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Saw The Last Airbender on Friday. I had heard that it was amazing. And I had also heard that fans of the series would not like it. I…am somewhere in the middle. I liked it. Really I did. But I also had some problems with it. Mostly nitpicky problems, which is why I still enjoyed the movie. I'll start with what I liked.


Iroh. I know he's supposed to be old and fat. I know it's wrong that I should think Iroh is unbelievably hot. But I don't even care. Iroh was just about the best thing in that movie. His personality was spot-on, just perfect. And I loved that they actually pronounced his name correctly. I even loved his dreads. All in all, I had no complaints about Iroh.

Yue. There are a lot of casting choices I could tilt my head at, but this is not one of them. This girl looks just like the animated one, and I wonder how they made her match so well. She's stunning and soft-spoken and absolutely perfect. And her eyes are just vivid. I wish they would have given the rest of the Water Tribe the same contacts. I don't remember if her hair turned black in the cartoon after she gives the moon spirit her life, but it was a nice touch in the movie.

Bending effects. The special effects in general were very good, but the bending looked fantastic. The water- and firebending especially, but then they would look more impressive anyway. On a not-very-related note, I also loved the scenery. The air temples and the city of the Northern Water Tribe were just beautiful. Even Appa and Momo looked really good, very convincing. And fuck. The dragon spirit looked amazing. AMAZING.

Fire Nation Technology. I've got a lot to say about the portrayal of the Fire Nation in general, but unfortunately most of it doesn't belong in this section. HOWEVER. I absolutely loved the accuracy of their machinery. I LOVED THE SHIPS. The ships looked just perfect, and dark and sinister. Dangerously sharp. The tanks and things might not have been exactly the same, but that was okay too. They still preserved the basic form that Fire Nation tech seems to share.


Unfortunately, there were a lot more things I didn't like, though many of them were small enough that they didn't interfere too much with my general enjoyment of the film.

Casting. [livejournal.com profile] ravenpirate told me that a lot of people were boycotting the movie because they thought it was racist, because of the white people in the movie. While I thought that Katara and Sokka could have used a tan, I really didn't think they were badly cast. I did think there was some racism in the movie. The Fire Nation looks Asian in the series. But in the movie, every Fire Nation soldier we see is played by someone of either Middle Eastern or Indian descent. The Earth Kingdom was all cast as Asian, but though in the series they are generally dark complected, they seem more racially varied than that.

The Spirit World. In the film, the spirit world was given a whole hell of a lot more significance than it was in the series. The Fire Nation is trying to take over the world because they don't want to obey the spirits anymore? Really? A whole nation would actually buy into that? I can understand someone as insane as Ozai using that kind of logic, but not a whole nation following him. He'd be deposed. On the other hand, in the series the justification was that the Fire Nation wanted to take over the world in order to spread their culture and prosperity to what they saw as less fortunate nations. The people would get behind that kind of movement, even if Ozai's true motives were much more selfish. Or, it's always possible he was crazy enough to actually believe his own propaganda, especially right up near the end.

Topknots. Okay, what the hell. I know it's only a minor thing. It's probably related to the fact that in the movie, the Fire Nation was portrayed by Middle Easterners/Indians. But I don't really care about that. I want to know why the hell nearly every Fire Nation male had short hair. And no topknot. I guess maybe they didn't want to invest the money in wigs? It irks me, not because I think that they would have been prettier with long hair and topknots (though they would have been), but rather, without topknots, I wonder how they're going to symbolize Zuko and Iroh breaking from the Fire Nation later on. The scene in the series where they cut off their hair and toss it into the river is (I think) an extremely powerful one.

