‘The Last Airbender’ is awful, says everyone

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Gawker ran this really great summary of what various critics are saying about M. Night Shyamalan’s latest film, The Last Airbender. I haven’t been following the controversies surrounding this film whatsoever, and only recently saw the trailer for it. Apparently, what should have been an all-Asian cast is now a hodge-podge of mostly white actors, with a few Asians thrown in. Also, the movie is bad. Like, really horrible. That’s what every critic seems to be saying. Since it looks like no one is going to see the movie, why don’t we enjoy watching the train wreck for a while?

First of all, I’m not an M. Night hater. I still think The Sixth Sense was a great movie, and I also thought Unbreakable was totally underrated. Signs was… eh. I liked Joaquin Phoenix in it. The Village is when I decided to stop watching M. Night’s films – that one was such a steaming turd, it wasn’t even funny to laugh at, I just wanted to die. No one liked his next two films either, The Lady In the Water and The Happening. And now he’s spent the last two years making The Last Airbender happen. Ugh. Are two good movies enough to have a career coast for the rest of his life? No. He should really go back and make the kinds of movies that people like – quiet little horror/suspense dramas. For real.

Now, according to the synopsis, The Last Airbender is about magical kingdoms and there’s a kid who is the Avatar (the original name for the film, ha), and it’s all a metaphor for Buddhism, or whatever. It doesn’t matter. All that matters are the horrible reviews:

Roger Ebert calls it “an agonizing experience in every category I can think of and others still waiting to be invented. The laws of chance suggest that something should have gone right. Not here. It puts a nail in the coffin of low-rent 3D, but it will need a lot more coffins than that.” Ebert claims the budget 3D “looks like it was filmed with a dirty sheet over the lens.” Oh, and the “special effects are atrocious” and “the dialogue is couched in unspeakable quasi-medieval formalities; the characters are so portentous they seem to have been trained for grade school historical pageants.

The NYDN’s critic bitched: “Unfortunately, its positive attributes are thrown out of balance by its abundant negatives – including chintzy effects, lumbering storytelling and an overstylized, earnest incompetence that evokes “Speed Racer.” If you thought it was bad when writer-director M. Night Shyamalan was channeling Rod Serling, wait till you see him try to be George Lucas.”

Kenneth Turan from the LAT says: “The Last Airbender retains the Asian feeling of the original shows, including liberal doses of martial arts, tai chi, Buddhist philosophy and Tibetan religion. In fact, if there is anything that is intended to resonate with adults, at least parents of the New Age persuasion, it is the philosophical truisms that dot the dialogue, lines like “water teaches us acceptance,” “you must let anger go,” “there is no love without sacrifice” and the ever-popular, “is there a spiritual place where I can meditate?”” HA!

Rotten Tomatoes is giving the film a 5% fresh – terrible. So, you know… this is like, epically bad.

But here are some nice photos of Dev Patel (one of the stars) and his girlfriend Freida Pinto at the premiere last night. They’re cute! But don’t see this film.

30 June 2010 - New York, NY - Dev Patel and Freida Pinto. The World Premiere in 3D of Paramount Pictures and Nickelodeon Movies  The Last Airbender at Alice Tully Hall in New York City. Photo Credit: Paul Zimmerman/AdMedia

Dev Patel and Freida Pinto attend the premiere of The Last Airbender at Alice Tully Hall on June 30, 2010 in New York City (photo by: Steve Mack/ Meet The Famous) Photo via Newscom

NEW YORK - JUNE 30: (L-R) Actors Dev Patel and Freida Pinto attend the premiere of 'The Last Airbender' at Alice Tully Hall on June 30, 2010 in New York City. (Photo by Andrew H. Walker/Getty Images)

NEW YORK - JUNE 30: Actor Dev Patel and Director M. Night Shyamalan attend the premiere of 'The Last Airbender' at Alice Tully Hall on June 30, 2010 in New York City. (Photo by Stephen Lovekin/Getty Images)

Poster courtesy of Filmofilla.

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84 Responses to “‘The Last Airbender’ is awful, says everyone”

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  1. Sumodo1 says:

    What do you expect when a film director on a downward slide takes on turning a cartoon show into a full-length action feature?

  2. Jen Wind says:

    It’s a shame because the cartoon series is actually really good. My hubby got into it, and I started watching with him, and it is funny and really well done for a cartoon.

  3. Tess says:

    Well, too bad because I loved Dev Patel in Slumdog and I love good sci fi.

  4. jen says:

    Is that Shamalamalan in the last pic? When did he turn into a hobbit?

  5. lisa says:

    Yes they are cute..but I am still pissed Slumdog won the Oscar for Best Picture.. that is a mistake that is still hitting home for me.

