The Last Airbender - Not Shyamalan's Fault

Discussion in 'Science Fiction & Fantasy' started by Agent Richard07, Aug 23, 2014.

  1. Agent Richard07

    Agent Richard07 Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Jun 20, 2001
    I found an article that suggests that The Last Airbender's problems weren't necessarily Shyamalan's fault. A person who claims to have worked on the movie suggests that it all started with Nicola Peltz being cast due to nepotism, then the whole race bending thing unravelled from there. Here's the article. There was also a more detailed account at AvatarSpirit.net where mismanagement by the studio and Shyamalan giving up and going along with it are mentioned but the administration decided to take down all discussion of the movie so the thread appears to be gone. Fortunately the initial post is here and reposted below.

    You can still see Shyamalan's fingerprints on the finished product, but do you think there's any truth to this?
     
  2. Mr Light

    Mr Light Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Dec 7, 1999
    Location:
    Pennsylvania
    Sounds depressingly plausible.

    I'm glad craft services was good though :lol:
     
  3. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2001
    I do think the problems with the movie lay mostly in the script, whoever may have written it. I had my problems with some of the direction, but mostly I think Shyamalan could still do some terrific stuff as a director if only he had good scripts to work with; there are tons of directors who fancy themselves writers but really, really aren't.

    As for the casting, it did seem to me that Shyamalan wanted to cast inclusively, and of course since he's from India himself I don't see him as someone who'd favor white actors unduly. So learning about the nepotism does explain a lot about the casting of Katara and Sokka. As for Aang, though, I think maybe they should've had the sense to do their casting call somewhere with a larger Asian population than Texas.

    Anyway, I still say that the closest thing to a live-action A:TLA movie is actually The Forbidden Kingdom. Granted, it suffers a bit from having a white lead tacked onto the story, but in terms of the wild martial-arts/supernatural action and the gorgeous location filming in China and the almost entirely Asian cast and the mix of humor and drama, it's exactly what I wish the TLA movie had been.
     
  4. sojourner

    sojourner Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Sep 4, 2008
    Location:
    A Long Time Ago...
    "What a twist!"
     
  5. Takeru

    Takeru Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Joined:
    Sep 6, 2007
    I could believe it if Shyamalan hadn't directed a bunch of shit movies before this one.
    Nicola Peltz may have been cast due to nepotism but that wasn't the reason the movie sucked, neither was the race bending, the locations or the effects. The problem were the script and the direction and Shyamaln was responsible for both, he is the only credited writer, someone claimimg a mysterious ghostwriter turned the great script tomshit isn't believable.

    And Bryke did not give him the "okay", it was never their decision, Nickelodeon owns the franchise, Nick decided to make a movie and Bryke had to play nice because Nickelodeon employed them, they could have seen an obvious shit script and wouldn't said a simgle negative thing about it publically. The writer of this post using them is just an attempt to make the story of the wonderful Shyamalan script more believable, I don't buy it.
     
  6. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2001
    Actually it's entirely believable. The screenwriting process in the Hollywood feature industry is incredibly convoluted, and virtually no feature film script is ever the work of a single writer, no matter what the credits say. Sometimes a film's final script may be cobbled together from drafts by over a dozen different writers, and the few who get their names onscreen may be pretty far removed from the final draft. Often the credits have very little to do with who actually wrote the finished product; for instance, Speed is credited solely to Graham Yost, who came up with the basic story and structure, even though virtually every line of dialogue spoken in the movie was actually written by Joss Whedon. So, as a rule, you can never trust the writing credit in a Hollywood feature film to be accurate.

    Aside from that, though, I agree that, given Shyamalan's overall body of work, it's hard to believe he did a great script.
     
  7. RoJoHen

    RoJoHen Awesome Premium Member

    Joined:
    Apr 14, 2000
    Location:
    QC, IL, USA
    This. I don't really give a shit who gets cast in movies so long as they do a good job.

    The problems with this movie were due to the script and direction. This story claims that Shyamalan was the only one really familiar with the cartoon, yet, as the direction, he didn't bother to correct the pronunciation of the main character's name?! That shows me he didn't have a clue what he was doing.

    This movie missed the mark on so many levels, and it's really quite disappointing.
     
  8. JHarper

    JHarper Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2014
    Location:
    Florida
    Just this, and his post-Airbender works aren't exactly stunning either.
     