Moon Spirit. Another minor gripe. Really minor in this case. The moon spirit is referred to as male. I cannot think of a single mythology that portrays the moon as male. The moon is always female, just like (as far as I can recall) the sun is always male. We'll put it down to the moon's relationship to menstruation, but in any case, the argument still stands. And the series is no different. The moon spirit is female here, too. But the movie refers to the spirit as a "he". Maybe it was a typo in the script no one bothered to fix. :|

Bending in General. As I said earlier, I liked the effects for the bending. But I thought that the portrayal of the bending was a bit much. To clarify, I thought the martial arts aspect of the bending was overdone. Instead of the body's movement correlating exactly to the bending that was being performed, it reminded me of Naruto: Forming a long series of seals to perform a single act. Granted, even in Naruto I can only remember a few cases where more than three or four seals were used for one jutsu. In the movie, it just seemed like they wanted to show off their ability to choreograph martial arts techniques, with very little consideration what the resulting bending would look like or do. The waterbending movements looked like a dance, which was appropriate, but the water didn't dance with the benders. It was like they were moving to a different rhythm. The airbending was just as bad. A lot of times it looked like Aang was just sort of flailing around. I can remember one move in particular when he did an awkward sort of back flip that just looked out of place and had nothing to do with anything…and the actor didn't even do the back flip all that well, so it wasn't even a matter of still looking cool.

Firebending. What is this crap about them needing a source to firebend? That was about the dumbest thing I saw in the movie. How would the Fire Nation be so powerful if they were dependent upon their environment? Yes, having braziers and torches at their disposal would make bending easier, especially for those whose talent is weaker. But to imply that they're dependent upon those things is stupid. Besides, in the series it's clearly depicted that the fire extends from the benders' bodies. Iroh is amazing. But not for being able to manifest fire from his body. All firebenders can do that.

Aang and Waterbending. Aang is better at waterbending than Katara when they first start training together. It isn't until after they visit the Northern Water Tribe that Katara ends up better than him. Waterbending and airbending apparently have a lot in common, so it's natural that he'd take to waterbending easily. But I guess it would have taken them longer if they'd stuck to the series and spent longer in the Northern Water Tribe, so that Katara could force her way into combat training and do her drastic-improvement-thing. She also didn't get named his waterbending master, though I suppose that might happen at the beginning of the next movie. It would have been nice if they'd showed Katara getting jealous of Aang in the beginning, though. That was the first time in the series I decided she might be more than just some boring female love interest. And I would have liked to see her fight with the Northern Tribe's waterbending teacher. Though the actors might have hurt themselves with all the extra flailing they would have had to do for a fight like that.

Earthbenders. Okay, I had a few problems with the visit to the earthbender internment camp. First of all. It wasn't on the giant metal rig in the middle of the ocean. Which made these earthbenders look like total wimps. They are surrounded by their element, and the firebenders have that one brazier to fuel their firebending (dumbdumbdumb, but hey, if that's the way they want it, I'll bite), and these earthbenders haven't already beaten their asses down? It's just stupid. The firebenders are outnumbered and underequipped, and somehow they're still in charge until Aang, Katara, and Sokka show up. ALSO. I don't see the point in showing the earthbender liberation in the first place. It doesn't affect anything else that happens in the movie. Hell, I don't think Ozai or Zhao even bitch about the uprisings to their internment camps, which would have at least showed that they found it an annoyance. Freeing the earthbenders does nothing for this movie. (Yes, I understand that it's important later on, when Aang gets all his homies together for the unified push into the Fire Nation capital, but the newbies aren't going to know that.) I mean, if I hadn't seen the series first, I'd think they put the earthbenders in the movie just to show that they actually exist, and how they use their element to fight. If, however, they were included because they play a sizeable role in the third film, then I think they could have much more seamlessly been added to the second movie, because Aang and co. would be in the Earth Kingdom anyway, and it would seem less...random.

Three Years. I understand that the series rushed Aang's training quite a bit. Training in general, really. The way it's portrayed in the series, Aang, Katara, and Sokka all seem to only spend a week or so in their respective training, and it's just not realistic that they would master waterbending, earthbending, firebending, and swordplay in only a week or two. So I understand the film giving us a longer deadline. Though three years doesn't really lend the plot the same sense of urgency as the few months of the series did. But when Ozai says, "Sozin's comet will return in three years," I'm pretty sure that no background is given at all. I may have just been distracted, wanting to know what Azula looked like, but I don't remember Ozai saying how it'll make every firebender super powerful. (Azula would know this, of course, but the noobs wouldn't.)