    I better not talk too much about it.. I am beginning to sound really bitter

    MAYBE kids will like it. Coming off Karate Kid.. so it may surprise people. I think it is more for the younger audience anyway. Does not look like an Adult film at all. M.Night should do a TV series like Twilight Zone. He would be so awesome..

    no one has been able to recreate the genius of that show. I think he could.

  6. Tia C says:

    Not surprised to hear about his latest suckage. I have never been a fan of M. Knight’s. I was like one of the only people in the world, evidently, who thought “Sixth Sense” sucked ass. I thought it was boring and the stupid “twist” was obvious from early in the movie (and really not that interesting of a twist). I have not seen any of his other movies, and I probably never will, because each one sounds like it is suckier than the last. The only time I’ve liked him is when he made an appearance in one of my favorite episodes of “Entourage.” Really funny episode. Maybe he should act.

  7. mln says:

    This movie will make all of its money back because it has global appeal Unfortunatley in a few years there will be another one of his horrible movies the Sixth Sense wasn’t worth all this

  8. denise says:

    I’m going to be so pissed if he messed up this movie. Than again what do I expect after Lady in the Water. Egads, that was awful.

    Frieda Pinto is gorgeous.

  9. Kathy says:

    Doesn’t surprise me at all, but WHY did he have to use my favorite symbol, the triple spiral from Ireland, on that tatooie thing on the kid’s head!

    OMG! I just realized it looks like one of my paintings (with the triangles)!

    http://www.facebook.com/?sk=ff#!/photo.php?pid=408025&id=576541691

    It’s as if he saw it on my fb site and copied it! That painting was done in 2003 btw, the design done in 2000.

  10. a says:

    between pinto and angelia it’s bad dress hem day.

  11. e says:

    I loved the cartoon and have been really excited about this movie so this is extremely disappointing.

  12. lucy2 says:

    His movies seem to have gotten progressively worse. I loved the Sixth Sense, Unbreakable was good, Signs was OK (actually showing the thing ruined it, I thought) and everything since has been a mess. He needs to take a break from film making and regroup, and I agree, go back to smaller films. Plus he’s starting to oddly look like old school Michael Jackson.
    Freida is SO pretty, and I love that green, though the dress is a bit bulky.

  13. Annicka says:

    I’m not shocked. I’m not a fan of the show, I’ve never seen a full episode, but I know the general idea behind the show. And the cast upset even me. The cast, and the lack of a scar on Zuko’s face. I think it would’ve been better to hire the guy who does Zuko’s voice on the show instead of a dorky looking guy like Dev Patel.

    I hope this movie ruins his career. He’s untalented and a thief. He stole the plot of The Village from a book called Running Out of Time.

  14. meme says:

    he’s a crap director. Sixth Sense was a fluke.

  15. Ron says:

    It’s an M Night Shitmalan movie. What does one expect?

  16. Hollz says:

    I LOVE this show and have been dreading the release of this movie since I first heard about it. I will go see it, just because I NEED TO know.

  17. LOVE ANGELINA says:

    I have a friend who loves the show. I also thought the trailer looked badass. I am surprised people are saying its bad. I was never planning on seeing it. I am gonna see Inception and Salt. Those are the two films I am going to see this year for sure. I really like M.Night, what a fox, I hope the film does well just because I like his fine ass sooo much.

  18. mollination says:

    I hate when people rip on the cartoon without ever having seen it. It’s my older sister’s favorite show and she made me sit down and watch it. Apparently, the script and synopsis were written long before but the two (Very talented) guys wrting it couldn’t get it made. Finally Nickelodeon offerred to buy it as a cartoon, thus forcing them to tone down many of the adult themes etc.

    Even as a cartoon though, it’s been praised for having such well-developed, layered characters and plot lines.

    So when this movie was to be made, you can imagine how many people were excited it was finally going to be done justice. Now that it hasn’t, I feel really sad for the two original writers. What a strange fate for their genius concept.

  19. Hautie says:

    I really wanted to like “The Village” and actually did right up till the last 30 seconds. Where there was really no answer to the problem.

    I enjoyed Sixth Sense and Signs. Signs was fun cause they did show you the “thing”. And it is one of my favorite Joaquin roles.

    But I was completely lost with the rest of them.

    Instead of trying to out do all the epic CGI stuff of other directors. Why not stick to making great films that rely on dialog and good actors?

  20. Vicki says:

    @e: I agree. I enjoyed the Nick series and was really excited about a movie adaptation….I guess I’ll save my money and rent it when it comes out on DVD.

  21. Captaine says:

    Fuck that whitewashed piece of trash movie anyway.

    M. Night Shadlamdaldfdag’s career is practically underneath the dumpster at this point. What a shame he had so much potential.

  22. H says:

    I am obviously going against the tide but I liked The Lady in the Water. It was a fairytale and I like fairytales. I think he just likes to try different stuff and everyone just wants hime to do The Sixth Sense over and over. I usually enjoy his films. Although I did think The Happening was weak.