  9. Relayer1

    Relayer1 Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Aug 21, 2011
    Location:
    The Black Country, England
    Yeah, it may be true, but I've never seen a good Shyamalan movie.
     
  10. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2001
    Actually he did correct the pronunciations of the character names, because it's the show that got them wrong by Americanizing them. Shyamalan changed them to be more authentic to the Asian languages they were derived from. It's one change I actually consider an improvement. (Along with the more intricate tattoo. A solid blue arrow would've looked really silly in live action.)
     
  11. bigdaddy

    bigdaddy Vice Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Oct 19, 2007
    Location:
    Space Massachusetts
    I doubt this is true.

    You know who knows the cartoon well? The creators of it who had nothing to do with the movie. Everyone knew that, yet they signed on anyways. That's their fault.
     
  12. Skywalker

    Skywalker Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Feb 24, 2005
    The show couldn't have gotten the character names wrong, because how they pronounce those names in their world is different from how we would pronounce them in reality. Shyamalan should have left them alone.

    I agree with you about the tattoo, though.
     
  13. Kestrel

    Kestrel Vice Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Apr 9, 2009
    Location:
    Eden Prime
    ^ Yup.

    This article sounds like a bunch of excuse-making to me.
     
  14. Reverend

    Reverend Vice Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Jul 31, 2002
    Location:
    UK
    While it sounds like a troubled production, none of that excuses MNS's flat direction, amateur editing and utterly pitiful "action" scenes. Even without those problems, it still would have been insipid shite so long as MNS was sat in the director's chair.
     
  15. Gaith

    Gaith Vice Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    May 11, 2008
    Location:
    San Francisco, CA
    Haven't seen the movie or the show, but from what I've read, isn't the core problem that they tried to cram too much story into one flick? The Golden Compass movie had a similar problem - there were all sorts of poor choices made, some the director's fault and some the studios', but even with otherwise first-rate direction, trying to cram the whole book (minus the last few chapters, another wtf) into 100 minutes doomed it to mediocrity.
     
  16. Aragorn

    Aragorn Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Dec 30, 2002
    Writing and casting for reasons other than the best interests of the movie are nothing new. We hear about studio interference all the time.

    I also don't like it when the writers get ripped for the quality of a big studio tentpole movie. When that much money is at stake, they're basically writers for hire who do what they're told.
     
  17. Reverend

    Reverend Vice Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Jul 31, 2002
    Location:
    UK
    It's "a" problem, though I wouldn't say it was the "core" problem. No matter what you think of the script, the direction has all of MNS's very worst hallmarks and no amount or rewriting can fix *that*. Leving aside the questionable casting, the choppy editing and the *massive* liberties taken with the source material, the whole thing was just horribly bland. Probably the worst thing is how characters would make massive, nonsensical exposition dumps in a flat monotone. No joke, they actually have the female lead narrate what they're doing rather than show it.

    If you're not worried about spoilers for the show, I'd recommend checking out the NC review of the movie to get some perspective on what's wrong with that film. Even if you have no interest in the show, it's still hilarious. ;)
     
    Last edited: Aug 24, 2014
  18. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2001
    No, that was hardly the core problem. The first season was fairly episodic for much of its length, so it wouldn't have been that difficult to trim it to just the key events of the arc. The problem was largely with what they chose to emphasize and what they chose to leave out. For instance, in the series, Aang's spiritual visitation from the previous Avatar is a crucial plot point because it reveals new information that defines the ultimate goal of the entire series. But in the movie, the only thing the spiritual visitation did was to tell Aang he had to do the exact thing he was already doing. Which not only was pointless, but meant that Aang never learned the full extent of what was at stake and why the world needed him.

    More fundamentally, the dialogue was simply poor, with none of the wit and cleverness of the show; the characterizations were stripped of their richness, with Katara in particular being greatly enfeebled and stripped of everything that made her impressive in the show; and the casting was quite mediocre even aside from the racial issues.
     
  19. Gaith

    Gaith Vice Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    May 11, 2008
    Location:
    San Francisco, CA
    ^ Interesting. Reverend, I've seen that review, thanks, and I do remember several absolutely baffling moments, most of all "is it okay if I ask you your name?", one of the worst lines I've ever heard. :p
     
  20. Dream

    Dream Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Dec 2, 2001
    Location:
    Hotel Transylvania