M Night Defends Against Accusations of Racism

Earth kingdom Actors

Since the first casting calls for The Last Airbender, M Night has been under fire with accusations of Racism for the Casting decisions made in The Last Airbender, lately Night has been a bit more vocal in the defense of his casting choices, and I must say he makes some good points against those who say his casting decisions were racist. (Many so called “Racebenders” arguments are so blatantly ridiculous it’s laughable).

Possibly the most outrageous claim from “Racebenders” is that M Night intentionally cast White Skinned people vs Dark Skinned people with Darker Skinned people as the “Villians”. It begs me to question whether these people have actually even WATCHED the show, due to the fact that Zuko and Iroh (SPOILER ALERT) become some of the major heroes in the movie, becoming instrumental in putting an end to a hundred year war fueled by intolerance, hatred, and imagine that racism..

The main message of Avatar is one of tolerance and also of fighting against intolerance and injustice (in a sense fighting against racism). Here is what M Night had to say on the subject.

“Here’s the reality: first of all, the Uncle Iroh character is the Yoda character in the movie, and it would be like saying that Yoda was a villain. So he’s Persian.”

The filmmaker also said that some of the perceived villains in the story are actually the heroes.

“And Dev Patel is the actual hero of the series, and he’s Indian, okay? The whole point of the movie is that there isn’t any bad or good. The irony is that I’m playing on the exact prejudices that the people who are claiming I’m racist are doing.

“They immediately assume that everyone with dark skin is a villain. That was an incredibly racist assumption which as it turns out is completely incorrect.”

M Night says (And I agree) that people attacking Airbender for racism are completely missing the target:

“Well, you caught me. I’m the face of racism. I’m always surprised at the level of misunderstanding, the sensitivities that exist. As an Asian-American, it bothers me when people take all of their passion and rightful indignation about the subject and then misplace it.”

Earth kingdom Actors

The Earth Kingdom will be made up primarily of Asian Actors, The Earth Kingdom is the LARGEST NATION in the Avatar World. Avatar which is largely Influenced by Asian Mythology will feature an interesting look at Asian Culture.

Shyamalan also discusses his mindset while choosing the characters for the show, and if you stop to think about it, it makes a whole lot of sense.

“There are four nations, and I had to eventually make a decision about what nationality each of them are. What happened was, Noah Ringer walked in the door – and there was no other human being on the planet that could play Aang except for this kid. To me, he felt mixed race with an Asian quality to him. I made all the Air nomads mixed race – some of them are Hispanic, some of them are Korean. Every monk you see in a flashback, in that world, are all mixed race because they’re nomadic. I felt that really worked as a culture. OK, so that’s one-quarter of our world population. The second group is the Fire Nation; when Dev was cast as Zuko, I said, OK, I have to cast an Uncle Iroh that looks like his uncle. We’re going to go from Indian/Persian to Mediterranean, all that group with all its darker colors including Italians.

Moving on to the third group, which is the Earth kingdom (which is the biggest kingdom in this fictional world): I liked a bunch of the people who happened to be Japanese, Korean, Philippine, so I decided to make the Earth kingdom Asians. Now we’re at three-quarters of the world. Now I have the brother and sister left. If you don’t have an edict of “don’t put white people in the movie” then the Water tribe can be European/Caucasian. So that’s how it ended up. So now we’re at one-half of the population of the movie which is not white.”

One thing I think that’s very interesting about the controversy is that Racebenders are angry because there isn’t enough Asians being cast in the show, ironically the Earth Kingdom will be primarily made up of Asian Actors, the Earth Kingdom is the LARGEST NATION in the Avatar World., Toph one of the Main Characters on the same level as Aang, Sokka, Zuko, and Katara is going to be Asian. So for main characters different Ethnicities being represented are Asian, Indian, Caucasian, Phillipino, African, etc.. Sound culturally diverse? That’s because it is. Sound Racist? didn’t think so and that’s because The Last Airbender is probably the farthest movie from being racist that I’ve ever seen. Night sums it up by saying:

The Last Airbender Racism

The Last Airbenders' main characters will be represented by a mix of various Ethnicities including: Asian, Indian, Philipino, Caucasion,.. and more, Does that sound Racist? ... It doesn't even sound racist because it isn't racist.

“I had complete say in casting. So if you need to point the racist finger, point it at me, and if it doesn’t stick, then be quiet.”
M Night Shyamalan – Quoted from Various Sources (See Below)

Personally I can’t see how The Last Airbender can be construed as Racist in any shape or form, and I applaud M. Night for appreciating a show about Tolerance, Respect, and a healthy appetite for diversity; and turning into a mainstream live action movie.”  I hope to see my readers in Theaters!

Feel free to share your thoughts on the subject.

References and Additional Reading:

Digital Spy – Shyamalan Denies Racism
Cinema Blend – The Last Airbender is not Racist
Cinematical – Shyamalan on Racism Controversy

If you liked this, Share it with your Friends!

Avatar of Admin / Jordash

By:

Hey everyone, I'm the Administrator / Programmer of the site. I love anything that's awesome, and am looking for new hobbies. Let me know if you have any ideas :)

View Profile See Other Posts

You Might Also Like

Comments - 96 Posts

  1. Michael M. Said: Comment by Michael M. on June 29, 2010 at 6:21 pm | Permalink
     

    I’m really glad M. Night finally spoke up a bit more aggressively. I’m really tired of hearing from those racebending lunatics!

    Reply

    Avatar of Admin / Jordash

    Admin / Jordash Reply:

    Yeah, Agreed

    Reply

    Jade Reply:

    Agreed! And thank you, OP, for this article! Definitely sharing. ;)

    Reply

    Joe Reply:

    Try not to think the protestors are lunatics, they are not calling anyone racist, they are not calling M. Night racist, they just want fair representation. I saw the movie, and I was very disappointed with the cast of east asian and native american actors. They were reduced to background roles with very little dialogue. Native american actors didn’t even speak at all. I’m not suggesting the movie should be all asian and native american, because it wouldn’t be fair for majority of Americans who are not, but it’s also not fair when the story and cultural influences are mostly asian (particularly east asian) and native american and yet the main protagonists are not. If M. Night says the movie is diverse, why not make the main protagonist roles a mix of different ethnicities as well? Enter the Dragon movie is a good example of this.

    Reply

  2. eanrey Said: Comment by eanrey on June 29, 2010 at 7:50 pm | Permalink
     

    thank GOD it is all clarified now!

    im not involved in any side..
    i just wanna hear their word..
    and
    finally,
    i heard shyamalan’s!

    the problem is, its easy to criticise than to appreciate..and we always intend to judge before seeing things thru..

    Reply

  3. Red Said: Comment by Red on June 29, 2010 at 10:34 pm | Permalink
     

    How does his claim that the people of the Earth Kingdom will be largely Asian take away the fact that, the central characters, the heroes of the story, are Caucaisan? How does that make this better? How do you reconcile the fact that Sokka and Katara, who were Inuit, are now Caucasian, yet from what the trailers show, everyone else in their tribe (in the background, no less) is very much Inuit?

    Why aren’t Asian/Inuit actors the central focus in a pan-Asian world? The ‘saviors’ are White and the oppressed are POC and the ‘White Saviors’ are fighting against an oppressive nation made up of POC?

    The people over at racebending.com have spoken to casting agents, producers, directors and a whole host of people who work in the industry who tell us, repeatedly, that racial discrimination takes place on a daily basis. Yet people are willing to believe Paramount and M. Night’s claims that no racial was intended. Doesn’t matter if was intended, the fact is, it happened.

    No one is calling M. Night racist. We’re calling him a cog in the Hollywood machine, who operate under the belief that ‘White people=profit’. The guy has not had a hit film since who knows when. Why should he be trusted with this, especially since Mike and Bryan HAD NO SAY on how the film was made?

    Reply

    Avatar of Admin / Jordash

    Admin / Jordash Reply:

    Sorry I’m going to have to clear up some things you may not have heard about that.

    - Mike and Bryan had alot of input into the movie, and they themselves are very excited for it (Read the Art of the Animated Series book if you don’t believe me: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1595825045?ie=UTF8&tag=thebestfreega-20&linkCode=as2&camp=1789&creative=390957&creativeASIN=1595825045)
    – If I were to name the “Saviors” in the movie it would be Zuko, Toph, Aang, Sokka, Katara, Iroh, Earth Nation Soldiers, and others Every single one of those people / groups played a role in saving the day. Which is a central focus of the cartoon and movie.
    – The fact is people are calling the Casting Racist, when that couldn’t be further from the truth.

    Reply

    Avatar of mindbender

    mindbender Reply:

    I agree. I like the many ethnic and racial and native variations involved. All capable of heroic, or, underhanded deeds, as circumstances come & go. Cheers.

    Reply

  4. Ophy Said: Comment by Ophy on June 30, 2010 at 9:14 am | Permalink
     

    I am pleased to hear Night become more aggressively, plainly vocal about this issue. I do understand the concerns of those who look at the Water tribes and wonder at their color. The cartoon is a very diverse world of people and the greatest triumph of the series is the realization that “we’re all in it together”. In the cartoon, in the end, they realized they weren’t so much fighting a nation (race) as they were fighting one man. One family who wanted too much power. That is why I was okay with the lighter skin on the Water tribe people. There wasn’t a thought about it until I noticed people online talking about it. It just clicked in my mind. No one complains about the Fire nation switching from a more Japanese/Chinese/Korean Asian society to an Indian Asian society. Why? Because the nation as a whole has been shown to be homogeneous. That’s really all we needed.

    Air Nomads as actual world-traveling nomads who pick up numerous ethnic groups that mix in? That’s pretty cool. Makes ‘em kind of the gypsies of the Avatar world. Probably some of those people were trying to flee from whatever nation had control at the time.

    I think the main thing people need to think about is… we haven’t seen the movie yet. We have no idea what the vast majority of these people look like or how homogeneous the nations really are. Except Fire. We’ve seen lots of them. Give it a day. Maybe people’s minds will change when they see that so many of the people in the world are not white and that after we leave the Water tribe (and Air Nomads, how often do we see them?) in this first movie, we will be inundated with evidence that this is not a white populated world any more or less than the real one we all live in.

