M. Night Shyamalan’s “The Last Air Bender”

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Let’s get a few things out in the open before I talk about this film. I admit that I am going into this movie ‘blind’ because I haven’t seen the cartoon that this is based on, “Avatar: The Last Air Bender”, which aired on Nickelodeon. The fact that it aired on Nickelodeon was one of the contributing factors of why I never watched the cartoon. Don’t get me wrong! I used to enjoy watching Nick. I just happen to feel that it’s glory days were when it aired Ren & Stimpy, Doug and Rocco’s Modern Life.

The second reason that I never watched the cartoon series was because I’m an anime watcher. For whatever reason I had no desire to watch this series, possibly because I was completely turned off on American made cartoons that sucked ass (Masters of the Universe, anyoone?). Somewhat elitest, sure. But can you blame me when most of my life I’ve encountered American cartoons that were either aimed at simple comedy or pimping some simple morality play?

So, it has come to pass that I will probably try and watch the original cartoon before this movie comes out. Although I might want to do it the other way around and watch the movie first and then watch the cartoon. The reasoning is simple: Where I’ve been burned by American cartoons in the past I’ve also been punched int eh face by American live-action adaptations of popular media in the cinema. Let’s look at the disappointing track record so far:

Dragonball: Evolution Words cannot express how this movie depressed me. It was pretty horrible. Acting? Bad. Action? Bad. Plot? You guessed it – bad. In fact, I don’t know how anyone could render Goku as a wimpy white kid when the entire story of Dragonball is based on the Chinese ‘Journey to the West’. In fact, The Last Airbender was even accused of falling victim to ‘racebending’ for doing the exact same thing. Give us Asian actors a break! And, no, you can’t cast Jet Li or Chow Yun Fat as a little kid.

Mortal Kombat. The exception for this was the first movie which proved to be a fairly entertaining jaunt through Outworld. The second movie? Crap. The cartoon series “Mortal Kombat: Defenders of the Realm” was fairly formulaic. The television show “Mortal Kombat: Conquest” seemed like it was filmed in a Universal Studios back lot. In fact, the fight scenes in that show reminded me of another television show – the ‘World Martial Arts Council’. It was pretty bad.


So, I’m awaiting this movie but with a little hesitation. Looking at the effects reminds me of Dragonball. Or, if you’re into cheesy Chinese movies, The Storm Riders. Ergo, I’m holding my breath and hoping that this singular trailer isn’t an omen of another cross-over let down.

Maybe they should have just traded off the popularity of James Cameron’s “Avatar” and hope that people get confused.