Avatar: The Last Racebender - I Mean..."Airbender"

The Last Airbender.  *shakes head*  Damn...it may very well be the last Airbender, y'all, 'cause Hollywood done gone and fucked up big time...you know, again.

Marketing 101, children: when basing a film off specific, established source material (book, TV show, comic strip, etc.), it helps to be as faithful as humanly possible to that source material.  Why?  Because you're already guaranteed viewers if you do, which makes you feel a lot better about that expensive-ass budget ($150 million, by the way).

Like...duh.

Now, various peeps are furious with M. Night Shyamalan, and rightfully so.  I know, I know..."House Negro" is such an ugly term.  But if the slave chain fits...get what I'm sayin'?

Some may defend Ole M because he's making some paper off this latest bout of racial sacrilege.  Others, of course, tend to disagree.

From Field Negro:
And before I go, I have to rip my homeboy, M. Knight Shyamalan. His latest flick, "The Last Airbender", might or might not be a good movie. But I will never know, because I will never watch it. Look M. Knight, I know you want to appeal to a certain demographic. (Hey, they buy the tickets) but you have to make a better effort to give your project some form of historical accuracy and credibility. If you don't even that certain demographic you are trying to reach will say no thanks.

...you need a hit. It's been awhile. I wasn't feeling "Signs", or "The Happening," or" Lady In The Water", or "The Village"... you get the picture. (Pun intended.) You needed a hit, and this wasn't the way to get it.
From Abagond:
There are blacks in the film. That sounds like a good thing but guess what: in the film they belong to a black-and-brown nation that is at the mercy of the Fire Nation. They are saved from genocide by the three white heroes. Hollywood never seems to tire of Mighty Whiteys saving Helpless Darkies.
Damn.  "Avatar" is truly a condemned word in Hollywood, ain't it?

Tell me something, though.  Did Hollywood really think this was a good idea?  Really?  Like, really?  Like...seriously?  I always knew Hollywood had "white agenda" stamped in giant letters on its ass, but as turns out, Hollywood's white agenda is even more important than making dough and dodging the wrath of movie critics.

So sad.  The franchise apparently has a wondrous story.  Hollywood really knows how to utterly ruin some good shit...which, to be honest, doesn't come 'round often.

Comments

  1. You know, Aang aside, why do people keep referring to the Water Benders as Asian? They are obviously Inuit.

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  2. I take it you're a fan.

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  3. I've seen like five episodes. It's more that if you want to talk about an under-represented group in...well, any kind of movie, it would probably be the Inuit, I really don't feel having another ethnic group, except perhaps other North American natives would be much better than the white folk above, though I can understand there being difficulty finding actors.

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  4. See, that's just it - I don't think there would be difficulty. These people aren't extinct, there's millions of Native Americans, and Hollywood needs just get off its lazy, discriminatin' ass and go find them.

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  5. But, Moi, are you sure it's not because there aren't any qualified actors of color to play those roles. Shouldn't quality be the most consideration? Are you saying you want to hurt the quality of "The Last Airbender" because of racial quotas?

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  6. Your sarcasm doth amuse, dear Bard.

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  7. Is that your way of saying that you think it's OK to give those roles to Asian actors just because they're Asian?

    Don't you believe in equality?

    It's just a coincidence that all the actors qualified to play leading roles in this film are White.

    You obviously have a chip on your shoulder and want to see racism where it doesn't exist!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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  8. I bet I could find 3 quality Inuit/Native American actors if somebody is willing to give me a chance. I bet anybody could find them. Two of the leads are kids anyway (as far as I understand), and it's not like Oscar-winning quality of acting is expected on their part (many kids are great actors but so many of them suck and nobody complains about it). So what's the problem here?

    Speaking of which, I know nothing about the girl playing Katara and the younger boy, but Jackson Rathbone? Please. If he's the most quality actor they could find, I must seriously question their standards.

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  9. One more thing: diversity. (I am seriously going to start hating that word, since it usually brings no good in discussions).

