It looks like those of us who like M. Night Shyamalan but have been hoping he would make a move away from the formulaic genre he’s been in for a while are about to get our wish. Shyamalan is currently in pre-production adapting the popular cartoon, Avatar: The Last Airbender, into an expected movie trilogy. It is expected to be the next project he works on after he’s finished up with The Happening.
Empire Magazine did an interview with Shyamalan in which they discussed his upcoming project. In the interview, Shyamalan discussed the plot of Avatar: The Last Airbender thusly:
“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 ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â‚¬Å“ that is manipulate ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â‚¬Å“ 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 ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â‚¬? there is a whole story about how that happens ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â‚¬? a hundred years later and this world is all fucked up and he is the last airbender, but he doesnÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢t want this job. HeÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s forced into the position of putting the world back together again. It actually has a lot of Shakespearean overtones to it. ThereÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s lots of family angst, and fathers denying sons in different storylines.”
Now, I’ll be the first to admit that I know absolutely nothing about this cartoon other than what I read in the interview and on a few other sites. I’ll also admit that I’m not intrigued at all by the Buddhist and Hindu philosophies of the show that seem to be a big part of what drew Shyamalan to the project. Frankly, I don’t want to go see a cool sci-fi movie so they can fill my head with Buddhist and Hindu philosophies…that’s just not my thing.
However, the overall concept of the cartoon as a sci-fi action movie could be incredibly cool. I could see some really incredible special effects coming out of it. Also, if Shyamalan is able to pull off the special effects part of the equation and blend it with the stuff we already know he can do well, we could be in for a real treat. Add to that the fact that it’s already being planned as a trilogy (but then, what film isn’t these days) and we know the story will actually get finished.
You can read the rest of the interview that’s posted by clicking here.
So what do you guys think? Is this a good move for Shyamalan? Are any of you fans of this cartoon?