Tuesday, October 07, 2008


A Trainwreck Waiting to Happen

I've bemoaned before the fact that the best secondary-world fantasy television series ever has been handed to a filmmaker whose best days appear to be behind him, without any apparent involvement by the people that made the series great in the first place. But this article today just rubs salt in the still-open wound.
Director M. Night Shyamalan said he is on track for a July 2010 release of his live-action version of The Last Airbender.

"It's going to be really cool," the director said about the Paramount picture on which he is now working. "I'm at the stage where we have [pre-visualized] about the last act of the movie. And because of my normal approach to filmmaking is almost like I'm making an animated movie to some extent, I think out every shot and analyze everything. It kind of lays out really nicely for a big CGI movie."
Did you get that? It's almost like he's making an animated movie. What a concept...

I finally had a chance to watch the last half-dozen episodes of Avatar: The Last Airbender last month, and I'm now prepared to say without equivocation that it is the best secondary world fantasy ever to appear on television, and ranks as one of the most successful bits of sustained world-building in any medium. The show-runners, and in particular head writer Aaron Ehasz, are to be commended for putting together such a successful long-form all-ages narrative, that works as well for an audience of 8 year olds as for an adult audience.

Is there any chance at all that Shyamalan's feature film adaptation won't be a trainwreck? No, not really. It's been years since he made anything resembling a good movie, and each new release since then has been worse than the last. Just how he'll be able to work in one of his patented twist-endings into the story of Aang I'm not sure, but I can't imagine that he won't try.

The entire run of Avatar: The Last Airbender is now out on DVD. Honestly, check it out, you won't be sorry. As for Shyamalamadingdong's forthcoming adaptation...? I don't know about you guys, but I'm planning on ignoring that nonsense altogether.

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