The Last Airbender Update: Shyamalan Currently Editing

Published 5 years ago by , Updated October 28th, 2009 at 12:27 am,

the last airbender header The Last Airbender Update: Shyamalan Currently Editing

The last time we posted about M. Night Shyamalan’s upcoming cartoon-to-movie adaptation, The Last Airbender, producer Frank Marshall said that, “all is well in post [production]“ and that we would see a (full) trailer around Christmas. But according to one of the film’s stars, Aasif Mandvi, the Sixth Sense director is most likely, “pulling his hair out in the editing room.”

Of course, Andvi isn’t Shyamalan, so I’m sure it’s just his best guesstimate – plus, the actor says stressing out in the editing phase is part of the usual process. However, I imagine Andvi’s not that far off, since The Last Airbender is by far the biggest project Shyamalan has ever done as a director who is accustomed to smaller, more intimate films where subtle character interaction prevails over special effects and action (for example: one of the only fight scenes Shyamalan has ever shot up until this point was towards the end of Unbreakable).

Andvi went on to talk to MTV about the visuals and action that will be in The Last Airbender“There’s a lot of martial arts, there’s a lot of really cool special effects and CGI and action.” But he was quite reserved with the details, saying that, “it’s going to look really cool, and I know what it’s going to look like and I’m not telling you!” Oh, c’mon, pretty please! No? Oh well…

However, Andvi did go on to talk about another aspect of the film – working with Slumdog Millionaire star, Dev Patel. Here’s what he had to say – “He’s a black belt… That kid knows his martial arts, so they needed to help me. I was the old guy on set who was like, ‘I don’t know what I’m doing here.’ He taught me how to cheat at ‘Who Wants to Be a Millionaire… That’s really all he taught me.”

If you want, you can head over to MTV Splash Page to watch the video of Andvi talking about The Last Airbender.

In case, like me, you’re not familiar with the story of The Last Airbender (the original cartoon is called Avatar: The Last Airbender, but the name had to be changed when James Cameron and his ideas came along…), here’s the general lowdown thanks to MTV Splash Page:

“In the fantastical world of “Airbender,” there are four tribes-Air, Water, Earth and Fire-each of which can control one of the four elements. The Fire folks have been waging an incessant war against the other nations, when a young child named Aang (12-year-old newcomer Noah Ringer) discovers he’s the only person on the planet who has the ability to manipulate all four elements and, perhaps, bring lasting peace to the land.”

Since I’m not familiar with the original cartoon series, I can’t speak about whether or not it works in that context, nor if the above premise for the movie follows the series to the letter (Shyamalan has said in the past that he planned to stay true to the fans and the source material). But the premise to me sounds like it has great potential as a fantasy-action film, with my anticipation only heightened by the first teaser trailer that was released (I wasn’t expecting it to impress me but it REALLY did).

However, the thing I’m most interested in about this project is the fact that M. Night Shyamalan has written and directed it. As I said, he’s used to smaller films that are certainly not as fantastical in nature as The Last Airbender. I’ll be interested to see if the genre is a strength for Shyamalan, and if he’ll redeem himself after the last three or four disappointing (to say the least) cinematic outings. The elements are all there (get it?) and I hope Shyamalan gets the most out of them.

Are you a fan of the original Avatar: The Last Airbender animated series, and if so does it seem like they’re sticking to the story? And if you’re not a fan originally, do you like the sound of the film?

The Last Airbender is scheduled to hit theaters on July 2nd in the U.S., and on August 13th in the UK, both in 2010.

Source: MTV Splash Page

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46 Comments - Comments are closed.

  1. True to the series? Not really. The way the production of this film discriminated against actors of color is abhorrent.

  2. I never seen the animated series but that teaser did put this film on the map for me. I’m sure he had to make some changes to translate to film, so some fans may not like it.

  3. Not again with the rasism thing! Who cares! If the actor is perfect for the role, who cares if he’s black, white or asian! The characters on the show didn’t have strictly defined races anyway!

  4. I am a fan of the cartoon and watched it very much, my little brother turned me onto to it and we watch it. It sound like maybe he will be following the story closy but its hard to tell. It was basically an epic and thats not something thats gonna be done in one movie. I guess I can just cross my fingers and hope he doesnt put a twist ending on this.

  5. I don’t like how anytime someone talks about, it seems the only thing they say is that he hsa cool CGI and martial arts. What about the stoty?