    Reply

  5. Airbender Fan Said: Comment by Airbender Fan on June 30, 2010 at 9:58 am | Permalink
     

    I admit Sokka and Katara (not Karata) are not as dark as they ought to be. and Zuko isn’t as white as he is was in the series. but that is not stopping me from seeing the movie and it shouldn’t stop you. all this talk of Sokka and Katara being the central heroes and therefore making it racist to not make them inuit I think is a little unnecessary. After all there are many well known characters in film who were not the central heroes. Take yoda for instance. there is not a single star wars fan out there who thinks yoda is just supporting cast, or that he is unimportant because he isn’t the central hero. Just enjoy the movie. :)

    Reply

  6. Shawn45 Said: Comment by Shawn45 on June 30, 2010 at 11:04 am | Permalink
     

    I have mixed feelings about this. In truth, I think he really should have switched around the races. The Fire Nation should have been caucasian in my opinion, and the Water Tribe should have been Inuit (Or Indian rather, considering Inuit actors are probably hard to come by). The Air Nomad and Earth Kingdom casting I have no problem with to be honest.

    It will be weird to see Toph as a small asian girl though, because she doesn’t look asian at all in the show.

    Reply

    Nemle Reply:

    @Shawn45…Toph’s last name is Bei Fong. I’m pretty sure she’s of Asian decent. lol

    @Article…so glad M. Night finally spoke out more about this. I’ve been defending for weeks now. I do agree that the races could’ve been switched with the Fire Nation and Water Tribe and probably would’ve avoided a lot of hassle, but they all made that call and I support them in it.

    @OP…thanks!

    Reply

    BooBooSushi Reply:

    how does toph not look asian? not only is the earth kingdom in the cartoon series based off of primarily CHINESE culture [hair, dress, food, architecture, written language, etc]. Toph, other than her eye color, looks like a typical Chinese girl from nobility.

    what you said is absurd.

    Reply

  7. Avatar of Admin / Jordash
    Admin / Jordash Said: Comment by Admin / Jordash on June 30, 2010 at 8:57 pm | Permalink
     

    Just so everyone knows i’m limiting this post to 1 comment per person, otherwise it will just turn into mindless banter.

    Also, Swearing or Racial Slurs will be deleted immediately, Please try and keep things civil!

    Reply

  8. Swag Said: Comment by Swag on July 1, 2010 at 1:43 pm | Permalink
     

    The problem isn’t Hollywood or the movie…or the ethnic background of the characters/actors. The problem is the race-minded public. Yes, I mean you. Those of you, and you know who you are, who divide everthing by race are the one’s who perpetuate this backward way of thinking. It pollutes all that you see and hear. Just look at the movie for what it is. Watch the dog gone thing before you judge. Don’t pass this poison on to the next generation.

    Reply

  9. Wolf Said: Comment by Wolf on July 1, 2010 at 9:50 pm | Permalink
     

    Racist? Of course he isn’t. How can you be racist if you’ve clearly not seen something. How does he still have work if he can’t make a movie based off a kids’ show right? Can’t pronounce name right…

    Reply

  10. ace Said: Comment by ace on July 2, 2010 at 8:33 pm | Permalink
     

    huumm i had high hopes for the movie but it dissapointed me becasue number one the racial part didnt matter to me i just wanted the character to look like the cartoon for example zuko he suppose to look light skin (not being racial or anything) but they chose the slum dog millinare dude i think that jesse macrthy would hve been better off and the fire lord suppose to have long hair not short and curly and the other thing is tht they pronounce some names wrong that kinda annoy me and the thing tht piss me off the most is tht the fire bender needed fire to bend… what the (bleep) is tht… like serously!!! really m knight shamla u jst had to make them do tht and the fighting was lame didnt like it they should let jackie chan do the fight choreogerphy or somthing but besides that i think that the other things were okay …. but i think that james cameron should direct the next last air bender movie

    Reply

  11. Rikku Said: Comment by Rikku on July 3, 2010 at 9:15 am | Permalink
     

    srry but truthfully only some people in the movie sort of looked like the cartoon and only a few fyi next movie sokka should be funny and aang was pronounced wrong and sokka too

    Reply

  12. miki Said: Comment by miki on July 3, 2010 at 9:56 am | Permalink
     

    I think this movie is going to wow a lot of people and disappoint some also about the actors chosen. I for one don’t feel this movie because I think the actor playing as Aang is not the right person and it’s Night’s first time to direct a movie of such theme, BUT then again! I haven’t watched this movie yet, so the best thing to do for now is to hold any comments and grab a popcorn XD

    Reply

    kindofagryanddepressed Reply:

    i think the movie disappointed a lot of people… and then disappointed some more.

    Reply

  13. Dante Said: Comment by Dante on July 3, 2010 at 2:39 pm | Permalink
     

    All respect intended to the OP, but have you ever SEEN the movie?

    Shyamalan’s defenses would make sense if he were defending the SHOW, which did feature a multicultural character list, fighting together for a common goal. There were equal amounts of ethnicity on both sides of the war, and in that it was very tolerant. It didn’t have to deal with the race issue, because it was featured so prominently.

    Shyamalan, on the other hand, used caucasian actors in roles where an asian or native american would have been more suited (as that would match the show). He deliberately CHANGED the race dynamics by making the ‘evil’ (fire nation) characters into darker skinned ones, and the ‘good’ (Water/Air/Earth Nations) into white or lighter skinned characters.

    His so called ‘defenses’ are paper thin backpedals if you have seen the show.

    Reply

  14. John R Said: Comment by John R on July 4, 2010 at 1:48 pm | Permalink
     

    There are only so many roles for minorities, and it is disgraceful that M. Night participated in the Bleaching of characters because he falsely belived that minorities could not carry a picture. (the #1 movie was Karate Kid, which starred a black kid and an Asian, so that is bunk).

    SO WHAT if the majority of background characters are diverse…the MAIN characters are all White! Yeah, I know Zuko isn’t but if it wasn’t for a scheduling conflict, ZUKO would have been White as well (originally M. Knight picked Jesse McCartney, another Caucasian, which you conveniently didn’t mention).

    With the asian and inuit cultural themes, the caucasian characters look ridiculous.

    I am a HUGE HUGE fan of the series and you can count me as one who won’t go.

    PS..the bleaching didn’t even work…this is so far the worst reviewed movie of the year.

    Reply

  15. guestman Said: Comment by guestman on July 4, 2010 at 4:11 pm | Permalink
     

    I think people just wanted to see their beloved character from the tv show. I know I did. I’m not complaining though at least he made the movie. I plan on seeing the movie this week, but I hope he doesn’t disappoint. Besides I wouldn’t have the main characters cast any other way! :D If you ask me Noah Ringer looks just like Aang! Though, that’s just me.

    Reply

    Tim Reply:

    I completely agree with you. I just want to see my beloved characters from the tv show. I can associate Noah Ringer to Aang, but his character is not as playful and funny as in the tv show (:. I have a hard time associate other movie characters to the tv show characters.

    I planned to see the movie, but I was afraid being disappointed. Let’s me know if you like the movie.

    Reply

  16. Mystic Moonstar Said: Comment by Mystic Moonstar on July 5, 2010 at 6:12 pm | Permalink
     

    Sokka and Katara are decedents of the Northern Water tribe on their gran gran’s side. The movie may not touch on this fact but anyone who is a fan of the show should know this. The two tribes are very different. Sokka and Katara do not have to be as “native” as their other members of their tribe. I admit that I was a little dissapointed when I first saw them in comparison to their tribe, but when they reached the Northern Tribe it made a little more sense.

    The casting, race wise, was definitely not the worst part of the movie. So if people are going to complain about anything complain about the pronunciation of the names ex. Iroh is pronounced EE-row etc. OR how there was no character development. The movie could have been so much better if they could have spent more time on the movie rather than fighting racist accusations.

    Reply

    Avatar of Admin / Jordash

    Admin / Jordash Reply:

    Yeah agreed, the movie had it’s problems for sure, but Racism was definitely the smallest concern.

    Reply

  17. Sylvia Said: Comment by Sylvia on July 5, 2010 at 6:40 pm | Permalink
     

    I don’t really care that there are different races representing different benders. I’m just here to state that the movie sucked. The story was extremely rushed, which is understandable since they are compressing an entire season. The acting was bad since they didn’t really get the persona of the characters right. The thing that bugged me the most was probably the way they said all the characters’ names. ARGGGHHH the movie killed an avid fan’s dream for a GOOD real life avatar movie.

    Reply

  18. Doc Said: Comment by Doc on July 8, 2010 at 7:56 pm | Permalink
     

    Guys in the anime there is only one black so you can’t acuse racism. and the names aren,t pronounced wrong. they are pronounced in the chinese language. we’re the ones that pronounce it wrong

    Reply

    Red Reply:

    One, the show is NOT anime; it’s anime inspired and was stylistic in that regard. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JKTvFhRbBt8

    Doesn’t matter; you DO NOT CHANGE an established characters name. Even if you think it’s ‘correct’. He goes on about how anime is ‘ambiguous’ but INSISTS on giving their names ‘correct Asian pronunciation’?

    Reply

    Neptuny Reply:

    Wrong. The names *were* pronounced wrong. The show is the highest authority when it comes to name pronunciation . . . NOT real life, or the Chinese language for that matter. M. Night Shamwow had the gall to “correct” pronunciation.

    Reply

  19. Toraof theSouthernWaterTribe Said: Comment by Toraof theSouthernWaterTribe on July 8, 2010 at 10:07 pm | Permalink
     

    I personally don’t mind all the diversity in races I thought that was kinda neat. I kinda like the fire nation being darker, the Earth kingdom citizens being Asian, the Water tribe members could have been a little dark but I still don’t mind them, I was okay with all the Air Nomads but Monk Gyatso. I’m not racist, but I still don’t like a black guy in the Last Airbender. In the series Aang looked white, there were Asians and Inuit kind of people in the Southern Water Tribe, but no blacks. The Fire Nation citizens were dark skinned but they were still Asian. A black person just did not seem to belong to me.

