Wow, I must have been asleep when news that M. Night Shyamalan (pictured, left) was gearing up a live-action movie trilogy based on the cartoon “Avatar: The Last Airbender” surfaced a while back. In any case, the “Sixth Sense” director, whose latest, “The Happening” is scheduled for this Summer, is currently in pre-production on the first of the “Avatar” movies, not to be confused with James Cameron’s own epic sci-fi adventure of the same name. (My guess is that Shyamalan’s version will lose the “Avatar” part, but who knows.) Empire recently talked with Shaymalan about the forthcoming trilogy, its plot, and what to expect. In a word: BIG.
“The actual plot is in a place where there are four tribes of people. And these people each have people within their tribe that have mastery over one element: water, earth, fire or air. They all live in a balance and harmony and once every generation there is born an individual who can bend – that is manipulate – all four of those elements and thereby keep a balance between all. They are kind of a Buddha figure to some extent. The story is about how, in this particular time, this avatar is born into the airbenders and disappears. Then all hell breaks loose and the fire nation basically commits genocide and eradicates the air tribe in the hopes of killing the avatar and taking over control of everything. This child then re-emerges, which is the beginning of our story. He reappears having been frozen in the ice — there is a whole story about how that happens — a hundred years later and this world is all fucked up and he is the last airbender, but he doesn’t want this job. He’s forced into the position of putting the world back together again. It actually has a lot of Shakespearean overtones to it. There’s lots of family angst, and fathers denying sons in different storylines.”
Expect a large helping of special effects and spectacle, which means Shyamalan will have to finally get his ass out of Philadelphia and shoot somewhere else — in this case, Greenland. Seriously, what is the man’s obsession with Philadelphia? Can you love a city THAT much? It’s just unhealthy and more than a little creepy.
Anyhoo. I normally see a lot of cartoons because my nephews watches them, but for some reason, they never got into “Avatar”, so I’ve only ever seen snippets of it.