    If they really wanted to make the cast diverse (since it's a fantasy world, right?)- they would cast one (1) white character in a supporting role (a villain or a positive but a supporting character). After all, that's what they do to POC actors when they try to make casting diverse. This is not the case here. I wonder why.

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  10. hi, ankhensen

    well, I guess it's the return of Pocahontas these days.
    I mean, looks like hollywood doesn't want to change these stories in any aspect. I'm so tired of it. And the worst thing is the director isn't even white.

    And trust me, Brad. There are plenty of actors of color better than these teenagers for sure. They are no Meryl Streeps. Only in Brazil I could show you a handful of them.

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  11. @ chkaran

    Nope. It's 2010 - two thousand friggin' ten - and we're still dealing with this shit.

    Hollywood is actually going backward if you ask me.

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  12. The only good thing that has come out of this whole debacle is that Avatar is being panned by everyone. I feel somewhat vindicated.

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  13. I find it quite amusing that a movie that was 95% percent Asian was a huge hit (The Karate Kid), and the movie that should have been 95% Asian will probably be a gigantic, financial flop.

    Irony abounds...

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  14. The whole "best actors for the role" excuse went out of the window becasue the reviews for the film said how all 3 protagonist were really crappy. The boy who played Aang was chosen for his martial arts ability not for his acting and he had to attend an actingbootcamp before they started filming.

    The whole film is nothing like the series no cmedy no light heartedness just dark seriousness. Hope more people don't watch it.

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  15. I never planned to see this movie and I definitely won't now. This is absolute ridiculousness.

    In terms of quality acting, does anyone truly believe *that* is coming out of Hollywood these days? Think of all the dreck that has been produced within the last year and quality isn't a word I'd use to describe the acting. And people believe Hollywood *can't* go and find decent actors of color? It can certainly find anything else it wants.

    M. Night needs to be bitch-slapped all up and down the Walk of Fame for not allowing his vision to come to fruition. And if The Last Airbender as stands is *his* vision, then he truly needs to be bitch-slapped and sucker-punched.

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  16. Yeah, it looks like the reviewers are tearing it to shreds and rightly so.

    But I have to again point out, Inuit != American Indian, much in the way that Japanese != Chinese. And there are only about 150,000 Inuit people left, which is roughly half the size of South Charleston. I can understand not picking a lead actor from that (not that they could have did any worse than who they did pick), and expanding choices out to other Native North American groups*. However they SHOULD have gone out of the way to have a good amount of the supporting cast of the Water Village and perhaps done some on location stuff, hired a "cultural reference" guide, that sort of thing to show respect and just to raise public awareness that they're still around if nothing else.

    * And a lot of Indigenous Americans would still have a big problem with this, but I personally take a "we are stronger" together stance for all the Native Peoples of North and South America.

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  17. akantis,

    I did mean on Inuit actors. I am aware there might not be many professional ones, but as far as I understand, the kid cast in the main role is not a professional actor either.

    And yes, casting actors of other Native American groups is not the same, and it is, perhaps, insulting on its own, because creates (once again) this image that all Natives, or all Asians, or all Africans are the same. Still, it is clear from the animated series that white people are not protagonists.

    If they wanted to make a diverse cast, fine. They could cast Asians and Inut (or other Indigenous Americans) in the main roles, and have whites in the supporting ones. Hey, they could even cast one white actor for one of the 4 main roles- it still won't be perfect, but it would be better. (Why isn't Zuko white, for example?)

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  18. Akantis,

    This isn't an anthropological debate. In case you've forgotten, this is about Hollywood screwing up majorly for the billionth time, and hiring a house Negro to do their dirty work. Stay on topic (notice how Mira keeps talking about casting options, supporting roles, etc.).

    Whenever commenters have a racial (and/or anthropological) topic near and dear to their hearts, I often offer them a chance to do a guest post. If you'd like to scribble one for our viewing and educational pleasure, by all means, email me and we'll go from there.

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