Bald Kid With Magic Powers

I don’t want to see Paramount eat it with The Last Airbender (7.1). I have no dog in this fight. And I understand why I wasn’t invited to a screening because they know I hate this stuff going in. But for a movie that cost $150 million to make and is costing a king’s ransom to market, I’m not feeling the molecular current, even though it opens tomorrow. No buzz, nobody’s talking about it, and only two negative Rotten Tomatoes reviews so far.

43 thoughts on “Bald Kid With Magic Powers

  1. lazarus on said:

    Well here’s someone who WOULD like to see them eat it.

    The longer Shyamalan stays in movie jail, and the more he is humbled, the better.

  2. All the buzz I’ve read on this so far has been a grass roots campaign to boycott it because they didn’t use enough ethnic actors in key roles. It’s a live action version of a cartoon, so I think there are more important things for people to protest. But people want what they want, I guess.

  3. I don’t understand how a movie like this gets the green light. And why someone like Shyamalan continues down this road. And why people give him a budget for it. Truely puzzling.

  4. The lead kid is weird looking. Bald child with scary eyes and an arrow on his head. He looks like a villain, or at least some sort of emotionless robot. Not sure people know who to root for in this thing.

  5. That’s a lot of money to spend on a movie aimed at only one quadrant: children. This movie has no appeal to adults or teenagers over the age of 12.

  6. Damn see I’m actually kind of looking forward to this. I have no doubt what it’ll be but I’m of the “please don’t fuck this up” group. As a parent with kids who are now 11 and 9 this tv series was a family ritual. Not sure how many people here have to sit through the dreck that is kids television but I can say that the Avatar series was some fantastic storytelling. Great characters, great themes, etc. Also challenging in a way that very few children’s entertainment is. I’m not sure of too many children’s tv shows or movies or books that take a character through the type of transformation and growth that occurs with the Zuko character through out the story.

    Am I expecting the greatest cinematic experience ever projected. Not even close. Like I said, please don’t let them fuck this up and please let it be successful enough to complete the storyline.

  7. Paramount may very well eat it with this one. It’s a movie set up as a trilogy made for kids– 6-10 year olds specifically. That age group seems to be pretty excited– beyond that, any other anticipation is voltage free.

    There’s an obvious tinge of effort put into the genuinely interesting world-building and mythology– almost enough to like, but the technical execution, the plodding screenplay, the young actors who perform like Barney-level thesps (including Jackson Rathbone and Dev Patel) and plodding expository setup lost virtually every adult in the theater from almost the first scene. The third act picks up a bit and the action is kinetic and interesting enough to warrant some moderate thrills, but Shyamalan is laid bare here and reveals his past successes have been bolstered by the strength of his cast and their ability to interpret his story. Airbender has none of that luxury.

  8. GOLDEN CHILD!

    That’s what this movie has been reminding me of for the past six months! And not in a good way.

    Lazarus- If the one-two punch of awful known as Lady In The Water and The Happening can’t humble Night, than nothing will.

    (Unless it was his intention to make The Happening a comedy, in which case he is indeed the genius Newsweek declared him in 2002)

  9. Hmm, sad if this hasn’t turned out well. I thought the trailers looked fun and exciting, and at least Shyamalan is a filmmaker that understands the basic building blocks of film grammar. At the very least i’m sure this is about 1000 times better than Twilight.

  10. Ebert really ripped it, and it sounds like he’s seen some of the TV show.

    This is going to be a MAJOR disappointment for my 10-year-old son, who loved the TV show and just recently saw (and really liked) both the Sixth Sense and Unbreakable. He was really looking forward to this movie.

  11. Ouch… a one-star review from Christy Lemire of AP. Leveled, in my opinion, the worst possible criticism a critic can make: she called it boring.

  12. Anyone else think THE HAPPENING was M. Night’s fuck-it-all moment, like Stone and U TURN? He felt the doors closing and his staunchest supporters backing away so he goes whole hog with postage in response.

  13. Rotten Tomatoes is now up to 12 negatives and 0 positives.

    I totally agree with lazarus. I think Shyamalan is a gifted filmmaker who is totally destroyed by his own ego and hubris. He got too much praise, too quickly, and has been on a downward spiral since Sixth Sense. Anything that will humble him and snap him back into reality (Yes, Night, you can do wrong!) is a plus in my book.

  14. When even Ebert it giving you crappy summer tent pole genre flick half a star, you are, as they say royally fucked. I mean, damn, the only further down the ladder you go is for Harry Knowles to hate it.

    Rich – it’s not just a grass roots thing. Every major media story I’ve run across has mentioned the decision to cast too many Anglos in it.

  15. Deathtongue, at this point it would be even further down the ladder if Harry Knowles LOVES it.

    Did you read his slash-fic love letter review? It haunts me.

  16. I’ve been looking forward to this, and I know several others that have been highly anticipating it as well. I’m glad Shyamalan (one of the better visual directors today) is working from someone else’s material, and the effects look top-notch and well-integrated.

    I will admit, though, that every time I see that Luck Dragon thingamajig in the trailer, I cringe a little bit.

  17. Does Shyamalan have an acting cameo in this one? Maybe he could play Bobby Jindal in the HBO movie about the BP spill.

  18. I just checked out Rotten Tomatoes. Yeesh … this movie’s getting brutalized over there (6% approval). Can it really end up worse than Grown Ups (10% approval)???

  19. Oh to have been in the room when the executives screened the final cut of this one. Or of THE HAPPENING. Or LADY IN THE WATER. Or THE VILLAGE.