    Reply

  20. Jllee Said: Comment by Jllee on July 9, 2010 at 12:46 am | Permalink
     

    For all of the people that just don’t get the racism that happened when casting this movie, please read this article:

    http://splinterend.tumblr.com/post/749364670/facepainting

    I work in the entertainment industry, and as an Asian-American actor, I feel strongly about this issue.

    This article on this page is a bit silly. Why are you defending M. Night? His choices are justified, yes, but did you not see the original casting call? I sure did, and it did not say “All ethnicities encouraged to submit”. It said “Caucasian or any other ethnicity”.

    When an agent receives a casting notice like this, they will most likely pool their popular Caucasian talents because that is specifically mentioned. To believe that Paramount and M. Night didn’t intentionally do this is somewhat silly. The casting of Dev Patel was an after thought after hearing an outcry by many with the white washed casting. If Jesse McCartney didn’t end up having a conflict, all the leads would have been white. Please keep that in mind the next time you say this movie is diverse.

    Casting lead roles as all Caucasians and then having the background actors be minorities is not diversity. That’s teaching kids of minorities that they themselves wont ever be portrayed as heroes but as someone standing on the side lines.

    Unless you are a minority that has faced racism their entire life, I think it’s rather hard for anyone to claim that people are being “lunatics” or “crazy” when complaining about the casting of this movie.

    Reply

  21. Alex Said: Comment by Alex on July 11, 2010 at 1:02 pm | Permalink
     

    Yeah we just made majority of the central characters white, and added one token minority to not seem obvious. But we’re not racist guys! the rest of the unimportant actors are mostly Asians!

    I dont think Shyamalan is racist, I just think he’s an opportunist. He knows a movie will make more money if its a white cast, so he went for it. Plain and simple. No amount of “aggressive” damage control will hide that fact. It would be like a Japanese remake of lord of the rings where all main actors are casted Asian (even though middle earth is in Europe) and then for that director to say “well the non-principal actors are not japanese”.

    Oh, and the movie sucked major ass, on leagues with Dragonball Evolution. So Shyamalan loses either way.

    Reply

  22. Savvy Said: Comment by Savvy on July 11, 2010 at 2:32 pm | Permalink
     

    Exactly! You go Night! And 2 the racebenders, really? But I’m white and I want to play Toph, is there a chance he will cast a white girl as Toph?

    Reply

    Alex Reply:

    lol of course the white people wouldn’t find anything wrong with shyamalan’s racebending. its okay as long as its in your favor right

    Reply

    Mystic Moonstar Reply:

    Now I find your comment to be racist Alex. I am white and I have a problem with the original casting call because it was white washed. They fixed the cast because of the outcry. In the end I found that there was a good mix of people. I am sorry if you think that is wrong but you have no right to say that white people would have no problem with the cast being white. I am a huge fan of the series and would have liked the movie to be as accurate as possible. Obviously that did not happen as there were many discrepancies, but there were things in the movie that were way worse than the casting.

    Reply

    kindofagryanddepressed Reply:

    you probably have a higher chance than any asian, as long as you look like you’d attract publicity, good or bad. I wouldn’t be surprised.

    Reply

  23. Driz Said: Comment by Driz on July 11, 2010 at 8:45 pm | Permalink
     

    It’s spelled “Filipino,” not “Philipino.”

    Reply

    Avatar of Admin / Jordash

    Admin / Jordash Reply:

    Wow, you are right: http://www.arkhilario.com/2009/08/01/philipino-phillipino-philippino/

    Wierd… never would’ve guessed that.

    Reply

  24. kindofagryanddepressed Said: Comment by kindofagryanddepressed on July 13, 2010 at 2:20 am | Permalink
     

    i’m just saying, i don’t care all too much about the whole race dispute, because that’s already a very fiery and heated discussion. My issue is the bad directing all together. even if the characters were casted “properly” according to race, i still don’t think it would be a good movie because the direction of Knight is so… horrible. I’m not going to say i could direct better or that Knight is racist. I’m just saying that despite the issues, despite all the anger and frustration and debates, the movie was still very LOW QUALITY.

    another point i’d like to make is how could you say that Zuko is the savior of the series? how could you say that all of the “good guys” are the saviors of the series? Yes, they played their part in restoring balance to their world, but last time I checked, the series was called Avatar: THE LAST AIRBENDER, not Avatar: EVERYONE or Avatar: GOOD GUYS. Even the movie is The Last Airbender, not Prince Of The Fire Nation. Just goes to show that the director wasn’t really that dedicated a fan of a series, and therefore wasn’t able to create a movie that pleased fans who ARE dedicated to the series, or a generally enjoyable film altogether.

    Reply

    Avatar of Admin / Jordash

    Admin / Jordash Reply:

    Yeah I agree I don’t think The Last Airbender was bad on the basis of Race, just simply poor storyboarding, poor writing and directing.

    Avatar The Last Airbender had sooo many sub-plots in addition to Aang, so much so that IMHO I don’t even look at Aang as the main character, to me Zuko is more the main character, but that’s just personal opinion and that’s why I say that every main character is a hero in the show.

    There are episodes where Aang and the gang aren’t even shown the entire episode, that’s one of the reasons Avatar The Last Airbender is such a good show, it places such an emphasis on the contribution of different individuals to achieve a greater good.

    Reply

  25. Savvy Said: Comment by Savvy on July 13, 2010 at 4:48 pm | Permalink
     

    Hey everybody! I’m so HAPPY someone finally posted M Night’s opinion on this! Anyway, I have a video on youtube about my views on Racebending. My username is TheLastAwesomebender the video is titled: My Big Bad Momma Jamma! I Speak to Racebenders, check it out! And subscribe, comment, rate!

    Reply

  26. girl Said: Comment by girl on July 15, 2010 at 4:18 pm | Permalink
     

    I’m not a racebender, but I don’t think that the actors that he chose look like the characters, and I don’t think it works. If anything, it isolates the original fans, and that’s one of the stupidest things that you can do. From what I’ve read, the movie fails epically. I don’t see why he couldn’t hire actors that looked more like the cartoon characters. Obviously, it would take more effort to find more asian actors, but that’s his job. He’s being paid to be creative. People aren’t obligated to watch mediocre work, not matter how well Shyamalan tries to justify it.

    Reply

  27. shoudacouda Said: Comment by shoudacouda on July 15, 2010 at 9:03 pm | Permalink
     

    It’s a movie. Shutup and don’t you get your panties in a wad.
    Hasta Luego!

    Reply

  28. noone Said: Comment by noone on July 15, 2010 at 11:29 pm | Permalink
     

    This is why I hate it when movie directors pick up a cartoon and make it live action. There is ALWAYS issues about it (ie: race, how they look, personalities, etc). It really disappoints me that Bryan and Mike let Shyamalamama (…) make a movie out of their amazing cartoon series. I’m sure if they waited a few years some other way better director would have picked it up and made it. I mean really, what were they thinking? Shyamalan hasn’t made a good movie since the Sixth Sense. He’s a one hit wonder. He made his one good movie, had his 15 minutes, now he can stop making all these horrible movies.

    I know my post isn’t really on topic about the race accusations, but this ALWAYS happens when a comic/cartoon/book gets turned into a movie.

    Reply

  29. Swakner Said: Comment by Swakner on July 16, 2010 at 9:43 pm | Permalink
     

    I watched the movie with my family and me and my brothers found it an insult to the show while my dad who has never seen the show actually likes it. this just shows that he was able to appeal to most people but he is completly destroying the hopes and dreams of the fans. there are so many easy ways to fix it too, all he really needed was to make the pronounciation correct aswell as add more bending. none of the characters bend as much as they would normally, heck zuko bends fire just for the hell of it when hes even sligtly pissed. and iroh needs to be more happy and fat and jolly not so serious

    Reply

  30. M.Night Uses Reverse Psychology Said: Comment by M.Night Uses Reverse Psychology on July 17, 2010 at 9:57 am | Permalink
     

    The actual genders and races of what the elements represent are in Rodney St.Michael’s book, Sync My World: Thief’s Honor GA SK. (myconnected.webs.com)

    Air = Yellow “race” = Males = Scholars.

    Water = Small Browns = Females = Shamans.

    Earth = Blacks = Lesbian = Social Ubuntu Business Class.

    Fire = Whites = Gays = Military, Militant Business Class.

    Ether or Metal = Big Browns = Bisexuals = Working Class, Bi-military
    (females & bis go together like Katara & Sokka or brown females and males).

    Therefore Aang should be Chinese.

    Katara should be a Malay like a Filipina.

    The Earth Kingdom should be African.

    Zuko should be White like Hitler, Alexander the Gay or Gen. Arthur McArthur.

    The Fire Nation’s army should be like the fiery Sacred Band of Thebes (an ancient elite gay army that Don’t-Ask-Don’t-Tell troops would be envious of) or the Sturmabteilung, the much-feared homosexual stormtroopers of Hitler.

    And the Slumdog Millionaire (casted as Zuko) should be Sokka.

    This film is just as messed up as the movie Angels and Demons. The branding of the priests were incorrect.

    But anyway, from the guy who gave you the Sixth Sense, which did not portray childhood schizophrenia accurately or anywhere near the real world, what do you expect?

    Bisexuals love horror and terror. They also scam people, just like the Wizard of Oz. The old Oz film which is also about the Elements is understandably all-white because they were ignorant back then. People have higher standards now, and realism is a must.

    But M.Night, the Wizard of South Asia also has lessons for everyone after conning them:

    1) Clearly, when people don’t play roles that fit them, everything is messed up. (e.g. “male” clergy in what should be a female realm, forbidding gays in the military which is their territory)

    2) Whites are not fit to play the leading roles of Air and Water in the world scene. Leave that to the ASEAN+3 (China, Japan, Korea and South East Asia).

    3) Arabs are not necessarily the greatest evil in the world. Occasionally, they float like Ether to the ranks of Water. It is fiery whites that fit the role of Lucifer or Satan.

    4) By acquiring objective reviews from leading critics, they have agreed themselves that these are all factual objective realities.

