoids showing off that he can bend without a source. No one has ever noticed before because they believe sourceless bending is impossible, and people see only what they expect to see.
Once again, the concept of the Firebenders needing sources due to corruption and Eeroh being able to bend from chi due to his knowledge of Sun Warrior techniques is Fan Wank at best.
This editor assumed it was for the same reason why Iroh breaking out of his cell during the eclipse in the show elevated him to Memetic Badass status— because we had all grown so used to the nice, funny, quirky Iroh to even contemplate the idea that he might do something so extraordinary. Yes, they knew from the beginning that he has that "dragon of the west" reputation, and he's a member of the royal family so that should immediately make him more awesome than the rest of the mooks, but most of those mooks probably weren't around during the siege of Ba Sing Se, so while they know in theory that there's an "awesome" stereotype to his name, most of them can't associate that stereotype with this Iroh, who's become placid and non-threatening (after his son was killed), and who chose to accompany his disgraced nephew on his banishment in a mockery of a mission. he's quirky enough for most people, even zuko's own mooks, to take him as a joke. He was getting a pedicure for god's sake! (foot massage? I didn't pay enough attention). He's a prime example of Obfuscating Stupidity, and it worked like a charm. Add to that the fact that self-made fire is probably something unheard of in movie-verse, and I'd be more bugged if they hadn't been surprised about it.
How exactly did Zuko's ship explode? It looked like it was some sort of a gas explosion, but the fire nation ships run on coal! It could be I'm missing something, but I don't think you can cause a gas explosion by breaking a pipe on a coal powered vessel.
Coal dust explosions are a not-uncommon hazard anywhere coal is used as fuel. The broken pipe might have sparked one.
A problem with that is film implies the explosion was a gas explosion because we see the broken pipe in Zuko's room and hear the rushing of gas coming from the break in the pipe.
I hate defending the movie, but it's not entirely impossible that there WAS gas there. They had oil-drilling platforms in the series, and if there is oil then there are natural gases as well. It would not be a large stretch to think that they had gas-tanks on board for fueling the kitchen or the heating apparatuses around the ship, though this entire theory hinges on whether they had oil-drilling in the movie as well...
As stated, why did Aang not tell them his name for such a long period of time? It seems odd to tell them after a while, especially since he had quite a few chances.
It was NOT that long of a long period of time, and during that time, Aang was busy talking about other subjects that were brought up, like 1) Sokka acknowledging the confirmation of Aang being an airbender, and 2) Aang trying to remember what's happened to him recently. And possibly more issues that stem from his choosing to run away. At that point in the movie, what's happened to him recently is cleary written to be a main mystery to both us and him.
It appeared to take at least a day or a good chunk of a day to get from the Southern Water Tribe to the Southern Air Temple. ESPECIALLY seeing as the movieverse's map shares the same size, shape, and distance(roughly) of the show. You're telling me that Aang was preoccupied that entire time?
Speaking of that, the name Aang (Ahng) is first mentioned by Katara in narration as they are flying from the Southern Water Tribe to the Southern Air Temple, before Aang introduces himself as Aang!
What was up with Aang's reason for running away? In the cartoon, it kind of made more sense because he was afraid of the responsibility, and becoming the Avatar kind of resulted in him being alienated from his friends.
What makes you think Aang wasn't alienated from whatever friends he had before he ran away? There's no content in the movie that contradicts that notion. Aang was upset enough to run out of the room when his friends and monks revealed to him that he was the Avatar, so it's not hard to believe Aang was emotionally conflicted by the Avatar's responsibilities.
Also, having a family was not the main reason Movie!Aang ran away. The FIRST thing he said was that he couldn't have a normal life probably because of said responsibility...The fact that the Avatar couldn't have a family was just a bonus factor, which was only discussed because Katara decided to address it in their conversation.
Admittedly some Buddhist cultures do have a system where young boys are sent from their families to monasteries to study for a while, but there is literally nothing in the cartoon or movie that suggests that Aang ever had a 'normal' family outside the temples.
