Escape to the Movies: The Last Airbender

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Calatar:
snip

Your rant made me lmao. :D

Irridium:

meganmeave:
That's too bad. The trailers looked so awesome, I kind of wanted this to be good.

Though, I think Shyamalan's career tanked with Signs tbh. I mean,

The aliens can be defeated by deadly piss and saliva!

Send in the drunks!

Ha! Indeed!

ArmorArmadillo:

Alright, this is something I just can't stand about how people look at M Night's films: THE ENTIRE MOVIE IS NOT THIS 5 SECOND ENDING BIT! The core of the movie, a tense thriller of a family clinging to bits of information during an invasion beyond their league worked.

Oh, and it's pretty much the 'War of the Worlds' ending...so, basically a classic Sci-Fi reference, not some "oh bad storytelling" problem.

Dude, it's the pivotal point to the movie. All that suspense and clinging on the edge of your seat is ruined by the big fluffy bunny ending. It was awful.

And actually, I believe M. Night infers that this twist is what makes his formula for blockbusters, this is from way back in his interview with Esquire in the early 2000's where he boasted that he figured out the formula for a blockbuster movie.

And I wouldn't consider War of the Worlds brilliant script writing either. So using that as a reason Signs is actually an excellent film does not work for me. Just because it's old, doesn't mean it's awesome. I should know. I'm old.

I was particularly disappointed because both Sixth Sense and Unbreakable had clever twists. He was reaching with Signs, and he grabbed a glass of water instead of something more plausible.

MortisLegio:

meganmeave:
That's too bad. The trailers looked so awesome, I kind of wanted this to be good.

Though, I think Shyamalan's career tanked with Signs tbh. I mean,

the same ones that come to a planet without space suits so they wouldnt die in the enviroment(war of the worlds)
and the ones that have computer systems millions of years ahead of us but seem to be compatible with windows (independance day)

Ha! Yeah the virus felt like a reach in Independence Day, too. I don't know how any of these aliens make it to earth. It seems they should have accidentally decompressed their space ships trying to flush the toilet or something before they got here.

And how sad is it that they manage to kill a whole bunch of us before we manage to "conquer" them. I guess the script writers don't think much of human intelligence either...

Hmm... interesting, so the movie is good from a technical viewpoint but at the same time spends too much time explaining itself, so pretty much what would happen if you tried to pigeon-hole a big story like LoTR into a short movie.

As usual I disagree with MovieBob.

M. Night Shyamalan should be banned from directing and writing films. I liked the Sixth Sense... THAT WAS IT.

Also The Last Airbender HAS no redeeming moments. It's complete ass from the actors, to the story, to the direction. It all just blew. Actually, the visuals were OKAY. SOMETIMES.

I strongly suggest you DON'T WATCH IT. SERIOUSLY. DON'T WATCH IT.

Maybe it would of been best leaving some thing unexplained until future sequels. Just to cut down on the "tutorial"

I knew it'd fail as soon as they announced Shyamalan was directing it. Unbreakable is his only good movie. Sixth sense is so overrated. The last 3 he made were HORRIBLE. And alrite theres Signs. But honestly. A super advanced alien race that have mastered interstellar travel.... But they can't make raincoats?
Pffff! He needs to get over himself.

Putting a twist at the end of a movie doesn't make you a great visionary.

Plus just going off the adverts I'v seen it pretty much looks like they've butchered the world and its cultures. I think Aang is the only one they've kept true to plot. The fire nation was clearly based on Japanese culture, not Indian. Earth was china. Air was Tibet. And Water was Artic and Antarctic tibes.

The visuals might make it worth a look though.

Wait wait wait, did he just say Signs was good? That was the movie at which it truly came into my awareness that M. Night Shayamalan is a moron, and every, single production since then has only solidified that opinion.

It's quite sad how Shyamalan is failing, he's quite brilliant, but he needed to stop making thrillers with obscure twists that everyone sees coming because it's his signature, and focus more on the narrative.

He stopped it for Avatar(i'm assuming), but the movie is a failure from what I can see.

It's sad because Signs it's one of my favourite films, and The Six Sense is one of the best films ever made.

I would argue that The Village was M. Knight's best film with 6th Sense being its main competition. I don't get why it gets the grief it does, I found it to be 10x the film Signs was.

On this film, it shows one shortcoming of film. 90 minutes cannot tell the same story that is allowed to happen over hours and hours. I might check this out on DVD.

Felis Leo:

Hubilub:

misterprickly:

YES... the plot is rammed down your throat BUT that was done for the benefit of those who have never heard of the cartoon i.e. THE PARENTS!!!!!!

