I've been considering this for a few days. Before going any farther realize that there may be things you consider spoilers on the way. I'll try not to mention much but this journal entry could easily turn into a rant.
If after reading this you have a negative comment about the movie, I'd rather not see it. If you wish to discuss an item in here then we might talk. Your comment(s) may or may not be replied to depending.
We'll start off with the main thing. I went to see The Last Airbender (in 2D as my theater does not have enough 3D projectors to have more than one or two movies being shown in 3D) this past Saturday with my roommate. We went knowing what was being criticized by friends with the idea that we would form our own opinion of the 1 hour and 40 minute movie. The end result, we over all enjoyed it. Wasn't the best movie but we liked it especially with some understandings that we determined before and during the movie.
For those riding the fence or out right not wanting to go, keep this in mind: If you are expecting to see the series with lots of funny moments, don't go to the movie. This is more serious, very few funny moments though they are there (mainly in the beginning). If you're willing to put your "It must be exactly like the series" ideas aside and keep in mind that it is an adaptation then you may like or even love the movie.
Possible spoilers starting now, so if you're still reading but don't want to have anything spoiled then stop reading now and do not post a comment.
Now, the one thing that people got irritated about was how much they would explain things on the screen. This had its irritating moments with me as well but at the same time I understood a need for it with the way the movie was made. That is, not everyone who goes to see it knows what happened in the series. For another the movie is an adaptation of the show, something that was consider a children's show and thus the movie would be still see as such in some areas.
Another thing, many knew this before the movie even came out but the fire benders having to have fire on hand to create fire. This was not so in the series. When I thought about it shortly after hearing some people being irritated by this change I actually understood it and wondered why I hadn't thought about it before. In the series the only benders who did not need their element on hand were fire benders. If you think about it that does not make sense. Fire is not made from the body, yes we have heat but not so much that we can burn things. Short, wind, water, and earth benders need their element present to use, why shouldn't the Fire Nation been the same. Yes, then putting out their flame would have rendered them powerless but all one would need would be have one person defend the flame while another attacks with it.
Name pronunciation. Here's the real bugger for many, I only have hypotheses for these. The names being Sokka, Iroh, Aang, and Avatar.
I'll only work with one, so let's work with one of the two most obvious as they're probably said the most: Sokka. Series his name is pronounced Sah-Kah, movie it's Soh-kah. With me this wasn't too hard of a jump, why? Because when I started off with the series I would go between the two pronunciations. Now as me and my friend discussed it before and after the movie, we wondered if there was a possibility that the series was actually saying the names wrong rather than the movie. I've never looked into the names but considering the creators were big fans of many different Eastern Asian Animations the names were likely chosen from the cultures in these areas. Now who's to say they could have just read the names, thought this is how they sound and then found out years later they were wrong. Or make it even bigger, Nick requiring the names to sound the way they decided (AKA don't anger the ones financing you by telling them "you're wrong"). Granted this hypothesis could be reversed as well, namely that everything that I said that dealt with the idea that the show had the names wrong and were forced might have been with the movie.
I can hear mentally that some people are saying no it has to be MKS's fault, he had no idea what he was doing with this. Some maybe even pegging him as a non-fan.
All things considered MKS was a fan, thanks to his daughter and her requesting he buy the first season when they saw it in a store one day. From there they went and made it family night to watch the series to which ended up causing MKS to become a huge fan to the point that supposedly he approached the creators on if they thought it should be made into a movie. His first draft of the screen play would have been a 14 hour movie, almost everything from the series if not all of it. Epic yes, but not needed (you consider how many episodes were pretty much fluff compared to the main story, other than to establish relationships). He called in the creators to help him get the script down to movie size. Supposedly the main cuts to the script were from the creators so you can't fully blame MKS on the movie as the creators had a hand in helping him.
Back to how things were pronounced. The one that I'm even slightly confused about is Avatar. This however as I was preparing to type this I had a thought that might make since. As we know the movie Avatar came out earlier this year (and recently came to DVD and Blueray). James Cameron has the title Avatar copyrighted as a movie title before The Last Airbender was fully realize. We hear more that they took out the "Avatar" part to keep people who didn't know about the show from getting confused into thinking it was another Avatar. Another reason that a friend pointed out to me would be because of the title Avatar being copyright for a movie name. So my hypothesis on this might be they decided the best way to separate the two more was to pronounce Avatar differently. That irritated me but I can live with it.
The next thing that I heard complaints about. Certain characters not appearing in the movie. Now I know we want to see our favorite characters but you have to consider thing. #1 Suki, she was in all of one episode in the first season and her and Sokka didn't get together until the second season when she showed up in two or three episodes. Because of this Suki really isn't needed in this movie. This and the fact that since Princess Yue was Sokka's love interest in the movie, which as a "kid's movie" gave them more reason to not have Suki in it as it would have made Sokka look like to some as two timing Suki with Yue. And before anybody tried to argue, well it won't make sense in the next one when she shows up in the next one (if they even get the go head to make it). The fact that they went on liberating villages, who's to say they didn't meet Suki when on Kyoshi Island off camera. In that they could bring her in that way if they so chose to.
The change of Roku to a Dragon Spirit, actually only heard this one tonight but I had a hypothesis before I even heard about it. My thoughts, Aang never asked if the dragon spirit had a name. I'm more of the mind that the dragon spirit is Roku's spirit form since his death or even a combination of his own dragon and himself; sort of an idea of this is what happens with the animal you are connected to when you die... ie if Aang were to die he'd be a talking Appa... about as funny a thought to me as Appa and Momo in samurai stuff fighting. Aside from this the dragon spirit may be able to take the form of Roku as well.
I think, in the end what came out of me watching this is I went in there knowing it was not going to be the series. I realized it was going to be an adaptation. As one review I read pointed out pretty much anything that started out as a cartoon and was changed to live action has never been the same as the show save for the original Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (not the TMNT version, the actual live action ones).
One of my few outright complaints is that I would have liked it to be longer and in that maybe it would have helped the story. I would have preferred it to be an hour longer though even I'm not sure what they could have fully done with this that would not have been fluff other than trying to establish relationships a bit better. It makes me wonder if Nick decided that the fans of the show would not stand for Harry Potter length movies as I don't remember any Nick movies that went to theaters ever being even 2 hours long.
The other thing that bugged me was that many of the scenes with bending effects looked to be lack. As one person put it, it looked like they actually meant to have much more happening but never did for some reason. I would have liked to have seen the bending effects start right away instead of a number of large "showy" looking martial arts moves before the element being called for attacking started working. Defending was quick, but not the offense. It's one thing I really think they should have spent more time working on at least with the other benders. They were fine with the firebenders, most of their bending were instantaneous with their moves.
Hmmm, I realize this whole thing is very much all over the place but we'll have to live with it.
I may update this if somebody brings up something that I forgot to mention or didn't hear. Likely I'll defend and or put up another hypothesis of why something happened the way I did. Though there may be some things I agree with.
Well I'm going to post this before I go and add more above probably making it even more confusing.
- Listening to: A mix of songs played at the local hockey arena
- Reading: Harry Potter
- Playing: World of Warcraft
- Drinking: Mtn Dew