After Aang chases off a group of Fire Nation soldiers from an Earth Kingdom village, Sokka comes up with the idea of starting rebellions among the villages held by the Fire Nation. So what exactly is going to stop the Fire Nation from just sending more soldiers to wipe out the villages after Aang leaves?
The Fire Nation is going send more soldiers against the village. The difference is that the Avatar's presence increases the Earth Kingdom's spirits and inspires them to unify. Whichever Nation wins the fight is still uncertain, but that's part of the story: The Avatar's return is giving people hope, just like the show.
There's a key difference between the movie and the show; in the show, the Avatar is giving individuals enough hope to follow in the footsteps of a pre-existing rebellion. In the movie, the Avatar's presence is starting a rebellion, and it doesn't seem particularly organized. Not that the show's was, either, but it had been going on since the war started, which would make it easier for new dissident villages to get help when the Fire Nation returns to wipe out the rebels. Put simply, with the set-up in the movie, there's very little stopping the Fire Nation from crushing the brand-new rebellion before it gets a chance to unify.
Also remember that the better part of the Earth Kingdom wasn't conquered in the show like it was in the movie(where large cities like Ba Sing Se and other large strongholds were unconquered). The Earth Kingdom military still had a substantial enough presence in the show to hold its territory but only just.
What's with the rock, candle and water that Iroh uses to test Aang at the beginning? Why do they move like that? We never see rocks start floating just by being near Aang at any other time? Are these supposed to be specially prepared or something? It's never explained.
It doesn't need to be explained. We see shots of Aang acknowledging the objects placed in front of him, and he is nervous/uneasy as he looks at the objects, so we can easily assume that the emotions cause the uneasy manipulation. That's no different from the show: where Show!Zuko's anger alone caused candles to erupt...Plus, those 3 objects were tiny, so they could easily be manipulated by a child/beginner.
So why didn't Ong subconsciously manipulate the water he was having trouble with "for some reason"? Or the Earth that he was staring at a good few times, namely during his Rousing Speech? Consistency?
He did subconsciously manipulate water, multiple times - at least in the Northern Earth Kingdom and the Water Tribe City, both during moments of his training where he was in emotional turmoil, uncertain of himself, and nervous. When he gave his speech to the Earthbenders it was just the opposite - he was very confident in himself and used his determination to motivate his allies. It is consistent.
So...what exactly was Aang "uncertain about" when he was being tested by Eeroh and Zuko that caused him to subconsciously manipulate the elements placed in front of him?
The movie isn't that consistent. There are several points where Aang clearly isn't that confident (not to mention Katara constantly looking like she's about to cry) without the same effect. Besides that we have no idea why Iroh actually thought that the test would work in the first place. It's clearly shown that they were expecting an old man experienced in at least air bending. Why would they expect an trained and mature Avatar to be nervous around a teenager and his ineffectual uncle? Also they mention that have performed this specific test on people in the past so they clearly expect this test to be able to determine if he is the Avatar or not and yet there is no reason ever given for why this test would absolutely determine the truth. Is the rock, the candle and the water spiritual somehow? Where did they come from in the first place? All we're left with is either an incomprehensible scene or the implication that the hero is an idiot.
So Kya is killed when Katara and Sokka are "babies"? Then who is the one telling Katara about the waterbending scroll?
How do you know Katara meant that literally? Her mother IS the one who told her about the scroll. Maybe Katara meant "when we were just starting to develop speech + long/short-term memory". Even children as old as 7 are referred to as "babies" in Real Life.
I dunno where you've been around, but I'm 20 years old and I was referred to as a "kid" or a "child" when I was 7, not a "baby." Technically, you're a baby until you're about 2, at which point you're considering a "toddler". Your longterm memory starts developing around 3 or 4, which is WELL after "baby" stage, which is what most audiences would be going with.
