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New Avatar: The Last Airbender Trailer

Posted: Sat, 1st May 2010, 2:34am

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Atom

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Boom.

Despite his failures, there are clear sparkles and hints, even in flops, of unmatched cinematic storytelling with Shyamalan that I don't think we see with others. There's a really clear connect in the settings, direction of the actors, and music in all of his films- even with poor plotting- that I really find beautiful; and this movie is no exception.

It looks like they're doing everything right- I'm really excited by this. Looks really artful but also big and blockbustery as well. The production design is simply awesome.

I can't wait. Thoughts?
Posted: Sat, 1st May 2010, 2:49am

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Aculag

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I'll give it the same chance that I've given all of his films, because I agree that he is a very good cinematic storyteller, and he really knows his stuff. However, his last few movies have been really poor in the script department, and I would have preferred that he let someone else write this. Still, it should be interesting to see how he works with material that wasn't his brainchild.

That being said, it definitely LOOKS cool, if not a bit too over the top and CG-laden. I am not familiar with the cartoon in the slightest, so I can't really say how well it seems to have translated, and I have no idea what it's actually about, or what to expect. It kinda makes me think of seeing the trailer for Percy Jackson; nice visuals, but it seems a bit basic story-wise, and maybe a bit too "kiddy" for my taste (although, I'm sure that's the point.) It's just another "chosen one" story. Also I think Dev Patel was a really bad casting decision if he's supposed to be the bad guy... Maybe he'll prove me wrong, but I can't help but always seeing him as his character from Skins.

But like I said, I'll give it the same chance I gave all the rest of Shyamalan's films, which means I will watch it. But probably not in 3D, since that was almost definitely tacked on as an afterthought.
Posted: Sat, 1st May 2010, 3:00am

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alienux

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I pretty much gave up on watching Shyamalan films after Unbreakable and Lady in the Water. But, having said that, even though I'm not an Airbender fan, I do think this one looks like it may be worth watching.
Posted: Sat, 1st May 2010, 3:06am

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Aculag

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I hope you mean The Happening, and not Unbreakable, because Unbreakable is amazing. *arms crossed stubbornly*
Posted: Sat, 1st May 2010, 3:57am

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Pooky

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*punches alienux in the face*
Posted: Sat, 1st May 2010, 6:32am

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Thrawn

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alienux wrote:

...I pretty much gave up on watching Shyamalan films...I'm not an Airbender fan...worth watching.
think

(By the way, this trailer was MUCH better than the teaser, which I hated)
Posted: Sat, 1st May 2010, 7:04am

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Sollthar

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I only hope he'll be working with James Newton-Howard again, because he always does some of his best stuff when working with Shayamalan. Newton-Howards work was the only good thing about Signsand the Happening.
Posted: Sat, 1st May 2010, 7:52am

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Atom

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He is working with James Newton Howard again, which is largely why I'm excited.

My thing with M. Night Shyamalan is that I know and am somewhat embarrassed by some portions of his latest films, like Lady in the Water, The Happening, and The Village.

That being said, I'm still astounded by some of the beauty of sheer acting/music/sequence orchestration he can bring about. I think there are very few directors out there, now or otherwise, that have the ability to bring together that very fine line that he's able to find. That's why it's a dastardly shame that the plot and some points of his latest films are so horrid- because there are truly moments in all of them that I find immensely better than any other film.

If you've seen Lady in the Water, you'll know that while the movie wasn't that great- and certainly had its WTF moments- there are a number of scenes, namely the one with Paul Giammatti's character Cleveland breaking down and crying over recalling his family and talking about 'touching the face of god', that ooze with such a feeling of importance and such an overwhelming mastery of filmmaking and dramatic musical bravado, that you can't help but think - if only for a moment - that Shyamalan is a man who is deeply talented.

Same goes for William Hurt's scene talking to Bryce Dallas Howard about trust in The Village, or the scene in The Happening with Zooey Deschanel and Mark Wahlberg looking at eachother through windows in separate buildings and quietly and calmly accepting their demise as they talk about love.

These are scenes that, to me, may not forgive the preposterousness of the overall plot in the films they exist in- but they offer a moment of just sheer cinematic beauty. And that's really rare.