    Thus, the Wizard, even if he is a con man, is also an accidental pseudo teacher. Partly, it’s called sunyata or “emptiness.”

    Reply

    Pat Reply:

    Anyway, I really didn’t care what race the cahracters were, I just wanted their physical appearance and also their personalities to actually be similar. Sokka, in the movie, is a serious, bland, uninteresting character. In the cartoon, he’s a funny, sarcastic, goofball.

    Aang, not Oong, like pronounced in the movie, should’ve been more fun-filled and bright.

    Where’s Katara’s hair…..loop……thingies?

    Zuko was the most similar to his cartoon part in my opinion.

    Iroh wasn’t short, fat, and jolly. The first half of the movie I didn’t even believe that was Iroh.

    Some of the aspects of the story being changed really kept me from enjoying the movie. Firebenders can’t bend without fire already being there?

    There never was a fight in the earthbending village! It happened on the fire nation coal ship! At least in the cartoon it made sense why the eartbenders weren’t fighting. They didn’t have earth! In the movie they were surrounded by earth and did nothing! Furthermore, one scene, I spoted 6+ earthbenders doing earthbending choreographed together only to throw a single rock.

    I think there were plenty of scenes from the cartoon that would have been better suited to the movie. Kyoshi Island was never visited in the movie. Aang never visited Boomy in the movie. The duel with Boomy would’ve been epic to see with real people but us Avatars fans will never know how that would’ve looked.

    My rant is finished. I hope this movie is forgotten and we can just get on with our Avatar lives, waiting for another series/season.

    Reply

    Spottedpelt Reply:

    agreed :o

    Reply

    Spottedpelt Reply:

    no wait i dont >:O

    Phillip Reply:

    The reasoning (or lack thereof) behind your entire post “M. Night Uses Reverse Psychology” is probably the most ridiculously offensive thing I’ve read on this entire forum post and I’m not seeing how it has anything at all to do with the movie or the show. “Bisexuals love horror and terror”? REALLY?

    And yeah, people do “have higher standards now”: one of which isn’t being a blatant racist to multiple groups of people with one post.

    Reply

    Falcon Reply:

    Thank you, Philip! This guy is disgusting!

    Reply

  31. Spottedpelt Said: Comment by Spottedpelt on July 19, 2010 at 5:59 pm | Permalink
     

    i wouldn’t call it racebending, i would just say he should’ve used the race used in the show.

    Reply

  32. Joann~ Said: Comment by Joann~ on July 22, 2010 at 3:07 pm | Permalink
     

    Um Hi, I wanted to know if black people were able to be in the movie as a character. My…friend wants to audition for the role of Toph and she is a light skinned 12 year old. Her eyes are kinda almond shaped and a little wide so i was thinking she could maybe pass as an indian.

    Reply

  33. BenderSokka Said: Comment by BenderSokka on July 22, 2010 at 3:16 pm | Permalink
     

    Joann thats a good question. I think your ” Friend ” should be able to be toph if shes good at it. Many people are wondering the same thing. Saying no would crush people’s dreams and break hearts. It’s not fair

    Reply

  34. Nami Said: Comment by Nami on July 22, 2010 at 8:15 pm | Permalink
     

    Now that he has successfully defended his movie against it’s racist claims, maybe he can try and see if he can persuade us that it’s worth watching. Seems to me he’s made no attempt. (though can’t hardly blame him, that’s a pretty hard topic to conquer at this point)

    Reply

  35. JTDrift Said: Comment by JTDrift on July 25, 2010 at 4:00 pm | Permalink
     

    Warning kinda long but this is my opinion.
    My problem with the movie, in short, is that it sucked and that’s me being nice. Me being mean, and more truthful for me, is that this was nothing more than a glorified plagiarism of a well thought out and executed story line and character development. Now with that out of the way…

    I honestly did not see a problem with the chosen actors race as far as the movie went. This is due to the fact that many of the voice actors for the Animated show were of different races or just plain old white. Hell, Fire Lord Ozai was voiced by non other than Luke Skywalker himself, Mark Hamil. But the differance is that in the show, we did not really see the voice actors on the screen. We saw Aang. We saw Zuko. We saw Iroh, Katara, Sokka, Toph, Suki, Azula, Momo, Appa, Mai, Ty Lee, Jet, Longshot, SmellerBee, Princess Yue, Admiral Zhao, Avatar Roku, The Guru, ect. And that’s not even the characters that were there for simple character side stories or comic relief.

    Whats the point? We fell in love with characters through the story telling and the emotion that the voice actors brought to characters. We didn’t care if the voice actors represented the race of the characters not one bit! The majority of us fan were sad when we heard that Mako (an Asian man) died during the second season. Not just because The man died. That in its self is a tragedy. Not because Greg Baldwin (an American man), The new voice actor for Iroh, did a poor job. In fact, he did an excellent job and I wish he was given more lines. But the fact is that when Mako died, it felt like a little bit of Iroh died as well.

    Again, we loved the voice actors emotion in the character but when compared to the movie….. M. Night FAILED.

    The characters had little to no emotion what so ever. The lines were usually delivered in a dull monotone. The pacing of the story felt rushed and rather than showing the development of character or plot, they just point blank tell you what happened/is happening. One large sticking point is the fact that M. Night thought, that because he is from India, meaning he is Asian, meant that he could change some of the name pronunciation for the characters for a more authentic Asian feel. As one my good friend said at the end of the movie, Israel can be technically considered Asian too but you didn’t hear anyone with a Yiddish accent.

    M. Night also thought it was ok to completely change the mechanics of the benders powers. So many pointless movements that did nothing that activated rather limp looking bending effects. My same friend stated, rather correctly, that the water bending looked so much like silicon breast implants that it made the experience some what easier to tolerate.

    Now what does this have to do with the racism topic. I truthfully believe that M. Night was being racist in choosing his actors for the movie. He, rather than doing what a director is suppose to do and make the character seem lovable and believable, he choose to make the character acceptable for the American market.

    White, bland heroes, with an exceptional single Asian minority for the main character and an easily identifiable although easily mistaken ‘Middle Eastern’ enemy. Shame on you M. Night Shyamalan. You took a beautiful, colorful, vibrant world full of fear, hope, angst, strength, shame, retribution, uncertainty, determination, depression, and humor and…

    You castrated it. You turned it into a joke and its a sad one at that. I sincerely hope that the studio’s are watching and listening to the fans of the show. If they want to really try and not fail so hard at a Live Action Movie for Avatar but still not really succeed, then they should let Aaron McGruder (Creator of The Boondocks comic and show) direct it. That way if it turns out to be a joke, at least we’ll be in on it. Also because I had a dream where the spirit of Stinkmeaner possed Aang, then Azula and that has to be the first time I ever woken up from a dream in tears laughing. OH YEAH!

    Finally, yes the show was written and created by Michael Dante DiMartino and Bryan Konietzko but the truth is that the series belongs to all of us through emotional attachment in the long run.

    Reply

  36. Frank Said: Comment by Frank on July 28, 2010 at 9:45 am | Permalink
     

    Oh and Azula looked terrible. She was supposed to be a flawless perfectionist but instead she was shown as a dumb looking Indian girl with untidy hair.

    Reply

  37. J Said: Comment by J on July 30, 2010 at 5:58 pm | Permalink
     

    i cant see why he just couldnt copy the damn anime . its just common sense. dont mess with a good thing like watchmen was an awesome movie cause they copied it straight from the comic (except the end, nevertheless..)
    anyway, the avatar movie sucked. i dont see why M Night could do the same thing .

    Reply

  38. Bob Said: Comment by Bob on October 10, 2010 at 1:59 pm | Permalink
     

    I am not saying it’s racism but more like mocking us asians a bit(I’m Asian)
    I wish he could have found actual asians
    like um..Jackie Chan I don’t know why but reminds me of Captain Zhao
    and M Night, we are not talking only bout the cast but the story
    u mess it up totally
    they sound emotionless
    and they mispronounce names
    and there is NO excuse for THAT
    Aang sounded too dull..he was normally the fun loving kid who hid guilts beneath him.
    Micheal and Brian worked real HARD on this show
    this is the best show ever and no one can change that fact
    yet you had to make a movie
    Some movies out of other media is ok like Harry Potter, that was an awesome series movie!
    But like Death Note and DragonBall Z, it sucked worse than the word GET OUT OF MY ROOM AND BTW, YOU SUCK LIKE MY GRANDMA WHO SIPS ORANGE JUICE ALL DAY AND SLEEPS HERSELF WHEN WATCHING VIOLENT TELEVISION!
    sorry..got out of control..
    man I only watched like 3 minutes and me and my mom stopped watching it
    we thought paying a ticket was worse for a dumb movie so we watched online
    then we say 3 minutes
    and left
    without a word…
    I used to have hope for you when I watched 6 sense
    it was one of the best movie
    and when you made this
    i lost pride in M night
    I’m sorry(sarcastic)
    hope you never make an anime live movie ever again

    Reply

  39. Jennifer Said: Comment by Jennifer on October 16, 2010 at 10:00 pm | Permalink
     

    What I don’t get is why are Indians, whites, and blacks in the movie? HELLO, the world of avatar is a full of nothing but CHINESE people. The four nations are not blacks or whites or indians, the four nations are earth, water, air, and fire, it has to do with their skills not their race. The world of avatar only has one race…CHINESE….it has only one culture…CHINESE!!! So what if M. Night makes the earth nation chinese…the earth nation is barely in the movie!!! The main characters are the fire and water nation!!! That is where the prejudice lies. The main characters are Zuko, Iroh, Katara, Sokka, Aang and Toph. And not one single one of those characters are CHINESE???? WHY NOT??? Ok so Toph hasn’t been cast yet, but knowing how Prejudice M. Night is he’ll probably just make Toph African or Indian. So the director is Indian, he’s jealous that a successful animated series is about Chinese people, he thinks his race can do better, he thinks if he substitute Indian for Chinese( Hey, they’re all asians, right?) none of the whites/blacks/hispanics of america would notice? the fact is, the whole entire movie would look more right if it was entirely chinese. Katara and Sokka are not dark skin, they are tan, has no one ever seen a tan chinese person before? Open your eyes, they do exist, more than you can imagine. I think M. Night is racist for casting Chinese people in the background when they should of been the stars of the show which is based on chinese culture and facial features. He is racist of putting his own Indian race(Zuko). Yes, there is ALOT of racism against chinese people who are incapable of speaking up and speaking up correctly. Compare it to making a movie about the American Revolution with Indian, Blacks, Persians as the main Protagonist and Antagonist and whites as the the extras in the background, having one or two lines. Does that make any sense to you? Do you see the racism now??? OPEN YOUR EYES!!!