When Aang asked Yue if he can find a spiritual place so that he can make contact with the Dragon Spirit, I noticed it was broad daylight, the Fire Nation did not make their first move, and Aang did not join in the battle at the time. What bugs me is that it makes as if Aang has completely no idea how to defeat the Fire Nation armada.
Zuko's reason to capture the Avatar bugs me. Did he say that the very reason is to reclaim his honor? I don't think I've ever heard Devko say "honor" even once.
He did, at least once, in the Oasis scene after he knocked out Katara.
Also, he did mention getting his honor back right after Aang escaped from his ship.
In the Agni Kai flashback, Ozai tells Zuko that he may as well bring his sister up there to fight him. Why is this suppose to be an insult? Last time I checked, Azula kicks ass. I wouldn't expect Zuko to beat her.
Also, there's no confirmation on Azula's skills during the time of that flashback. Just because she was a "prodigy" doesn't mean she could beat firebending child she came across at that time.
Zuko states his sister was a prodigy. His last memories of his sister would be from right before he was banished ie. the exact time period as the Agni Kai. Since he knows she's a prodigy she must have been a prodigy before his banishment too.
(Before I point this out, I freely admit I have yet to watch the movie in full, and all the implications that brings with it. This is what I've pieced together from a review, plus the information supplied here.) It's been argued that Iroh's freedom from all the other firebenders' new Elemental Baggage is that he's a truly elite bender, one of the best. I'd agree with that statement. So, why is Zuko able to melt that ice, in freezing Arctic waters, when he clearly didn't have any fire to work with?
I always saw it as Zuko generating heat from his fingertips, not necessarily enough to generate the combustion for firebending. Presumably, it's also what enabled him to swim and survive in the frigid arctic temperatures.
No, that entire scene is simply a huge ass plothole. It made sense in the series, both how Zuko was able to survive in the icy water and melt ice with bending, but in the movie he NEEDS a source to do so. My guess would be that Shyamalan just wrote himself into a corner with that scene and hoped no one would bring it up. He was wrong.
What kind of time span is going on in the movie? We see Zhao traveling to the Fire Lord's court several times in what must be long trips and yet we don't get any indications that months have passed?
Zhao does NOT travel to the Fire Lord's court "several" times. He travels to the court only twice. The first time is when he informs Ozai about the Avatar's return...As for the second time: The multiple scenes you see of him 1) revealing his beliefs about Zuko being the Blue Spirit, 2) telling Ozai about Aang going to the North Pole, and 3) discussing with Ozai about how to defeat the Northern Water Tribe, was all filmed as ONE scene (which was also the scene where Ozai tells Zhao to have Zuko killed), but that scene was edited to look like multiple travels due to Executive Meddling.
And how about his multiple discussions with Ozai regarding the "stolen scrolls?" Or his session in which Ozai basically displays no disdain or disgust for his son, completely against the show's canon, and says the whole "once he brings back the Avatar, he's your boss" and Zhao's like "Well, I guess it's a race, then."
'Several' is usually defined as 'more than two but not many' and based on what we were shown in the final product we could reasonably think he was making constant visits to the court. Also that doesn't change the fact that Zhao is still making at least four (going back and forth) long trips. Zhao's still leaving the chase unattended while the greatest threat to the Fire Nation is loose. It's made even stranger considering the fact that in the cartoon they handled distance problems by making heavy use of messenger birds.
So.. Is there still a trilogy going on, or did they decide that the movie was such a bomb that they shouldn't waste money and risk embarrassment on anymore?
While there's no official confirmation, all signs indicate that it's all but over considering the next film has yet to move into pre-production over a year later, the domestic box office was underwhelming ($130 million), and with the widespread critical and fanbase negative consensus, the sequel would most certainly gross less, so it doesn't make financial sense for Nick for pony up $150 million they won't make back.
Yes, but it made back twice its budget. If anything, a sequel will give us Avatar fans further snarking material for another chunk of months...
The film only made 39 million when you factor in the 130 million dollar marketing budget. Likely the studio will take the 39 million and call it a win rather than risk more money making a sequel to a film with an astonishingly bad reputation.