And, I mean, even with some bad movies- Shyamalan is still the guy who wrote and directed The Sixth Sense, Unbreakable, and Signs. You may knock him for passing his peak- but no one can or should really doubt that the man is talented.

'Sparks of genius' aside too, there's a level of storytelling and technical mastery in all of his films, even in the stupid parts, that you don't get in all 'bad movies'. So there's my reason to see it if nothing else.

This being said, I doubt this movie will be bad. Given the rich (and, no bullshit, really intriguing) source material that Avatar (the real Avatar- not blue people wink) has to offer, I'm really excited by the combination. The world and visual style of this look pitch-perfect from the trailer, and like I said Shyamalan's cinematic storytelling ability and the source material both speak for themselves.

So, yeah. Recipe for success. wink
Posted: Sat, 1st May 2010, 7:57am

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Sollthar

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I completely agree with you on Shayamalan. Almost scary. smile
Posted: Sat, 1st May 2010, 8:25am

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Atom

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I mean, this (and any other scene from Unbreakable) pretty much cements what I'm trying to say.

Also, this is the scene I'm talking about from Lady in the Water. It might've been one of the worst movies of the year, but this was undoubtedly one of the best scenes in a movie of the year.

And probably the best acting from Giamatti thus far.

Also thanks, Sollthar. wink
Posted: Sat, 1st May 2010, 7:25pm

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ben3308

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Oh man, the healing scene in Lady in the Water. Despite all the really awesome twists or clever cinematic form in any of Shyamalan's films, that scene is just one gigantic step ahead in terms of writing and directorial effort. Christ, man. Powerful stuff, deep stuff in a movie that attempts to remain childlike and otherwise shallow.
Posted: Sat, 1st May 2010, 11:45pm

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Aculag

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Giamatti is a great actor, but I can't find any redeeming qualities in Lady in the Water. That film is absolutely terrible, despite having a number of well shot scenes. Even worse writing than The Happening. It's the only one of his movies that I haven't finished watching because I cringe at nearly everything that happens. The best acting and directing in the world couldn't save that script. I have no idea how it even got made.
Posted: Sun, 2nd May 2010, 2:54am

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alienux

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Jerusalem Jackson wrote:

I hope you mean The Happening, and not Unbreakable, because Unbreakable is amazing. *arms crossed stubbornly*

Pooky wrote:

*punches alienux in the face*
No, Unbreakable really didn't do it for me. I was so excited about seeing it when it was released in the theater, and I left the theater just feeling rather blah about it. Its not that I didn't get it or anything, it was just kind of a let down for me. It may have been because I had built it up so much after seeing The Sixth Sense and then from the Unbreakable previews, but it just left me feeling kind of like "Ok, so what?"

As far as The Happening, I haven't seen it. I've been told many times over to stay as far away as possible, so I'm sure I'll check it out sooner or later and decide for myself.
Posted: Sun, 2nd May 2010, 3:37am

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Pooky

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Yeah, The Happening made Zooey Deschanel look dull. I mean, how is that even possible?
Posted: Sun, 2nd May 2010, 4:25am

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Axeman

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Unbreakable is easily in my top 10 favorite films of all time, and vies with The Incredibles as the second best superhero movie ever, right after Batman Begins.

But then, I've quite liked nearly everything that Shyamalan has directed. I think he is among the most visually powerful directors alive, and find that I can learn something from nearly every frame of anything he does. He's not as good a writer (or actor) as he is a director, but then, few people can compare to his directorial skills.

I'm looking forward to this, as a severe change in style to a genre movie such as this is the perfect way for him to break out of the "twilight zone"/twist-ending rut he had got himself into.
Posted: Sun, 2nd May 2010, 4:38pm

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Toruk Macto

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The trailer looks okay, but the casting was all wrong. The cartoon was fantastic, the characters deeps and developed. This movie looks like it is going to be a floppppppppppppp...
#1 problem: It is looking like a post-apocalypse road movie. Everything is dark, while Aang (and the story/characters in general) is cheery and happy.
#2 problem: Casting. Aang (happy even in the worst of situations) looks unhappy, Katara (smart motherly type) looks dumb, Sokka looks too serious (he is a funny joker guy, lightening up all the situations), Iroh looks too slim and mean (normally he is a Santa Claus guy), and Zuko (a tortured soul) is SO not Dev Patel. Jesse Mccartney would have rocked.
#4 problem: A huge TV show compressed into one film. NO WAY.