    Reply

    Avatar of Airspeed Prime

    Airspeed Prime Reply:

    Im sorry but you are mistaken, The Avatar Universe is set in an Asian INSPIRED world, not everyone is Chinese, nowhere does it state that any character is chinese, many of the nations are BASED on a certain Race but are not THAT RACE.
    and the Movie is M nights TAKE on the series, the movie is just BASED on the series but it is a different continuity. M night was not trying to be racist, he just put his own ideas into the movie.

    Airspeed Prime Moderator Notice/ Please keep the discussion and comments here nice and friendly, I know it is a delicate topic but please make an effort not to get Angry about this.

    Reply

    Red Reply:

    Asian architecture: Check.

    Asian food: Check.

    Asian clothes: Check.

    Asian written language (Chinese calligraphy): Check.

    Asian mythology: Check

    Asian Martial arts (namely Kung Fu): Check.

    Asian Philosophy: Check.

    Asian names: Check.

    Mike and Bryan took the time to do TREMENDOUS research on everything listed. They had cultural consultants on staff for the making of this show to avoid any cultural mistakes and reinforcing stereotypes of Aisan culture and people.

    There’s a thin line between ‘inspired’ and ‘re-imagined’. I can be ‘inspired” by a Japanese kimono to make a dress with a similar style, colors and pattern, but that doesn’t make it a kimono. This show, however, is a re-imagined Asian world. If I am going to go to the effort to do all that research to build a world so closely Asian, then there is NO reason to believe the characters themselves aren’t Asian, as well. In the case of the Water Tribe, they are so closely tied to Inuit, it would be foolish to think they are anything BUT.

    It’s ONE thing to add your own ideas, but totally another to completely disregard the already existent material.

    Reply

    Avatar of Airspeed Prime

    Airspeed Prime Reply:

    But it is never mentioned in the show that any character is Asian, all the characters in Avatar have such a unique(and amazing) design, that combined with the overall art style of Avatar, make the characters so unique that it is extremely difficult to say something like, Just and example makes no sense, not trying to offend anyone, that Zuko is chinese.

    I think M night considering his difficult task cast this movie well, tyring to capture such characterful designs from AVATAR’S amazing art style would have been difficult for any director.

    Honestly no matter who they cast there would still be the cries of Racism.

    I am just happy we got a movie.

    Red Reply:

    So despite all the obvious cultural references, you need to have the characters ethnicities spelled out for you?

    Dude, ‘A;TLA’ is stylized in the same way anime is and if you knew ANY THING about anime, you would know they DO NOT RELY on racial markers (like narrow eyes; the Japanese do not stereotype themselves) but rather their surroundings to identify their ethnicity. This video explains it.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JKTvFhRbBt8

    No, actually if they just cast East Asian and Inuit or Native American actors, there would BE NO cries of racism. Because unless you can prove otherwise, the characters ARE ASIAN.

    You are one of the few who are.

    Avatar of Airspeed Prime

    Airspeed Prime Reply:

    Way to miss my point, i understand that everything is asian inspired but they are just that Asian inspired, the Avatar Universe is not the real world.I dont need the characters ethnicies to be spelt out to me because is it really that important that 2 different continuities are the exact same , i like it the way they are different.

    and i have to keep saying this, The Movie is a different continuity, before seeing the movie we know nothing about movie characters they are based off the Show characters but not exact copies. Even the plot is different.

    I really dont understand why peole are argueing about the casting decisions of a movie just based of the show, do people want M night to be a racist.

    Also can you prove that they ARE Asian, i know its asian inspired but we dont know for sure.

    And no i dont know anything about anime because i dont watch them, i never even mentioned ANIME. Just that Avatar’s art style and characters are so unique that is is very difficult to cast them in real life, and i think he did a great job despite this difficulty.

    And please calm down, There is no need to get heated over this topic, i have my opinion you have yours, I see completely your opinion and agree with most of it.

    And please join the FORUM, i would be great to have your opinions on the forum.

    Red Reply:

    And you are missing mine. This isn’t simply ‘Asian inspired’. Inspired is taking a few select elements and adding them to an otherwise generic object. Given the amount of research and time Mike and Bryan put into creating this world, they made it VERY CLEAR that this is an alternate Asian world in the same way ‘Lord of the Rings’ is an alternate European world.

    Clearly, you don’t know how world-building works in fantasy. You do not take a real place, give it a fantasy bent and NOT INCLUDE the indigenous people of that place. It goes against basic story telling and would be completely unnecessary. It would be the same if you created a fictional African world, with all the cultural trappings, mythology, etc. but the people were not African, namely Black.

    Fantasy needs a level of believability in order to work. It does not mean ignoring realism with respect to things like race. How ‘believable’ is it to have NON-Asian people in a distinctly ASIAN world? Answer; it isn’t. Especially when you see the overall non-existence of non-Western cultures in the show. WE create the fantasy worlds and no matter how hard you try, you cannot disassociate fantasy completely from the real world. The ‘reasons’ you are giving are not actual reasons, but excuses and ones that do not hold up under scrutiny. The world of Avatar is grounded in OUR world’s East Asia.

    And really… in the film, we have two WHITE kids born smack-dab in the middle of a largely BROWN-skinned tribe. How is THAT believable? Going by genetics, only their grandmother is White. Their grandfather and mother were all Inuit. Their father was mixed. HOW does that make sense?

    Eragon Sporkings has an essay that discusses it. http://eragon-sporkings.wikispaces.com/Magic

    You are making this into something it’s not. NO ONE expected this film to be ‘exactly like’ the show. I never expected the Harry Potter films to be exactly like the books. People are NOT upset because the film was changed from the animated series. We fully expect changes when a popular medium is converted into film and most people ACCEPT that.

    They are upset because the changes made were completely UNNECESSARY. Most of the elements that made the series so successful and well-loved were virtually non-existent in the film. The humor was gone, the bond the characters had was virtually erased and the overall depth and feeling was lost. Just because it’s being turned into a film doesn’t mean it can’t retain the humor and depth the show had. If you need to remove some of the more ‘childish’ elements, fine. Some of the visual humor would be lost, okay. This film held NONE of the spirit of the original series.

    You ‘don’t understand’? Even though it’s been spelled out enough times and in simple enough language that a child could understand? People are not accusing M. Night of being racist. They are accusing him of following the history of Hollywood casting practices, whereas Caucasians are given priority/star billing over non-Caucasian actors. I and those at racebending.com have done enough research into Hollywood casting practices and spoken to those who work in the industry to KNOW this for a fact.

    Can you prove they are NOT Asian? The names, clothing and background isn’t enough for you? You need to be told they are Asian despite all evidence that shows they ARE?

    Because the show’s style IS rooted in anime form. Hence why the characters look the way they do. Anime doesn’t rely on racial markers as much as they do background and cultural details. That was the point of the link.

    The stylization of the characters does not change their ethnicity. He cast two WHITE actors to play two very NON-WHITE characters and put a very Brown actor in the role of one of the PALEST characters in the show. That is NOT a ‘great job’.

    Every excuse you’ve made I’ve seen time and again and your claims cannot be supported. I can support mine.

    No, I don’t think I will join the forum. I have rated myself more times than I care to.

    Avatar of Admin / Jordash

    Admin / Jordash Reply:

    When I watched the show it seemed to me like Americans living in an Asian themed world, and some of my Asian friends only saw Asian characters, and some of my various friends saw representations of their race. To me that shows that whether or not the characters were Asian or not in the cartoon is completely subjective. They could be seen as any race, that’s one of the reasons I liked Avatar so much is because everyone from any race / ethnicity can relate so well to it.

    In Avatar (the cartoon) there is attitudes and cultures represented from every race. American, Asian, England, UK, Native American etc.. Limiting it to only Asian influence is not adequately expressing the show’s level of depth, it’s characters and environments were influenced by the world at large.

    As for the movies quality, I didn’t like it for other reasons other than the casting, the casting I thought was fine (although I agree more Asian representation would’ve probably been a good thing since Asia was a large part of the inspiration, I don’t think that the entire cast needed to be Asian). The movie mainly needed better directing, dialogue, and plot-line, it did have some saving graces, that give me a glimmer of hope for a second one.

    Avatar of Admin / Jordash

    Admin / Jordash Reply:

    Oh and BTW you are more than welcome to join the community, we talk more about the actual Avatar The Last Airbender cartoon anyway :)

    Red Reply:

    ‘When I watched the show it seemed to me like Americans living in an Asian themed world…’

    That somehow suggests that Asian-Americans aren’t American or that Asians who live in Asia ‘act differently’ from Americans. This also says to me that you’re accoustomed to seeing Asians portrayed a certain way in media.

    The thing you need to keep in mind is, Mike and Bryan took especial care to not categorize or stereotype Asians a certain way like most western media does. They had several paid cultural consultants on the show and they used their input to create this world.

    The characters weren’t portrayed as the commonplace stereotypes. They were portrayed as NORMAL PEOPLE. Despite whatever cultural and societal differences, an East Asian teen living in Japan is really no different from a Caucaisan teen living in New York.

    How can you even suggest that they could be ‘any race’ when the world they live in is so clearly Asian? When I watched the show, I didn’t even entertain the possibility that they were any other race BUT Asian and Inuit. Whatever preconceived notions one may have about how Asians ‘act’, they are not reflective of reality. To go to the efforts to build a world so specific to a certain part of the world, but then claim the characters could be ‘any race’ is not only ignorant, but plain lazy.

    ‘Limiting it to only Asian influence is not adequately expressing the show’s level of depth, it’s characters and environments were influenced by the world at large.’

