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I'm no director, but the first thing I learned in college is that you can't film everything the same way. For instance, you can't film a powerful drama with heavy dialogue with quick cutting closeups. This is pretty much the first weak point of this movie. M. Night is a good director. But a good drama director. That is where his expertise lies. And this action film is truly a poem to M. Night's amateurism and lack of experience. He was motivated, but lacked the knowledge to really build this. His camera and editing style is not suited for action.

The second weakness this movie had was the characters. They seriously lacked development.

The main trio, Aang, Katara and Sokka, have about 5 minutes to become friends. Katara and Sokka leave their war-devasted-food-deprived (it's mentionned) family to go run after some stranger because it's "Their responsibility". Screw that. At this point, they don't even know he's the avatar (it's reveled to them late at the Eastern Air temple). He could be a firenation spy for all they know, being picked up. Spies often pretend to be prisoners to not blow their cover. A big light is shot, a boat comes and picks him up a few minutes after? Spells "Spy" to me!

M.Night can do character development. He proved it with "The Village". "The Village" was an excellent movie mostly composed of character development. So that, at the end, when the main guy is stabbed and that is girlfriend must go into the "monster" infested woods to save him, you actually worry about her. You don't really care about any of the "airbender" characters. Which is a shame, since the TV series is so rich in character dept.

Adapting a book or a tv series to the big screen is hard work. A lot needed to be cut out and I kinda agree with the episodes M. Night choose to keep.

I would have fully accepted that this and more would have been cut out and transformed if it meant we were going to have massive amounts of character depts. Some people would have cursed M.Night for removing their favorite episode. But I would have been happy. Check out any segment of the Harry Potter series. The director knew right away that the book he was adapting was fat as hell and impossible to translated to a movie. So instead, he cut out a lot and mostly kept the characters interacting. Why? So that at the final battle you care about them. You really feel the bond. And the actors are becoming more and more adept at translating that bond in their acting.

I woudl have recommended 40 minutes in the southern water tribe, 30 minutes of Zuko/Zhao all around, 40 minutes of the Northern tribe and maybe 30 minutes in the eastern air temple (2h35 minutes in total). Just as long as the actors really connected. Heck, you could have mixed the Haru episode with the Eastern air temple. Have some earthbenders live there (like the Theo episode) and giving Aang a hard time. You mix 3 episodes together, but the result would have been cohesive in movie time with a good scenario.

I would also have cut out Ozai. He's scarier as a big shadow and it's canon for him to say nothing in the first season. So why include this long, silly scene between him and Zhao? They never even met originally!

I agree with the cut of Suki and Jet? Why? Because, as rufftoon said it, two love interests for the same character (Sokka) in the same movie is confusing. I would have kept them for the second movie. Heck, if the first movie has a ton of character development, you can easily make the second installment more action packed right off the bat because you know the main trio inside and out. But since the real movie has little to no character development, the second installment is going to feel rushed and awkward. Just like the first. If the first would have been good, what I would have recommended for the second would have been meeting Suki, Jet (maybe at the same time even, thus doubling the aspect of Sokka feeling like he sucks compared to Suki and Jet), Toph and then Ba Sing Se. Forget about the love tunnel. These characters are just too visibly young. The movies would have been for epic and the Tv series for shipping. But one way or another, we totally missed the boat here. So god knows what will happen.

The movie has a few other bad points (forced dialogue, oddly weak earthbenders, ugly-ass avatar state, Zhao's squeaky voice, etc) and a few good points. Yue's death was great... too bad you don't care much about her when she dies. The special effects, backgrounds and music were really nice. And a few of the ideas were really interesting (like entering the spirit world when you go in the avatar state. that's cool! Or actually having a test to figure out who the avatar is? Cool! Dalai lama style!). But really, the greater weaknesses are the inexperience of the cast and crew, the apparent fear of changing the scenario (it's a movie. YOU HAVE TO CHANGE THINGS SO THAT NON-FANS CAN GET IT.) and the great, great lack of character development. This movie could have taken lessons from the Harry Potter movies. Or even from the "dragonball evolution" movie. As much as that movie was awful, it had great character dept. I LIKED that version of Goku despite the horrible, horrible way the scenario goes after the first 30 minutes. So yeah.

Any story can be good with the right style and character dept. Check out Kafka. He wrote a story about someone turning into a bug. And it's awesome! Because his style and his character are awesome! M. Night was just not the man for the job.

As for the actors, race issues aside, I have no idea if they are good or bad. The directing is so muddled it's hard to tell. They always look like they are pausing, waiting to be told what to do. And maybe they are!

I have to admit, in the beginning, Katara splashes Sokka. He lunges at her and she says very naturally "I'm sorry! I'm sorry!" I'm pretty sure those two could have pulled off very natural brother-sister love. But now, we will never know.

