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we saw wut u did thar, paramount
Who's to Blame for The Last Airbender? 
16th-Jul-2010 07:40 pm
Kimi ni Todoke 3
I got the newest issue of Entertainment Weekly in the mail today, and while skimming through and geeking out all of the awesome movies to come, I came across a follow-up review that attempts to pick apart The Last Airbender to see what went wrong.  No mentioning of the racebending controversy and it's kind of harsh towards immensely better original series, but it does point out some of the non-racebending reasons that contributed to its failure. Not the greatest review, but it was somewhat relevant so I figured it was worth posting.

17th-Jul-2010 07:13 pm (UTC)
For html help:

< lj-cut text="scan here" > < img src="url" > < /lj-cut>

without the spaces :D
18th-Jul-2010 03:22 am (UTC)
Fixed it! Thanks! :D
17th-Jul-2010 07:22 pm (UTC)
Lol this is honestly the first time I've heard criticism of the show that wasn't just "I don't really like it". I'd like to know what show he thinks ISN'T packed with tropes and borrowing from other stories, though.
17th-Jul-2010 07:46 pm (UTC)
Well duh, if it's not 100% original, it sucks. So you know what that means for Hollywood itself...

Obviously the guy who said that about Avatar wasn't paying attention to the script or animation in the least.
(Deleted comment)
17th-Jul-2010 09:59 pm (UTC)
I don't like reading the articles here because sometimes they're so bad. Rather, I read people's comments in this community for laughs. Did the article mention the huge cross on Aang's back? Though it's not exclusive to Christianity, I think it was definitely added (IT WASN'T IN THE SHOW, MANOJ!) because of that connection. Signs had aliens, but Shyamalan still managed to have a huge Christian aspect in the movie.
17th-Jul-2010 09:33 pm (UTC)
Amateurish pap "review" that isn't even fit to print. Wonderful.
17th-Jul-2010 10:15 pm (UTC)
"Quick, we need to fill a page!"
17th-Jul-2010 10:35 pm (UTC)
I'm not even sure this warrants the word "article." It was just some guy who seems really annoying saying something in a condensed way (no offense to you star_bolt08).

Geez, this guy doesn't like the cartoon (bet he only saw one episode), but like the "effects" of The Last Airbender? NO.

And The Last Airbender deserves lower than a C. A C means that a movie is still somewhat entertaining, which this was not.
18th-Jul-2010 02:56 am (UTC)
None taken. :D I wasn't all that thrilled about this either and was hesitant to refer to it as an article for the reasons you said, but I thought it was worth sharing here since it was relevent. I thought that bashing of the original series was uncalled for, but I'm curious as to why this guy didn't give the film a lower grade if he thinks that the cartoon and the film are both so bad. Was he really that dazzled by the special effects?
17th-Jul-2010 10:46 pm (UTC)
I agree that this is a pretty...bleah kind of review, I think it's interesting that the media (and fan) common wisdom is that it's a failure. It may not be a bomb, but it's not a financial/critical/fan success by any means and the more that those things become "common wisdom," the harder it's going to be to defend it as a viable franchise in this incarnation.

Financial success, by the way, is holding it up to the tent pole status that Paramount was trying to make it out to be. It's not a bomb, but it hasn't seen as big a return on their money that the studio needed it to be.
17th-Jul-2010 11:35 pm (UTC)
veritable trash compactor of familiar tropes and effects

Ah, yeah, just like all those OTHER shows about asian fantasy with brown protagonists and good hard looks at war where the colonizers aren't -all- bad people and the oppressed aren't -all- good people!

And I know I watch so many shows where the martial arts are actually researched, and not just "We got someone to do a flying spin kick for this one shot or something".

18th-Jul-2010 02:12 am (UTC)

I always found it intriguing and weary that some elements of the American literati such as this douche seems to reserve some of their worst vitrolic critique against mediums that deal with POC's.

It happened to Toni Morrison, to James Baldwin, and now even a kids show by two WHITE guys like this but just because the content is.

A pretty disturbing trend throughout this country's history.
18th-Jul-2010 02:21 am (UTC)

Examples like this runt from the Entertainment Weekly are unfortunately the norm not the exception to the rule. The fact that Gleiberman and a number of media pundits (save Roger Ebert and a few good men) are totally silent on the Racebending controversy or play it down, shows enough that the rot of apathy goes deeper than a few knee-jerk reactionary fanboys/girls or some fringe outright racialists.