  23. l says:

    My four kids (ages 13, 14, 15 & 16) went to the midnight showing last night. They said it was BEYOND awful. They couldn’t even pronounce the names of main characters correctly. They were bummed as they had been looking so forward to it.

  24. JustBe says:

    I absolutely loved this show when it was on. I would faithfully watch it with my kids and appreciated the excellent story lines and character and plot development. I think that the show is one of the best cartoons, even one of the best shows of the decade.
    When I initially heard whispers that the show would be turned into a film, I was a little hopeful, but mostly skeptical. When I first saw the initial picture/poster of the Avatar, I knew that the film would be a bowl of hot mess. Asian history/culture/mythology plays such a huge roll in the basis of the series, to ignore it off the top was the initial beat on the death drum. Then when I heard Shyalaman was making it, in 3D no less, I knew that I would simply buy the series DVDs and avoid this movie at all costs. I’ll let hubby take the kids to see it.

  25. TQB says:

    The only redeeming thing about this movie is the opportunity for Ebert to unload with his full thesaurus. “The laws of chance suggest that something should have gone right.”
    Well done, sir!

  26. Sarah says:

    M. Night Shyamalan’s movies suck. The only one that I can think of that I enjoyed was Sixth Sense and I just read yesterday that he took that idea from an old “Are you afraid of the dark” episode! Too bad, my boys love that cartoon and were looking forward to the movie.

  27. Jo 'Mama' Besser says:

    I love the jewel-toned green she’s wearing, and those shoes are no slouch either. I wish something could be done about the hem and bulkiness of the top. That would take ‘very pretty’ to ‘tops’. A very minor quibble though.

  28. Iggles says:

    Gosh, I love Dev Patel! His girlfriend Freida Pinto is smoking hot.

    That said, I am so happy this is going to be a bomb. I’ve been following the whitewashing of the characters from pre-production to now.

    In movies like this, Prince of Persia, and 21 seems like whitewashing were the tip of the iceberg of what end up being terrible storytelling.

  29. Fluffy Kitten Tail says:

    The Village was the 2nd worst movie I have ever seen. The first being I Know Who Killed Me.

    I agree, everyone wants to see The 6th Sense and Unbreakable again. M.Knights career is finished! Good luck getting another movie made after thsi flop!

  30. Mika says:

    I wish this movie was decent for Dev’s sake, but I cannot subject myself to another “Village”. I don’t understand why Dev Patel is only being hired for “Asian” stuff, he’s can do drama (Slumdog) and comedy (Skins)and he’s really really likeable. He could be Tom Hanks.

  31. CB Rawks says:

    Ebert is so awesome!

  32. lala says:

    We LOVE the Cartoon. It was well written and had a good message. My son was Avatar Ang last halloween. He does not want to see the movie though because they changed so much of it. It seems so dark compared to the cartoon. Oh well..DVD

  33. gen says:

    1. HATE M. Night! Loved 6th Sense, bit like someone else said, I think that was a fluke. Hated every movie of his after that. In fact I’m gonna say that Lady In the Water was one of the worst movies EVER if not thee worst.
    2. Patel is such a cutie. I hope he gets more roles & better movies then this crap. Also I thought they had married.
    3. I do wanna check out the cartoon now though. So maybe it will get more people interested in that….that’s a plus.
    4. I love how McDonalds is promoting this movie considering the hero is vegan. Does his veganism come up in the movie? Maybe it will get kids to thinking about that, another possible plus.

  34. Strawberry says:

    The main character’s a Vegan and a Buddhist? Interesting.

    Just goes to show that the best stuff to watch these days is happening on TV and not movies.

  35. MSat says:

    Too bad. I was really excited about the movie. My kids and I love the cartoon series.

    By the way, I should add that the cartoon, “Avatar” was NOT made by Asians. It was made in the U.S. by Nickelodeon Studios, the same studio that produced SpongeBob, Rugrats, etc. The kids who did the voices on the cartoon were not Asian, either. It does have an certain Japanese Anime-inspired style to the animation and borrows heavily from Buddhist cultures and themes but it is not made by Asians. So all of this complaining is really unfounded.

  36. javagirl1 says:

    @ Kitten Tail, I was surprised he made another movie after the flop that was the Happening! That for me was the worst movie I’ve ever seen!

  37. eggy weggs says:

    Did Freida Pinto hem her dress with Stitch Witchery? Eesh. Surely she could pay someone to do a better job.

  38. jul says:

    gen (#33)- I highly encourage you to watch the TV series. You will not be disappointed.
    Man, I was hoping that it would be a movie that would surprise us all. And it did. But in a very bad way.