  20. The source material here is strong but I’ll just have to see how much M. tries to pack in here. It’s impossible to top the animated series so the best they can do here is drive people to want to buy those DVD’s. Seems like a lot to spend to market backwards…

  21. Hmm, sad if this hasn’t turned out well. I thought the trailers looked fun and exciting, and at least Shyamalan is a filmmaker that understands the basic building blocks of film grammar. At the very least i’m sure this is about 1000 times better than Twilight.

  22. Its a failure, but a noble one: trying to tell a massively complex story with at least a dozen major characters and a fuck ton of mythology… In 90 minutes, with a cast of mostly kids. That’d be tough for anyone. It LOOKS fantastic, and if it had maybe an extra hour (or another movie) to BREATH in so its not all exposition, it couldve been a classic.

    People who bitch about the LOTR movies being “too long?” THIS is what happens when these things get compressed (it feels like it got cut down, too.)

  23. Rich: “All the buzz I’ve read on this so far has been a grass roots campaign to boycott it because they didn’t use enough ethnic actors in key roles. It’s a live action version of a cartoon, so I think there are more important things for people to protest.”

    Well, the problem is that the casting call was specifically for white actors, even though the show was about Asian characters. And then they tried appeasing the critics by casting that kid from Slumdog, but he ends up being the bad guy.

    raygo: “I don’t understand how a movie like this gets the green light.”

    The show had a following on Nick, and Paramount wants some of that HP dough. Looks like this could end up being Shyamalan’s Howard the Duck, though.

    bob: “That’s a lot of money to spend on a movie aimed at only one quadrant: children. This movie has no appeal to adults or teenagers over the age of 12. ”

    Seriously. Forbidden Kingdom had Jackie and Jet, and still only cost $55 million. Christ, Lemony Snicket had Jim Carrey when he was still bankable, and it still under-performed.

    Sams: And that’s a bad thing because…?

    Brandon: Whatever you think of the show, you know this is gonna be another Aeon Flux for Paramount, right?

    Bob: Another hour, and it’d be a borefest like Speed Racer. They really should’ve just focused on one or two of the characters from the show and then have the big shit happen in the sequel.

    kyun: That Indian guy from Slumdog’s about it. Shamalamadingdong claimed he was being “ironic” in his casting decision.

  24. I loved Ebert’s pan, especially the first paragraph about the 3D in the movie.

    But I see the movie doing Prince of Persia numbers.

  25. Paramount’s made enough already this year that they can afford to eat this one. Not sure what the lesson to learn from this not working it. No more cartoon adaptations starring little bald kids? Will this hurt the chances of live-action Peanuts and Henry movies being made?

    Seriously though, if your movie has a child lead, and ONLY kid appeal, keep it cheap. There’s no movie stars in this thing, so no reason for it to cost as much as it did. Kids don’t care if the cgi isn’t state of the art, only egotistical directors do.

  26. Kar: No fucking way it’ll do Persia numbers. It’s got no stars and no chicks Lex would wanna bang.

    Jeffmc: “Paramount’s made enough already this year that they can afford to eat this one.”

    Not if they also over-paid on Schmucks. And it’s funny that they claim to have made a ton of money, even though Shrek 4 bombed, ‘Dragon only broke even, and Out of My League won’t be profitable until home video. And Shutter Island’s probably theiir only real hit for what it cost to produce and market, though I guess Iron Man 2 at least didn’t disappoint as badly as it could have. Really, though, shouldn’t Disney be the biggest bread-winner so far, unless they, for some inexplicable reason, gave up their international rights to Alice?

  27. I know I’m certifiable for trying this but here goes:

    DeeZee: By this time, interfacing with and hopefully reading all the savvy and sharp folks who come to this site, you should have learned something about the fundamentals of the business.

    Shrek 4″ is doing $250 mil Stateside and will be huge overseas. They’re keeping it away from football, excuse me, soccer. Assume at least half-bil world gross plus ancillary and licensing. Well north of bil in total revenue.

    “Dragon” has done a half billion bucks in global theatrical. Add several hundred million in ancillary and several hundred million more on licensing and I hope you get the point.

    “Iron Man 2″ had done over $600 million worldwide and again, add on the ancillary and licensing.

    Last point for everyone here who made the error of comparing “Airbender” to “Catwoman” and “Speed Racer” and other tankeroos of that ilk. Looks like this puppy will do 30% more biz than either of those titles ON THE FIRST WEEKEND.

    It may be the worst movie of all time, but a $60 million opening weekend is certainly not the biggest bomb of all time. Not by a long shot.

  28. Gaydos: “Shrek 4″ is doing $250 mil Stateside and will be huge overseas.”

    Only because of the 3D boost. That’s still basically its entire fucking budget, though, which means it’s a bomb. And there’s no way it’s gonna be huge overseas when it’s competing with Eclipse, Salt, and Inception.

    “”Dragon” has done a half billion bucks in global theatrical.”

    It also cost half of that money, so it’s actually one of DWA’s least profitable films.

    “Add several hundred million in ancillary and several hundred million more on licensing and I hope you get the point.”

    What point? That it needs to do well on home video to be a hit?

    “”Iron Man 2″ had done over $600 million worldwide and again, add on the ancillary and licensing.”

    Still cost more than the first film.

    “Looks like this puppy will do 30% more biz than either of those titles ON THE FIRST WEEKEND.”

    That’s only because it had inflated 3D ticket prices.

    “but a $60 million opening weekend is certainly not the biggest bomb of all time.”

    It is when you factor in its budget and its lack of world-wide appeal.

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