Truly you have the best argument ever!

"So how should we do this film so that the targeted demographic will enjoy it the most?"

"Fuck the targeted demographic, let's target their parents that don't really care about this film instead!"

Seriously, THIS is your defense of the film? You are actually trying to convince people that it's a good idea to make the most important part of your movie sink several levels in quality just so that you don't have to, god forbid, use some creativity to get the people your movie isn't even targeted at to understand the plot?

And what do you think will happen next? That people will give this awful movie a pass and actually pay to see the sequel? Nope, because by now, the only people who will actually see the sequel are the fans of the original series, and that's only because they feel an obligation to do so.

If you still can't see the problem, then I'll spell it out: Nobody wants to watch the sequel now because this movie sucked. It doesn't matter how good it will be, because nobody cares anymore.

So tell me again how you can believe that it's a better idea to make a shitty film targeted for everyone than it is to make an average-to-brilliant film targeted for the people that are actually fans of the series. Because in the end for both scenarios, the only people still interested will be the fans.

Further, mr.prickley makes the strange assumption that adults/parents wouldn't enjoy the film or be entertained by it if it had followed the original series' storyline. I was 24 when I first saw the series all the way through, and I thought it was a magnificent series.

If a show that was ostensibly made for kids could entertain me (and I'm not particularly easy to entertain), then I think other adults could find themselves engrossed in the series, as well as a movie that had done a better job of following said series.

1st: to Felis Leo... I NEVER assumed anything; I mearly gave a possible explaination.

and 2nd: to Hubilub... This kinda shit happens all the time and YES the sequel will suffer because of how badly the first film did; that happens to.

What can I say... they pulled a Mario

image

It's funny Bob mentions Ang Lee's Hulk, because everyone I know who's seen the movie is fervently hoping that Shyamalan's movie ends up the same way his did: A non-canon POS that is entirely ignored and followed by a movie of the same name that handles the subject matter better... I'm looking forward to when they make that The Last Airbender movie!

Frankly I though it worked well as a movie, extremely well, but not as an Avatar movie. Something got lost in translation (The pronunciations from English to...English...), and kinda ended up failing to deliver what the toon did. Bear in mind the toon had 7 hours to accomplish the same goal, but there were still some key points I felt they could've hit better in the time they had without losing what they already did decently enough. 2 bits.

Signs is one of his best and The Village is one of his worst? HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!
Oh..... you're serious.

I'm sorry, I just don't agree in the least.

To the mod who wants to suspend me for this: If someone wants to understand my position, they can ask. I do not post my entire thought process because I would spend half an hour typing out an intelligent argument that no one would read. This way, I only have to type this short message and people who want to see my reasons can. Lay off on the banning.

OT: Never really watched the show, but this looked pretty decent.

EDIT: Haha. I love how this entire thread has just become a big Shyamalan discussion.

Wowzer. A D+ critic average. Haven't seen anything -that- low in quite a while

I disagree the anime was awful and the movie will probably follow the same path. I also enjoyed the village and think that the third harry potter sucked.

I have enjoyed all of his films so far. I thought that the Happening was very good yet also very much misunderstood.

I always knew I liked MovieBob. He was very fair, and to be honest, more forgiving of a film than I have seen him in some time.

I myself am a long time fan of the series and went into this film with LOW LOW expectations after reading many a negative review. I went in WANTING to enjoy the film, and I did.

Is it as good as the series? Of course not. Are the actors the best? Nope, but I see potential. Is the script perfect? No, but I've seen worse. How the effects, music, cinematography, action, and overall heart of the film? Top notch.

Bottom line: Don't expect Toy Story 3, but if you go in with an open mind and want to enjoy a fun film, you will.

I Loved the animated series and kinda sort deeeeep down wanted tis movie to be good, but i can tell Bob was just trying to be nice to the thing, so imma stick to my resolved to boycott every movie based on another for of media.

Assassin Xaero:
Never saw Unbreakable, but The Sixth Sense and Signs were good. After The Village, I quit watching hit movies...

Unbreakable was one of Shymalan's better movies, to be honest. Just don't ever bother with Lady in the Water or The Happening. Terrible.

... I'm sorry, Bob, but you could paint this picture as the best thing to happen to movies in 50 years and I still wouldn't go to see it, cause it's got M. Night Shyamalan in the credits.

Yes, I really do hate that guy that much, and while I liked Sixth Sense and loved Unbreakable, everything after that was horrible, more horrible, and most horrible.