Commander Zhao. I was looking forward to seeing his sideburns, but that's not really as significant as other problems I had. Zhao just seemed…wrong. He wasn't well portrayed at all. His motivations were skewed. In the series, he was the one who wanted to kill the moon spirit. He doesn't seem to have much contact with Ozai, being out oppressing the multitudes and such, but even if he did, I still think he would have been the one to come up with the plan to kill the moon spirit. He's very driven and ambitious, and a complete bastard. In the movie he just seemed…weasel-y. In the series, he's big and powerful and doesn't have any doubts. He knows what he wants to do, and he does it, because he's going to have the glory of killing the moon spirit and defeating the waterbenders to the man. In the film, he seemed…small. He was a lapdog, and he showed fear and second thoughts just before he stabbed the fish. It just seemed like he had more free thought in the series, and in the movie he was more of a lackey.

Fire Nation Defeat. I am so pissed off that it didn't show Aang and the ocean spirit go apeshit together. I know it's because of the flashbacks we get of Aang being told the Avatar isn't supposed to hurt people. Which is also bullshit, because the Avatar is supposed to restore balance, and it's totally okay for the Avatar to kill unjust people in the line of duty. It's Aang's personal morals that give him trouble about killing people, and it would have given his character a whole lot more depth if they'd left him that way, rather than letting him control his use of the Avatar state and simply intimidating the Fire Nation into retreating. I may also have been looking forward to seeing the fucking big water-fish smush Zhao. What a big cop-out that was.

Avatar Roku. I don't understand why they had the dragon spirit giving Aang advice instead of Roku. They show the statues of his former incarnations, and make it clear that they are his past lives. Part of Aang's ability to commune with the spirit world is the fact that he can consult the previous Avatars. If they wanted to do a dragon effect so much, they could have had Aang visit Roku and his dragon. But. I guess I really just didn't like the film's use of the spirit world at all.

on 2010-07-05 05:09 pm (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] ravenpirate.livejournal.com
I WILL READ ALL OF THIS WHEN I GET BACK.

But I'm happy you liked it! You're on the same boat as my friend Carly. She's a huge fan of the series and we went to see the movie together. She didn't hate it, but she didn't love it. She's in the middle like you; she liked it!

I HAVE TO LEAVE FOR THE ZOO IN A FEW MINS SO I'LL READ THE REST LATER. ♥

on 2010-07-05 08:04 pm (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] skellywag.livejournal.com
MAKE SURE YOU REFRESH WHEN YOU COME BACK. IT WILL BE LESS ANNOYING TO READ NOW THAT I'VE FIXED THE HTML.

Also I feel that I should have said I liked it a few more times up near the beginning, because the way I rant about certain things might make it sound like I didn't. But just to clarify, I REALLY DID LIKE IT.
Edited on 2010-07-05 08:05 pm (UTC)

on 2010-07-06 03:09 am (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] aliquot.livejournal.com
You heard it was amazing? From WHERE?? Rotten Tomatoes gave it an 8% which is worse than Dragonball: Evolution's 13%! I read a review where the guy said he walked out and literally said, "Wow, that made Dragonball Evolution look like a masterpiece."

That being said...I went to see it a few days ago and I went in expecting it to be terrible. And...I kind of liked it. I haven't seen a single episode of Avatar, maybe that is why. The dialogue was pretty terrible which didn't help the "acting", but it definitely held my attention.

So, I'm glad to see I'm not the only one who didn't absolutely hate it lol

on 2010-07-06 11:06 am (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] skellywag.livejournal.com
Hahahahahaha omg. I never saw the Dragonball movie. I mean, I liked DBZ even though I knew it was absolute crap. But I can't even imagine where they got the idea that making a live-action Dragonball ANYTHING would be a good idea.

But yeah, I don't look at official movie reviews, nor online reviews. Mostly I just ask friends of mine because mostly they have the same taste in things as I do.

on 2010-07-06 04:14 am (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] ravenpirate.livejournal.com
OKAY BACK.

Didn't I tell you the actor for Iroh was amazing. DIDN'T I TELL YOU. njhbdhbjas He was wonderful. Also, the bending? Jesus Christ. I wanted it to all be real after I saw the movie.

