PDA

View Full Version : The Last Airbender



Phase
2009-06-28, 10:18 AM
Okay, so at first, when I heard there was gonna be a live action Avatar movie, I was kinda pissed....

Then I saw the Trailer (http://www.apple.com/trailers/paramount/thelastairbender/).

And then I was like:

"BADASS"

bladedSmoke
2009-06-28, 10:21 AM
My judgement is going to be reserved until after I have seen the movie. (http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/NeverTrustATrailer)

But my expectations have been raised a single notch. Unfortunately, they were quite low to begin with, since I know for a fact there is no way they can improve on the cartoon.

Phase
2009-06-28, 10:23 AM
My judgement is going to be reserved until after I have seen the movie. (http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/NeverTrustATrailer)

But my expectations have been raised a single notch. Unfortunately, they were quite low to begin with, since I know for a fact there is no way they can improve on the cartoon.

Well, yeah, but one notch up from "No way in hell" is a pretty decent notch up...

Tengu_temp
2009-06-28, 10:23 AM
I'm happy that Aang will be played by a kid his age, not a late teenager.

bladedSmoke
2009-06-28, 10:26 AM
Well, yeah, but one notch up from "No way in hell" is a pretty decent notch up...

Very true.

Kaelaroth
2009-06-28, 10:29 AM
It doesn't look... awful.

averagejoe
2009-06-28, 10:50 AM
My judgement is going to be reserved until after I have seen the movie. (http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/NeverTrustATrailer)

Agreed. I've never had expectations for this beyond, "Visually impressive," and I still don't.

Plus, I already kind of annoyed by M. Night Shyamalan. I mean, the friggin logo for the movie makes it look like the title is, M. Night Shyamalan: The Last Airbender. Seriously. :smallannoyed:

Logalmier
2009-06-28, 11:01 AM
I really liked the animated series that was aired on TV, but when I first saw the trailer my first thought was, "They've ruined it." I know that trailers make everything look bad though, so I'm going to wait till the movies actually out. But I don't fell very optimistic about the movie.

13_CBS
2009-06-28, 11:11 AM
I'm a little dubious about this being directed by an egotistical horror movie director. :smallconfused:

strawberryman
2009-06-28, 11:13 AM
My judgement is going to be reserved until after I have seen the movie. (http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/NeverTrustATrailer)

But my expectations have been raised a single notch. Unfortunately, they were quite low to begin with, since I know for a fact there is no way they can improve on the cartoon.

Pretty much this. It certainly makes it easy to hype, but that's what trailers are for, getting your hopes up so they can be dashed on the rocks.

Oregano
2009-06-28, 11:19 AM
The guy out of Slumdog Millionaire(and Skins) is Zuko and one of the guys out of Twilight is Sokka(:smallyuk:). So no, the film still sounds crap to me.

Prime32
2009-06-28, 11:19 AM
I honestly have no idea what to think. That trailer seemed simultaneously better and worse than what I was expecting.

Kyouhen
2009-06-28, 11:31 AM
I heard a bunch of people complaining about Aang being white, but from the trailer I don't think it's that bad. The guy at least pulls off a good serious Aang look. Happy Aang is yet to be seen...

Their first choice for Zuko was horrible though. I swear if this movie's another Dragonball Evolution there will be fire in generous amounts.

Dr. Bath
2009-06-28, 11:52 AM
It doesn't look... awful.

It does look kinda bad. Flaming letters. Flaming letters. Admittedly Dev Patel does look quite good in the single shot I've seen of him, HOWEVER, if the rest of the fire lord family is not also of a least vaguely similar skin tone it will push the whole thing just beyond possible belief suspension.

UltraDude
2009-06-28, 02:22 PM
I'm a little dubious about this being directed by an egotistical horror movie director. :smallconfused:

This. I have very, very little faith in Shayamalan in general nowadays, and trying to adapt Avatar... hrgh.

Comet
2009-06-28, 02:30 PM
Thread hijack go!

Is the original Avatar:the Last Airbender series good enough that I should go and watch it?
Furthermore, are there any movies or such made of it that I could watch instead of sitting through all the episodes (I assume there are a lot of episodes).

UltraDude
2009-06-28, 02:38 PM
Thread hijack go!

Is the original Avatar:the Last Airbender series good enough that I should go and watch it?
Furthermore, are there any movies or such made of it that I could watch instead of sitting through all the episodes (I assume there are a lot of episodes).