Well, these are my opinions...

Cheers,

SWATm16
Posted: Sun, 2nd May 2010, 11:59pm

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Atom

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I'm not so worried, because history has proven that Shyamalan rarely, rarely miscasts.

Some of the best work of borderline-taken-seriously-but-actually-really-great actors like Bruce Willis, Toni Collette and Samuel L. Jackson are in his films; and undoubtedly the best parts of them are the acting (and by extension directing of the acting). And then there's the rest of them: Paul Giamatti, William Hurt, Sigourney Weaver, Robin Wright Penn, Mel Gibson, Joaquin Phoenix, Brendan Gleeson, Jeffrey Wright, Adrien Brody, and the list goes on.

Look at Bryce Dallas Howard, Abigail Breslin, the youngest Culkin brother or Haley Joel Osment, or even Donnie Wahlberg's few minutes in The Sixth Sense- who were all so-so choices when they were picked for Shyamalan movies, and are now all highly-acclaimed or at least have been decently-regarded actors.

Also, Jesse McCartney would've been awful. Thank god he's not in it.
Posted: Mon, 3rd May 2010, 1:05am

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jawajohnny

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Atom wrote:

I'm not so worried, because history has proven that Shyamalan rarely, rarely miscasts.
In this case, most people think he has... at least from a racial standpoint. I wouldn't know, because I only remember seeing the first and last episodes of the first season (the first movie), and don't really remember much of it. Visually though, this looks fantastic.
Posted: Mon, 3rd May 2010, 1:12am

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Toruk Macto

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But Jesse Mccartney looks exactly like him!! Have you seen the photo on the net with him and the scar??? And he can act pretty well too.
One other thing I forgot to mention was that Aang's tattoo is to detailed, it is supposed to be a big visual blue stripe, not some 'weird secret runes that glow' thingy.

Just my opinion.

Cheers,

SWATm16
Posted: Mon, 3rd May 2010, 3:48am

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Atom

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jawajohnny wrote:

... at least from a racial standpoint.
I think you just explained to yourself.

Instead of arbitrarily picking people that coincided with the race of the character in the animated series (Which is a stretch to begin with, since it's an American-made anime show that featured 'raceless' people of different tones who are divided by elements, not races, more or less- that was the point of the show, wasn't it?), he picked the people he thought resonated best with the character on a level that wasn't surface-deep. (literally)

I mean, I'm not a big Shyamalan apologist or anything, but I find the insanely-heated arguments about race in this movie absolutely astounding. For goodness sake, the man is one of the only major/majorly-known ethnic directors out there right now, and he's the one getting sh*t for being racist? Enough's enough, at some point.
Posted: Mon, 3rd May 2010, 4:05am

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Aculag

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People will obsess over things being racist as long as people are defined by races. It's a stupid, pointless, narrow-minded argument, but it's going to come up again and again no matter what. Just like italicized emphasis in Atom posts.

And it's not like every character in this movie is portrayed by a blue eyed blonde caucasian, or anything. I agree, people have gone a bit overboard with the 'controversy' talk. Not here (not yet), but elsewhere.
Posted: Mon, 3rd May 2010, 4:08am

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FreshMentos

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SWATm16 wrote:

But Jesse Mccartney looks exactly like him!! Have you seen the photo on the net with him and the scar??? And he can act pretty well too.
One other thing I forgot to mention was that Aang's tattoo is to detailed, it is supposed to be a big visual blue stripe, not some 'weird secret runes that glow' thingy.
Sounds like you're going to be disappointed.

As for me, I did not care about this film when it was announced. After seeing this trailer I'm very much eager to see it.
Posted: Mon, 3rd May 2010, 5:59am

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Pooky

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Also, another point, I think that moaning about how an adaptation isn't true to the original is stupid unless the adaptation is somehow less intelligent. Whether the stripe is full or is runes does not matter; if the runes bring a new, interesting element to the story, then it's a good thing that will make a better movie, regardless of whether it's "true to the original".