CASTING. Shyamalan actually answered this in an interview! And I wholeheartedly agreed with him. Basically, he said that he hadn't had a single race in mind for the Fire Nation. The first person he cast from there was Zuko and he searched until he found the actor for it. Because the actor is Indian, he wanted his family and nation to match Zuko's race, which is why you see them as Indians. I compleeeeetely support Shyamalan's decision. It had nothing to do with "LET'S MAKE THE BAD GUYS MIDDLE-EASTERNERS." It was the fact that a Middle-Eastern kid perfectly fit Zuko (WHO ISN'T EVEN A VILLAIN ANYWAY) and then the director wanted the rest to follow. I thought his casting for Zuko was fantastic.

Firebending. I...honestly loved that they needed a source for the bending. I just finished the first season of the cartoon and I kept thinking "How the fuck does it make sense for them not to need a source?" Katara needs a source. She carries that water with her. The earthbenders and airbenders need sources. So for me, I absolutely loved that change. It was just one of those changes that I appreciated, because in the cartoon, I just feel like it's retarded.

Fire Nation Defeat. I liked the movie's version better too LMFAO I'M SO SORRY. I JUST REALLY LOVED IT. bdjshabjhfds

I don't have the energy to comment on everything BUT I must say, after having recently finished the first season of the cartoon, I felt like Shyamalan did an amazing job of sticking to the story. There were things that he changed or put together in ways that really worked for the movie. For me, the cartoon took way too long to get anywhere. It kept dragging and I felt like 25% of the episodes can be removed and you won't miss much. I really prefer the way the movie tells the story to the way the cartoon does njkdsbhjfds. The movie was so much more serious and the fight scenes were stunning and IDK I just felt like it fit the type of story I enjoy better than the cartoon does. The cartoon is just too silly for me.

I did have a couple gripes about the movie though. THE PACING. The pacing was pretty bad. You'd have a scene and it would be wonderful and then RANDOMLY IT CUTS TO ANOTHER SCENE and you're like what. what happened. WHERE DID IT GO?? I think he should have made the movie longer so that he could have fit a little more in. I think if it had been a three hour movie there could have been more and it would have flowed a lot better.

I also thought Katara and Sokka should have been a bit darker, too. I REALLY LIKED THE CASTING CHOICES. ...Though Katara was kind of a weak actress. But I liked her look. I just think they should have gotten a tan. It wouldn't have even taken long. JUST LOOK A LITTLE DARKER.

Anyway, I loved the casting for everyone, basically. But especially Aang. The way he looks is so perfect and he's just absolutely adorable. I loved loved loved him nkjdankj

TL;DR I'm so happy to finally have a way to join The Last Airbender ;___;

I KNOW YOU LOVE THE CARTOON AND I'M VERY HAPPY FOR YOU. I SWEAR I'M NOT TRYING TO INSULT IT OR YOU. So many people do like it. It's just. Not my kind of thing. I tried it a couple years ago and never enjoyed it and now the only reason I'm watching it is for when I go see the next two movies. I really want to go see it again. fndsnhbjg

on 2010-07-06 11:17 am (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] skellywag.livejournal.com
I won't deny I thought the actor they chose for Zuko was really good. His voice was almost spot-on, specifically. But Iroh doesn't look like any of the other people from the Fire Nation, and even if they chose people who looked the same, they didn't have to nix the traditional hairstyles just because the people they cast as Fire Nation aren't Asian. "LET'S MAKE THE BAD GUYS MIDDLE-EASTERNERS." (<~I was really hoping that wasn't the case, but since I didn't read the interviews, that was where I jumped first.)

I've thought firebending was like Roy's alchemy. It has a source, but it doesn't have to be an already-flaming source. Using the firebender's chi (or whatever it was called, Iroh said something about it keeping Zuko warm in the movie but I forget if that's the word he used) to ignite the inflammable gasses in the air. Maybe there are weak firebenders that would need premade fire, but you wouldn't want your army made up of firebenders like that. (And eventually Katara gets good enough she doesn't absolutely have to use her waterskin.)

