Thursday, July 15, 2010

Playing Catch Up! The Last Air Bender

In a world where certain people are gifted with the ability to control single elements- one boy may have the power to control them all and so end a war.

Growing up my family had a dog named Lisa. As a puppy, Lisa was fascinated with the stove. Being a dog she didn't really register it the way we do- as a source of heat with which to do many things. She saw- or rather smelled- it as a source of fantastic treats that she never seemed to get. No matter how much we shooed and scolded and attempted to get her to understand how dangerous the stove and the oven within it were, we couldn't change her mind. So when she got old enough, big enough, and bold enough- it was really only a matter of time until something had to give.

One Sunday morning my mom was busy preparing breakfast as she often did on weekends. Lisa, as always, was watching from the doorway (we'd eventually banned her from the kitchen altogether). As she'd done countless times before my mother, at the behest of a dinging timer, pulled a pan of freshly baked bacon from the oven and set it on the stove. Now, this next part nobody saw but we can assume it happened something like this: My mother turned her back to get done a plate to serve the bacon out of the pantry, and Lisa saw her chance. She bolted in, and attempted lick up a burning hot piece of bacon from the hot metal pan and the superheated grease it was covered in.

To this day my family calls it "The Yelp Heard 'Round the World." My brother and I came racing from opposite ends of the house to find my mother stroking the Lisa's back while she steadily drained her water dish. Once we saw that she was fine, worry soon gave way to laughter. As horrible as it may sound, the episode became just one of many fond memories we all share of that pup. Within a few minutes Lisa was back to normal, but throughout the rest of her long happy life, she never so much as glanced at the stove again.

The moral of this story is a simple one: It only took once for my dog to realize something she should never do again. How many times do the movie studios have to be burned before they stop letting M. Night Shyamalan write, produce, and direct his own movies?

The Last Air Bender is a perfect example of what happens when great ideas end up in the wholly wrong hands. From the zombie-esque performances of the three leads, to the downright terrible writing ("We'll show them that we believe in our beliefs just as much as they believe in theirs.") to the fact that water doesn't seem to soak nor fire burn, Shyamalan has now proven that he can not only poorly execute his own ideas, but he can poorly execute other people's as well. When the costumes in your big budget summer blockbuster elicit memories of SciFi Channel originals- you know something is wrong.

When they announced a live action adaptation of the beloved cartoon, I remembered thinking to myself that it would be the easiest gig in the world to take on. The cartoon had such a loyal, diverse, and devoted following- not to mention smart construction built atop a foundation of truly awesome ideas. 'You'd have to work pretty damn hard to screw this one up.' I thought to myself. Apparently Shyamalan put in the hours. If this movie were a meal, I'd spit it out. If it were a phone call, I'd hang up. I would rather re-watch The Happening then sit through another viewing of this monument to ineptitude. Somewhere there's a movie studio steadily draining it's water dish.


Kello said...

So should I see it or not?

Given the amount of controversy that surrounded this movie, it's strange to see it fizzle out so quickly. Even the people who didn't think the film was overtly racist are now saying to boycott it, just because they had to sit through it.

Nice analogy too. Not only do I get to fondly reminisce about your beloved pup, but I get to see you tear M. Night Shamalmadingdong a new one.

Looking forward to the Inception review!

Falisha Ann said...

Aww man, I'm a HUUUUGE fan of Avatar: Last Airbender. I've been really wanting to see this movie lol.