    Says who? Asia is a large place and NOT limited to one ethnicity or culture. It’s made of more than forty countries. There are more than fifty recognized ethnic groups in China ALONE. It is not limiting anything for these characters to be Asian because it IS an Asian world. It is realistic and it would be an act of profound laziness to shoehorn other non-Asian, non-Inuit ethnicities into it when the creators intent was a COMPLETELY Asian world. It doesn’t work like that.

    Mike and Bryan were VERY CLEAR and specific with their world building. If you are going to go to the efforts they did (when they didn’t have to) to create a world so closely tied to a real place, it would only make sense that the ethnicity of the characters reflect the ethnic/racial group of that place.

    Avatar of Admin / Jordash

    Admin / Jordash Reply:

    ‘I didn’t even entertain the possibility that they were any other race BUT Asian and Inuit.’

    That sums it up, the race is subjective, you obviously saw them all as Asian, interestingly enough, it didn’t even cross my mind that any of the characters were Asian (except maybe Toph who was the most Asian looking to me).

    No amount of arguing is going to change how people viewed the race (since that’s mainly decided by your background) so it’s not really even worth arguing.

    It’s up to your personal viewpoint you can see it how you like, either way like you mentioned the characters were more “human” / normal people which is why it was so easily to relate to them for everyone of all races. Which is what makes Avatar The Last Airbender such an incredible show.

    I have plenty of Asian friends who I respect very much, to me Avatar seemed to be like a bridge of cultures (I saw American ideas and philosophies merged with Asian ideas etc..)

    I like how you mentioned the amount of detail that Mike and Bryan went into on the show, I think that’s also one of the reasons the show was so good.

    Red Reply:

    No, their race is NOT subjective. It doesn’t matter how YOU see them. What matters is the creator’s intent. It all boils down to consistency and the characters being Asian and Inuit would be the most consistent. A good author is consistent, ALWAYS. There are certain rules in building a fictional world and in this case, the characters race must be consistent with their surroundings when the world is set in a fantasy version of an existent place.

    It is not decided by one’s background what ethnicity the characters are, but by every clue given in the show that suggests it. Everything in that world is Asian, Inuit or Circumpolar culture, etc. By extension, the characters are, as well.

    Tell me, what are ‘American ideas and philosophies’? Are you suggesting that people of Asian cultures and nations don’t share the SAME ideas? Quite frankly, that’s incredibly insulting.

    Avatar of Admin / Jordash

    Admin / Jordash Reply:

    Their race IS subjective, since Mike and Bryan NEVER specifically said “Characters in this show are Asian” it’s up to the fans to decide and speculate based on opinion and personal preference.

    Besides it doesn’t really matter … they aren’t Asian, American, or anything of this world. They are Water Tribe, Fire Nation, Earth Nation, etc..

    You kind of contradicted yourself when you said that Asian Culture and American Culture is the “same”… the very definition of culture is “All the knowledge and values shared by a society” (Websters Dictionary). Sure cultures may be similar but they have there differences which is what can make anyone’s’ culture great.

    Peoples cultures are different, in the Avatar world it beautifully shows how different cultures and diversity can come together to create a world where everyone can be happy and learn from each other, that’s what I love about the show, it shows how American, Asian, and other cultures can be combined to create a better world.

    You’re choosing to be insulted over nothing… No one has said anything insulting about the Asian culture, in fact i’ve said time and time again that the Asian culture is amazing I think, people the world over can benefit from.

  40. Avatar of Korra_Is_Comin2011
    Korra_Is_Comin2011 Said: Comment by Korra_Is_Comin2011 on October 20, 2010 at 2:21 am | Permalink
     

    mike and bryan did say that avatar was asian influenced, im just saying

    Reply

    Avatar of Admin / Jordash

    Admin / Jordash Reply:

    Yeah you’re right it was Asian influenced. Which means the various cultures in the show were also Asian influenced. Which is one of the things that makes the nations of avatar very cool!

    Reply

  41. woodzanager Said: Comment by woodzanager on November 13, 2010 at 2:52 pm | Permalink
     

    I think they racebenders are racist because when I first watched the prviews I didn’t even think anything of the diversity. All I could think of was how good this movie was going to be (though it was a bit dissapointing). I didn’t think about the race until I saw a video on youtube talking about how they were going to boycott the movies because it was racist (a bunch of racebender videos). If the first thing that came to your mind when you watched the previews or even the movie was how racist the movie was then I think your racist for even thinking about that. Besides every racebender video I saw on youtube the people who made them didn’t have any arguments as to say how the movie was racist they just simply said it was. So I think the racebenders are racists which makes the nothing more than hipocrats (sorry if I mispelled it).

    Reply

  42. woodzanager Said: Comment by woodzanager on November 13, 2010 at 2:53 pm | Permalink
     

    I think they racebenders are racist because when I first watched the prviews I didn’t even think anything of the races of the main characters. All I could think of was how good this movie was going to be (though it was a bit dissapointing). I didn’t think about the race until I saw a video on youtube talking about how they were going to boycott the movies because it was racist (a bunch of racebender videos). If the first thing that came to your mind when you watched the previews or even the movie was how racist the movie was then I think your racist for even thinking about that. Besides every racebender video I saw on youtube the people who made them didn’t have any arguments as to say how the movie was racist they just simply said it was. So I think the racebenders are racists which makes the nothing more than hipocrats (sorry if I mispelled it).

    Reply

    Red Reply:

    So… because we acknowledge and recognize the fact that the characters are of a specific race and that we were justifiably upset when we saw that roles that could have easily gone to Asian actors go to Caucaisan actors, when there are so few roles available and open to the many talented Asian actors out there… makes us ‘racist’?

    Does that really make sense to you?

    Reply

    Avatar of mindbender

    mindbender Reply:

    Let’s get off the race issue. Its none
    productive. Good or bad we all
    enjoyed the animated version. I also
    Enjoyed the movie’s special effects
    Very cool.

    Reply

  43. Matt Said: Comment by Matt on February 4, 2011 at 6:07 am | Permalink
     

    Who cares about the race issue when it comes to this movie? Simply put, this movie sucked at every level. This was the first movie I ever wanted to walk out of. It took all of my discipline to not walk out after 15 minutes. Yes, it is that bad. Who cares what ethnicity the actors are if the movie is this bad. From the acting, dialogue, action scenes, music, and direction, this movie was a complete waste of time. I could not recommend this movie to anybody for any reason, even if it is being offered for free. For fans of the original cartoon series, sorry, but do NOT waste your time here. For those who have not seen the animated series, please skip this M Night Shyamalan disaster and check out the Nickelodeon series instead.

    Reply

    Mike Reply:

    @Matt
    Well, I think people are making an issue about race is because there are very few American films that cast asians as protagonists other than mostly martial art films. There are exceptions like Harold and Kumar, but they’re very very few. Quite frankly, when I watched the series, I’ve always thought the characters as being mostly asian and native american just by what they’re wearing, eating, martial arts, asian calligraphy, buddhism, there’s chinese letters in the intro, etc. There’s a whole backstory about Aang being the reincarnation of the Avatar by selecting certain items which is the same story about the Dalai Lama. I understand there aren’t any specific nation of origin, and it’s make believe, but still, in physical form, they are still represented with a certain setting where everything looks ancient, the ethnicities in a way are integral to the story. I just don’t understand why M. Night couldn’t of made the leads more diverse like how he made the air nomads diverse.

    Reply

  44. wesdgd Said: Comment by wesdgd on March 22, 2011 at 10:30 am | Permalink
     

    The casting did bug me to hell. For various reasons, I did not at any point assume he was being racist in his actions, if he intended on being racist by picking a specific race to play the “villains” he probably wouldn’t have picked one corresponding to his own race.
    Back to the point, in the series, fire benders or “the bad guys” had a specific appearance, as did water earth and air benders.
    It is said that those of the fire nation would usually have pale skin, dark brown or golden eyes, and dark brown or black hair, those of the water tribes were far more tanned with blue eyes and lighter hair. This was completely rearranged in the film. Also, Princess Yui is played by a woman of colour, yet her character’s father is played by a white man. I know it’s possible for a white man to have a darker skinned baby, but it just doesn’t look like that was the intention here. Uncle Iroh’s character was completely wrong. He was short, stout and chubby, pale skinned with completely grey hair, side burns and a ponytail with a bald patch on top. He was played by a tall slim persian man with dreadlocks. Prince Zuko had far more hair than he should have, much darker skin and different eye colours. I personally assume the casting for him as Dev Patel was biased on two levels. The fact that he is an up and coming actor that would rake in a lot of money, and the fact that he appears to be of the same race as M. Night. Be this as it may, he seemed to be the only actor in the film to portray his character correctly. The geographical placement of the fire kingdom was also completely inaccurate as was the portrayal of Lord Ozai, again, Ozai was pale skinned, with long jet black hair and a beard, his actor couldn’t have looked further from that. Plus he was portrayed not nearly sinister enough. The fire nation’s palace was on an island centered in a dead volcano. Not in some ethnic grasslands.

    Reply

  45. jeremy Said: Comment by jeremy on October 3, 2011 at 6:40 am | Permalink
     

    this is for all who even mention “race” as a factor in the making of this movie. SHUT UP! let him make the dang movie. i have seen the film time and time again and never once thought anything about race. maybe you’re the racist. if you dont like it dont watch it. mind your own business and go on with your life. look at all the other movies ever made in America that star “white people” no one ever said anything about that. EX: all those john wayne movie killing the red man. he was a urban hero for people in white america and no one gave the producers crap about that. point is that any movie can be pointed out as “racist”, if your looking for it at least, so again SHUT UP! i’m hispanic and i’m not complaining about any race, in fact i dont think there is a single mexican, cuban, colombian, el savadorian or whatever in the film. and until i seen all these racial comments i didn’t even think twice about it. and i still LOVE the movie.

    Mr. M Night,

    please ignore these ignorant fools and continue to create this amazing story with real life people of all kinds.

