Thursday, July 1, 2010

Chrissy: The Last Airbender

Let's get serious. If you've ever seen the cartoon show, Avatar the Last Airbender, then you know how great it is. I've been called a nerd plenty a time for watching and enjoying that show. But the fact is is that it's one of the greatest cartoons ever created. It has a captivating plot, likable and relatable characters, the perfect mix of humor and seriousness. So you can imagine how excited and nervous I was for the live action movie the was being created by M. Night Shyamalan.
Well, finally July 1st rolled around and I bought tickets to the midnight showing, of course. And... well I don't know what to say. Throughout the movie I was looking for the meat of the story. Maybe that's aren't the right words. The whole movie seemed to go on and on like a long introduction to something bigger and better. It just seemed too fast, jumping from here to there, cutting in and out of scenes and dialogue in the strangest ways. There was very little humor and very little rest. I wanted something to focus on and the movie never gave it. It grew very close at the end, but even then they didn't quite manage to grasp it. The movie was over before the audience felt like they had followed an actual plot.
I was rather heart broken and my first thought was, "Oh no. The fans are going to tear this apart."
And they did. They hated it. And I don't blame them (them? I suppose I am one of them). It's hard to love something so much and see someone else's interpretation of it be completely different than yours. However, through out the movie I was thinking, "This is beautiful. This is really gorgeous. Why don't I like it?" I believe it was because of the attachment I had formed with the T.V. show. Unfortunately, if you were to go see the movie with out any former knowledge of the show you would be completely lost. I think the writers depended too much on what the fans would know and failed to introduce and establish key points in the plots correctly that would've made the movie enjoyable to both fans and non-fans. Instead of focusing on the characters and allowing them to fully develop, the creators chose to focus primarily on the four elements (water, fire, earth, and air) that the people of the Avatar world bend or are able to manipulate. This really hurt the movie and gave it a rather distant, almost documentary like feeling.
However, despite these flaw Shyamalan managed to create a really visually beautiful film. The special effects were phenomenal, the cinematography relatively stunning, and the accurate settings created a realistic view into the world the cartoon originally created. And the cultural diversity present in the film was absolutely brilliant. I really do think that Shyamalan loves the story of Avatar. You would have to if you wanted to create a movie about it. I think the problem that we find here is that Shyamalan's style of filming is very different from that of the original cartoon. When put together it simply didn't turn out as we fans expected.
Judging by the fans' reaction after the movie was over I think most of them were ready to hunt M. Night Shyamalan down and do unpleasant things to him. That's not right. In fact it makes me more angry than the movie itself. M. Night Shyamalan interpretation of Avatar is different. But just because you may not agree with it does not mean it isn't beautiful. He is an artist, and a great one at that, when he does something he stays true to himself and his style of filming. The Last Airbender is no different. I fiercely hope that despite the fan's disappointment in the movie M. Night Shyamalan will be able to create the next two movies in the series as he hoped to do.

(p.s. I apologize for my horrible punctuation and grammar.)


Blogger Jonathan Baker said...

You're so wonderful!

July 2, 2010 at 10:43 AM  
Blogger Ericrazy said...

'(p.s. I apologize for my horrible punctuation and grammar.)'

As you should.


Lol, I've still yet to see the movie. From what everyone has said, I'm almost scared to. I think I'll just wait til it gets to a cheap-o sticky theatre before I go, just in case I'm disappointed. :P

July 20, 2010 at 2:47 PM  
Blogger Beatloaf said...

SInce you were speaking on the cultural diversity presented in the movie I was wondering how you felt that the main characters were portrayed by Caucasian actors? Did you have any issues with that? DId it make it less authentic? I have yet to see the movie. I love the cartoon. I am not a fan of most of M. Knight's work. Here is a link to an old article about the casting controversy:

August 21, 2010 at 3:29 PM  
Blogger Chrissy said...

Only Sokka and Katara were white, which I didn't particularly like. It was a little weird to see the whole southern water tribe be Inuit and then having Sokka and Katara be white. But I wasn't bothered enough by it to blow it out of proportions.

August 23, 2010 at 2:53 PM  

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