Trolling #3: The Last Airbender RULES!
It is again time to raise some hackles, disabuse some notions, piss people off, and not be the least bit apologetic about it with the latest installment of CraveOnline's Trolling. This is a series devoted specifically to challenging the pop culture status quo, and if it rubs you the wrong way, then it means it's doing it's job. I welcome irate comments, insults, death threats, and blind misspelled hatred in the comments section below. Don't hold back.
There have been a few unkind words spoken about director M. Night Shyamalan over the years, and he is often considered by many to be one of the worst working directors currently obtaining regular employment from major film studios. His films The Sixth Sense, Unbreakable, and Signs were all critical and commercial darlings when they came out in 1999, 2000, and 2002 respectively, but ever since The Village in 2004, Shyamalan has been slowly sauntering downward in reputation to become the object of unreasonable scorn by the filmgoing populace at large. He is now so unpopular, that his name is no longer advertised on his movies (the ads for this year's After Earth never touted him as the director).
Shyamalan's most hated film – which is debatable; The Happening and Lady in the Water are certainly not well-regarded – was still probably 2010's The Last Airbender, his infamous live-action adaptation of an American anime-style TV show called “Avatar: The Last Airbender.” The TV show, which I have never seen, has a small but passionate cult following, and some have gone so far as to call it one of the best TV shows of all time.
Why is the movie version hated so much? I posit the following: M. Night Shyamalan's The Last Airbender RULES. Here are a few reasons as to why:
Is the acting in the film boring? Yes. Does the story move too quickly? Yes. Those are legitimate filmmaking complaints about the film. Is it significant that they changed the color of the characters' skins? Not really. What The Last Airbender did was distil a large story and a fascinating universe into a fascinating and visually textured film. The myth lived on.
Until next week, let the hate mail flow.
Witney Seibold is a featured contributor on the CraveOnline Film Channel, co-host of The B-Movies Podcast and co-star of The Trailer Hitch. You can read his weekly articles Trolling, Free Film School and The Series Project, and follow him on “Twitter” at @WitneySeibold, where he is slowly losing his mind. If you want to buy him a gift (and I know you do), you can visit his Amazon Wish List.