    Reply

    Red Reply:

    To claim that race didn’t play a factor in the casting of this film is blatant ignorance of how the film industry works. Those of us over at racebending.com and elsewhere have done our homework and researched heavily into it as well as spoken with people who work in the entertainment industry and they ALL say the same thing; race DOES often play a factor into starring roles. Why else would they have cast Sean Ferris as Kyo Kusanagi, a Japanese character in the ‘King Of Fighters’ live-action film?

    Because in the minds of film execs, Caucasian actors are more profitable than non-Caucasian actors. Prove me wrong.

    Also; acknowledging a person or characters race does NOT equate to that person being racist. You recognize them as such, but that doesn’t mean anything. The characters in the show were clearly of Asian ethnicity as we recognize them. I wouldn’t expect to see a Hispanic person, Cuban or otherwise people of South American ethnicity in this film because the story is set in an ASIAN fantasy world and therefore, I fully expected Asian actors. But they were regulated to background, side characters and villain roles. NONE were heroes.

    Those John Wayne movies were made back in the early days of Hollywood, where racial prejudice was rampant and open. When it was popular to hate on ‘the other’. Now, it’s not. But film execs find other ways of keeping non-White actors out of lead roles. Such as casting calls that read ‘Caucasian or any other ethnicity’. Casting calls such as that specify a preference for Caucasian actors and therefore, shut out any non-White actors/actresses who may be vying for the role.

    The fact that Paramount hasn’t made an announcement in regards to a sequel says there isn’t going to BE one. They barely made back what they spent on the making, promoting and converting of this film to 3-D (bad move) to warrant one. Profit was marginal at best and I doubt they will go to the effort to make another one, especially given how poorly this film was received, by both film critics AND fans of the show.

    Let’s be perfectly honest; M. Night has NOT scored a box office hit in a long time. In the minds of those who fund films, that is what matters. And this movie was his latest failure. No one expects anything good from M. Night anymore. He’s taken too many liberties with such material to be trusted in such a capacity. Very few financial backers will trust him with that amount of control.

    BTW: telling people to ‘shut up’ because you don’t like what we’re saying is not going to make us so. It also belies immaturity.
    I’m hardly ignoranct. I actually KNOW what I’m talking about in regards to matters such as racial discrimination in Hollywood film. Can you say the same?

    Reply

    Avatar of Airspeed Prime

    Airspeed Prime Reply:

    Asian inspired world, obviously another movie is not going to get made after the negativity from people who only cared about the casting decisions. The fact that the movie made a decent profit especially after the sheer negativity is an amazing feat.

    I think the only reason people are telling you and others who feel like you to shut up (A bit harsh), is because this is an Avatar Fansite we would like to discuss all Avatar here properly, not in a super negative to the movie way. A fan site you would presume would be mainly positive towards all things Avatar, yes the odd concern or thing we didn’t like is reasonable. But the way some fans talk about this movie is insane, it is near impossible to have a reasonable discussion of the movie without the topic of racebending comes up and how MNS is a racist.

    Just my opinion but I honestly find teh idea of making a website about something you do not like is a bit silly, a place where people who hate something come to hate together is just a bit weird to me. If you do not like the movie then why do you feel the need to constantly complain about casting choices.

    Regarding the casting choices, I do not claim to be an expert on racism in casting. My take on it is that it was never stated anywhere by creators or on the show that “Air nomads are this race of real people, waterbenders this and so on”, the show is asian inspired, it is a western animation with english as the original language. I liked the movie, that is my opinion, when I first saw the casting decisions yes I was a bit shocked, but I got over it, Why ? because it is just a movie, MNS was not being racist when he cast this movie he just choose those he thought would do the best job and IMO the actors did a decent job given the terrible script. You could say that nearly every movie in existence has racist casting if you look deep enough.

    Again I come back to the point that you did not answer from above. Why do you care so much about the movie if you did not agree with the casting decisions and I assume did not even see the movie ?
    I am not religious, I do not go to religious forums complaining about religion and how I don’t agree with it.

    I think everyone needs to accept that some people actually liked the movie , not because they are racist regarding the cast, but because they just did not mind the casting decisions and just wanted to see a movie based on their favourite show.
    Some people did not care about the casting and just did not like the way the movie was done.
    and Some did not agree at all with the casting decisions and thus really do not like the movie.

    The latter 2 groups may seem like people who like the movie are attacking them telling them to shut up, but the truth is that we are all (I assume) in the Avatar fandom and that we all enjoy the Avatar shows, some fandoms get really negative (Star Wars recently over the blu rays) which is just not helpful to the fandom overall with the people complaining often drowning out Fans who are there because they enjoy Avatar as a whole movie and all.
    We all need to calm down regarding the movie, on the movie forums here we have actually had some nice discussions about the movie, people respecting each others opinion despite any disagreements, so if you want to have a civilised discussion about the movie if you liked it or not please go ahead and get on the forums :)

    My final statement is that I hope that these movies do not go unfinished, I would love to see Book 2 and 3 in live action form, because I like the alternate take on the show that the movie gives. On the other hand I hope the movie does not get made as Negative Fandom would most likely return and everything would happen again and no one will be able to discuss it properly.

    And you say it yourself, Fans OF THE SHOW, no adaptation no matter how accurate and who was cast would be good enough for some people.
    There are some fans who are just fans of the Avatar “franchise” as a whole, Books, Movie, Film, Comics and so on.

    Again I have no problem really with those who hate the casting decision of this film, I just do not think that it is helpful for the fandom as a whole for people to be so negative, you can have you opinion as everyone has theirs, but if you have no interest in the movie beyond the casting then I do not see why you need to constantly talk about the movie and call out people who like the movie.

    Keep discussing here and on the forum, but please keep it civilised :)

    -Airspeed Prime (Site Super-Moderator)

    Reply

    Red Reply:

    Mike and Bryan have expressly stated that the world itself it Asian. To call it anything less is dishonest.

    Paramount spent over $280 million dollars making and promoting this film and made back just over $310 million dollars. By a studio and investors perspective, ESPECIALLY for a film touted as the ‘tent pole’ film for the studio and for a summer flick, that is downright abysmal.

    This movie would have had to make over $500 million plus to be considered financially successful, according to film experts.

    Therefore, what you view as an ‘amazing feat’ is in Hollywood view a flop.

    This needs to be made abundantly clear; NO ONE IS CALLING MNS RACIST. I’m not calling him that and I’ve seen very few people actually do so. I’m calling M. Night out on the discriminatory practices that took place with this film. That is what happened here and we’ve spoken to enough casting agents to say it with certainty.

    While M. Night himself may not be racist, the casting practices certainly have discriminatory intent. He specifically requested Nicole and Ringer himself had no previous experience as an actor, but they hired him anyway. M. Night wrote, directed and produced this movie. It is ALL ON HIS SHOULDERS.

    If you are going to re-create a world like ‘Avatar; The Last Airbender’ into something like a live-action film, then you have a responsibility and a duty to the fans and the creator(s) to remain as faithful as possible to the original material. There was to say nothing of a ‘disconnect’ between the characters as they appeared in the show and how they were in the movie. There was NO NEED to change Katara or Sokka’s racial background as it’s recognized in the show. Imagine the uproar that would have occurred if Harry Potter were cast with an Asian actor. It’s nothing against Asian people, it’s just that Harry himself is WRITTEN AS CAUCASIAN.

    We hate racial discrimination in media and when it enforces long-held stereotypes and ideas of certain people. It’s not ‘silly’ to discuss such a topic and ways in which we can improve the situation, especially when you look at the implications and messages it sends to the greater public. It says that people of color are ‘not as valued’ as White people. The casting of this film was symptomatic of the problem of the issue of systematic discrimination in the Hollywood industry. To ignorantly claim that it’s about ‘hating on the movie’ is not even CLOSE to describing what it is. It is about unfair casting practices in general and this film was just ONE OF MANY instance where this sort of thing has happened.

    So because it was a western animation and the characters spoke English means they ‘can’t’ be Asian? Are you saying that two White guys can’t do intensive research and create a well-developed, carefully built Asian world?

    First off, there is NO RULE that says they can’t. Mike and Bryan obviously knew what they were doing and did their homework. To say nothing of the fact that they had the likes of Guy Aoki on as a creative consultant for the show. They knew what they were doing and were respectful to the sources.

    Secondly, as someone who has been writing most of her life, I can tell you; if you are going to write a story with a very specific setting (like in Asia), then it’s important to write the main characters as people native to that world. It would be a total disconnect and be just plain pointless to write in say, a knight of the Round Table being the focus of a story set in North America with a Cherokee or Navajo tribe.

    Let me put it another way; Mike and Bryan may have very well been under the assumption that the viewers were smart enough about the world to see that not every fantasy story needs to center on White heroes. Maybe they believed that you didn’t need to be expressly told what race.ethnicity the characters were and that they would simply let their surroundings tell you. They avoided using the typical racial markers you see so often in animated shows and didn’t make any of their voice actors use a fake ‘Asian-sounding’ accent.

    The ‘M & B never said they were of XXX ethnicity’ is without support and has no basis in fact.

    I was responding to the previous comment; I abhor laziness in regards to such matters and when people choose to shut their eyes to the facts before them because they don’t fall in line with their way of thinking, they are inconvenient or they make them uncomfortable.

    I am willing to accept there are people who liked the movie. I DO NOT accept their insistence that there was no racial discrimination involved in the casting and claiming we are somehow ‘wrong’ because our facts do not fit in with their beliefs.

    Avatar of Airspeed Prime

    Airspeed Prime Reply:

    Why can you not just accept that there are some people out there who just wanted to see a movie and did not mind the casting decisions. I have no problem with you feeling the way you do about the casting, but why does they always have to come up whenever the movie is discussed (Yes this blog post is specifically about this) but on the movie review blog that is what every post is nearly about too.
    I think most people accept that the casting was not 100% perfect, It could have been better, I got over it because I in no way believe MNS was being discriminatory , that is my opinion. I accept the casting decisions, I am not being lazy just because I am not an expert on discrimination in casting does not mean “I shut my eyes” to any supposed wrong doing.

    I am not against what you are thinking, yes I am more neutral towards the topic than you but I am not anti what you think. I would just like this topic to be able to be discussed without both sides (I am aware that some people who like the movie are rude to some who don’t) resorting to insults.