...depends on what you like. Mostly action/adventure/comedy, with a little (well-written) drama, and smatterings of romance. Three seasons, first starts slow but has some good points and a nice finale; second starts off good, slows down but is still good and doing important character-related things in the middle, with the final arc one of my favorite story arcs in any cartoon/anime ever; and a third season that has what many consider the worst part of the show to start, before getting almost as good as season 2, and a weird finale.

No movie compilations exist; certain groups of episodes were shown as movies though, and the last three pretty much are one.

Poison_Fish
2009-06-28, 03:04 PM
I'm gonna have to go with Gabe (http://www.penny-arcade.com/comic/2009/6/24/) on this one.

averagejoe
2009-06-28, 03:12 PM
Thread hijack go!

Is the original Avatar:the Last Airbender series good enough that I should go and watch it?
Furthermore, are there any movies or such made of it that I could watch instead of sitting through all the episodes (I assume there are a lot of episodes).

It depends. The show had a lot of good points, and season two was fantastic, but season three was altogether disappointing. The only memorable episode of that season was the one before the finale where they went over the plot points of the rest of the show in a highly comedic fashion, and even that was tainted by a lot of last minute forced, painful "romance" at the end just so they could "set up" the official couple (http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/OfficialCouple) that everyone saw coming. That season had few redeeming qualities, and those it did have were often offset by the painful, the stupid, the cliche, and the just plain bad. I consider it to be one of the biggest disappointments in any fictional work I've seen.

So, it's worth looking into, but not if you're the type who suffers disappointment badly. Or if you tend to look at the story events themselves instead of the quality of the storytelling, because the third admittedly failed far more at the latter than the former. It had a lot of good ideas, it's just that none of them was very well executed, where even the fillerest episodes of the first two seasons tended to be high enough quality to be worth watching.

Also, the first handful of episodes can be fairly tiresome, especially the first two. The story isn't hard to pick up, though (I started watching from episode three, which was fairly good, if somewhat less fast paced than the series tended to be. I didn't even see the first couple episodes until I was well into season two, and didn't watch a lot chronologically. I don't feel as if I've lost anything from doing that.) The animation in the show is pretty top-notch, and the fight scenes are some of the most well choreographed I've seen in any cartoon and most live action. (Something which got less and less true for season three, where the fights got more and more, "I'll throw my big attack at you," "Well I'll throw my bigger attack at you." I don't want to say Dragonball Z, but...) It manages to be very funny, but also manages to be touching, with fairly satisfying characters. (Though the characterization tends to be the weakest element, and the entire show is dotted with weird character moments, though, again, this is most obviously true in season three.)

So, yeah, watch it if that sounds like something you'll like. It's kind of quirky, but ultimately one of the better cartoons out there.

bladedSmoke
2009-06-28, 03:18 PM
It depends. The show had a lot of good points, and season two was fantastic, but season three was altogether disappointing. The only memorable episode of that season was the one before the finale where they went over the plot points of the rest of the show in a highly comedic fashion, and even that was tainted by a lot of last minute forced, painful "romance" at the end just so they could "set up" the official couple (http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/OfficialCouple) that everyone saw coming. That season had few redeeming qualities, and those it did have were often offset by the painful, the stupid, the cliche, and the just plain bad. I consider it to be one of the biggest disappointments in any fictional work I've seen.

Please note, Conjob, that this is not a universal reaction; Season 3 is by no means better than Season 2, but in my opinion its is much better than Season 1. And Season 1 was fantastic to start with.

averagejoe
2009-06-28, 03:29 PM
Please note, Conjob, that this is not a universal reaction; Season 3 is by no means better than Season 2, but in my opinion its is much better than Season 1. And Season 1 was fantastic to start with.

Yes, but it's undeniable that the quality of the show went way down. However much you enjoyed it, it was fairly obvious that they were putting much less work into it than any of the other seasons.

Also, to be clear, I didn't think season three was, as a whole, "Bad," (though parts of it were pretty extraordinarily bad. I'm looking at you, that part of the beach episode where everyone revealed their backstory.) It was disappointing, not bad. Truth be told, my main problem with it was that it lost a lot of the charm and style that was unique to the show. It didn't become bad, it became average, which for Avatar was a severe disappointment. (This last bit isn't to be argumentative, by the way, it's to clarify what I thought about it. I can come off as rather harsher than I mean to when discussing the third season of Avatar.)

bladedSmoke
2009-06-28, 03:39 PM
I absolutely agree with a lot of your points, but like I said, I just wouldn't label it as "bad" or even "average." I'd just say it was "of less uniform quality than Season 2."

My main gripe with Season 3 is a major spoiler.

I have no idea what the hell the Lion Turtle is meant to be saying.

