Here’s my tagline for The Last Airbender: “This summer… get bent!”
Okay guys, it wasn’t that bad.
Grant you, I will, that I never saw the series, but I read such reviews raving about a catastrophically awful apocalypse of a movie, so of course I had to see it. And really, I was kind of disappointed, not in that it was just that bad but in that it wasn’t bad enough. I was expecting like a Transformers 2 or a GI Joe level catastrophe, but it wasn’t that bad. In some ways it was engaging, even (though that could be my penchant for young Indian dudes.) But mostly it was kind of boring, badly written, and madly miscast, but not really painful. Not Transformers 2 painful, anyway.
Speaking of Indians, I will touch briefly on the issue of race. I’ve heard some upset on the whole race thing, and I will admit I found this most distracting. So this is a non-Earth magical land. Fine. So they cast white kids in the not-really-specified-racially main roles. Whatever.
But every single tribe was multi-racial!
I found this distracting for several reasons. Number one; they’re obviously East Asian in the cartoon. We can raise a big stink about that, but eh… I don’t really care. The Hollywood likes its white kids, so fine. But then they go and try to make up for it by making this water tribe mostly Asian/Inuit. With a sprinklin’ of white people, who just happen to be the main characters. But in this tribe of multi-culti, nobody’s mixed race?
Okay, so I figure, in this world, that maybe race is more in the realm of a recessive gene. Let’s say that if you mate a white dude and an Asian chick, their children turn out either white or Asian. I guess that would explain why nobody is mixed race, by God. And why Indian Firelord dude’s brother and Dev Patel’s uncle is Middle Eastern. …eh! Little weird that the most moral firebender in the whole crowd seems to be the lightest, but whatever!
All the kids sucked. All of them. I’d say Aang sucked the least, but as actors, man everyone was wildly miscast. I walked in thinking that Dev Patel, ferryman to sunshine and happiness, would be the most miscast, but no, I’d say he was actually the best. And who the hell decided Aasif Mandvi was a good idea? Maybe I’m too much of a Daily Show croney, but all I could think of every time Aasif opened his mouth was that he was going to turn around and call Jon a fool. All satirical-like. To my knowledge, this is the first time Manoj has cast Indian actors in main roles (feel free to correct me on this, I didn’t think that hard.) Maybe that has something to do with it and there are just that few Indian actors, I dunno.
I know a thing or two about the creative element, and there’s nothing more integral to it than passion. Seems like Manoj Shyamalan lost his early on in his career. It seems like some people, when they have children, it’s like they can devote their passion in life to only one thing. Or maybe there was some tragedy somewhere along the line. Maybe someone called him a dirty name. I can’t theorize on why the guy can’t make a movie worth a damn anymore, because I really think that The Sixth Sense was well-done, but between this and The Happening, I think it’s time for him to stop and move back to producorial stuff, before he ruins his career completely. But I think for some people the incentive to create just surpasses their passion to do it.