  39. OC lady says:

    That’s too bad. The commercials for it looked pretty good. I don’t have anything against M Night–at least he tries to be original sometimes and writes his own material (unlike most directors).

    But, I don’t think it matters since it’s targeted to little kids & they’ll watch anything. Example: The Karate Kid made over 100 million! Which means stay tuned for more crappy movies aimed at little kids.

  40. icthingsclearly says:

    M. Knight’s movies are horrible.1 Who keeps giving him money to make these crappy films? they should fire whatever studio exec that keeps giving him the green light..

  41. lucy2 says:

    #40 – I was wondering the same thing, so I looked at boxofficemojo.com. With the exception of Lady in the Water, all of his films have (worldwide) grossed at least 3 to 4 times their budget. Plus his budgets have been fairly low, in the $40-70 mil range.
    Even though all of his recent stuff has been crap and horribly reviewed, his films are cheap in comparison to most and turn a profit, so I guess that’s why he keeps getting hired. I’d rather he do better work or they hire someone else, but $ talks.

    I do imagine all the bad movies have hurt his career opportunities, and I doubt studios are throwing cash at him like they probably did after 6th Sense. He was hot stuff for a while there, but now not so much.

  42. Scarlet Vixen says:

    A few of my friends who are huge fans of the show said it was actually pretty good and way more true to the show than they expected.

    And the cast isn’t as vanilla as people are making it seem. I did some research on imdb.com and a large majority of the actors are not of caucasion descent. Even ones with ‘white sounding’ names are actually minorities or of non-caucasian descent. Plus, why would a minority director wanna hire just a bunch of white folks?

  43. Twez says:

    Check out #5 in this article: http://www.cracked.com/article_18585_the-7-most-wtf-origins-iconic-pop-culture-franchises.html
    Shyamalan possibly ripped off the story of The Sixth Sense from an episode of a Nickelodeon kids’ series in the 90s. He’ll be directing episodes of “Jersey Shore” soon.

  44. kim says:

    I was waiting for this movie to come out.

    It isn’t good. I’m so sad!

    Maybe little kids will like it since they don’t have much to compare it to, but anyone over the age of 14 will think it’s just retarded.

    And don’t get me started on the stupid 3-D~ it can’t save the movie.

    sorry but 3-D hasn’t improved enough to make a difference in any movie.

  45. Boombeeba says:

    Gosh is this based on that “Avatar” cartoon that comes on Nickelodeon with the little bald boy that looks like a rip off of “Krillin” from the Dragonball Z series???

  46. searching4grace says:

    @Msat
    Thank you! I feel the same way. So many people are dogging this movie before they’ve ever seen the cartoon. I LOVE M. Night. Hated Unbreakable. Though 6th Sense was amazing for it’s time, and I appreciated a horror movie for not just being blood and guts. My husband and I followed the cartoon religiously. I’m not taking my son to see this as it does look darker than the cartoon. I can’t wait to see it. i’ve loved movies that every critic hated. I can’t wait.

  47. fizXgirl314 says:

    He kinda looks like Michael Jackson…

  48. becca says:

    GOOD. M. Night thought he could play God with source material that WAS NEVER HIS and FAILED to stay faithful right from the get-go.

    I will continue to sit here and laugh. Karma’s a b***h M.Night, isn’t it? Now please fade from all existence for trying to play God with a beloved children’s series and WHITEWASHING the whole cast. Deve Patel does not count.

    I lol and rage when he rages at the critics that call him racist and throw the word back at him. Oh hon, they’re just calling out your actions as they see them (rightfully so). It was your actions with this project that have labeled you as a racist. (Don’t worry, I’ve got a few choice words for Dee Dee Rickets as well).

  49. evie says:

    @MSat: Even if it was made by Americans, the creators have clearly stated that it was based on different Asian cultures (each bending technique is based on an actual martial art) and that some of the characters are based on actual Asian friends. They have loudly disclaimed having anything to do with this racist casting.

    http://www.racebending.com/v3/featured/the-last-airbender-primer/

  50. sincity says:

    I just saw the movie with my son and we both loved it!! The special effects were stunning. The actor who portrayed Ang was brilliant. I think people are panning this film without having seen the actual movie. And who cares what a bunch of old fogey critics think anyway??

  51. Vi says:

    I actually wanted this to flop, if only because the creators pissed me off by royally screwing up the last season of the show (plot inconsistencies and deus ex machina, anyone?). So, really, this news doesn’t bother me one bit.

  52. joja says:

    This is ridiculous. M Night Shyamalan is a brilliant director and has made an excellent film.

    And the idiots who say the casting is racist (who are probably all white anyway – go figure) don’t have a freaking clue. First the director is of indian descent so it’s a little hard for him to be racist agaainst asians since he is one! Secondly he has tried to make it as non race specific as possible.

