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So I saw The Last Airbender
pallas cat - is hates you
cleolinda
Sweet baby Jesus, that was a terrible movie.

We went to see it because my mother loves natural-disaster-type effects. Like, 2012 was basically her catnip. So she sees commercials with all this water and fire flying around and she is like, YES. THIS IS THE MOVIE FOR ME.

And then she heard it got abysmal reviews, so she had me go see Eclipse with her last weekend instead.

(She does not like New Moon "because Edward goes away for half the movie and I don't like the wolf guy much." Eclipse was far more relevant to her interests. Speaking of which, I'll tell you this much: when the first movie came out, she saw what Robert Pattinson looks like in real life, you know, on the street or at premieres or whatever--this was during his major Hobo Defense Camouflage phase--and was appalled: "He looks like JOHNNY DEPP." This is her idea of an insult, people. "JOHNNY DEPP doesn't BATHE. And THAT is what he LOOKS LIKE." "But... you love Captain Jack Sparrow. Like... so much that it kinda weirds me out sometimes." "Oh, well... Jack is different. I DON'T LIKE THAT IN REAL LIFE." But once she found out that he really played the piano in the movie, well--all was forgiven.)

Also, she likes Jasper (you see where I'm going with this), now that he's gotten to do something in the movies other than look constipated. So naturally, after she saw Eclipse last weekend, she was pleased to hear that "Jasper" would be in this one as well. So I'm sitting there, checking my watch every ten minutes while time starts moving backward, the movie is so awful, but I'm thinking, At least she's getting plenty of Jackson Rathbone. So then we walk out of the theater, and she says, "Where was Jasper? I kept waiting for him to show up."

"Mom... that was... he was... the... the guy! You know! The white guy!"

"Which one?"

"You know, the--the one! The brother! With the ponytail! The one who was in love with the princess and didn't want her to be a fish! With the boomerang whatever! YOU KNOW! THE GUY WHO WAS THERE THE WHOLE TIME!"

"THAT WAS HIM? ... He was terrible."

Here's the thing. You go see this movie--I want to see the show, but I haven't yet, so I'm not judging this on how like or not-like the show it was. Forget the show for a moment. (Except for the fact, as I have been told, that Shyamalan insisted on changing the pronunciation of all the names.) The movie, by itself: you watch this godforsaken thing and you can see a good movie inside it. The costumes are great, the sets are fantastic, the music is James Newton Howard and I really like a lot of his stuff, the cinematography was ANDREW FUCKING LORD OF THE RINGS LESNIE. SERIOUSLY NOW.

(Me: "Oh my God, that was horrible." My mother: "Okay, I didn't think it was horrible." Me: "You didn't think it was bad?" My mother: "Look, I didn't say it wasn't bad. I just said it wasn't horrible.")

The problem is M. Night Shyamalan. I have to believe this, because I can't explain it any other way. He's the screenwriter and he's the director, and the problem with the movie was that the writing was terrible and the acting was worse. Everything else--I say this without knowing anything about the fidelity of the adaptation--was just fine. And when you see an actor who you have seen act well on other occasions suddenly reading his lines like he doesn't actually speak English and had them written out phonetically, you have to think that the actors are not the root cause. No, what you have here is The George Lucas Problem, wherein the director, for some wackadoo reason, thinks that a certain wooden style of acting (or "acting") is better suited to his fantasy epic (and yes, Star Wars is fantasy. Ain't no science in that fiction) (well, unless you count the midichlorians, and I thought we all wanted to forget that ever happened), and so suddenly, no one understands punctuation anymore. People stop in the middle of sentences, pick up again, and answer each other like maybe their line has something to do with the one before it; they're just taking it on faith that they're about to say something that has anything to do with the topic at hand. And I have SEEN Shyamalan suck the life out of Mark Wahlberg in The Happening. He is telling his actors to perform this way and I do not understand why.

And the writing, dear God. The movie would have been automatically 50% better if we hadn't had the Captain Obvious Katara voiceover. I don't NEED to be told that Sokka and the princess became friends really quickly, because number one, that is astoundingly lazy filmmaking. People always talk about the whole "show, don't tell" thing, but I don't know that I've actually seen a movie before that literally told you instead of showing you. This is what they came up with montages for. You're a filmmaker, Shyamalan, make some film. But number two, you have shown them giving each other the glad eye, and you show Sokka being all like ME I WILL GUARD HER I AM TOTALLY ON THAT ME ME ME. I can do the math, and I'm pretty sure the kids in the audience can too.

