After the overwhelming negative response from critics and, more importantly, fans, you'd think that M. Night Shyamalan would have digested at least some of the criticism levied at The Last Airbender. After his recent interview with IGN, however, it seems that Shyamalan has his own thoughts on why his film was a box office flop and also left supporters of the TV series raging.
When asked if he was aware of the many, many legitimate issues with the movie, Shyamalan pretty much blames all the problems on viewers expecting the wrong thing. Here's how he defended his film:
Okay, I'm gonna need to revisit one of my favorite shows of all time before I can even try to deal with that sentence.
You could make it one of two ways: You could make it for that same audience, which is what I did -- for nine and 10-year-olds -- or you could do the Transformers version and have Megan Fox.
Alright, back to the task at hand!
In short: Shyamalan thinks people didn't like The Last Airbender because it was a kid's movie and not an adult blockbuster.
It wasn't the mispronunciation of key characters' names, the whitewashing of a canonically diverse cast, the total lack of coherent pacing, the indiscernible visual effects, or the complete squandering of a beautiful and extensive world. No, to Shyamalan, the problem with The Last Airbender was that we all wanted Megan Fox.
Even if you liked the movie, there's just so much wrong with his statement. For starters, the original show was ostensibly a kid's program and definitely appealed to nine and 10-year-olds, but it also easily translated for people of all ages. I didn't watch it until I was in college, and I didn't need sultry babes or constant explosions to hold my interest. No, it was the finely-tuned story, the fully realized characters, and the evolving stakes that made me love the show, and the movie lacked all of those essential elements.Out of all the complaints I've ever heard about the movie (and there are many), I've never heard of anyone wishing that it contained more sex appeal. Not once.
Shyamalan's answer totally disregards the REAL reasons why most Avatar: The Last Airbender fans had a problem with his adaptation. I fear we may have missed the boat on a big budget, live-action trilogy, but at least the animated series remains phenomenal no matter how many times you watch it.