    If I didn’t know any better, I would say this hoopla it is just a way of bringing down a non-white director. How dare he be given big budgets and make successful films – let’s bring that foreigner down!

    Pathetic, grow up America.

  53. rkintn says:

    Seriously?! I took my kids to see it yesterday and we all really liked it. My kids (18,9 and 7) all watched the cartoon and were pleased that the movie seemed to follow the story line pretty faithfully. It had just enough action to keep my son interested and to keep it moving along. Overall, I thought it was pretty good and thought it was one of M.Night’s better movies.

  54. BlackMamba says:

    I don’t understand the Freida/Dev pairing. She is SOOO beautiful, I kinda see her as the wife of a powerful director or something like that not this skinny kid.

  55. joja says:

    @BlackMamba,

    That’s probably because you don’t have much imagination. Great contribution, though, well done.

  56. suzz says:

    I saw this movie last night with my 8 year old. We love the cartoons. Now, we love the movie!
    It is a childrens’ movie. It is meant for children. Kids will love it- stand up and clap when it’s over. Kind of love it!

    If you go to this movie thinking it’s going to be like M. Knight’s other movies you will be mistaken.
    But for a child it is a fantastic movie with a great story line and moral.

  57. Andromaches says:

    “Secondly he has tried to make it as non race specific as possible.”

    Most of the leads are white. How is that not race specific?

  58. joja says:

    Andromache,

    Are you kidding? The stupidity of this whole situation is that these people who are talking about racism have decided to blatantly ignore the consistent stereotyping and miscasting of ethnics in the Western media since time immemorial and have now suddenly woken up and gone after one of the most successful Asian film directors out there. How will that help Asians progress in the fields of acting and directing?

    It doesn’t make any sense.

  59. lolo says:

    The village was a great hit in Europe. I loved that film.

  60. Nicole says:

    Okay. So I went to see the movie, and it was HORRID. Oh so much was terrible, where do I start? The movie mispronounced almost all of the names. The threesome did things that they didn’t even do in the show. They added were a few characters that weren’t even in the actual cartoon. And whats up with Uncle Iroh? He didn’t even look somewhat similar to what he is supposed to look like. I couldn’t even recognize him, that REALLY irritated me. The cartoon series also contains quite a bit of humor. Where was that in the movie? And Katara’s HORRIBLE acting? She stinks and is quite ugly, I thought she was supposed to be pretty.
    Don’t even get me started with Sokka.

    Ughh this movie was a waste of time. If you loved the romance, deep story line, and humor in the Cartoon, get ready to be HIGHLY disappointed.
    M. Night threw it all into a jumbled mess and just completely BUTCHERED a great story and show.

  61. b real says:

    I really can’t understand the bad reviews here. I saw this film with my kids last night and it was absolutely amazing. The special effects, the acting, the directing. I, and my kids loved everything about this movie. I heartily recommend everyone go and see this. Don’t listen to the negative critics, you will miss out if you do!

  62. becca says:

    Those who are lashing out at the bashing of M Night and are claiming that his actions aren’t racist need to stop stanning for M Night, sit down and watch the original animated series. The reason why people are throwing a fuss for this movie more than other movies is because of its POPULARITY.

    And M Night the most successful non white director in Hollywood? LOL. The only thing that has been positively credited to him is the Sixth Sense, and there are people saying that whole premise wasn’t even original to begin with.

    And not all of those leading roles in this movie were given to people with talent. The role of Katara was given away thanks to good ol’ Hollywood connections- the runner up for her not only looked the part, but was apparently incredibly talented as well. But what did M Night do? Cast the filthy little rich caucasian in a role just because he had to do a “favor” for her parents. UGH. Not only that, but I read a blog article where the author suggested Ayesha Kapoor – someone who not only looks the part, but has credits in the Bollywood world. The role of Katara could have been a role for her what Pinto’s role in Slumdog did for her.

    But apparently M Night turned Katara into a weeping, snivelling MESS, when she is absolutely FAR from it in the series. So I’m ready to call him out on his racist AND sexist actions.

    This same blog threw out the idea of Harry Chum Jr. As Zuko. That’s something I’m all for. I’m not familiar with his bits in Glee, and he is apparently a wonderful dancer, so he would have a strong basis in the core basics of firebending, right? (Which is Northern Shaolin I think).

    Dev Patel should have been cast as Sokka, and they should have kept Sokka’s humor in the film. Brandon Soo Hoo was great in Tropic Thunder AND he has martial arts skills – making for a great Aang. What about Ang Lee of Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon fame? There’s a non-white director who – judging by his work on that movie, would hopefully have had better respect for the original source material than M Night did.

    And don’t get me started on the casting director of this movie, Dee Dee Rickets. She said in an interview, “If your Korean, wear a Kimono.” *headdesk*

    When adapting other work into movie format, there MUST be a serious appreciation for the original source material, especially since the source material DOES NOT belong to the director. Adapting, so to speak, means that the material should fit onto the screen while making MINOR adjustments and tweaks, just enough to spice up the movie while still remaining true to the original source material.