  6. Really hoping no one is going to go into this movie and expect it to feel just like the series did. Very rarely do adaptations actually work that well, and especially with Shyamalan’s overall style. Interested to see what he does with this.

  7. Its not an Avatar movie. Its a movie adaption of the show. Understand it guys! There is an issue with the racism to Asians,but come on. The movie is not going to be ‘exactly’ like the show. Absolutely not. Dev Patel is Asian,and many others too. Zuko isn’t a villain! If you’ve seen every episode,throughout the show there is good in him even if it takes him to nearly the end of the series to realize it. Zuko is a hero in my perspective,and he’s an Asian hero too! :D

  8. like Joe said, (I watched the whole series too) you can’t really tell if they are doing the story justice at this moment.
    The story really begins with two water-tribe kids finding a young boy and his over-sized pet frozen in a block of ice. They rescue him and than it begins, the boy recalls his destiny bit by bit, and bit by bit the story of the war gets explained. But there’s nothing of that in the text. Yeah he is destined to bring peace back, but along the way he, and the viewer together, discover what he was supposed to do in this world and what went wrong.

  9. LOL @ Huggybear.

    The original series was steeped in so much Asian mysticism and myth (the written world language was even chinese script) but hey, make excuses, pretend that white actors weren’t preferred (short memory of people – the 4 main characters were originally all white, despite the Water Tribe mains had freaking dark skin/ suddenly they’re as pure as snow) Translation into film eh?

  10. Let me explain why the Avatar people are all pissed. Imagine if they took Superman, Lois Lane, and Jimmy Olson, and made them all Asian, with Lex Luthor played by a white guy. A white guy who only succeeds when he teams up with the Asians. You see why this might make people a tad uncomfortable? Well, the same thing happened here. Will I still go see it? Sure. Will my expectations be high? No.

  11. I have nothing new and relevant to add to this this thread, just wanted to tell “Shari Brock” that she’s a hotty hot.. :D

  12. Will Shyamalan be able to do a movie that doesn’t have a twist ending?

    I mean, it’s awfully “johnny-one-note on the kazoo” to do the same thing over and over…if he must go back to his Chubby Checker impulses and do the twist again, he should partner up with an actor who does the same thing:

    Keanu Reeves and the word “Whoa!”; honestly, Keanu…do a western and get the “whoa” out of your system!

  13. But Keanu is the “Whoa!” Dismiss that I actually want to see him as Spike Spiegel with that one note delivery of his. Haha

    As for The Last Airbender, all this controversy heeped on it has some bearing. Hollywood has a poor record with anything Asian-centric and this isn’t any different.

  14. Being an Avatar fan myself, all I can say is that I really hope this movie is a good balanced mix of the character, story-driven show and hollywood’s love of action, effects-driven movies. (I hope it doesn’t suck!)

  15. As a true fan, and speaking for all the hardcore Avatar fans, Despite Avatar being a show for kids, The think the original writers seem to have envisioned a “HERO” Film (Starring Jet Li) picturesque not some fantasmical Disney film with overblown CGI. I think the original writers goals intended were to create an animation consisting of the orginal rawness of martial art films. I understand the bending and certain aspects should be CG but the setting should of been filmed in natural settings like see in “HERO” (The beautiful scenery and vibrant colors). (For those of you who havent seen the orginal series, I advise you to buy it, it has epic fight scenes and deep raw emotions built up in this cartoon despite it being on Nickelodeon, this cartoon is really raw. There are many suspense builders and comic relief in this cartoon.) The Characters, im not really sure, I think they got it all mixed up. I see Slum dog playing Sokka but thats just my opinion. I dont believe theres racism, its just casting calls. You gotta understand you cant just pick a world class martial artist to star in this film, he/she has to know how to act just as well. Or you’ll end up with a bad film just as well. Its easier to teach, alter or edit film with stunts then that of someone how to act or you’ll get bad dubbing. Although Avatar known for twist endings, I liked the original ones, Hopefully Shymalan doesn’t go overboard with that ability to do so. I have low expectations for this film, like I said, “HERO” is what I expected. If this does go bad, hopefully another director will do just.

  16. Oh yeah and with adaptations, they’re meant to suit the general audience, fans and non-fans alike. You can probably tell by those who haven’t seen the original series are amazed by it, and opposite reaction to those who have seen the reaction to it. Trust be it, you cant go too in-depth with this or it becomes a 9 hour trilogy like Lord of The Rings. Just expect a reaction to the film like how the fans of Twilight did. Expect to walk out the theatre with your head down folks.

