Katara

Exploring: The Last Airbender

Review

I really enjoyed The Last Airbender, 9 out of 10.  It is a good distillation of 22 hours of show down to just under 2 hours of movie.

Great movie for fans of the show and those who like fun, adventure, action movies.  Those who hate it will do so because either they forgot how to have fun, they don't get the choices made based on the Eastern philosophy that permeates this project or because the avatar does not give into violence.

Concerning Racebending:  After watching The Last Airbender I can let the Racebending issue slide because there is so many other good socially redeeming aspects and lessons in it.

I like some of the changes made especially the ending.  The ending in the show bothered me because the Avatar gives into rage and anger killing many as he looses control.  This does bother him in the second season and was originally done as a subplot of the avatar learning how to fight back but with non violent resistance.  In the movie he does not lash out in rage but instead brilliantly faces his justified emotions and lets them pass through him sublimating them into something constructive and also demonstrating a full mastery and understanding of Waterbending.

There are several scenes depicted in the trailers that did not appear in the movie.  Some of those scenes are the Kyoshi Island warriors, the pirates, and Bumi.  At first this confused me then Eric pointed out that we may get a longer version for the directors cut with those scenes in it.

  • Appa and Momo are great
  • They changed the ending for the better
  • Did a goog job condensing 22 hours into 2
  • Katara was well acted Nicola Peltz did a good job of capturing her sadness with out making her Emo or Mopey
  • I love the foreshadowing of General Iroh The Dragon of the West

First Impressions

Theater:  I love the series that this movie is based on.  The movie trailers looks great.  Other then the race bending possible issues I’m really looking forward to watching this movie.

Trailers

more trailers

The Plot / Story:

Based on the first season of the show The Book of Water Avatar The Last Airbender.  Air, Water, Earth, Fire. Four nations tied by destiny when the Fire Nation launches a brutal war against the others. A century has passed with no hope in sight to change the path of destruction. Caught between combat and courage, Aang discovers he is the lone Avatar with the power to manipulate all four elements. Aang teams with Katara a waterbender, and her brother, Sokka, to restore balance to their war-torn world.  (Wikipedia) (The Official Site)

  • Release Date:  JULY 1
  • Listed as:  action-adventure, fantasy, film
  • Studio:  Paramount Pictures
  • Director:  M. Night Shyamalan
  • Produced by:  M. Night Shyamalan, Frank Marshall, Kathleen Kennedy, Sam Mercer, scott Aversano
  • Written by:  M. Night Shyamalan,
  • Stars:  Noah Ringer, Nicola Peltz, Dev Patel, Jackson Rathbone, Shaun Toub, Aasif Mandvi, Cliff Curtis

Other Posts

Racebending

Photos

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  • New High Resolution Photos: The Last Airbender (via /Film)

Racebending in The Last Avatar: Removing the Excuses

avatar: the last airbenderAs a fan of the series, 'disappointment' is a definite and deep understatement! I mean for Hollywood to do this is nothing short of a shameful big F**K UP! I agree with Eric about Speculative or Fantasy Fiction writing. I'm a fan of fiction both science and fantasy and you can't help but notice that the vast majority -- I'm talking close to 100%-- of fantasy worlds or planets inhabited by humans have people entirely if not predominantly white and have societies based on European culture!! The ONLY exception I could think of is the Earthsea novels by Ursula le Guin, but even then once her books get translated into movies (the Scifi channel), most of the leading roles are white!! Part of what made the series so popular was the uniqueness of having a fantasy world that is populated by NON-white people for a change and whose culture was NOT European based or influence!! And for Paramount to screw this up with white leads is as ridiculous as it is insulting!!

Racist Apologetics

By the way, I am sickened by the same racist apologist comments I've come across the net about this situation! Here are the three most common ones:

1. "It's a fantasy world, with no 'Asian' continent or people; why not have some racial diversity..."

2. "Wouldn't be unfair to whites to have all the lead roles go to Asians?"... (I laughed at this second excuse when I first heard it, but after a while of hearing over and over again these white idiots apparently were serious!!)