    Ever since the casting, it’s clear that M Night had no intentions on doing this. And for that, I’m incredibly disgusted.

  63. julie says:

    Becca, absolute rubbish. The film and casting were both absolutely outstanding.

    The attacks on Shyamalan are racist – pure and simple. America should be ashamed of itself.

  64. latoya says:

    I agree with Julie. This type of hounding of M Night Shyamalan, whch has been going on for years, by the way, is nothing but racism, pure and simple. This latest overwhelming barrage of vitriol being poured out at him is the full force of the Western propaganda machine in action.

    I hope you people aren’t blind enough to fall for it.

    Don’t be manipulated, see the film and judge for yourself.

  65. becca says:

    I haven’t been aware of M Night being hounded for anything – except movies of his that have tanked. If he can’t take the criticism, then he shouldn’t be making movies.

    Those who are stanning for M Night clearly don’t get why people like myself are so angry at his blatant disrespect for the original source material. His actions look racist, pure and simple. And he’s alienating the main fanbase – you just DON’T do that when doing a movie adaptation!! And I’m not about to blame Paramount for the movie casting – he said himself that he was in charge of the casting for one of his interviews; I’m blaming him. And perhaps if Paramount WERE genuinely the ones behind the casting, I’d actually lighten up on M Night. But since he has actually taken responsibility for the casting, I’m doing no such thing.

    And on a further note, shoving a bunch of minorities in the background doesn’t constitute for “cultural diversity.” That’s what happened in the movie. Children and fans wanted to see the minorities in the lead roles – because every single one of the Avatar characters (barring Zuko) were fantastic role models for kids.

    Take a look at the original casting sheet – it’s been circulating around the internet. Guess what it says? “All Caucasian and other ethnicities welcome.”

    If they wanted REAL diversity, they would have just said “All ethnicities welcome.” The fact that they didn’t is highly suspect. On top of that, any praises about the acting chops of the main cast is crap – I’ve seen more reviews from both critics AND regular moviegoers saying that the acting was complete crap. Only here have I seen more comments praising the movie than smashing it.

  66. Iggles says:

    julie – Are you kidding me?? You read what becca wrote and determined that calling M Night out on the racist casting of his movie is a “racist attack”?

    Unbelievable. I am not ashamed at anyone, American or not, who calls people on out on their crap. A show based on Asian cultures with an all Asian cast get turns into a movie with white heroic leads and somehow that’s “race blind” casting?

    Asians and other POC are routinely not considered for lead roles in Hollywood films. It’s even more insulting when materials written with minority characters are instead cast with white actors with the bullsh*t argument about “marketability”. This is the system M Night is working in and he’s not immune to racial bias because he’s Indian. It’s only sadder for us because as a director he’s in the position to do something about it!

    He’s a director of Indian descent, but can you name a M. Night Shyamalan with a brown actor or actress as the LEAD? (no, extras and minor characters to not count). I can’t.

    And don’t tell me this racial bias isn’t typical in Hollywood. How likely are they cast an Asian actor for Spiderman? So why is it okay to turn Asian character into a white character?

    I am glad that the uproar over the casting of this film is rising. We have to take a stand somewhere. First, let’s make it unacceptable to whitewash films. Next step, let’s break that glass ceiling so that minority actors are considered for leading roles! Because, you know, we happen to be HUMAN BEINGS with interesting stories to tell also!

  67. OC lady says:

    People who say questioning M Night’s casting decision are racists are just sad. It’s a legitimate question based on solid reasoning. Many people in Hollywood were at a protest rally yesterday against M Night. And, many of the people in that rally were Asians. I saw it on the news. So, EVERYONE is racist? Give me a break. Personal attacks and name-calling is what people resort to when they don’t have a strong argument. Why don’t you guys actually address the points made by Iggles and others?

  68. Zelda says:

    @kathy
    I don’t even know where to start with that vapid and yet pretentious comment…

  69. root says:

    Alright, I tell you what. Let’s just assume for argument’s sake that this film casting is racist. I don’t agree with this , but just for an argument. Although, of course, as we know, races are not actually defined in the series at all – you have assumed that the characters are asian/ inuit.

    Now, you do your protests and high minded commentary and boycott the film. What I and a growing number of people want to see is that you do the same thing where further injustices are seen. Since it seems like people have just woken up and decided to target Shyamalan’s film (I wonder why?), let’s see if they maintain their vigorous disapproval of racism in casting from now on. Since they haven’t bothered to do anything over the many decades when this type of thing has been going on.

    Otherwise we will know for sure that it has all just been a way of bringing Shyamalan down. And that would really be a shame.

