Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Went to Last Airbender

So I took the kids to Airbender today. It had some weaknesses in the script but it really wasn't as bad as all that. I hope it does better over time. There were almost exclusively "kid" shows at the theater so there is a lot of competition. (And the not-kid shows were PG-13 offerings.)

I think that Shyamalan had to make a choice. If he didn't follow the television show people would have been up in arms, but following the show is what was wrong with the movie. Truly a no-win situation.

Zuko (I'm just going to guess on spellings here) was brilliant and his story told incredibly well. His conflict was the most clearly told. Also, I suppose it's likely that a double could have done his martial arts parts where he is wearing a mask, but it's also possible the actor playing the character did them. If so, he's brilliant. (The actress who plays his sister only appeared for the briefest moment, twice, and in that short time proved brilliant as well.)

The water bending katas were wonderful. The air bending ones not quite so much, but still good.

What didn't do so fabulously was Aang's conflict. It was unfocused, I'm convinced, because the movie followed the television show timeline. The movie needed his initial conflict to be central and clearly stated and it wasn't. Risking fans having even a bigger cow, it still would have been better storytelling to start with Aang in real-time when he runs away and *why*.

OR that could have been done and then the whole starting a rebellion in the Earth Nation just skipped over to move directly and immediately to the North Water Nation and putting Katara's problems with chauvinism back in, so long as Zuko didn't get shortchanged in the process. So... her brother's romance and loss (wonderful story), Katara being denied training, Zuko's daddy problems, and Aang accepting his role as Avatar.

But if Shyamalan had skipped the Earth Nation people would have howled.

So... is he a bad director or a good director for realizing that?

Olivia Munn does Twilight