In my opinion, the slight decline in quality was probably due to network executives trying to interfere with Mike and Bryan's vision. I have no evidence for this, just a suspicion.

Morty
2009-06-28, 03:44 PM
I've watched only a handful of episodes of Avatar - the first one being "Sokka's Master" - and although it's quite good for an animated show, I'm not sure how well will they transform a series into a single movie.

averagejoe
2009-06-28, 03:52 PM
In my opinion, the slight decline in quality was probably due to network executives trying to interfere with Mike and Bryan's vision. I have no evidence for this, just a suspicion.

If memory serves, I believe a lot of it was because of the writer's strike.

bladedSmoke
2009-06-28, 03:53 PM
If memory serves, I believe a lot of it was because of the writer's strike.

...That explains a lot.

AstralFire
2009-06-28, 04:05 PM
Not interested. Loved the show, loved the finale, but the whole casting choices thing... consider it a protest.

kenb215
2009-06-28, 06:28 PM
If memory serves, I believe a lot of it was because of the writer's strike.

The show was already written before the writer's strike began. Plus the Writers Guild of America's strike didn't cover animation.

DrizztFan24
2009-06-28, 08:20 PM
I am hesitantly hopeful...and then I looked up the cast. Oh good heavens. Why? Why! Why?! Doesn't anyone pay attention to the original material they are relating to?! My biggest gripe is Katara. The others, I have no idea of their acting skills, but just by looks it won't be a true horror if done correctly. Acting, someone will have to fill me in.

Mr. Scaly
2009-06-28, 08:34 PM
Huh.

Well, I had no hope before. I suppose now I have a small, very tiny piece of hope that it won't be butchered. Still...

Lord of Rapture
2009-06-28, 09:18 PM
Ah, Avatar. I have mixed feelings about the show. My opinion is just like my opinion on MGLN: Great second season, disappointing first and third seasons. The first and third seasons weren't bad per se, in fact they were pretty good. It's just that I felt only the second season was worth the hype the show received. The finale was a representation of the show overall to me: great action scenes and characters, capable from making genuinely suspenseful and touching situations, but at the same time suffering from the chain of clumsy writing and poor slice-of-life situations at the same time.

As for the movie: eh, I never had high expectations for it. The trailer doesn't really have an effect on me. I'll just wait for people to see it and report their feelings on the movie to decide whether to watch.

Trizap
2009-06-29, 12:04 AM
Well, yeah, but one notch up from "No way in hell" is a pretty decent notch up...

I'm one notch lower than "no way in hell"

try to figure out what it is

LurkerInPlayground
2009-06-29, 12:53 PM
Because it is pertinent:
http://www.penny-arcade.com/images/2009/20090624.jpg

Poison_Fish
2009-06-29, 01:16 PM
Because it is pertinent:
http://www.penny-arcade.com/images/2009/20090624.jpg

http://www.terminally-incoherent.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2007/09/slowpoke.gif

Aptera
2009-06-30, 08:54 AM
I rather enjoyed all of the show. However I'm easy to please, and will often overlook problems for excellent animation.

Joran
2009-06-30, 11:14 AM
Thread hijack go!

Is the original Avatar:the Last Airbender series good enough that I should go and watch it?
Furthermore, are there any movies or such made of it that I could watch instead of sitting through all the episodes (I assume there are a lot of episodes).

There aren't that many episodes to watch actually. The entire series is only three seasons of 20 episodes each, so 60 episodes, each lasting about 20 minutes. It's on par with moderate length anime series.


I've watched only a handful of episodes of Avatar - the first one being "Sokka's Master" - and although it's quite good for an animated show, I'm not sure how well will they transform a series into a single movie.

It's set up to be a trilogy, supposedly one movie for every season. First season shouldn't be too difficult actually, but a lot of stuff happens in the second and third that lead me nervous for what will be cut.


(though parts of it were pretty extraordinarily bad. I'm looking at you, that part of the beach episode where everyone revealed their backstory.)

That was at least made up with the "My own mother thought I was a monster... She was right of course! But it still hurt."

Yulian
2009-06-30, 10:08 PM
I'm happy that Aang will be played by a kid his age, not a late teenager.

Yeah, now if only they had any Asians in the cast.

http://www.angryasianman.com/2008/12/white-cast-of-avatar-last-airbender.html

Remember, Americans hate seeing Asians in lead roles!

Just ask Jackie Chan, Bruce Lee, Jet Li, Lucy Liu...

Okay Dev Patel is Zuko...this was apparently changed from Jesse McCartney, which basically means that M. Night Shamwow actually never initially intended any of the leads to be Asian.