This movie was not good. But it could have been. Even with the cuts. Part of the reason is the director, but also Paramount (I see what you did THAR paramount!) and Hollywood rules in general really screwed this movie over. It's nobody's specific fault. It's a mix of a lot of bad elements around a single movie.

PS. Here is the Deviant art link to these drawings. Just in case a certain someone wants to add this to CAPS_ATLA :

Date: 2010-07-08 12:24 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I almost peed reading these, I was laughing so hard.

You are amazing.

Date: 2010-07-08 12:44 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Hey what gives, you were supposed to join us.

Date: 2010-07-08 04:00 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Thanks! :D

Date: 2010-07-08 12:30 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
*laughs* The first comic is awesome and shall be my favorite.

I think you hit the nail on the head. Avatar is a totally different style of Nights other movie and it doesn't mix well with his "known" style. I can handle a movie changing segments or order of events in a book/tv show. Just because it's a different adaptation, doesn't mean it will automatically will be bad. Howl's Moving Castle is a perfect example of that.

It's just the acting, lacking of character development and not understanding the basic elements of the show (like how bending works) makes it hard to watch.

By the way, have you seen this? It's a group of people acting out parts of the movie and it's hilarious:

Date: 2010-07-08 04:01 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I love these people. So much!

Movie!Aang wants to eat your nightmares

Date: 2010-07-08 09:21 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
OMG Was that a giant bear suit?! *rolls over dead*

Date: 2010-07-10 01:15 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
By the way, have you seen this? It's a group of people acting out parts of the movie and it's hilarious:

Wow. If these guys had more free time, they could make a better full length movie than the one we have now! XD

Date: 2010-07-08 12:32 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
So, um, ILU? And you basically summed up what I'd been thinking about while watching what I could of this movie. I was wondering where the connection between the characters was the whole time! THEY DIDN'T EVEN ASK AANG--sorry, ONG'S NAME UNTIL THE AIR TEMPLES WTF.

As for the art, well... what can I say? They're amazinggggg. ONG IS EATING THE COMPETITION. And I totally was wondering about Sokka's LONG PONYTAIL. Andandand... so much Katarafail. :C

Pffff, little Aang riding hood makes me giggle.

Date: 2010-07-08 04:02 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I know! They basically follow a complete stranger! WTF?

Ong is coming for you.

Date: 2010-07-08 12:32 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]

The best joke you make is when someone said airbender should be dead and Aang cried. Aaaw:)


Date: 2010-07-08 04:02 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]

Date: 2010-07-08 12:44 am (UTC)
ext_13288: pre-raphealite (LOL)
From: [identity profile]
HILARIOUS COMICS! *goes to DA to fave*
I can't believe you subjected yourself to that trainwreck movie, but at least you got some laughs out of it.

Date: 2010-07-08 04:03 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I was watching and going between "WHY URGH WHY" and "COMEDY GOLD!!!!"

Date: 2010-07-08 02:33 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Hahahahaha! The first panel is my absolute favorite! Because Aang would be totally pumped about becoming friends with his alternate self, and then looks so panicked. And then Katara spritzing movie-Aang like a bad cat. Heeeeee!

My friend and I were considering going to see it this Thursday, but we also want to see other (admittedly ridiculous summer) movies, so this one is going to have to be wait and be netflixed in favor of others. I thought the previews looked promising. Sigh.

Date: 2010-07-08 04:22 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I know, I was thinking of an evil cat when I drew him!

Aang likes having friends!

I liked the previews too. i'm disapointed the movie is this bad. I was at least hoping for ok. Sigh.

Date: 2010-07-08 05:49 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Oh my gosh these drawings made me laugh so hard! I just about spit out my water at Ahng inhaling Aangs arm ok

You're awesome

Date: 2010-07-08 11:37 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Thanks! Glad you liked them!

I love your drawings too btw! Found you on deviant art

Date: 2010-07-08 09:08 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Aw :( I'm sorry to hear your movie was epic fail hun :/ But I will say, your recap is freaking hilarious! XD

Date: 2010-07-08 11:37 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
This movie is now an undying source of funny

Date: 2010-07-09 10:00 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
This stuff is awesome! I haven't even seen the movie and I'm still laughing my ass off! You have a real talent for expression, miss Lina!

Date: 2010-07-09 11:04 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Hhahahah, thanks! I try really hard to get them right XD

Date: 2010-07-10 01:25 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Great job on the comics! My favorites were "fish kabob" and the creepy/silly design for movie!Aang on page one! XD

Date: 2010-07-10 04:25 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I suddently love movie-Aang XD

Date: 2010-07-10 04:27 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
ILU so hard...

♥ ♥
Edited Date: 2010-07-10 04:28 am (UTC)

Date: 2010-07-10 04:25 pm (UTC)


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