IGN and a few other sites were invited to the set of The Last Airbender recently and reported back on some positive and interesting things they got to witness and talk about with the director of the film, M. Night Shyamalan.
Most important to note is how he’s seemingly doing the project just as we fans wanted it made – with respect to the source material and with care attention to details.
M. Night had this to say about the project:
"It felt like an important movie [to make]… The mythology [of the series] was so well thought out and has Buddism and martial arts and… it has the deeper issues at its core. It's going to be a really fun summer movie, but underneath it [there is] a seriousness that talks about genocide and balance in the world and all the things that interest me that you've seen in other movies I've made."
The television series, titled Avatar: The Last Airbender (“Avatar” was dropped from the film title to avoid confusion with James Cameron’s project of the same name), was amazing in and of itself. It was designed in a very structured manner with a strong story and amazing character development. Even as a cartoon, the shots were almost set up as if it were theatrical making the show ripe for the picking to made into a feature film.
M. Night realizes this and I have high hopes that he’ll give fans and newcomers alike, something to enjoy and something that will redeem his career after bringing us some disappointing films in recent times.
Helping the director do justice to this movie in particular is not just the fans who want the movie done right, but his two daughters who are “obsessed” with the TV show and would probably disown their daddy if he ruined it. Shyamalan says he's being "extra careful" with the major plot points and story elements. IGN mentions that this film has taken 2-3 times as long as his previous projects and that has to do with the extensive re-takes he’s forced in important scenes to have it done perfect and the vast scale of the project in general.
If this movie does well, which I certainly hope it does, we’ll get a trilogy out of it. If we all like it, M.Night should be at the helm for the sequels as well.
After seeing the teaser trailer earlier this week, I’m very happy with the little bits we were given and I can’t wait for more. That being said, we've really seen nothing in terms of acting or action so we'll have to wait and see. And there's still that controversy over casting decisions, so I'm interested in seeing how they perform in character.
Some other interesting tidbits that IGN brought up is that from what they saw and heard on set (and can’t talk about), if it all comes to fruition, everyone should be “pleasantly surprised” with the movie. The other neat info is that the Philadelphia-based set of the movie is the largest ever built on the east coast, built by hundreds and hundreds of construction workers - I imagine they’re investing long-term with the hope of filming future installments there shortly after this one debuts.
It's interesting to see what came of the Dragonball movie when compared to this...
Is this a movie that should definitely respect the source material?
The Last Airbender hits theaters July 2, 2010.