The latest Star Trek movie is a good example of this. It's not Star Trek, but it's something awesome nonetheless, in its own way. It's not like the original series doesn't exist anymore.
Posted: Tue, 4th May 2010, 9:06am

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Simon K Jones

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Glad to see some Unbreakable love. Still his best film and unfairly dismissed by most - I think it was way ahead of its time when it came out, as comic book movies were still in their infancy. Post-Kick Ass and post-Watchmen, I think it would play better to audiences.

Signs is the last Shyamalan film I saw, and I though it was awful. However, it definitely had amazing individual sequences. He's a great visual director and paces his stuff really well - he just needs to get a different writer.
Posted: Tue, 4th May 2010, 3:06pm

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alienux

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Tarn wrote:

Glad to see some Unbreakable love. Still his best film and unfairly dismissed by most
Interesting....I've actually found that I'm usually in the minority with people I've talked to in regards to not caring for Unbreakable.
Posted: Tue, 4th May 2010, 3:08pm

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Simon K Jones

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As for The Last Bender, there's one thing I don't get from the trailers: from the looks of things, this is full of cool martial arts fights, in which there's no actual contact due to it all being 'wind-based'.

Is it just me, or is the contact bit what makes martial arts fight interesting?

Otherwise every single fight will just be a load of very obvious VFX...seems like a fundamental flaw in any live action adaptation of the material.
Posted: Tue, 4th May 2010, 4:32pm

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spydurhank

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The folks on other forums... the so called fans that are pissed off about the race thing... they are sooo wrong dude.
They're crying and moaning that the characters are oriental but are being played by white actors.
The cartoon characters are clearly not oriental. You ever see an oriental that came from an all oriental family with blue eyes that wasn't wearing contacts? Just a thought. wink Gee I hope that didn't sound racist.

The cartoon was not about race rather an obvious mixture of different races and cultures but folks seem to be very stubborn and only see what they want to see. Folks complaining about a cartoon... go figure. Sooo close minded.

The thing about the runes rather than a solid tattoo... stop crying about it... it looks fine and makes sense. A huge solid tattoo would look like crap... trust me.
Posted: Wed, 5th May 2010, 7:13pm

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ben3308

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So I just watched The Village again, two nights ago.

Man, what great storytelling. Good intensity, great mise-en-scene, great direction. Say what you want about the content of the story or the twists, but the way it's told and the humanity with which the actors treat the issues in the movie is masterful. It's one of those movies I discounted immediately once people started saying bad things about, but picked it up on DVD last year and am glad I did. Great film, artful touches to the technicals with a lot of heart in the direction. I feel like things like plot holes and historical inaccuracies, etc that people point out in Shyamalan's films aren't important because they don't obscure the larger things at work - the underlying themes and depth in direction that exists there (at least, in his earlier work).

It's a bit like people who criticize James Joyce for having written so loosely in a stream-of-consciousness. Yes, the conventions there have issues. But they're minor in comparison to the bits of greatness that show through in the meat of the narrative.
Posted: Wed, 5th May 2010, 7:45pm

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Fxhome Dude

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Tarn wrote:

Is it just me, or is the contact bit what makes martial arts fight interesting?

Otherwise every single fight will just be a load of very obvious VFX...seems like a fundamental flaw in any live action adaptation of the material.
I've been wondering if CX3 used contact in his latest one. But yea, I do agree, I adds something more.
Posted: Sun, 20th Jun 2010, 8:53am

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rogolo

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Well, it's not so much a new trailer as it is four separate teases, but SlashFilm posted a this article, which links to 4 videos with sweeping cinematic shots of each "elemental village". I suppose our die-hard Avatar fan(s?) will scrutinize this footage to determine how faithful Shyamalan has been to the source material. (Staff Only, where you at? wink )

I've gotta say, when this project was announced, I had just about zero excitement for it. My interest has definitely been piqued, though, after hearing everyone rave about the original anime and seeing these promising trailers/teases from the movie. Hopefully I can find some time mid-July to check it out in theatres...but first: find a theatre still screening Kick Ass!
Posted: Fri, 2nd Jul 2010, 11:46pm

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miker

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Unfortunately, this movie was just plain average.