Awesome.

- Yulian

endoperez
2009-06-30, 10:22 PM
Yeah, now if only they had any Asians in the cast.

This is posted all around the web, but I haven't seen anything about the ACTUAL controversy:

Aang is not played by a 12-year-old Tibetan boy with extensive bagua training, Katara and Sokka aren't played by inuit siblings, to my knowledge Dev Patel doesn't have a sister fit to play Azula and he hasn't disfigured his face AND he hasn't trained Northern Shaolin boxing, and they didn't build the two Water Nation locations to the north and south poles! I mean, how can they expect to get it to look right, when they ignore basic stuff like this! [/sarcasm]

Ichneumon
2009-07-01, 01:23 AM
Unless they make this into a huge triology, I can't see how they can summarize the plot of the series in a 2 hour movie, so either it will be completely something new or unrecognisable and not connected to the real thing, maybe only in setting.

I never watched the complete series, but friends were really hyped about it and told me everything. I can't say I liked the Avatar.

Kobold-Bard
2009-07-01, 01:38 AM
I'm not getting my hopes up about the film, but that's both because I'm a worn down cynic, and I really like Avatar (even the finale saga thing, I have a soft-spot for Dragonball Z-esque mega battles).

Joran
2009-07-01, 10:35 AM
Okay Dev Patel is Zuko...this was apparently changed from Jesse McCartney, which basically means that M. Night Shamwow actually never initially intended any of the leads to be Asian.


Oh, it gets better. All of the Fire Nation people are played by darker skinned people. Ozai, Zuko, Zhao, Iroh, all played by non-Caucasians. This should be fun ;)

Jamin
2009-07-01, 12:10 PM
IMO Most of the main characters (barring the water tribe people) look white with some members of the earth kingdom looking Asian. I don't get why people are so mad over them being white. I think it is silly to think that just because the world uses Asian cultures that everyone is Asian.

Oregano
2009-07-01, 12:27 PM
This is posted all around the web, but I haven't seen anything about the ACTUAL controversy:

Aang is not played by a 12-year-old Tibetan boy with extensive bagua training, Katara and Sokka aren't played by inuit siblings, to my knowledge Dev Patel doesn't have a sister fit to play Azula and he hasn't disfigured his face AND he hasn't trained Northern Shaolin boxing, and they didn't build the two Water Nation locations to the north and south poles! I mean, how can they expect to get it to look right, when they ignore basic stuff like this! [/sarcasm]

Dev Patel is an award winning martial artist though.:smallwink:

But he's Anwar...not Zuko!

Woodsman
2009-07-01, 12:33 PM
I really do hope the movie is good. If it's a flop, oh well; the show still kicked ass.

If Sokka gets to keep even half of his lines, I shall be pleased. He's my effing favorite.

Lion Turtle Guy (spoiler): What do you mean? What part of the Lion Turtle's speech didn't you get? I can probably help.

Telonius
2009-07-01, 12:35 PM
If the movie is not awesome, at least we will be able to quote the show as we leave the theater.


Zuko: That...wasn't a good play.
Aang: I'll say.
Katara: No kidding.
Suki: Horrible.
Toph: You said it.
Sokka: But the effects were decent.

Jamin
2009-07-01, 12:37 PM
The above quote was meant as a jab at the movie

endoperez
2009-07-01, 01:27 PM
Dev Patel is an award winning martial artist though.:smallwink:

What does that have to do with it? If he hasn't trained Northern Shaolin for about 10 years, he can't just naturally do it, but instead will have to ACT like he's doing it! How can that ever work in a movie?!


If Sokka gets to keep even half of his lines, I shall be pleased. He's my effing favorite.

http://io9.com/5301315/secrets-and-glimpses-of-the-last-airbender-filming:


"But the director did have to whittle some things away. While taking a break from filming in the dusty floors of the North Air Temple Night told us what had to be cut: "I took away a little bit of the slapsticky stuff that was there for the little little kids, the fart jokes and things like that. We weeded that stuff away and the other stuff came out. We grounded Katara's brother, who's the comic relief in the show. We grounded him, and that really did wonderful things for the whole theme of the movie."

Sokka not being the comic relief doesn't necessarily mean that Sokka won't be funny. There's a difference between "he's fun" and "he's being made fun of"; I hope after the change Sokka is more of the first and less of the second.

Joran
2009-07-01, 01:38 PM
IMO Most of the main characters (barring the water tribe people) look white with some members of the earth kingdom looking Asian. I don't get why people are so mad over them being white. I think it is silly to think that just because the world uses Asian cultures that everyone is Asian.