It's enough to for me to mark down people like Gleiberman in my book as NOT the good guys. As long as the issue is not given the due coverage it deserves, we have to be vigilant that there are a whole baggage (if not the overwhelming great majority) of American culture continues to have contempt and apathy towards minorities especially in this case, Asian Americans. And the dearth of coverage over it and the downplaying of the idea that minority Americans can have their cultures celebrated in media speaks volumes about that contempt.

18th-Jul-2010 03:07 am (UTC)
borrowing from movies and graphic novels and anime and videogames

Those... those are some pretty wide mediums there. This guy gives no specifics - the show could have taken elements from franchises as varied as James Bond, Bone, Hetalia, and Pokemon. "Movies" are not all the same - neither are graphic novels, anime, or videogames, for that matter!
18th-Jul-2010 04:10 am (UTC)
This. I just got the A:tLA art book today (I was blown-way by how absolutely gorgeous and incredibly in-depth it is), and there are mentions of influences that come from anime, books, films and other media as varied as Star Wars, FLCL, The Money Pit and Heart of Darkness. And even then, Mike, Bryan and everyone else who worked on Avatar meant to pay homage to the things they loved and drew inspiration from, not rip them off. That comment of his is just a lazy generalization that doesn't really have a leg to stand on. I wonder if he's ever seen the series or if he just drew his own conclusions without giving it a chance. He should try skimming through the art book; that would give him a lot of much needed insight about the original series and how it came to be. I'll always love the original series, but reading through the art book has shown me how unique it is and made me appreciate it so much more.
18th-Jul-2010 04:14 am (UTC)
So what if the series has a bunch of familiar tropes and borrowed from other sources. EVERYTHING DOES! It's how the story is told that's important.

Edited at 2010-07-18 04:22 am (UTC)
18th-Jul-2010 04:28 am (UTC)
Since you say you got this today, I rather want to write a letter to ET to tell them that this article has nothing to stand on re: criticism of the show. At least with that, I'm far less likely to go on tl;dr rants. Though I also am more likely to use sarcasm like "It's just like those other American-produced children's shows where we have complex Asian and Inuit heroes! Oh wait, they don't exist. :|"
18th-Jul-2010 09:49 pm (UTC)
"It's just like those other American-produced children's shows where we have complex Asian and Inuit heroes! Oh wait, they don't exist. :|"

Ooh, I vote for this response!
18th-Jul-2010 05:46 am (UTC)
I saw the movie. I am one of those people. Sorry.

All I've got to say to this article is this...

18th-Jul-2010 01:51 pm (UTC)

The insults towards the original show made me very, very angry.

I'm wondering if the person even watched the show or just read the wiki article.
18th-Jul-2010 10:01 pm (UTC)
I don't usually read EW (or any other newsstand mags, aw), but I'm kind of surprised a page like this would be included in it! Am I expecting too much from EW? The critiques seem mostly... amateurish, and it's clear he hasn't seen much of the original show. Or maybe shows in general, if he doesn't realize most series contain familiar tropes and effects, with some inspiration from previously existing mediums.

What makes me laugh though is that despite all of the criticisms and "Who's to blame for this movie? Everyone is!" they still give the movie a solid C. Really? Not even a C-? Am I just misunderstanding how these type of ratings work, or do ratings just not reflect the review parts anymore?
19th-Jul-2010 10:39 pm (UTC)
I'm really glad I'm not the only one who got irritated at the "trope trash-compactor" comment. It came up in EW's site review of The Last Airbender as well, in addition to an assumption that the movie is "compulsively faithful to the show". Hmm.


As for the C rating, I recall that this same magazine gave Avatar's series finale a B- in the blurb they did about it a while back. I know opinions differ about the series ender, but I really find it... annoying, to say the very least, that there's such a small difference between the two grades.

On a note somewhat relevant to Racebending, maybe we can send comments to the magazine and attempt to get them published in the reader "Feedback" section. Our family has a subscription to the magazine, and I occasionally see responses to movie reviews cropping up. It's another chance to bring the horrible casting to light - not on the basis of the acting, which Gleiberman apparently covered - but because the movie tore the diversity of the show away, and the "article" doesn't mention it at all. It's one more aspect of the movie that needs blame.

I'm sorry if I got off topic earlier, by the way. I've always loved coming to this comm to read about the casting - it's only now that I've gotten around to joining, and I regret not doing it earlier.
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