I also thought Katara and Sokka should have been a bit darker, too. I REALLY LIKED THE CASTING CHOICES. ...Though Katara was kind of a weak actress. But I liked her look. I just think they should have gotten a tan. It wouldn't have even taken long. JUST LOOK A LITTLE DARKER. ALL OF THIS. JUST YES. And Katara was fairly weak, but she was given a lot less significance in the movie than she had in the series (probably, again, because the movie just couldn't fit that much in).

LMFAO I AM PERFECTLY OKAY WITH YOU NOT LIKING THE CARTOON. I enjoy the comedic stuff as much as the serious stuff, but it's perfectly understandable that not everyone appreciates the same things. I LOVE YOU AND IT'S OKAY WE HAVE DIFFERENT OPINIONS.

on 2010-07-06 06:58 pm (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] ravenpirate.livejournal.com
I noticed the hairstyle differences! They didn't bother me much, though, because I hate Zuko's hair in season 1 of the cartoon anyway, and Iroh's just looked so amazing in the movie. God, I loved his look. I think he was the best out of all of them as far as wardrobe went. (Also, even after reading Shyamalan's explanation in his interview, people are still screaming at him for being racist anyway, despite the fact that he cast two of the heroes [since I've heard Zuko and Iroh become protagonists later] as Indians. I MEAN JESUS. HE'S SO RACIST. MAKING MIDDLE-EASTERNERS HEROES AND ALL.)

For me it just seems like...if one group of benders can do it without a source, then all of them should be able to. Like in the cartoon when the earthbenders are imprisoned on that metal ship, it's so they can't earthbend. (Although what about the earth at the bottom of the ocean??) If the firebenders and ultimately Katara don't need a source, then the earthbenders and airbenders should be given the same thing. UNLESS THEY DO LATER ON AND I JUST HAVEN'T GOTTEN THERE YET.

I'm guessing Katara will probably get more significance in the next movie. I was still surprised that the movie wasn't even two hours. It should have at least been two and a half, if not three full hours. He was trying to fit 20 episodes of 23-24 minutes each into a movie that's an hour and forty minutes. I think that was a pretty stupid move on his part. Probably his biggest mistake, imo.

I wouldn't even mind the comedy in the cartoon if there weren't so much! And if so much weren't so ridiculous. There have been things that made me laugh so hard (like when they got out of the love cave and Katara asked why Sokka's forehead was red and he facepalmed when the hippie guy said something else stupid OH GOD I LAUGHED SO HARD LMFAO). But some of it is too cracky for me (like Boomy). It's just really geared toward humor for kids, which is why I'm a little :/ about it.

I'm really curious to see who they cast as Toph and what her appearance will be in the next movie. I finished episode 6 of season 2 and haven't had time to watch more yet, but she was just introduced. (The part where they're having dinner with her family and Toph earthbends Aang under the table so that his chair slams foreward and he faceplants into his bowl was so funny omfg ndsabjh.)

The hate that people have for this movie is unbelievable. You're a huge fan and even you said you liked it. I can see why some people would be upset because he didn't include some things/changed some things, but to outright say it's the worst movie of all? Man, I dislike the Harry Potter movies, but they're nowhere near the worst movies ever, and they're pretty lame in comparison to the source material. People just have this undying hatred for Shyamalan because most of his movies do suck. I think he could make the most amazing movie in the world and critics and fans would still boo. Which really makes me sad.

on 2010-07-06 08:23 pm (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] skellywag.livejournal.com
Is India actually considered part of the Middle East, or is it far enough east to be Way East? >_> But I see your point. Not to mention, all the Earth Kingdom were played by Asians (though I didn't think they looked very Asian in the cartoon *whistles*).

I'm guessing with the earthbenders in the ocean, it was a matter of distance from the earth they were attempting to bend, or maybe they were so disheartened from being imprisoned that they never even tried (which seems pretty likely given what they're like when the gAang first gets there). As for airbenders bending without a source, I think they'd have to go into outer space in order to find a place they didn't have any air to bend. That or the bottom of the ocean, but the pressure would probably impede you getting down deep enough to not be able to access air. And, Katara does need a source, but it doesn't have to be the water from her waterskin. I'm just saying the source doesn't have to be an obvious puddle or an obvious flame. All things have atoms, thus latent heat. And that's not even considering the fact that hydrogen and oxygen are highly combustible. And the air is full of water.