  70. becca says:

    @root – the original creators of the animated series said quite EXPLICITLY that they were influenced by Asian cultures. The animated world of Avatar is a pan-asian world. And here’s an interview where you can find numerous mentions of what they were influenced by.

    And guess what? It’s ALL pan-asian culture.

    http://www.avatarspiritmedia.net/interviews.php?id=18

    http://www.avatarspiritmedia.net/interviews.php?id=19

    Oh – and Mike and Brian are caucasian. I guarantee you if they had ANY influence in the casting, they’d be picking an all Asian cast. And there are MORE than enough young struggling Asian actors and actresses who would have just loved to grab those parts. But everyone just doesn’t see them, because they’re regulated to sidekick roles and “token Asian” roles in stupid comedies. So any accusations that those accusing M Night of being racist are racist in itself are incredibly ignorant.

    And like I said in my previous comments. M Night SAID that he WAS in charge of the casting. He actually could have said nothing at all, which then would have made the Paramount Executives suspect, and people like myself would have had no issues in lashing out at them. But he DIDN’T.

    And here’s a youtube video illustrating exactly how pan-asian influenced the avatar world really, truly is. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BBda7b9tRdk

    And on another note, I’ve heard the M Night not only reduced the amazingly strong Katara into a snivelling damsel-in-distress of a mess, but he axed the Kyoshi warriors and turned Avatar Kyoshi (who is in essence, a past life of the main character for those who didn’t watch the series), into a MAN. So now M Night is putting himself up for racist actions AND sexist actions.

  71. Claire78 says:

    I loved Sixth Sense and actually really liked Signs – not really a Mel Gibson fan but liked him in that. I really got excited seeing the preview for ‘The Village’ and was devastated it wasn’t as scary as I had imagined. I haven’t given up on him completely yet. I like that his movies are a bit different.

  72. root says:

    Again, let’s see if this “outrage” against “racism in film” continues. if it doesn’t then we will know that this was all a campaign to bring Shyamalan down. Now why would that be?

    Many people are waiting and watching to see what happens, and they will voice their concerns, trust me.

    The absurdity of targetting him for allegedly doing something that has been going on for decades stinks of an outright desire to bring him down.

    This racism charge against him is ridiculous and offensive.

  73. I Choose Me says:

    @root Are you serious? You are dismissing claims of racism against M. Night Shymalan as ridiculous and offensive because you perceive that people are ‘just now’ being vocal about whitewashing in Hollywood all in an attempt to bring him down? People have been vocal about the obvious white-washing that goes on in Hollywood for years. This happens in the publishing world too re: book covers and magazine editors who claim (without any hard data to back it up) that POC on magazine covers “just don’t sell as well.” The reason that this is getting so much attention is because of the popularity of the animated series. Die hard fans of the series have every right to hope for an authentic representation of the characters that they know and love. Now I don’t want to out and out call M. Night a racist – I just don’t know enough about the man to make such a harsh declaration but as becca said HE was the one responsible for casting so HE gets the heat for his casting choices. It is an issue that deserves attention. And I for one am glad that it is finally getting it.

  74. becca says:

    I’ve made a point to state that M Night’s ACTIONS render racist accusations. His ACTIONS are putting him up for those accusations. When one outright accuses someone of being racist, it gives the other side plenty of fodder for being self defensive and the argument falls flat. But ACTIONS on the other hand, tell an entirely different story. Everyone is capable of being racist, no matter their gender, religion, or the color of their skin. It’s up to the individual to not fall for the stereotypes and pressures in society that would point towards the direction at racism.

    M Night’s ACTIONS scream out racism. And I don’t think he realizes it at all, because from everything I’ve read about him, he’s stuck in a massive delusion of grandeur.

    root, stop stanning for M Night and look at the facts from an objective point of view, leaving what seems (from my point of view) to be some strong favoritism for M Night. In fact, please take a look at one of the links and the video link I’ve left behind.

    I Choose Me is absolutely correct. Venture over to Nickelodeon and you’ll find the main character, Aang, as one of the trademark characters representing Nick Studios, right alongside every other classical character you can think of. In fact, these series are so popular that there’s a teen/young adult fanbase on top of the kid fanbase. Aang from “Avatar: The Last Airbender” is to Nickelodeon as Wolverine is to the Marvel Franchise.

    This series is POPULAR. VERY POPULAR. Really, how many times do I have to say it?! So there WILL be an uproar, just as there should be. And there absolutely has been uproars against whitewashing, you just haven’t heard about anything as loud as this one.