Well, first off Avatar, is very much set in an Asian-themed environment. Everyone uses Eastern martial arts (thai chi, shaolin, hung gar), all the written language in the show is Traditional Chinese, and the architecture and clothing are taken from many different Asian cultures. I'm fairly sure you can find a site labeling exactly what clothes, hair styles, architecture match up with what real-world Asian culture and society. The main issue here is that the show isn't just "Asian-themed", like Western, Tolkienesque fantasy, but many of the elements of the show are taken directly from real-world Asian cultures. So, with the clothing, hair, language, architecture, culture all borrowed, it's pretty natural to think that the ethnicity of the people in the show should also remain the same as the type of setting. For instance, in Western fantasy, most of the humans are white, because the setting is Western fantasy; I don't expect Aragorn to be black, Hispanic, or Asian.

So, with this being said, it also touches a nerve in the Asian community because of the historic lack of Asians in leading roles and roles outside of standard type-cast characters. Avatar would have been a chance for some young Asian actors to get exposure, but instead, it seemed like the casting director specifically went out of her way to not cast ANY Asians. (Jesse McCartney? Really?!) It'd be one thing if they used an ethnically-diverse cast and basically said "We used the best actors we could find and they fit the roles perfectly." It's another to have the entire starring cast not have any diversity.

So, yeah, there were some hard feelings about an Asian-themed movie being cast without any Asians at all. It'd be like Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon being populated by non-Asians.

P.S. After Jesse McCartney was given the heave-ho, a lot of my anger went away, but not my resignation that the movie is not going to be any good.

Nerd-o-rama
2009-07-01, 01:46 PM
The above quote was meant as a jab at the movieObjection!

The movie was announced well after that episode was written and animated.

It was probably a jab at every bad movie/bad adaptation/bad historical adaptation.

Weirdlet
2009-07-01, 02:01 PM
If anyone would like to reach a better understanding of why exactly people are worked up about the casting, this (http://racebending.com/) place and this (http://community.livejournal.com/racebending) place have some very good explanations.

Not trying to stir up anything, just if you want to know why, that's where it's laid out. It's not so much that it's *this* movie- although this is a horribly blatant and egregious example by simple fact of the show they're adapting- but that there's a whole history of problems that had been sidestepped by the show itself, and which have been brought back full-force by the liveaction adaptation.

Lord Seth
2009-07-01, 02:03 PM
It depends. The show had a lot of good points, and season two was fantastic, but season three was altogether disappointing. The only memorable episode of that season was the one before the finale where they went over the plot points of the rest of the show in a highly comedic fashion, and even that was tainted by a lot of last minute forced, painful "romance" at the end just so they could "set up" the official couple (http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/OfficialCouple) that everyone saw coming. That season had few redeeming qualities, and those it did have were often offset by the painful, the stupid, the cliche, and the just plain bad. I consider it to be one of the biggest disappointments in any fictional work I've seen.While season three was a massive disappointment and the worst season of the series, it did have some good stuff. Day of Black Sun through The Ember Island Players felt like it was season two all over again (and season two rocked). Unfortunately, except for The Avatar and the Firelord and MAYBE Nightmares and Daydreams, everything before Day of Black Sun was pretty bad. "The Beach" was pure awfulness, and it made The Great Divide (almost universally considered the worst episode of the first season) look good. Honestly, The Beach was so bad I was actually embarrassed to watch it.

And then the finale. Oh dear, the finale. I could write an essay on the problems in that. That thing had major plot holes and quite possibly the most idiotic deus ex machina I've ever seen. Not to mention that after spending half of the season hinting that Iroh was going to do some awesome stuff, he ends up being wasted in a pointless subplot in which he's almost inconsequential anyway. There also was a lack of character arc resolution. It's rather annoying, as I was all set to label season three "bad in the first half, great in the second" but now I have to say "bad in the first half, great in the second half except for the finale, which was weak."

That said, season one was good, and season two was spectacular. It's just a shame that season three was such a disappointment. Still, between Day of Black Sun and the finale, I found the episodes to be of high quality. Unfortunately, if I average out the season, it ends up worse than the first season. It was really a giant disappointment.

Jamin
2009-07-01, 02:27 PM
Objection!

The movie was announced well after that episode was written and animated.

It was probably a jab at every bad movie/bad adaptation/bad historical adaptation.

Objection overruled the commentary says that is what it is

Joran
2009-07-01, 02:29 PM
"The Beach" was pure awfulness, and it made The Great Divide (almost universally considered the worst episode of the first season) look good. Honestly, The Beach was so bad I was actually embarrassed to watch it.


