M. Night Shyamalan's The Last Airbender

The famous director proves once again that no franchise is safe.

Just The Facts

  1. Avatar: The Last Airbender is an American-made, anime-influenced children's show broadcast on Nickelodeon. It's three season story arc was received with huge success.
  2. In 2008, acclaimed director M. Night Shyamalan signed on to create a live-action adaptation. Fans were outraged at the decision to replace the actors with sock puppets.
  3. Fans were angry once again when learning that the sock puppets were the wrong color.
  4. In early 2009 the film had to change its name to avoid confusion with James Cameron's "Avatar" - considering its position in the box office, the confusion might have helped.

The Excitement Builds

I will admit I was excited to hear that "Avatar: The Last Airbender" was being made into a feature film. Yes, I am a fan of the show -even with my passionate distaste for all things Nickelodeon. First off, it's American made, which means there is no post-WWII bushido culture barrier. Second, unlike most animes (in which the characters are one-dimensional) the heroes of "Airbender" have souls. They aren't simple talking heads between fight scenes nor are they canvases for unrealistic hair.

Japanese for "Character Growth"

But third, and most importantly, it's real. I don't mean "real" in the way some people out there would like it to be (You know who you are) I'm talking about the subject matter. Nickelodeon's Avatar: The Last Airbender proved a cartoon could touch on topics like genocide, racism, young love, and the environment without becoming ultra-violent or vulgar. It showed us that families who sat together for TV night could still find something every member enjoyed. It inspired millions of drunken teenagers to bring back "The Group Hug"

Remember - we drink when Sokka tells a joke!

If what I've written so far has left you with a warm feeling, please stop reading now as my next words will leave you feeling broken and alone. I cannot write heartfelt musings anymore - my heart is gone; M. Night Shyamalan ripped it out of me.

"What if you never had a heart? What if you were an alien?"

The Madness Begins

I told you before that I was excited "Airbender" was going to become a feature film. What I didn't tell you is that I was even more excited to see Shyamalan write and direct.

Just hear me out.

If you've read The Furlinator's topic page on M. Night then you'll know that he is the quintessential one hit wonder. He directed 1999's breakout hit The Sixth Sense, arguably the best horror film of the decade. Had he stopped there he would have gained the greatest record of any director in film history. But alas, fame and fortune got to him. From that point forward each of his movies would be exponentially worse than the last. The incremental shoddiness of his films is so predictable that scientists use it to check equations.

It's called the "Shyamalan Constant" and it was used to make your cellphone.

This may sound odd, but I was rooting for the guy. The movie had a budget of $250 million. If he screwed this up, his career would be over. I hoped that every film after "Unbreakable" was just a growing pain - an artist trying to find his voice. M. Night never made an action movie before, maybe this was his chance at redemption. He even had a personal connection; both his daughters are fans of the show. With limitless effects and a dedicated fan base there's no way he could screw this up! He wouldn't betray his daughters to put his own spin on the story, right?


"Does it look like I care what my children think?"

The movie in question