I didn't like Bumi much either. And a lot of Aang's humour seems contrived. But Sokka makes me laugh every time and I was sad that he wasn't funny at all in the movie.

Omfg Toph. Toph is wonderful. She is epic and hilarious and the fact that she doesn't have the same reverence for Aang that Katara has makes me Love her. I hope they get someone awesome to play her.

on 2010-07-06 08:30 pm (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] ravenpirate.livejournal.com
I'M NOT SURE. I was never good with geography. I just kind of classify that entire area as the Middle-East because it makes my life easier and people typically get what I mean anyway LMFAO. Tbh I think that aside from Katara and Sokka, everyone in the cartoon looks white. But you know if Shyamalan had kept that close to the cartoon, he'd have been staked, crucified, and then burned half-alive.

LMFAO SHIT MY BRAIN JUST BROKE. I kinda get what you're saying. Sort of. ...But I still loved the way Shyamalan kept so consistent with them needing a source hdbsjabj. Like when Zuko brought the torch with him at the end to kidnap Aang while he was meditating to get to the spirit world. It was a nice touch that a lot of people wouldn't have thought to keep and would have been inconsistent with.

OH IT'S SPELLED BUMI. I thought it was Boomy like. KABOOM I'M FUCKING NUTS. Sokka is usually pretty funny. There were a couple scenes in the movie with him that made me laugh, but yeah, in general, his humor was removed. I think Shyamalan wanted to focus more on the plot rather than characters. I wonder if in the second movie he's going to add more humor.

SO TOPH. I thought she was going to be fucking obnoxious because there was this girl who played her in another game and when someone had open RP posts, she'd always be there bothering Hidan when I played him. And she. was so. fucking. annoying. I was happy to see that she isn't that way in the cartoon. :|

on 2010-07-06 08:31 pm (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] ravenpirate.livejournal.com
Wow I started every paragraph with a sentence completely capitalized. I'M NOT HYPER I SWEAR.

on 2010-07-07 11:07 am (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] skellywag.livejournal.com
Hahahaha and Katara and Sokka really look white too, with their wide blue eyes. It's just a very tanned white. >_> Kind of the same colour I am now, actually.

I'M SORRY MY SCIENCE BROKE YOU. Probably shouldn't get too in-depth with an American cartoon; they probably didn't. During the whole Kidnap-Aang plot, I agree, it was nice that they made Zuko go looking for a torch. But at the same time, he also melted the ice with his hands. Which could either be seen as inconsistent, or as foreshadowing that he is well on his way to being as epic as his uncle.

Lmao I thought it was spelled "Boomy" too. The only reason I know the right spelling is because of a number of references to him in fics I've been reading.

Omg. I hate whoever played Toph just on principle. Because. Yes, there are scenes where she's obnoxious (not to me, but to the other characters), but that isn't her only quality. And her obnoxiousness should not overshadow her OVERWHELMING BADASSERY. And I hate you a little. Now I have a desire to see just how Hidan would react to Toph. :x

on 2010-07-07 02:21 pm (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] ravenpirate.livejournal.com
So true. And considering Shyamalan made like 75% of the cast non-white from a cartoon where 99% look completely white, I think people should shut the fuck up. Just saying. :|

I REMEMBER THAT. I just figured that bit was foreshadowing, since making heat from his body wasn't quite the same as pulling fire out of his magical ass.

ndsjka I refuse to play Hidan against any Toph ever again. 8|

on 2010-07-07 08:07 pm (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] skellywag.livejournal.com
That's probably a good thing. Even if Hidan didn't find Toph obnoxious, whatever resulted would be pure, unadulterated crack.

on 2010-07-09 02:34 am (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] ravenpirate.livejournal.com
Thank you LJ for not sending me this comment. :|

ANYWAY YEAH. LMFAO. Wouldn't end well.

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