>.> <.< I actually liked the Beach... Just Azula being massively over the top cracked me up; my wife thought them trashing the guy's place was awesome. The Great Divide was absolutely awful and rightfully made fun of in the play.

Weirdlet
2009-07-01, 03:22 PM
I happened to like the third season a great deal, even if by rights it should have been spread out more and 'moving at the speed of plot' was heartily abused.

Telonius
2009-07-01, 03:27 PM
If anyone would like to reach a better understanding of why exactly people are worked up about the casting, this (http://racebending.com/) place and this (http://community.livejournal.com/racebending) place have some very good explanations.

Not trying to stir up anything, just if you want to know why, that's where it's laid out. It's not so much that it's *this* movie- although this is a horribly blatant and egregious example by simple fact of the show they're adapting- but that there's a whole history of problems that had been sidestepped by the show itself, and which have been brought back full-force by the liveaction adaptation.

I'm looking at you, Earthsea.

(But only until my brain finishes erasing all memories of that steaming pile of awfulness)

Oregano
2009-07-01, 03:29 PM
I'm looking at you, Earthsea.

(But only until my brain finishes erasing all memories of that steaming pile of awfulness)

Which one, the live action or Ghibli one?

Aotrs Commander
2009-07-01, 05:17 PM
My main gripe with Season 3 is a major spoiler.

I have no idea what the hell the Lion Turtle is meant to be saying.

That makes two of us. Glad I asn't the nly one who found him to be unintelligable!



I'm going now to upset the cart and say I really enjoyed season three and thought it was as good or better than season 2.

(Of course, I don't know how much of my opinion is swayed by the fact that I waited until the season boxed sets came out and watched the episodes nearly back-to-back with the prior season. Also, I like Naruto, Pokemon and the Star Wars prequel trilogies, so what the heck do I know!)

I was actually at first reasonably psyched about the movie, as the interview about the movie in one of the boxed sets sounded promising. Until I twigged who Shamalawho'sisface was and the casting list was annouced.

That tweaked me off a bit, since it very much smacked of Hollywood bias. If you're making a western-mythos-themed movie (e,g. Lords of the Rings) it's perfectly acceptable to keep to the original ethnisity but otherwise...I think Hollywood is really sending the wrong message between this and Dragonball Evolution (and the aforementioed Earthsea and probably numerous others as well.) Just tweaks me is all. (So much so that those of you with long memories may remember I started a thread about Avatar's casting when I first heard about it.)

Anyway, I shall remain sceptical, and like I did with Star Trek and Transformers, I shall keep my expectation suitably low (and hope like them, to be pleasently suprised). I think Avatar might be at least watchable, since M Night Whoisface has (at least some) respect fr the soruce material, not like those...people...who did Dragonball Evolution.

Yulian
2009-07-02, 01:11 AM
This is posted all around the web, but I haven't seen anything about the ACTUAL controversy:

Aang is not played by a 12-year-old Tibetan boy with extensive bagua training, Katara and Sokka aren't played by inuit siblings, to my knowledge Dev Patel doesn't have a sister fit to play Azula and he hasn't disfigured his face AND he hasn't trained Northern Shaolin boxing, and they didn't build the two Water Nation locations to the north and south poles! I mean, how can they expect to get it to look right, when they ignore basic stuff like this! [/sarcasm]

This, is an excellent example of "utterly missing the point".

See, a fair number of Asians of several varieties in the US have this perception that, where entertainment media is concerned, they constantly get shafted.

It's very difficult not to agree with them.

It even extends to "nontraditional" entertainment. For example, name me an Asian-American male pornstar.

Basically, they don't exist. Things like pornography do say things about the culture, and stuff like that, well...this movie: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/****_Ho:_Asian_Male_Porn_Star examines that more in depth and what it all means.

So here we had a series based on various Asian mythologies, had a main cast of characters that seemed to represent several real-world heritages that you don't really get to see in lead roles, and it wasn't treated as stereotypical stuff.

Then there's a movie and the main cast gets whitewashed. It's very hard to perceive it any other way other than Hollywood's bizarre idea that Asians can't headline films that aren't all about martial arts.

- Yulian

kpenguin
2009-07-02, 01:29 AM
Silly peoples, nobody's Asian in the movies (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MNmzegQUtFA).

endoperez
2009-07-02, 02:55 AM
This, is an excellent example of "utterly missing the point".