Over a year later and still no confirmation of a sequel? It's likely dead. While the first movie may have been profitable when taking in the overseas value, it was so poorly received by critics and audiences that a second movie probably wouldn't have made much money.
M.Night is the guy who got the ball rolling on a movie adaptation in the first place. A new film would have to be a Broad Strokes sequel or a prequel that makes everyone forget this one. Hopefully if The Legend of Korra is good enough, interest could be renewed.
What's with the explanation that no-source firebending in the movie is possible because the main type is corrupted? Was that actually mentioned or hinted at in the movie? In any of the supplemental material? Or is it just Fan Wank based on the series?
The latter. From what this troper's seen, it's just a weak attempt by the fans of this movie to justify to Fridge Logic of taking away the only thing that gave the Firebenders any chance of beating the other elements from the series...
Still, it does make sense in describing the difference between the original type and the Fire Nation type. In the series, it's not too clear what makes their styles so different besides what emotion it draws from. Not that a sequel will be made to put this into place but it would go a long way to explaining why the Fire Nation cannot create their own element.
Actually, there is no actual difference between "Fire Nation" and "Sun Warrior" style firebending in the series. The actual difference is in the underlying philosophy behind their way of using bending, mostly centering around control. On short, "Fire Nation style" is about quick destruction through aggressive emotions while "Sun Warrior style" is about tempering and directing one's aggression while constantly keeping their cool and control. For a quick demonstration of the difference, just look at the expressions on Zuko's and Azula's faces during their final confrontation in the last episode.
Before the big battle with the Fire Nation army, the leaders of the Northern Water Tribe tell people to put out all the torches and lanterns and whatnot so the Fire Nation soldiers wouldn't have as much to bend. Yet when the battle starts (much later, so there's no "they didn't have time" excuse) there are lit lanterns EVERYWHERE. Putting aside the obvious stupidity of the Water Tribe on that part, why would the filmmakers even bother bringing it up if they were going to be too lazy to make sure the lanterns were unlit?
So, what was the reason the Earthbending prisoners never tried to escape the prison that was made of Earth? I mean, it made more sense in the show. They went so long with no hope of escape, that even when they were given weapons they still didn't have hope. With the prison camp in the film, though, they could've easily escaped from the very beginning. There was no period of hopelessness for them to be broken down, it just makes them seem stupid or lazy.
Really, the only explanation that makes sense is that their spirits were broken in the time they were there. Obviously that creates the unpleasant fact that the Caucasian, Aang, had to rouse the Asian Earthbenders to fight, but the only other explanation is that the Fire Nation is so stupid that they leave their prisoners on top of their most dangerous weapon. From a real life perspective it isn't any better. Even if they couldn't afford to make a fake rig prison they still could have just locked everyone in wooden cages and shackled their hands.
According to Haru's dad, the Fire Nation first sent the Firebenders and the Earthbenders sent them packing, then the Fire Nation sent in their machines and basically stomped their asses flat. Then the Fire Nation presumably sent the machines away, trusted that the Earthbenders wouldn't realize "Hey, those machines that beat us are gone and we can just beat the Firebenders like we did before" and left a contingent of firebenders to supervise them and make sure they don't do any more bending.
Or, a far simpler explanation could be that Shyamalan didn't have the time and/or budget to make an off-shore drilling platform just for this scene and hope people wouldn't mind him doing this absolutely stupid thing instead. He was wrong.
You don't need to make an off-shore drilling platform. You just have to make a set that looks something like one and CG in the background if you have to.
Or just make it a prison built on a ship out to sea. There were plenty of ships for the attack on the Northern Air Temple so there could have been another one for the set of the prison.
If bending takes 2-3 seconds to charge up your chi, why doesn't anyone take advantage of that to hit benders before/during the startup "animation"? In particular Zuko when he had Aang on the ship and warned him not to try to escape, then just immediately let him do the startup move and airbend out of there.