That is until The Happening, which I call the undisputed worst movie ever; worse than Transformers 2, worse than Manos: The Hands of Fate, worse than the Mario Bros. movie, just utterly horrible in every regard.

It's funny, too, I get the feeling you're something of a fan of Mr. Shyamalan, namely in the way you're trying your damnedest to make it sound like he's still got talent as a director, and that this movie is still worth seeing regardless of it's flaws.

But not for me.

I'm a pretty big fan of the show, but I knew the instant his name was attached to this movie that I wouldn't see it, and just like how I've avoided Transformers 2, so to will I avoid this.

EDIT: Oh, hey, just stumbled upon your blog after reading your Intermission, and what do I find but a review of The Happening (http://moviebob.blogspot.com/2008/06/video-review-happening.html), whereupon you cement yourself as an honest to god Shyamalan fanboy and call it his best movie since Signs, which is as much a delusion as it is bullcrap, as we all know Signs was the beginning of the end, a slight trip up that he could have recovered from, but instead used to fall into an open grave.

crypt-creature:

Riven Armor:

mikeydangerous:

Riven Armor:

Well, despite being a fan of the cartoon, I'm glad the movie failed. Any casting director that so blatantly racebends deserves a sunk picture.

Avatar set back the status of Asian American performers a good number of years.

Seconded! When I saw the casting, I gave up on this movie. Sokka and Katara look idiotic as white kids, and making the Fire Nation Indian is just flat out terrible.

Yeah, it's so interesting how the only 3 characters in the Water Tribe village with names and speaking parts are white...and the rest are Inuit.

Villains are brown, good guys are washed.

I'm a conservative and I don't usually pull race, but Hollywood invited it this time.

I don't think the movie really 'failed'. Personally I think some people are nit-picky over the stupidest things, though some have valid points.
I also don't think this movie is as bad as people want to make it out to be, but it's no gem either.

For example, the 'races' in Avatar the cartoon are all over the place. People saying they're all supposed to be asian are probably thinking such a thing because the cartoon 'looks like an anime'.

It is very possible that those who did try to audition for the parts, who were of the 'right race', just didn't have the right feel or look to them. There are many reason that could be perfectly valid, but people just want to cry racism when that might not have been the case. Not when the general audience lacks any sort fact.

No, each nation in Avatar is a clear representation of a real Asian country. (Water tribals are the Inuits, the Air Nomads are the Tibetans, etc) Real Chinese is used in all depicted script in the series. An Asian American advisory group was brought on board by the screenwriters to make sure customs used were rendered accurately.

As for the movie, the casting called for "Caucasian or any other ethnicity" for the "good" protagonists and then casted most of the extras as people of color. The casting director herself was so ignorant of racial tradition that she associated kimonos with Koreans. (Do you really want to bring the argument that all Asian actors and actresses in that age group are WORSE than the Caucasians casted??)

Please read the material on www.racebending.com if you want to learn more. Attempting to equivocate on this issue is frankly wrong.

Kermi:

Assassin Xaero:
Never saw Unbreakable, but The Sixth Sense and Signs were good. After The Village, I quit watching hit movies...

Unbreakable was one of Shymalan's better movies, to be honest. Just don't ever bother with Lady in the Water or The Happening. Terrible.

Yeah, I heard that Lady in the Water and The Happening were even worse than The Village was. Someone told me the major spoiler to The Happening and that just made me want to avoid it, and it reminded me of how bad The Ruins was because it was pretty much the same spoiler...

Mandvi? Really? fair enough, I suppose. For the totality, consider my interest piqued--I just wish I had some inkling of the actual show.

Aasif Mandvi is hilarious on The Daily Show, but as an action star?

WTF

misterprickly:

What can I say... they pulled a Mario

And that makes your argument valid because...?

I'm sorry, I don't see how this response is relevant to anything.

Mario was just a shitty movie.

Avatar: The Last Airbender sucked because it focused on catering to people that shouldn't have been targeted in the first place.

Mario was beyond rescue. Avatar could have been saved, if only they had focused on telling a story for their fans and not for everyone. However, you actually try and defend them for sacrificing quality for the sake of a bigger targeted audience.

Now what I want to know is how you can possibly find this to be a good idea. We have two scenarios: The Last Airbender that sucks, and the Last Airbender that focuses on pleasing fans. Both have the same amount of marketing, both have the same amount of hype. Audiences that aren't fans of the original series won't be satisfied with either film. One because it sucks, the other because it's not targeted for them.

The important part is that with one of them, the fans are satisfied.

