Could M. Night Shyamalan finally be emerging from his slump?
I’m not afraid to admit that “Signs” is one of my all-time favorite movies. When I watch that, like I did the other day, I feel good about M. Night Shyamalan and his unique approach at writing, directing and movie-making in general. But then I think ahead to “Lady in the Water” and “The Happening,” both of which were barely passable as okay movies, I worry that not much lies in the future for this promising movie-maker.
I found out tonight that Shyamalan is working on a new movie based on a Nickelodeon cartoon, called “The Last Airbender.”
I’m not going to lie, when a friend sent me the link to the trailer for “The Last Airbender,” I wasn’t initially all that interested (sorry Zack). But then I saw that Shyamalan wrote and directed this cartoon-to-live-action film. This instantly perked my interest.
The one thing that excites me the most about Shyamalan’s newest project is that it’s based on something that already has an established story and structure. Surely there’s promise within that aspect, right? Maybe all Shyamalan has needed all along was a good lead to work off of. Right?
On top of that, “The Last Airbender” is a fantasy story. Based on Shyamalan’s previous fantasy-mixed works like “Lady in the Water” and “Unbreakable,” maybe a true fantasy within its own world is something else that could help Shyamalan along on the path to another good movie.
But what exactly is this “Last Airbender” that my friend knows all about? I had never heard of it. Wikipedia quickly filled me in, noting that the three-season cartoon on Nickelodeon was pretty popular. According to the article, “The series follows Aang and his friends, who must save the world by defeating the Fire Lord and ending the destructive war with the Fire Nation.”
Sound interesting? No, not really. Watch the trailer and then tell me what you think:
Thinking what Shyamalan could do with this series and subject matter, especially after seeing the trailer, has me interested enough to at least go see the movie.
Now that you know a little more, the Wikipedia entry for the movie itself might fill the gaps:
In a world where the four elements can be controlled by people known as “Benders”, the Fire Nation is waging a ruthless, oppressive war to control the other great nations. The only hope for stopping the brutal war led by the Firebenders rests on the shoulders of a reluctant young boy named Aang (Noah Ringer). The last known survivor of the peaceful Air Nomads and the Airbenders, Aang is the “Avatar”. The “Avatar” is the physical re-incarnation of the world spirit, with the power to manipulate all four elements and draw upon the power, knowledge, and experiences of the Avatar’s previous incarnations. The Avatar is responsible for maintaining balance between the four nations of the world and the spirit world, hence keeping the balance of the world. Aided by a protective teenage Waterbender named Katara (Nicola Peltz) and her bull-headed brother Sokka (Jackson Rathbone), Aang begins a perilous journey to restore balance to their war-torn world. Standing in their way are Fire Nation Admiral Zhao (Aasif Mandvi) and Prince Zuko (Dev Patel), the banished prince of the Fire Nation who seeks to capture the young Avatar to regain his honor.
Now, the interesting aspect of all of this is that this movie is supposed to be the first of a trilogy. I imagine that means there’s a lot riding on Shyamalan to output something good enough to build momentum into the next two installments. I wonder if this means he’ll direct the entire trilogy or just this first film.
So what do you think? Could Shyamalan finally be onto something good?
I, for one, am intrigued. “The Last Airbender” is slated for a July 2010 release.