OH! OH! You know what killed me the worst? ...okay, actually, no, this didn't kill me the worst; the air lizard whatever being like, "Ahhhng, use the power of your emotions, let go of all your guilt and anger, and HOLY SHIT, USE THE POWER OF THE OCEAN, YOU'RE GODDAMN WATERBENDERS, WHAT THE FUCK" killed me the worst. The thing that killed me the second worst was when Zuko's all like, "Hey, kid, come and tell my uncle why the prince, who is totally not me, can't just live among the people and give up on this Ahhhvatar thing." And you're sitting there thinking the kid will say, "Because the prince is a dick and we hate him! We would totally kill him on sight!" But instead, the kid and Zuko do this tag-team flashback thing where they explain to the uncle how Zuko got his scar and got booted from Fire Nation society. A flashback in which the uncle has multiple reaction shots. Which indicates, if I am not being clear enough here, that THE UNCLE WAS THERE. WHY THE FUCK DID YOU JUST ENLIST SOME RANDOM KID TO TELL HIM SOMETHING HE ALREADY KNOWS BECAUSE HE WAS THERE? I just. What. The answer, of course, is "So the audience will know." And I understand that sometimes, you just have to make that trip to the Department of Back Story. But that was a ludicrous way to do it.

So imagine a whole movie full of that, and that is what we are talking about.

(Also, we are talking about lines like, "Do you have a spiritual place? Where I can meditate?" "Yes! We have a VERY spiritual place!" Yes! Right here! The Vaguely Redundant Temple of Vague Redundancy! It's spiritually spiritual!)

(It may or may not be magically delicious.)

And I don't know how the bending works in the show, but apparently you gotta bust out five minutes of tai chi before you can so much as splash someone. Really complicated elemental blasts may involve voguing. Really? Is this how it works? I just. Wow.

So.

"Okay, Mom, give the people a verdict. Two sentences: what did you think?"

"I loved the costumes and the big water. The acting was poor at best."

Voilà.



ETA: A clip from the movie that I think you need to see. Because you will understand everything once you do. Bad acting, bad writing, earthbender dance squad. And yes, watch it all the way through.



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I wish Rathbone didn't do that weird thing of talking through his teeth all throughout Twilight, because he's got about the best character in the thing by this point.

I really was not looking forward to Eclipse due to how he was in Twilight..but I was so happy and pleasantly surprised when I saw Eclipse...it's like he completely loosened up and looked badass doing it.

I <3 this so much, there are no other words than that.

(I will not be seeing this movie)

The problem is M. Night Shyamalan.

The problem is ALWAYS M. Night Shyamalan. Seriously, the man is a fucking disaster and should be banned from filmmaking forever for pure unadulterated badness.

he's seriously starting to give Uwe Boll a run for his money. Oy vey

I think MNight is trying to make his movies so bad that they end up as cult classics? But I'm not sure....I adored The Sixth Sense and Unbreakable...then Lady in the Water happened...then The Happening and I wanted to be one of the people that was killed by trees. I just don't understand why he's directing that way either.

I want to see this movie for the laughs....but I don't want to be uncomfortable about it. Like I want to be able to pause it and shoot myself in the head before continuing on the atrocity.

I think going to a movie for the laughs is best done in the middle of the day, or at like a dollar theater. Like I'll have more fun with Prince of Persia when I can sing the Market Place song from Aladdin during the flashback.

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I love the show, but I don't even want to see the movie after reading all the horrible reviews. I am really disappointed to hear that it is so bad because this could have been a really fantastic movie.

I watched a little behind-the-scenes special this morning, and just the little bit of the film that they showed was horrible. He said the reason he changed the pronunciation of the names was so that it would be true to the Asian pronunciations. OK, when did he become sensitive to the Asians? Was it after he cast non-Asians for the roles? He said that "Ahhng" sounded more like a hero's name or some crap like that.

And I don't know how the bending works in the show, but apparently you gotta bust out five minutes of tai chi before you can so much as splash someone. Really complicated elemental blasts may involve voguing. Really? Is this how it works? I just. Wow.

That's another thing that bothered me with the clips they showed on TV today - it took him forever to bend the water! I was sitting there, like, "Seriously? What are you doing?" And then the little bit of waterbending that he did was so lame. It's definitely not like that on the show.

I really don't even know what he was thinking when he made this movie.

What's funny about the "true Asian pronunciations" bullshit is well, which pronunciation did he want to use. Japanese? Korean? Hindi? Sanskrit? WHICH ONE?

"Look, I didn't say it wasn't bad. I just said it wasn't horrible."

I do believe your mother has given the film the kindest review I've seen yet.

The big thing about The Last Airbender for me was that every word spoken was exposition. The voice over was exposition. The dialogue was exposition. And some of it was exposition FOUR TIMES. You did WHAT at the Great Library? The spirits are what? Why don't you have FOUR DIFFERENT PEOPLE TELL ME.