The film won't be a huge hit in either case, but at least the fan-centered one is a satisfying experience. Hell, it would probably be a bigger hit than the sucky version, because now, even though exposition is left out, it's at least somewhat good.

So, again, how is it a good idea to cater for a larger audience if it won't do anything but lower the quality of the movie?

OK this is just disgusting, I stopped watching halfway through up until the part when Bob said the costumes were great. Bob have you actually WATCHED the series? The costumes in this movie are terrible! They look nothing like the series, especially the Fire Nation, not to mention the actor who played Zuko has absolutely 0% similarity to the series version of Zuko. In the series Zuko has a burn mark that goes along his whole left eye onto his temple, in the movie it looks like he has bruise on his face. Also when it comes to chereography, just watch the damn series, the views and design of all the buildings were excellent in the series, thats good enough, you dont need a movie to show them, its nice to finally have an animated series that has a nice look to it now that samurai Jack is nowehree to be found. I could go on forever about why this movie fails when compared to the series, but I won't. But seriously, I refuse to continue watching this episode.

Bob, I am dissapoint.

Riven Armor:

No, each nation in Avatar is a clear representation of a real Asian country. (Water tribals are the Inuits, the Air Nomads are the Tibetans, etc) Real Chinese is used in all depicted script in the series. An Asian American advisory group was brought on board by the screenwriters to make sure customs used were rendered accurately.

As for the movie, the casting called for "Caucasian or any other ethnicity" for the "good" protagonists and then casted most of the extras as people of color. The casting director herself was so ignorant of racial tradition that she associated kimonos with Koreans. (Do you really want to bring the argument that all Asian actors and actresses in that age group are WORSE than the Caucasians casted??)

Please read the material on www.racebending.com if you want to learn more. Attempting to equivocate on this issue is frankly wrong.

No, from what I have read from many different sources, the influences (dress, art, some religions, etc.) were from many different asian or Eastern/Middle Eastern countries but the races of the characters in question had never really been expanded upon or said to be of any particular people. Their looks (dress, architecture, etc) have been, but their race has never been linked.
Yes, they all had a certain dress style and some of them could be said to have certain racial traits, but that is all. I did read about the group you were referring to, but again that was used more for customs and dress style than it was for what race the characters were.

As for the casting director, the earliest article I read about the incident (sometime last year, perhaps even the year before that) made it seem like Shyamalan himself ordered it to be done like that, which is why it seemed odd to me.

Also, I'm not trying to equivocate on the issue. Fact is, the races of the characters had never been explained or really touched upon in the cartoon. Most of it was assumed because of the art styles or influences people could identify.
However, the writers can use all the influence in their cartoon that they want, but that doesn't mean the characters will be of that race unless the writers say so (which, they never did). So no, they don't have to be of any one particular race since it's an imaginary setting (keep in mind I'm not for racism, I'm just trying to argue that the actors in the live action movie could have been any race so long as they made a passable character).

Please don't assume someone knows nothing about these incidents just because they don't agree with you.

EDIT: As it is, I thought Aang looked mixed and the only main 'not supposed to be' Caucasian characters were Sokka, Katara, and Iroh (though I liked Iroh). I'm not counting the Ice princess Yue as a main character, but she was also Caucasian.

Riven Armor:
(Do you really want to bring the argument that all Asian actors and actresses in that age group are WORSE than the Caucasians casted??)

I'm not saying that they are, or were.
My point is, we don't know how many people auditioned, what they looked like, how they portrayed the character, or anything pertaining to the casting process (aside from the 'racist' claim).
I don't want to follow or pass judgment until I know more.

In my opinion, the movie went downhill the moment one Indian man called another Indian man "GENERAL ZHAO". I thought it was a horrible adaptation; the acting was horrible, the writing was horrible, and the bison looked like it was a hairy bull with a human face.

I really really hated Signs, but I loved unbreakable and 6th sense.

And well, I'm looking forward to seeing this, but not really expecting anything out of it.

JonnieWest:

Not having seen the animated series, parts of this post were an interesting read and some of it seems completely irrelevant.

If you're ever bored, rent the dvds a give the animated series a chance. I know it's easy to dismiss a cartoon as kiddy, but it is really good...great character development, writting, action, ect.
But yeah, I didn't really elaborate on those points--the post was meant for people who already knew the story of the show. Those all come into play for varying degrees of importance...either as sub-plots (significant ones) and/or character growth (which is some of the best I've seen in any show). The least important of the things I've listed (such as the mechanist and Bumi's lessons to Aang) are small details that just make the story better once its finished and really gives the impression that the whole thing was written before it began. But, yeah, I can see how it would seem irrelevant to someone who hadn't seen how it all plays out.

