I can’t decide how I feel about this; on the one hand, I love the animation style of the cartoon Avatar, and would love to see feature-length animated movies. On the other, how awesome might the live-action version be? If it’s done properly, one might argue it could be Very Awesome Indeed.
(Full disclaimer: I say this as a woman who read and loved the Harry Potter books, and fully intended to hate the movies. I don’t hate them. They’re different than the books, sure, but quite marvelous in their own right.)
And—most importantly, because I am nothing if not self-serving—I suspect live-action films may have a larger draw than animated ones, which means the goodness that is Avatar can just spread further. And that would be a Very Good Thing Indeed.
Regardless, the first of three planned movies is in the works, and with an impressive director at the helm:
M. Night Shyamalan is making a rare foray into family films with a feature based on a popular animated series on the Nickelodeon kids cable channel.
“Avatar: The Last Airbender,” a series influenced by Asian art, mythology and fighting styles, has attracted an audience beyond Nickelodeon’s usual 6-11 demographic.
Shyamalan will write, direct and produce the live-action adaptation for Paramount Pictures’ MTV Films and Nick Movies. They hope it will turn into a three-picture series with Shyamalan’s continuing involvement.
The project marks the first time that Shyamalan, who is known for crafting original screenplays, will direct material he didn’t create. His last children’s film was 1999′s “Stuart Little,” which he co-wrote.
Shyamalan co-wrote Stuart Little? How did I not know that? And here I was thinking he was the perfect choice because he’ll keep it dark and creepy, but apparently he can keep it dark and creepy and silly and kid-friendly, if needed. Bonus!
Is it wrong of me to hope that an Avatar movie brings us some additional Avatar merchandise? My son wants all manner of obscure items he’s seen on the TV show, most of which don’t actually exist as toys. (I don’t dare show him that Lego is now making Avatar sets….)
Sorry, I got off on my own little tangent there. Ahem. Anyway! The course of the true Avatar ne’er did run smooth, it appears:
Because James Cameron also is about to film a new project titled “Avatar,” the films could end up in a showdown over their titles. Cameron’s camp said he began his “Avatar” screenplay 12 years ago. Both camps say they have registered the title with the Motion Picture Assn. of America.
How does something like that get resolved, anyway? Is there some approved method of film association smackdown where the creative teams go head-to-head to determine who gets to own the title? What else could you call this movie, anyway? Aang: The Last Airbender could work, maybe, but rabid fans everywhere would complain, I’m sure. Me, I don’t care what they call it.
I just want to see what sort of effects they’ll use to make a realistic, live-action Appa. (And maybe a small part of me wants to see some bald kid tattooed with a glowing arrow on his head, too. Don’t judge me.)