I applaud Shyamalan for stepping out of his boundary's though. It was a good effort for something new for him. Special Effects were pretty solid. A good - "first" kid's movie. As a die-hard Shyamalan fan, I'm stoked for his next movie.
Posted: Fri, 2nd Jul 2010, 11:55pm

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jawajohnny

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Is it as bad as the Rotten Tomatoes suggests? I don't think I've ever seen that many zero, half, or even one star reviews in my life. I like Shyamalan (at least his earlier efforts) so I really wanted to see it. Judging from the tomato meter, I might go see Knight and Day instead. And no, I will not be seeing Twilight. razz
Posted: Sat, 3rd Jul 2010, 12:34am

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miker

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jawajohnny wrote:

Is it as bad as the Rotten Tomatoes suggests? I don't think I've ever seen that many zero, half, or even one star reviews in my life. I like Shyamalan (at least his earlier efforts) so I really wanted to see it. Judging from the tomato meter, I might go see Knight and Day instead. And no, I will not be seeing Twilight. razz
It wasn't terrible, but it definitely is targeted to a much younger audience - as it is a Nickelodeon movie. The acting is pretty bad, probably unnoticeable for most children though. It was okay. I didn't catch Night & Day. After seeing Killers, and Mr. and Mrs. Smith, I'm pretty sure I'm done with that concept. Has anyone noticed, there is nothing original coming out of Hollywood these days?
Posted: Sat, 3rd Jul 2010, 5:03am

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ben3308

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I hate hate hate that this movie is getting such abysmal reviews, but for jawajohnny's sake I thought I might mention that I just got back from Knight & Day and that it was, in almost every way imaginable, really rather excellent.

I mean, I'm a Tom Cruise fan from the get-go, but I also don't like Cameron Diaz so I suppose on that end I'm more fair-minded, and I still thought the movie rocked. Under leadership from Academy-Award director (and directing of 3:10 To Yuma fame) James Mangold, Knight & Day was both incredibly well-told and humorously-paced.

Not only is the movie hilarious (and really, it is), but it makes the best possible use of Tom Cruise. He does all of his own stunts- and while I know that normally is just eyes-rolling-ly silly- it's actually really incredibly badass in this movie. He jumps and runs rooftops, spins out and jumps out of cars, everything.

Just..........a really, really satisfying movie. I was totally surprised. I mean, I thought it'd be 'oh, that was fun'. But really, it was more than that. It was that lasting sort of summer popcorn fare. Go see it.
Posted: Sat, 3rd Jul 2010, 5:16am

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miker

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ben3308 wrote:

Under leadership from Academy-Award director (and directing of 3:10 To Yuma fame) James Mangold, Knight & Day was both incredibly well-told and humorously-paced.
I didn't realize James Mangold directed it. Maybe I'll have to check it out.
Posted: Sat, 3rd Jul 2010, 5:28am

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Pooky

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Yeah, Knight and Day, while completely predictable and formulaic on paper, was actually great fun thanks to its excellent execution. Tom Cruise's hilarious acting had a lot to do with it, though the wonderful pacing and cinematography didn't hurt either.
Posted: Sun, 4th Jul 2010, 11:53am

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Mellifluous

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I'm really disappointed that Shyamanlan's version of Avatar: The Last Airbender looks like it's as bad as his past several movies.

If you have an interest in the movie, go check the animated series out - it's awesome in so many ways.
Posted: Fri, 9th Jul 2010, 10:58pm

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Staff Only

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jawajohnny wrote:

Is it as bad as the Rotten Tomatoes suggests? I don't think I've ever seen that many zero, half, or even one star reviews in my life.
I must say it was a big shocker. I just finished watching the first season of Avatar: The Last Airbender and it was absolutely excellent. Then I re-watched the trailer for The Last Airbender and was really happy to see that it seemed like he had taken the first season and turned it into a movie. It's so perfect. And you see that it's visually faithful in the trailer and that there is an appearance of The Blue Spirit. Then I saw the Tomato-meter. Ouch.

rogolo wrote:

I suppose our die-hard Avatar fan(s?) will scrutinize this footage to determine how faithful Shyamalan has been to the source material. (Staff Only, where you at? wink )
I must admit I'm a new fan of this Avatar. And I'm on holiday so I'm not spending as much time unwinding on The Internet as I do during school. razz

spydurhank wrote:

The folks on other forums... the so called fans that are pissed off about the race thing... they are sooo wrong dude.
They're crying and moaning that the characters are oriental but are being played by white actors.
The cartoon characters are clearly not oriental. You ever see an oriental that came from an all oriental family with blue eyes that wasn't wearing contacts? Just a thought. wink Gee I hope that didn't sound racist.