    But the key is that we all need to be open to a change in opinion, the problem here is that everyone has their opinion and it is set in stone. Think about each others point and don’t just go “wrong, no facts, I am correct always”
    The only reason I really replied here is to try and calm things down, I do not want what should be some interesting discussions turned into hate speeches and arguments.

    This is just an example and it just happens to be your post, Red

    “The ‘M & B never said they were of XXX ethnicity’ is without support and has no basis in fact.”

    The opposite is also without support and no basis in fact. The thing is Mike and Bryan have never said the fire nation is this country and so the people are from this country. Yes they have mentioned that the show is almost completely asian inspired and that is clear in the show, but the thing people take a bit too seriously is that it has never been said what real life race each nation is, some people obviously had 1 idea in their head and MNS another and they clashed.
    My opinion on the topic is that when I watched the show I never said to myself that Aang is this race and so on, I watched the show because the story is epic, the animation superb, the characters amazing and so many other awesome things, I did not watch the show because or the races of the characters or because the world was asian inspired.
    Race never comes into play for me unless something in the show mentions it and it wasn’t. This is not me being ignorant to race or discrimination.

    Again I ask everyone who posts on this topic to be civil towards each other, be open to change, do not just rip apart other peoples posts. It is a fansite it is mean to be fun and enjoyable :)

    -Airspeed Prime (Site Super-Moderator)

    Red Reply:

    ‘The opposite is also without support and no basis in fact. The thing is Mike and Bryan have never said the fire nation is this country and so the people are from this country. Yes they have mentioned that the show is almost completely asian inspired and that is clear in the show, but the thing people take a bit too seriously is that it has never been said what real life race each nation is, some people obviously had 1 idea in their head and MNS another and they clashed.
    My opinion on the topic is that when I watched the show I never said to myself that Aang is this race and so on, I watched the show because the story is epic, the animation superb, the characters amazing and so many other awesome things, I did not watch the show because or the races of the characters or because the world was asian inspired.’

    Basically, this boils down to ‘it’s a fantasy world, so they could be anything.’ claim.

    To your first point; actually, there is. And it boils down to simple basic world-building skills.

    Mike and Bryan obviously went to a LOT of trouble to make this world as reflective of our own in regards to a specific region as possible. From the architecture and food, to the language and culture, to the clothes and philosophies to the mythology. Every last part of it is rooted firmly in an Asian background.

    Well, I watched it for all those reasons, too. At the SAME time, I cannot ignore the fact that, were these characters real, they would be Asian, Pacific Islander and Inuit. The characters are never targeted to be of any specific Asian background, but Asian they are. To say they are somehow otherwise and ‘could be anything’ is to ignore all evidence that they are. To say nothing of the fact that it insults the show and every writer of sci-fi and fantasy out there. Being fantasy does not mean you can do whatever you want. Real-world rules need to apply unless stated otherwise. If there IS a difference, it should be noted in the narrative subtly.

    Think of it this way; if YOU were going to build a fantasy world that was centered on any one specific place, such as South America, what valid reason would you have to write and draw the characters as anything other than regional South American ethnicities? It is impossible for us to completely disconnect reality from fantasy because it’s how we relate to it. We cannot ignore realism in respect to race simply because it’s a fantasy world.

    People living in OUR world create the fantasy ones. It is impossible to disassociate the real world from the fantasy. It needs a sense of realism and believability to make it work. Look at ‘Lord of the Rings’. It is set solidly inside a European world and therefore, people fully expect the characters to be ethnically European, i.e. Caucasian. How can we expect anything else from an Asian world? The Avatar world is grounded in OUR ancient world’s East Asia. The creators themselves stated that they wanted to create an Asian world INSTEAD OF the typical European one, which is ALL that western audiences have been shown.

    Fantasy, no matter how fantastic, has roots in reality because it’s how we relate to it. How ‘relate-able’ would a non-Asian character be in a distinctly Asian world?

    guy Reply:

    Red is right on. I would also like to point out Noah Ringer’s ethnicity (part Native American) wasn’t announced until a year later since the release of the film which I find questionable. What got everyone in a tizzy was the fact Noah Ringer was cast as Aang as being a white actor (probably for the white audience). I understand the studios have to make money to pay back their budget and to make more for sequels, but I really don’t see how just relying on domestic box office revenues matter these days…there are a billion+ people in China and I’m sure they like go to the theaters and watch movies. And btw, the movie wasn’t that great (I rented it the other day). I feel most of the blame goes to M. Night. He even confessed to Vulture Magazine interview that his style of filmmaking didn’t translate very well for a fantasy story that he is not used to producing.

    Reply

    FGHBNM Reply:

    @ Airspeed, I think the reason why it’s impossible for said topic not to come up is because it’s the most obvious change.
    If the movie were outstanding and captivating despite the casting changes, it would matter very little to me who played who. However, seeing as, imo, the film was, well a massive waste of £7.50 and an hour or so of my life, the only thing that really caught my attention was the casting blunder, and from the looks of things others feel the same way (correct me if I’m wrong of course), therefor it’s bound to be a prominent topic of discussion. Personally, the reason why my attitude toward said film is so negative, despite being a rather big fan of the series, is because, literally every film adaptation of books or games or series I grew up loving has turned out fairly successful, so the bar was set quite high, examples would be Harry Potter, Sherlock Holmes, Scott Pilgrim, (etc etc.) I think the reason why Harry Potter was ensured to live up to the books (despite the many scene changes and cuts) was because they consulted J K Rowling herself before making any changes. I forgot where I was going with this.

    Reply

    FGHBNM Reply:

    Just one last thing, what I don’t understand is, that M Night actually changed the geographical setting of the fire nation, to suit the race he had cast for it, he cast most Persian based races or Indian/middle eastern, and therefor made their geographical homes, the architecture, costume design etc etc distinctively middle eastern, as opposed to traditional Chinese (as they were portrayed in the series). However, the rest of the cast was a Caucasian cast (with the exception of the Princess who was either half cast or black), yet their setting, costume design, culture, etc etc, was the same as it was in the series, Aang’s temple and home being one with Malaysian/Buddhist influences, and Sokka and Katara’s home being of Inuit design, why would M Night go out of his way to create a realistic background for the races he cast as the fire nation, but become lazy when it came to the the water tribes and the air benders?

    Reply

  46. Red Said: Comment by Red on January 8, 2012 at 10:01 pm | Permalink
     

    @mindbender, any attempts at making the cast ‘more ethnic’ falls flat when you take into consideration the fact that nearly AL non-White actors were regulated to background and villainous roles. NOT ONE was a hero, which defeats you whole claim.

    ‘Lord of the Rings’ didn’t go to the trouble of making the characters ‘more diverse’ because it was unecessary. It took place in a distinctly European world, there fore it’s only natural to expect the characters to be ethnically Caucasian. Why should The Last Airbender’ be treated any differently in that regard? It makes no sense to deviate away from that. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

    Also; do you REALLY expect for M. Night to come right out and admit that yes, there IS ma systematic discrimination towards people of color? Of course he’s not. He’s going to say whatever he has to. Saying anything contrary tothat would not only land him in trouble, but Paramount, as well if he said thatthey deliberately castnon-Asians as leads.

    Can you IMAGINE the lawsuits that would spring from such an admission?!

    Here is the reality; systematic racial discrimination DOES EXIST. And it happened here. Not M. Night, nor Paramount are going to come right out and say it. They would be SLAMMED with bad press and sued like you wouldn’t believe. It’s naieve to think that what they claimis to be believed. They were covering their behinds. Nothing more.

    And consider; even though you and others posting here may not be racist yourself, there are plenty of other people who are. And quite a few of them are in the position to make things as hard as possible for non-Whites. That includes execs in Hollywood. And just because YOU may not see something as racially discriminate, that doesn’t automatically mean it isn’t. The people making these decisions are not going to spell out their agenda or intensions. They are going to do what they please because they THINK they know better. So I ask a question; would you have seen the film if theENTIRE CAST, namy the leads, were ethnically Asian and Inuit?

    Reply

  47. FGHBNM Said: Comment by FGHBNM on January 11, 2012 at 5:50 pm | Permalink
     

    I don’t think what he did was racist, but it did seem a little biased. Instead of focusing on the traditional Chinese culture that was ever so present in the series, it seems to be orientated around his own culture, and that’s great, if this was a completely original film idea and it wasn’t based off something that people grew up with and loved. That and the film really didn’t seem to have any.. substance to it, it just seemed like an excuse to try out some super cool special effects in 3d.

    Reply

  48. Avatar of I'mAangsAirbendingGirl
    I'mAangsAirbendingGirl Said: Comment by I'mAangsAirbendingGirl on August 6, 2012 at 10:43 pm | Permalink
     

    Hey, guys, I WAS a raving lunatic until I read this. I’ve turned now and I think I like M. Night just that little bit more.
    I seriously raved- and I mean RAVED- to my BFFS who were not at ALL interested in Avatar.
    I was all “Katara is TAN, and the Water tribe is based on Inuit culture, not WHITE people! And, I mean, they should be Asian, they got the water tribe white and the Fire nation dark, it’s the wrong way round!”
    Eventually they got sick of it and told me to shut up.
    After doing research on it, I found this, read it, and I think I’m that much more liking M. Night now.
    Haha, so… I’m not raving anymore!
    Sorry, M. Night, I was against you but now I’ve heard a bit more of your side I think I support you.

    Reply

  49. Avatar of Ricardo
    Ricardo Said: Comment by Ricardo on August 7, 2012 at 1:39 am | Permalink
     

    I enjoyed the movie before I saw this, but now… my respect for M. Night Shyamalan has gone through the roof.

    Reply

  50. Avatar of I'mAangsAirbendingGirl
    I'mAangsAirbendingGirl Said: Comment by I'mAangsAirbendingGirl on August 7, 2012 at 1:43 am | Permalink
     

    Amen to that, Ricardo.

    Reply

 

Leave a Comment

Queries: 179 queries in 1.004 seconds.
15137472fdfcca9b48c72b83cfc3f443729a9693f432a7751f