See, a fair number of Asians of several varieties in the US have this perception that, where entertainment media is concerned, they constantly get shafted.

Do you have any figures? I don't expect that even 5% of all actors and actresses in American entertainment productions (movies, theatre, television) would be of Asian descent. Why?
Asian Americans "only" make up about 5% of the U.S.'s population (as of 2008). (http://www.asian-nation.org/) They are a fast-growing group, sure, but they are still a minority. The people responsible for the casting can't send 95% of the people otherwise eligible for the roles away due to wrong skin color! As an example, I don't think they could have found a better Aang (bald kid who does martial arts) from the Asian Americans. I do think they can find lots of make-up artists if they want to make him look less Caucasian.

It does look like Caucasians are cast into Water Tribe roles, for whatever reason. The cartoon Water Tribe didn't look like inuits, but they weren't white either; this is the one case where they might have distinctly chosen to use white/caucasian actors. Even if they did, I don't really mind, because Asians are cast for the two other nations: Fire and Earth**. That's very good representation for a small minority, especially since Water tribe is the smallest of the three.


** I believe Earth nation casts Asian actors because the two examples IMDB knows of are both non-Caucasian: earthbending father (http://www.imdb.com/name/nm1692978/) and earth kingdom drummer (http://www.imdb.com/name/nm3046284/). Ernest E. Brown has played in hindi movies (e.g. New York (2009)).

Joran
2009-07-02, 09:00 AM
It does look like Caucasians are cast into Water Tribe roles, for whatever reason. The cartoon Water Tribe didn't look like inuits, but they weren't white either; this is the one case where they might have distinctly chosen to use white/caucasian actors. Even if they did, I don't really mind, because Asians are cast for the two other nations: Fire and Earth**. That's very good representation for a small minority, especially since Water tribe is the smallest of the three.

The annoyance and anger was there because initially, none of the leading cast was going to be Asian. It's not that Asians aren't going to be cast in the movie; it's that they are being cast as background or side characters while the leading roles were reserved for Caucasians. Historically, this is a sore spot for many Asian actors; for example, Bruce Lee in the Green Hornet.


As an example, I don't think they could have found a better Aang (bald kid who does martial arts) from the Asian Americans. I do think they can find lots of make-up artists if they want to make him look less Caucasian.


Yes, but they could have found a better actor than Jesse McCartney for Zuko... That was the really sore spot for me personally.

averagejoe
2009-07-02, 01:42 PM
Then there's a movie and the main cast gets whitewashed. It's very hard to perceive it any other way other than Hollywood's bizarre idea that Asians can't headline films that aren't all about martial arts.

Not to mention that this one is about martial arts.


Do you have any figures? I don't expect that even 5% of all actors and actresses in American entertainment productions (movies, theatre, television) would be of Asian descent. Why?
Asian Americans "only" make up about 5% of the U.S.'s population (as of 2008). (http://www.asian-nation.org/) They are a fast-growing group, sure, but they are still a minority. The people responsible for the casting can't send 95% of the people otherwise eligible for the roles away due to wrong skin color! As an example, I don't think they could have found a better Aang (bald kid who does martial arts) from the Asian Americans. I do think they can find lots of make-up artists if they want to make him look less Caucasian.

I think you misunderstand the problem. The issue isn't one of numbers, but of roles. For example, take older (greater than five decades old or so) movies. The number of black people as compared to white people in those movies was probably a good representation of the black/white ratio of America at large. I don't have numbers for the movies, but there really hasn't been a large black population in America as compared to whites. Further, the black people in those movies had social roles that I would suppose reflected society at the time.

The problem with the roles of black people at the time, however, wasn't this, it was that pretty much every black character was some sort of gross stereotype or caricature. When you're a black actress and all the roles you can play in require you to be fat and say things like, "Lawdy, lawdy, lawdy," you're never exactly going to make a name for yourself. It isn't an issue of seeing a lack or surplus of anything, it's an issue of what sorts of roles one can get. Asian males these days really don't get roles besides martial artists or goofy comic stereotypes, and Asian females don't really get roles besides being hot.

Now here we have a movie based on a series that built its world largely by using traditional culture from various parts of Asia. It would be the perfect place to cast some Asian actors, give them a chance to shine as actual characters instead of stereotypical roles, and no such chance is given. This is what the problem is.

Innis Cabal
2009-07-02, 02:03 PM
Not to mention that this one is about martial arts.

*Snip*

Asian males these days really don't get roles besides martial artists or goofy comic stereotypes, and Asian females don't really get roles besides being hot.