3. "The characters don't look white in the cartoon; look at their eyes"

It's a fantasy world

As for excuse # 1, I pretty much answered that above-- when it comes to fictional stories and how all of them are populated by white characters especially in leading or starring roles. I mean in J.R.R. Tokien's 'Lord of the Rings' series it was never stated that the peoples or characters were 'white' but what else were they suppose to be in a story based on Norse mythology?!! I mean you never saw New Line Cinema try to find "racially diverse" people even for the extras (save for the 'Arab-like' enemies) let alone leading roles, all of which were expected to non other than white!!

Would it be unfair to whites for all the lead roles go to Asians?

2. Is a no-brainer for anyone who has the most basic knowledge of Asians in the film industry. Even in movies and shows centered on or based on Asians the lead almost ALWAYS goes to whites! From David Carradine in Kung-Fu to the most recent movie '21' whose starring roles were based on Asian Americans but were still portrayed by whites, while meanwhile having Asian actors play their sidekicks!! So don't me about "unfair"!!

Look at their eyes

3. While the series is NOT anime, it was inspired by anime and manga/ Korean manwa drawing styles where the eyes are drawn large for convience of conveying emotional expression alot easier! As for eye color, the only reason why the characters Sokka and Katara have blue eyes is because they descend from water benders!! In the Avatar world, bright eye color is a sign of element bending-- air benders have gray eyes, earth benders have green eyes, fire benders have yellow eyes, and water benders have blue eyes. It is NOT a "caucasian" trait as they are NOT caucasian. And of course "the eyes" are the ONLY thing these white idiots like to focus on because EVERYTHING else about them is obviously Asian!!

I know that such racist white people are in the minority but apparently it's whites like these that continue to perpetuate this kind of bullsh*t in Hollywood!

Avatar: From Ice to Kyoshi

Avatar book 1 Soon we will know if Aang will defeat the Fire Lord or fall, so I felt that I should make it the first series I would examine in depth. Since it first premiered on February 21, 2005 on Nickelodeon, Avatar: The Last Airbender has been the the only true fantasy show on television.  An original fantasy series that does not fall victim to any of the well worn cliches of fantasy fiction or animated television, the show is a brilliant mix of humor and drama with deep character back stories that bring the setting and the characters alive in an entertaining and enriching way.

avatarbook1disc1 The series begins with sister and brother  Katara and Sokka out in a boat fishing.  Katara looses her temper and shatters an iceberg to find a frozen pearl containing the Avatar.

The symbolism of the chosen one rising from the ocean encased in a blue gem is reminiscent of origin of many of the great gods and heroes of mythology.  Aang, who is a trickster hero, is immediately  a source of humor and concern.

The various bender nations are living examples of the elements they are connected to.  The air nomads ride their whims like the air follows the wind.  The water tribes all trust their feeling, while the fire nation are driven by their passions.

Magic is integral  to the setting, and is not only introduced well, but also dictates the technology and manner of living within the various nations.

Starting with "The Avatar Returns," they establish the principle that violence is not the solution to every problem.  Aang uses every tool at his disposal not to fight.

When we see the avatar state for the first time, its power is truly awe inspiring, but at the same time we see the toll it takes on Aang.  It is not something he can turn off and on, and the cost for tapping into it is great.

None of the kids are masters of their bending. Their vulnerability is clear.

In "The Southern Air Temple," we meet the formidable Commander Zhao.  He establishes the treat that the fire nation posses to the world, as well as Prince Zuko's position among his own.

To enter the air temple, Aang must use his airbending to blow a steady current of air through a labyrinthine series of tubes to blow three horns.  Through this simple scene we see the other side of the airbenders.  The power of air is not only carefree but controlled and steady.  The balance of these two sides of the art are at play in Aang and represent his most basic dilemma.  Then when exposed to the horror of what happened to his people, the third element is revealed, that of indiscriminate destruction.  The sheer power of the air to destroy everything around it.

On Kyoshi Island, Aang learns the hard way that there are consequences for his actions.  Even though he is still a child, his birthright forces adult concerns upon him.  If only he had been more mature or if he would have listened to Katara, the calamity that ensues could have been prevented.

The series begins strongly and only continues to weave tighter stories as if pulls you deeper and deeper into its world.


Avatar: The Last Airbender is available at Avatar: The Last Airbender - Avatar: The Last Airbender, Season 1 and Amazon.