Apart from the fact that oriental is now considered very un-PC and some people might even be equally as offended by your use of the word as if you had fired off the n-word at the wrong time (which is all the time by the way) you didn't sound racist at all. /sarcasm Asian is the word you are looking for. I don't want to try and start a flame-war about being PC vs. boycotting PC-ness, but I'm always for being PC. If people indicate that they feel degraded by a certain term you should always respect that. I mean even the "ridiculous" PC terms such as not saying "cleaning lady" I understand. Not all cleaning people are females and it also sounds sexist in some ways. (Finally I'm not accusing you of racism so don't worry, I bet it was unintentional offensiveness. razz We've all been there.)

Atom wrote:

New Avatar: The Last Airbender Trailer
"Avatar" was dropped from the title courtesy of James Cameron's lawyers.
Posted: Sat, 10th Jul 2010, 5:55am

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ben3308

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Rating: +1

Just got back from this movie and I pretty much enjoyed it. It's very easy to declare this a bad movie, most paramount based on the simple fact that the lead character, played by non-actor Noah Ringer, is just absolutely terrible at acting.

This would be fine were this film not involved in large feats of world-building or mythos, and were more personal, like Unbreakable or The Sixth Sense. Within these confines, I feel M. Night Shyamalan could have easily directed Ringer to success, however modest. But, since this is a large-scale movie, and Night is responsible for every bit of its execution (considering he didn't just write and direct, but also produced) the man can only spread himself so thin.

Essentially, Avatar is a children's television show made successful for all ages by the mythos that inspiration and redemption can be found in the most uncommon, inarticulated vessels. In this case, Ang (the main character) is meant to have charisma both in the successes he has as a Messianic figure, and the mistakes he makes as a child. Noah Ringer, however, delivers the archaic dialog with a cringe-worthy, toothy overseriousness that, unfortunately, also carries over into his body language and martial arts moves.

It is this element, a flaw in the most central character of the film, that carries the movie downhill. Time spent working with Ringer towards verisimilitude, doubtless, would have been better leveraged working more towards dialog revisions or in aid of the other, more experienced actors. Decisions made in cinematography and the editing economy would most assuredly have been easier to cut together, and with more meaning, were the 'takes' of the lead actor better. Of this, I'm sure Night would have at least had the possibility to construct something enchanting, albeit formulaic, in The Last Airbender. But this is not the case.

With all this said, there is a lot to like about The Last Airbender. James Newton Howard's most recent pairing with M. Night Shyamalan has yet again yielded inspired musical scoring that's accessible emotionally if you're willing to watch the movie, let go of its bad elements, and enjoy the thrilling visuals with the emotional music.

This coupling of composer/director at first seems out of place in this new, epic landscape but Howard adapts his style (or, at least, the somber-growing-to-inspiring style he's used with Night before) to fit the grander themes of the film.

There were also other pleasant surprises for me in the film, bits that made me feel confident that whatever followup sequel may come to light in a few years by Night, it will have learned from its mistakes. The casting of Jackson Rathbone, in my opinion, was a masterstroke. His acting, to put it appropriately, was nice and relaxed, and even the unrelenting glossy-eyed moments he has in the first 1/4 of the film upon seeing the fire nation seem genuine and very 'actorly' in a good way. I really liked his off-and-on comic relief and generally how he played the character - most especially because most of the others actors played their within caricature. The supporting cast, however, was also strong and effective in their roles; and Dev Patel's outing as a villain (who really doesn't want to be a villain, at least from his interpretation) was heartfelt and real.

Other qualms about the movie - pacing, plot structure, dialog - were evident weaknesses, but really I think they could honestly be looked past were the central performance not so uneven. In this respect, I feel it set the disjointed tone for the rest of the film.