It could have just been a mediocre movie if there'd been actual characterization and stuff. But no. Mr. S does not need any of that.

Also, Jackson's eyebrow flip in that one scene was the best part of the movie. *sigh*

The show is actually really good.

I agree completely.

Can you imagine finding SCROLLS in a LIBRARY? Not only that but a GREAT Library, that was SECRET so it naturally had SECRET things in the scrolls. :|

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I honestly can't decide whether the bad writing or the bad directing-of-actors is the worst problem at this point. I'm leaning towards the writing at this point, because the actors don't even have a chance of fighting that.

There's a scene where Sokka is "flirting" with the princess and being all like, "If I took you home to my grandma, she'd be all like, 'Why is your hair white, young lady?'" And the princess is all like, "Because I was pretty much stillborn and only putting me in the Really Spiritual Pool and being healed by the moon fish saved me, and that's what made my hair turn white." And he's watching her say this with this doofy grin that slowly, slooooowly drains right off his face, and it's like you can see Jackson Rathbone thinking, "I can't believe I just helped perpetrate a scene this bad."

Edited at 2010-07-12 01:22 am (UTC)

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I'm almost done with season one of the show, and bending doesn't require 5 minutes of tai chi to do anything. That would make the 22 minutes episodes tedious and evil.

Also, in the show, the Zuko flashback is done in a way that makes sense. The Uncle tells the story to some of the ship's crew who are pissed at the bratty prince and ready to toss him overboard to help explain why he's so obsessed with catching the Avatar.

The cartoon is pretty neato but from everything I've heard and read, I won't be watching this movie. Also, I fail to understand why Shyamalan got the names wrong. "Aung" instead of "Aang" etc. It's an American show! In English! That he claims to be a fan of! Does not compute.

Momo expresses his confusion

The show put so much effort into making the four different styles of bending to be connected to actual martial art. Then this movie goes and decides to take all of these amazing action scenes and shit all over them. And making it "Aung" and "Sew-kah" just confounds me.

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I can't figure out if this is a movie that's so bad that it's just not worth seeing, or that I need to see because it's just. So. Bad.

From everything I've heard, it's just not worth seeing. It's not even bad in an entertaining way. It's just boring and tedious.

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I almost always want to experience something before I can critique. I read all four Twilight books before I made any kind of informed decisions about the series. But I am so protective of Avatar the show that I don't know if I could stand watching this movie. WHY WOULD HE CHANGE THE PRONUNCIATION OF THEIR NAMES? What purpose could that possibly serve?

You really should watch the show itself, I think you would really like it. They have the whole series available for instant viewing on Netflix.

Yeah, I'm going to get myself a Netflix account (we let our old one lapse) once I have some money to throw around. I really do want to see it.

Seriously, don't see the movie. I can't imagine what watching it would be like if you actually knew/liked the show. I was prepared to like it on its own merits if it had its own goofy charm (I actually kind of love the Buffy the Vampire Slayer movie) as a so-bad-it's-awesome kind of thing. It's... not. It's really, really not.

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I don't get how Shaymalan has managed to make each successive move worse than the last. Talk about diminishing returns. I'm just not sure what the deal is with that!

I do genuinely think The Happening was a worse movie... but the acting, as an isolated element, was worse in this one. I don't understand what's going on with the downward spiral. Wasn't he nominated for best screenplay for The Sixth Sense? And yet his writing just gets measurably worse and worse.

I saw Avatar: The Last Airbender last weekend and I, er... WellIreallylikedit.

Sorry.

Honestly, I'm happy for anyone who was happy with it, because at least that means you didn't suffer. (Although I guess there's a separate "you should boycott this movie" element to consider on this one, due to the casting.) Because there are lots of movies that people don't like that I kind of want to snuggle. It's just that... this was not one of those for me.

Which pisses me off, because I totally wanted to live in the northern water kingdom thing with all the ice houses. Those were awesome.

The thing about the "true 'Asian' pronunciations" is... well, okay. I had trouble with the names in the show at first, because blah blah Japanese study blah Korean, and I still say "Ahng" "Eye-roh" and "Souka" sometimes when I forget. But these names are properly pronounced differently, as they are fantasy names created by the creators, and thus "Aang" is the right way to say it. So this "true 'Asian' pronunciation" thing is just one more addition in the long line of Shyamalan's asshole behavior about this adaption. It's like he's trying to drive a big ole' point of "SO THERE" into the faces of the people who told him the casting was racist. It's just gross.

So this "true 'Asian' pronunciation" thing is just one more addition in the long line of Shyamalan's asshole behavior about this adaption. It's like he's trying to drive a big ole' point of "SO THERE" into the faces of the people who told him the casting was racist.

I am convinced that this is the real reason for it.

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