by Chris Eaton-
Here’s a project I’ve been following very closely since it was announced last year. M. Night Shaymalan’s adaptation of Nick Toon’s AVATAR: THE LAST AIRBENDER.
This show was that rare cartoon that unshackled its self from the stereotypes of American cartoons. Continuity heavy, fully developed characters that you care about, superb action, and tight writing made this show not only appealing to kids, but was great for older viewers too. Hell, a good chunk of its fan base is over 20 years old. In fact, its greatness can only be compared to Disney’s Gargoyles, a show that was ahead of its time also.
So when it was announced that M. Night would be writing and directing this, I was a bit unnerved. This project was announced before THE HAPPENING, M. Nights true fall from grace, but his track record for his films after SIGNS along with his shooting style that didn’t seem to fit this type of film. But, this being his first film based on something he didn’t create, I’m hoping that the ego that he’s apparently developed is put in check here.
Coming from that, USA TODAY has posted the first 2 pics from the film.
The first being Slumdog Millionaire star Dev Patel as Fire Nation prince Zuko. Zuko is the main nemesis in the first season that eventually rejects his nation’s ways and joins the avatar to bring down his father, the Fire Lord.
The second being the films star, new comer and black belt 12 year old Noah Ringer as Aang, the LAST AIRBENDER.
Verdict, impressed. Zuko in the series is more Asian inspired, (the world of Avatar could be based around the entire spectrum of Asian culture, Japanese, Chinese, Thai, ect) and Patel being Indian (technically Asian) the geek in me is miffed. But Shyamalan has stated that each of the nations will have distinct cultural looks to them aside from their powers (EARTH, WIND, FIRE, WATER), so it could work.
M. Night Shyamalan’s THE LAST AIRBENDER opens July 2nd, 2010.