I then read that the pronunciations were "wrong" and laughed because apparently the original series had Asian characters with more English-sounding names.

The thing is...this isn't an anime dub that screwed up the characters' names...it's an *american* cartoon about a *fantasy* world inspired by different asian cultures. The creators decided to go with english-sounding names, and it was Shyamlan's job to transfer the source material, not its inspiration. So, yeah, he was wrong, and the fact that he felt the need to "correct" the source material shows how much respect he has for it. And, for the record, the people complaining about "white washing" are wrong too...the characters had mixed racial traits in the cartoon (For example, Aang and Zuko are pretty pale in the show...and people complain when Aang has a white actor?)

There really is too much narrative explaining things throughout the movie and it makes the entire movie feel worse for it...
But even worse than the pacing is the overall writing.
I didn't really find the actors to be the dismal actors that so many people say they were. These actors were just more victims of bad writing (and directing most likely).

I actually agree with you on these points...as for action, the most honest comment I can make on the action is that the cartoon's was better. It may have just spoiled me on elemental combat ;]
I mean, these may be decent fight scenes (a little heavy on the slow mo though), but all I could do was compare every fight to its cartoon equivalent...

As for the story, what I want to know is why he didn't get most of the exposistion out of the way during the opening monologue? Did he just not want to have room for dialogue?
And yeah, aside from the girl playing Katara (who seemed legitmately terrible to me...though, you may be right...she could be a victim of bad directing), the problem was mostly in the way the characters were written, and probably in the directing as well. I think the people playing Iroh, Ozai, Zhou, and Sokka did a pretty good job...it's just the job was poorly written.
Once again, I'd recomend giving the cartoon a chance

Bob! WTF?!? You thought the third Harry Potter was good? I have only seen the first 3, and while the first 2 are completely shit, the 3rd one makes them look like 'best movie of all time' contenders. It's funny how you can nail some movies so perfectly, and let other trash slide. Signs was garbage too.

You missed the whole "was frozen in ice" party of Aang's back story, and uhm... the costumes were good? Really? It's to the point where I just watch this crap ironically or to piss off my friends who I force to watch it with me. Someone please can this failure.

Weird, I expected a lot worse. I haven't seen the movie yet, but I assumed it would be more disappointing than what was said in the video. Mostly because I have no respect for m. Night Shyamalan... But whatever.

Ok Bob, I gave it a shot like you asked and now I feel bad for spending money on that piece of tripe. I can see the good parts you pointed out, but Shyamadingbat still did a horrible job when when just gauging the Last Airbender as a film.

To quote Ain't it Cool News, "The Last Airbender is so outrageously bad it's a wonder it ever got before cameras"

Everyone is missing a crucial point with why this movie is bad. Look at all of Night's movie before the Last Airbender.

How many of those movies have fight scenes using martial arts? As far as I can see none.

If I were going make a Kung Fu movie which the Last Airbend basically is or at least should have been, wouldn't it make sense to have a director with experience making that genre of movie on the project.

Ang Lee, Rob Minkoff, any number of other talented experienced kung fu movie directors would have been much for this movie than Mr.Shyamalan.

And trying to condense 10 hours of story, character development, and plot development from the first season of the series into 90 mins was just foolhardy.

First movie should have tried to accomplish these things alone:

1. Introduce develop and start the hero journeys of the four main characters, Aang, Zuko, Katara, Sokka.

2. Demonstrate Aang's playful nature and free spirit upbringing, Katara desire to learn waterbending, Zuko's desire for approval from his farther, and Sokka's ability as warrior.

The first movie should have ended when they reached the Northern Water Tribe after Aang and Katara start training in waterbending. This first movie should have been them going on adventures that educates the audience on everything they need to know to understand the rest of the story.

In other words it should have primarily been exposition and introduction to the main conflict of the series, that's 10 hours worth of adventures they tried to cram into 90 mins.

This movie fails on so many levels he even admits to using people who didn't know how to act because they had martial arts experience. I'm sorry but that's just ass backwards, you can train a good actor for a year to be competent in martial arts but that doesn't mean the opposite is true, which this movie proves.

And if casting was really such an issue why didn't he just age the characters a few years? It's what the David Lynch director of "Dune"1984 and John Harrison Director of "Dune" 2000 did when they need a better talent pool.

Making Aang 16 instead of 12 wouldn't have a huge impact on the story or really alienate an audience and would be an understandable if not fan supported decision. I'm willing to bet that if Uwe Bolly had made this movie it would have been better.

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