Now here we have a movie based on a series that built its world largely by using traditional culture from various parts of Asia. It would be the perfect place to cast some Asian actors, give them a chance to shine as actual characters instead of stereotypical roles, and no such chance is given. This is what the problem is.

So what better way to showcase them then throw them into a Martial Arts Comedy movie? Ya. Perfect plan.

Telonius
2009-07-02, 02:04 PM
There are a couple exceptions to the rule, but they generally involve either being George Takei, or playing a character who is related to and/or friends with a character played by George Takei.

Shraik
2009-07-02, 02:55 PM
To be honest, I think it looks good. It looks like it's properly potrayed on a cinematic level.
In the trailer, the temple looked fine, the airbending look more then fine, the ships looked fine. I don't get why everyone seems to think the trailer is dissuading.

I have an issue that will has nothing to do with the trailer, and that's how far it will end up deviating from the actual story. Just overal concerned with poor dialogue and awful plot progression presenting itself that happens with adaptations such as these.(Just like streetfighter!)

The Trailer looked promising though. Judging by it the production quality looks better then that of Dragonball or Streetfighter(It was the epitomy of suck. If suck had a material or visial form, streetfighter was it)

Hell, I even just looked up the current people cast and everyone seems to be fine(save for Sokka. That casting choice was a poor one it seems)

endoperez
2009-07-02, 03:28 PM
Asian males these days really don't get roles besides martial artists or goofy comic stereotypes, and Asian females don't really get roles besides being hot.

Aang - Martial Artist. Sokka - goofy comic stereotype, with little martial artist. Katara - beautiful martial artist. I don't think your point was in the non-stereotypical roles... Perhaps you meant they wouldn't be "making a name" without being cast for the lead roles? Well, it's also important to find good actors for those roles. As I said, I doubt they could've found a better Aang. That leaves Sokka and Katara, who should look like siblings. Since Asians are a small pool, it's hard to find good actors with the right look who don't look too different from each other.


Now here we have a movie based on a series that built its world largely by using traditional culture from various parts of Asia. It would be the perfect place to cast some Asian actors, give them a chance to shine as actual characters instead of stereotypical roles, and no such chance is given. This is what the problem is.

I thought they were doing that, for two of the three nations.

It felt silly when I learned about all non-Asians being cast for the lead, but they changed that with Dev Patel, and now that I looked into things it seems only Water Tribe got paler. I don't see why that is such a big issue. Personally, I'm more worried about the style of martial arts they'll show. The trailer clip didn't have the kind of circular movement Airbending is supposed to have. It's something in the stepping, it seemed too static. That might have been due to the camera being too close for the actor to weave about and around, though.

averagejoe
2009-07-02, 08:33 PM
So what better way to showcase them then throw them into a Martial Arts Comedy movie? Ya. Perfect plan.

To be clear, I was explaining the other side of the issue, not defending it. My knowledge of modern cinema is too limited to really make an effective statement, it just seemed to me that endoperez didn't understand what the other side was saying. However, notably, Avatar's comedy isn't the sort of comedy one might typically see an Asian guy in.

If you want my opinion of the issue, I'll say there's nothing wrong with the casting in this movie by itself. The problem is that's it's part of a somewhat unsettling whitewashing trend. Maybe the actors are good; I certainly will try to enjoy the movie on its own merits. However, I find it difficult to believe that they couldn't have found as good nonwhite actors to fill the roles. "There aren't as many X actors," or, "No X actor is good enough," tends to be a pretty crap argument. If that's one is going to roll with it then the non-X actor better be pretty ****ing amazing to give any sort of credibility to that argument. Time will tell with this movie.

Telonius
2009-07-03, 10:18 PM
"There aren't as many X actors," or, "No X actor is good enough," tends to be a pretty crap argument. If that's one is going to roll with it then the non-X actor better be pretty ****ing amazing to give any sort of credibility to that argument.

Example where "non-X actor" really was good enough: Alec Guinness as Prince Faisal (character was ethnic Arab) in Lawrence of Arabia. Made more credible by Omar Sharif playing Sherif Ali, and a few other actors of Middle-Eastern descent in smaller and mid-level roles. They really made an attempt to cast appropriately, and where they didn't/couldn't, they got one of (if not the) best actors of their generation to pull it off.

endoperez
2009-07-04, 10:38 PM
VFX World feature (http://www.vfxworld.com/?sa=adv&code=319b255d&atype=articles&id=4005&page=1):

"Tara Bennett reports back from the set of M. Night Shyamalan's The Last Airbender in Philadelphia, offering a glimpse of the director's first vfx-intensive adventure, courtesy of ILM."