Thursday, May 27, 2010

Last Airbender Trailer and Comments

At first, I was skeptical, but the more I watch the trailers for the upcoming film adaptation of the animated epic Avatar: The Last Airbender, than which no better animated kids' show is ever likely to be made, the more pumped I get. M. Night Shyamalan, he of the predictable twists and mumbling actors, would not have been my first choice for director, but maybe an epic story invented by somebody else is exactly what he needs to regain that energy and skill he showed way back in The Sixth Sense.

I'm guessing from the trailer that this is going to more-or-less follow the first book (of three) of the cartoon series, with some alterations--I notice a talking dragon, for example, and while everyone knows I have nothing against talking dragons, I'm wondering what the heck it's doing there.

The bending looks great and the trailer roolz, but it also makes me nervous. "It has begun"? Whenever that line is delivered at the end of a trailer, it's usually a sign that the film sucks. I mean, criminey, when you're dropping cliches in the trailer, what's the dialogue in the actual movie like?

One way or the other, being based as it is on the first book--and I've confirmed this by checking the cast list--the film will suffer one major drawback: no Toph. Toph Bei Fong, in case you don't know, is a twelve-year-old blind girl with bad manners and an attitude problem, who also happens to be the world's greatest earthbender, a power she abuses by beating up muscle-bound men in a pro-wrestling-like competition. Like all fictional blind people, she has heightened senses that give her an advantage over the seeing; in particular, she can sense sonic vibrations through her feet, which produce an accurate 3D mental map of her surroundings.

Toph is not simply my favorite character from Avatar. She's my favorite character. Ever. Period. Due to my heroine addiction, any story can instantly win my goodwill by introducing a spindly female who beats the bejabbers out of men three times her size, especially if she makes sarcastic comments while doing it. Although Avatar had my goodwill from the first episode, when it introduced Toph in the second book, my goodwill became distilled and pure. Toph makes only one major mistake in the series: she refuses when Appa, the giant, fuzzy flying byson, offers to snuggle. Anyone who passes up the opportunity to snuggle a giant fuzzy animal is clearly a fool. I would definitely snuggle the giant furry snot monster if I had the opportunity. Toph. But maybe there will be a sequel?
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