Most of this, I believe, comes down to the story itself. I think M. Night Shyamalan truly believed that his primary weakness in his past films, most specifically Lady in the Water, was assembling a mythology from nothing within a single 90-minute film. So, in this instance, he took an already-celebrated children's TV show from slighted obscurity and used it as the backbone for his newest genre foray into epic adventure and fantasy. He believed that The Last Airbender was immediately the right franchise for him to helm just as I did. Just as many of us did.

But, at this point in time, it wasn't. The film was too big for Shyamalan. Not too large for his grasp nor his directorial control, but too vast in the scope of the man's creative potential.

He's lost his way. If they let him make the sequel and maybe recast Ang, I firmly believe he can regain it.

I loved the acting in Lady in the Water and the whole structure of The Village, because they channeled little ounces of greatness to the audience; they removed slowly the ether of the human condition from the eyes of the viewer and gave them a window into something more raw and more emotional. I have always enjoyed M. Night's films because of the way they treat serious, deeper issues with a realistic obscurity. And, in the process of the film, such obscure elements come closer and closer into focus, so as to beckon the audience to see in themselves a part of the changes that the characters in the film have undergone.

Night started making genre movies that, instead of doing what the genre does, were meant purely to inspire; to conjure emotion within the viewer and affect them in a way that bordered on the profound. The Sixth Sense was a horror genre about finding self-acceptance in even the smallest vessels of encouragement (in the movie's case, Haley Joel Osment). Unbreakable was along the lines of the same thing with the superhero genre, but more towards reconciling fate and purpose against the fates of others. Signs was, on a basic level, the same thing but an alien invasion plot with a small-scale, personal story about gaining purpose and self-importance through faith.

Night inspires us by demonstrating the tenacity of the human spirit on a personal scale. All his movies, even Lady in the Water, are still about ordinary people developing emotionally in extraordinary ways. Airbender is already a large scale story, already extraordinary, so it's hard to demonstrate the same tenacity without getting lost in establishing the world and the mythos of the story.

And that's exactly what happened. The director got lost.

I give this film a 6/10 because, despite its seemingly large shortcomings, it has effectively communicated the visual world of the source material in a faithful and aesthetically beautiful way. And that can very much be lauded.
Posted: Sat, 10th Jul 2010, 1:10pm

Post 40 of 42

Staff Only

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Excellent review Ben. +1

I must say it made for much better reading than the awful Ebert review of The Last Airbender. Ebert did as always have some good points, but largely seemed to be going on about how anime can't successful be made live-action because the visual styles don't mesh (has he seen The Matrix?), and criticizing the visual effects when he saw the film in fake-3D and therefore has no reference point.

Ebert wrote:

If it had to be live action, better special effects artists should have been found. It's not as if films like "2012" and "Knowing" didn't contain "real life" illusions as spectacular as anything called for in "The Last Airbender."
Does he know that ILM did the VFX for The Last Airbender and that there are no "better special effects artists" to be found and that (from what I can see in the trailer) the VFX in TLA are top notch?

Ebert on The Last Airbender

Anyway you seem to have a much better understanding of the films actual problems than Ebert, Ben, and I can't help but feel that from what you said this is largely M. Night's failing. The most shocking failure you mention, to me, is the casting and direction of Ang. I hoped it was just the trailer, but the standard scowl Ringer seemed to be using when playing Ang is not Ang at all. As Sokka, the producers of the TV-show, and the actor who portrays Ang in the TV-show say: "Ang is just a goofy kid". It's the whole charm of the character. He already has the weight of the world on his shoulders when Sokka and Katara find him in the ice, and even though it causes him worry from time to time, he is not a whiny, broody person. Why M. Night would change that I don't know.
Posted: Sat, 10th Jul 2010, 4:40pm

Post 41 of 42

ben3308

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It's also just how he looks. Noah Ringer is a martial arts kid, not an actor. So he doesn't act well, and doesn't 'look' very pretty either. The kid has, to be blunt, huge f*cking teeth in a small ass head. biggrin
Posted: Wed, 28th Jul 2010, 2:44am

Post 42 of 42

futurefilmmaker

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wow i saw the last airbender movie, it kinda really sucks....Saka isn't even funny...and that was the one thing i was looking foward to!!