The Last Airbender: Book I

I don’t think there’ll be a Book II movie, let alone the end of the series, though I wish there would.  I’ve heard lots of critics and lots of friends trash-talk this M. Night Shyamalan flick, and in all fairness, the acting was rather horrible.  It could certainly have been produced (or is it directed?) better, but the story remains the same as the original cartoon on Nickelodeon, and I don’t love it any less.

Why is it that we’re so focused on needing action, adventure and amazing graphics, that we can no longer appreciate a story about the elements, about spirituality, about culture, about standing by one another, and about taking leadership roles and accepting responsibility?

Eddie Izzard said it best:

But we’ve got known in Britain for making the smaller films, you know. Recently, we’ve been pulling out of that into the more “Trainspotting” area, but the smaller films, they’re kind of “a room with a view with a staircase and a pond”-type movies. Films with very fine acting, but the drama is rather sort of subsued and – subsumed or – a word like that. Sub- something or another. You know, just folded in and everything’s people opening doors.

“Oh, I’m – oh, what? Well, I’ve – oh.”

“What is it, Sebastian? I’m arranging matches.”

“Well, I – I thought you – … I’d better go.”

“Yes, I think you’d better had.” ( sings morose melody )

And you can’t eat popcorn to that! You’re going ( mimes trying to eat popcorn but getting frustrated and sighs ).

Whereas if the film did any little bit of business in America, if the film did some decent bit of business, then Hollywood would take it, and they’d remake it, and they’d up the budget by 50 million and it’d be called, “The Room With A View of Hell!” “Staircase of Satan!” “Pond of Death.” And have people open the door, going,

“You’re fucking in here all the time! All the time you’re in here with the fucking matches! In here with the fucking matches! You’re fucking doing and fucking ( clucking )”

“You don’t talk to me that way! You don’t talk to me that way! You fuck my wife? You fuck my wife? You fuck my wife? You fuck my wife? You fuck my wife?”

“I am your wife!”

“That doesn’t matter! That doesn’t matter! I say again, you fuck my wife?”

“All right, yes, I fucked your wife. I am your wife, and I fucked her.”

” ( Nonsensical ) fucking matches – I can’t get ’em… I’m going to drive around town and put babies on spikes.”

( sounds of babies sliding on the spikes ) …

“Oh, no! Space monkeys are attacking!” A whole new part of the film that wasn’t in the original! ( mimics battle sounds )

“Damn, its jammed!” ( dialing on mobile ) “Janine, I love you really, even though you fucked my wife…” ( big explosion )

( mimics eating and drinking everything in sight while watching ) “It’s a fucking handbag. With a brick in it! It’s the Queen! Don’t know who that is…” Yeah.”

Yeah.

I guess movies nowadays are still about some of the important things (see: Avatar), but they have to be disguised in allegory so they’ll sell.  If Avatar was a flick about evolution, people wouldn’t watch it and it’d flop.  But dress some people up in blue, CGI it to death, make it pretty and throw in Sigourney Weaver and BAM-you’ve got a hit about something most people don’t even know they watched. The Last Airbender should have been on IFC.

I think M. Night stuck with the original story so much so that the point(s) weren’t lost.  On the other hand, I did believe the movie jumped around a lot, and those who weren’t completely aware of details portrayed in the cartoon, would find it sloppy.

I loved Nicola Peltz.  Whether she sucked at her role or was directed poorly remains unknown, but she’s pretty to say the least.

I hated that the major Fire Nation roles were played by actors with the last names Toub, Patel, Mandvi and the like.  Does that make the wars in Iraq or Afghanistan okay now? The “good” guys were Asians, Inuits, and good ol’ Caucasians.  We win! Yay! We’re so awesome.   Good thing our leader is Buddhist, or we’d be fucked.  (Oh, and on an aside, Dragon spirit?  Lame, but so awesome all at the same time. I’m a sucker for dragons.)

Okay, so taking a step back, I’m being a little overly cynical today.  I had a rather “alone” day.  I did lots of chores and errands and got the exact amount of homework I wanted to complete finished, but I then went to Jones Beach by myself, met up with my mother’s best friend, her mother and husband, and drank beer while watching a (rather poor) Beatles tribute band, the Day Trippers.  I’m not saying I had a bad time, or that I didn’t enjoy the company (fortunately, I love Joann), I’m just saying I don’t know if I would have done that regularly.  I don’t think.  Maybe I would.  My head has been cloudy this past month.

I went from Jones Beach to Farmingdale Multiplex to see The Last Airbender alone.  For those of you that have actually read my post about going to see 2012 alone, I’m not wholly opposed to going to the movies sans company.  I especially didn’t want to “drag” anyone to see this one with me, knowing almost without a doubt that they would hate it (it appears only Chris Pinzone & I liked it). But as I felt then (and I do now), there’s still something aberrant about sitting solo in a movie theater.  So my feeling of alone-ness was augmented, and I reflected on some things I needn’t have.

For one, the Katara/Sokka bother-sister thing.  I don’t think I need to expand on that one, but I will.  During one of the first scenes in the movie, Katara makes Sokka explain that he will take care of her because she is his responsibility.  Yes, that was due to their father instructing him to when he went away to war after their mother was murdered, but it doesn’t change their relationship.

Secondly, Prince Zuko was banished by his father because he wouldn’t fight him.  So instead, he burned him and sent him away.  I shall say no more.

It doesn’t help that my (make this work: grandmother’s brother’s daughter) e-mailed me today (gotta love Facebook!), asking if I was in fact my grandmother’s granddaughter and my father’s daughter, then commented on how much I looked like my father, and asked who my brother was.  I should be grateful to have found more family, but I’ve never felt so alone and alienated in all of my life.

So I played “8-mile road” on repeat as I was traveling, in an attempt to give me more confidence in my independence and try to help me close a metaphorical door (Airbender was also about letting go) and bring nothing with me on my journey forward in life to a new state and a new lifestyle. And so I’ve come full circle and am back to being at odds with what to let go of and what to try to hold onto.  Thus far, holding on to anything (family, most of all) has proven fruitless when it never should have been.  Why try to keep anything else?

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