  17. Staying true?: Yes and no.
    As an original Avatar: The Last Airbender fan, there are alot of things changing, but who’s to say the movie won’t be epic?

    I think, any film adaptation will have some let downs, but you shouldn’t let it put a damper on your outlook of your movie.

    As long as it doesn’t go as Twilight did, I’m pretty sure I’ll find it decent at the least.

  18. Well, having assessed what everyone has said I have to say this. 1. I agree that the racist idea is ridiculous and to be honest…its getting old (I’m Black by the way). 2. I agree that it will be impossible to blend into one movie season 1-3. 3. I however believe that the director has to keep in mind that if he is going to make the film a success he must not lose the essence of what make Avatar special. In reality that is hard because it is a vague concept that is largely dependent on the various opinions of the critics. That said, it seems to bel quite clear that people’s expectations are quite low. Hopefully though they will be able to succeed where Lord of the Rings succeeded in making a successful trilogy even with major changes. But that was because they maintained the original spirit of the book which captivated its audience.

  19. Cause black people are the only ones subjected to discrimination amirite?

  20. Well hopefully, they capture the emotional background of aang, and the avatar itself, but then again as seen in the series, it doesnt get too in-depth of aangs personal life, and the avatar itself until late book 2, and book 3. Im just hoping they dont jump things around from book 2 or 3 into book 1

  21. More or less, im hoping it wont be a FAIL like Dragonball movie

  22. @ Nicolas

    If they ever made The Simpsons live action movie, they would all have to be Asian because in the cartoon their skin is yellow, right?

    It’s a cartoon. Don’t be a racist. Lighten up.

  23. You mean other than in the show, it’s been stated outright that Homer is a white male? Or that for all intents and purposes, he’s treated that way? (PS, Matt Groening was originally going to have them pure white. That’s right, white-devoid of colour skin). It’s a stylistic choice the creators made to make them look more cartoonish.

    Avatar characters skin color isn’t what it is to make them look more cartoonish. Avatar according to the creators, were based on REAL LIFE examples of people of Asian descent. Aang? Based on Sifu Kisu’s half mixed son. Katara and Sokka? Inuit/Arctic Natives. Toph & Zuko? East Asian. They may be in a “fantasy” world but their closest counterparts in this world are from the cultures the show borrowed from the most.

    And hey, I’d love to lighten up. Cept when I do, I see another King of Fighters, and 21, and DB:E, etc. being made.

  24. To Nicholas: I think you are missing the point buddy, yes there is discrimination out there by various groups of people against others. However in the context of the show the culture is mainly Asian. So what exactly do you want to happen. You want a black Sokka?

  25. I’m not going to get into the whole “racist” thing. Personally I don’t care. The shows creators and writers (who were a couple of non-asian white guys by the way) don’t seem to be complaining so I’m not either.

    As a fan of the cartoon I think Shyamalan can do the film justice because he also loved the show. His daughter turned him on to it and he went to Nickelodeon and basically said “I love this show, please let me make a movie out of it”. The movie is to be 2 hours and is based on book 1 (yes it’s a trilogy) but his first write up was 6 hours long the shows writers made him cut parts out and he hated it. In other words he knows the material, is passionate about the project and has 3 films to tell the story.

    I think the movie will be fine.

  26. I don’t know how he’s going to stay true to the series because there’s no way you can fit all the good scenes from the series to a maybe 2 1/2 movie. As long as he keeps the ending true.

    Am i going to see it? Yes, but i am not expecting too much from this.

  27. Can’t wait for the release in Indonesia.T_T. I really wanna watch this movie.

  28. Unfortunately, that’s with all adaptations. They are never like the original ones because the time frame for a movie has a very general and specific course outline, it has the plot {introduction, rising actions, climax, falling action, resolution} vs. the show itself, where you have episodes having the ability to expand and add specific or certain details to the show because its series are guided by one another and more running time. Think of: Sparknotes vs. Actually reading the book. So expect to not see those lovable scenes or intricate aspects of the show that make you love it, but hopefully Shymalan captures the essence of the show.

  29. And I wouldn’t call it racist for casting a white character for character interpreted for asian character. Its just bad casting, if theres anyone to blame, blame the casting director. They didn’t study their material. :|