You're wrong. It does NOT always take multiple seconds to charge up chi. It simply depends on the kind of attack. The movie clearly shows several bending attacks that are in sync with the characters' movements, without requiring any "charging" at all. And just because there are some kinds of bending attacks that require being "charged up", doesn't mean that the bending attack won't happen at all unless the "charging" is actually finished? For all you know, the bender would just notice an enemy try to stop him and let his attack out early, and some form of bending would still happen. It may look/feel different from a finished attack, but it could be still be dangerous. In Season-1, Zuko was never shown to be some kind of clear thinker when it comes to dealing with enemies. In the case of this Movieverse ship scene, Zuko thought he could easily intimidate Aang emotionally, because Aang doesn't look like a grown/fully-trained Avatar yet. It's called underestimation, which is in Zuko's character to do at that time.
Watsonian - ...Honor Before Reason maybe? It's like a rule of combat warfare in the Aahvatar world that you let benders finish their build-ups and they have the courtesy to do the same? Chi-pumping is a free-action? The movements are actually hypnotic and puts opponents into a dazed state until the bender attacks?
Why did Zhao immediately suspect Zuko to be the Blue Spirit? He was wearing a mask and we see no instance of Zhao finding any evidence to link the two together. It seemed like the movie just wanted to move the story along and didn't bother to explain.
Neither the Cartoon nor the Movie showed that Zhao had any undeniable evidence to link Zuko and the Blue Spirit. The Cartoon's weak attempt of Zhao suspecting Zuko because of "having similar swords" was not concrete evidence at all. Both versions could have been easily refuted by Zuko/Iroh. Although (1) The movie silently shows us that Zhao notices that the Blue Spirit is a human in a costume. That's what the closeup is for [which does NOT go to just his lips, his whole head is in the frame]. And (2) Zhao asked the Blue Spirit who he was, and the Blue Spirit didn't answer him. The silence could have made Zhao realize, "He's not answering me because I'll recognize his voice." And don't give me any of that "why didn't Zuko just talk with a disguised voice" nonsense. Just because you yourself could think of something Zuko could've done at that moment, doesn't mean that Zuko himself would've automatically thought of it too. Not every person in the world is going to have the exact same level of quick-thinking in dangerous situations. Not every person in the world is going to get the exact same idea of what to do in a sudden turn of events. Also, Zhao wouldn't suspect the Avatar's friends (Sokka or Katara) to be the Blue Spirit because they're always with him as enemies of the Fire Nation, so refusing to speak to hide their voices would be pointless. Zhao has understandable reason to assume the Blue Spirit must be someone who is betraying the Fire Nation. The point of both the Cartoon version and the Movie version, is that Zhao is not only an ambitious person, but he clearly doesn't like nor respect Zuko, and the movie makes it clear that Zhao would prefer Zuko out of his way. If Zhao wants to take this opportunity to blame Zuko, no matter how unsolid his proof is, then he's gonna go ahead and try it.
In the movie, why doesn't Katara give an explanation as to why she's leaving her home to go with Aang? People typically see movie adaptations as having to stand on their own from the source material, and audiences must be able to understand stuff without seeing the source material. So giving the same explanation as the series doesn't really cut it.
If the Firebenders need existing sources of fire to bend, does that mean that any non-Bender with a pail of water could have defeated one?
1) There's no confirmation that Firebenders need existing sources of fire to bend. The fact that we see at least 2 firebenders in the movie create fire/heat without a source proves that silly hater delusion incorrect. For all you know, the Movieverse setting could just be a world where proper Firebending (with sources) is a forgotten art—NOT a world where all firebending is source required—and the filmmaker could be planning on using the "Sun Warriors" storyline as the link to bringing the art back into the nation.
2) No, it would NOT mean any non-Bender with a pail of water could defeat one, because the Firebender could easily block the water with his own firebending just like Cartoon!Zuko does to Cartoon!Katara's waterbending attacks.