    You want another recent example of whitewashing in the media? Take a look at a cover from Vanity Fair of “up and coming” young female actresses. http://www.dailyfinance.com/story/media/vanity-fairs-young-hollywood-whitewash/19343469/. As the article states, EVERY SINGLE female featured (out of nine) were Caucasian. And this was when the movie “Precious” was gaining attention. H*ll, they could have put in Zoe Saldana at the very LEAST if they weren’t interested in Sibhe. But they DIDN’T. And the year before, American Ferrera and Zoe Saldana did appear in Vanity Fair for their work, but guess what? They were regulated to the folded flap of the cover. You had to open up the folded cover to actually see them.

    The only thing people can do is to try, try, and try again until voices against this atrocity of whitewashing can be heard.

    And if it takes this movie for people to finally listen to the protests, so be it.

  75. root says:

    @I choose me

    Ok, so Ebert and all those other (mainly caucasian reviewers by the way) have been championing the cause of asian/ people of colour in movies for the last decade or so? That’s rubbish. They have only woken up now for this particular film. Why now, for this film, by this director?

    It is no secret that the critics/ journalists hate Shyamalan. Again, why? Could it have something to do with his skin color?

    It stinks…of racism against Shyamalan. As I say, if these critics continue from now on (even though they should have been doing it for decades) to vehemently oppose and mention how casting is racist/ stereotypes are propagated in the media etc then we will know that they are taking this issue seriously. Although we will still wonder where the hell they have been for so long.

    Otherwise, they are just targetting Shyamalan. Again, why?

  76. the beginning says:

    And so it begins. There is a new film out with Vincent Gallo starring as an Afghan. He is clearly not Afghan. Where are the screaming critics/ journalists asking for the head of the director?

    This really does point to the fact that Shyamalan was being targetted here. Why would that happen, I wonder?

  77. Lance says:

    I took my two young children to see it. It was painful to sit through…boring, repetitive dialogue, amateur acting, poorly choreographed fight scenes, lame martial arts moves, even the CG work was so bland…M. Knight doesn’t deserve a big budget anymore, not since his first film. What a disgrace to the writer/director profession.

  78. Chris says:

    The Last Airbender is entertaining and much aligned in reviews. I walked out of Avatar and its trite treatment of issues of ethnic margination bordering on genocide. The main character in Airbender is a true representation of the underdog hero. My 9-year-old daughter was entralled and asking intelligent questions throughout. She asked to buy the DVD as soon as it comes out.

    Reply

  79. tony says:

    Thank god, at least there was no dancing at the end of the movie like a typical Bollywood movie.

  80. Jake says:

    Man this movie sucks, i haven’t even been able to get through the first 30 minutes and i’ve tried watching it twice. One of the most frustrating things about this movie is that they pronounce all their names wrong. They say pronounce Aang like Ong, Sokka like they’re saying So-Ka (when it should be prounounced liked Sakka), and they say Avatar wrong. The ACTING SUCKS, the STORY LINE IS WRONG, and the CHARACTERS ACT DIFFERENT THAN THEY DO IN THE SHOW. They truly messed up big time with this movie.

  81. Jake says:

    And why is everyone mad that there weren’t enough asians in the movie? I’ve seen the show and almost NONE OF THE CHARACTERS ARE ASIAN!! SO WHY WOULD THE MOVIE CAST ASIAN ACTORS FOR THE CHARACTERS???!! Am i making sense to any of you idiots?? AANG IS ONE OF THE ONLY ASIAN CHARACTERS IN THE SHOW SO QUIT COMPLAINING ABOUT RACISM BECAUSE YOUR WRONG.

  82. Jake says:

    and when i say this i mean that the characters are not indians which for some reason is what some of the actors in the movie are. i think only a few in the cartoon are indian-ish

  83. Huda says:

    I don’t want to say that this movie was bad, but I wished it was much better. The acting was honestly terrible, except for the actors who played Zuko and Uncle Iroh. When I watched this movie I had seen 1 episode of the cartoon. However the movie got me interested (due to the story itself) and so I watched the series. Then I was really disappointed. The series has soo much humor in it, and the movie completely lacks this. Besides I think that Dev Patal should have been Sokka, Im sure he would have been the perfect Sokka, looks and humor. And whats up for casting two white actors for the roles of Katara and Sokka and tanned ones for Zuka and Azula?? It should have been the other way round. And theeennn whats upp for uncle Iroh..! No offence to the actor who took his role, he did an amazing job as actor. However, he did notttt look like Iroh in anyway and he was wayyyyyy to serious. So upsetting that they left the humour out, that was one of the best things in the show. Other than that the movie was ok, not bad. loool

  84. Jonathan says:

    It is horrible I watched it with an open mind. but within the first ten seconds i was annoyed with all of the wrong saying of the name. Also firebenders don’t need fire to firebend it runs of of the heat from the sun and aggression. Airbending doesn’t need to do all that fancy stuff. The scar is not correct it leaves a dark ring around his eye then a lighter ring around that. The Tattoo for the avatar is wrong.All Airbender ARE DEAD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!