Fans would be thrilled to know that Avatar: The Last Airbender has made enough waves in the entertainment industry to have a film adaptation to its name.  In fact, they’d be happier to know that M. Night Shyamalan, the man behind the success of the film The Sixth Sense, has enlisted his talents for the making of the live-action film adaptation, which is set to be released on July 2, 2010.  According to Variety, the production team has titled the film “The Last Airbender,” dropping the “Avatar” to avoid confusion with James Cameron’s upcoming flick of the same name, which is set to be released in December 2009.

Avatar: The Last Airbender was inspired and influenced by Japanese filmmaker Hayao Mizahaki, whom Shyamalan believes is one of the greatest storytellers in the world.  Shyamalan adds that “In ‘The Last Airbender,’ I see an opportunity to make a live-action version of a Miyazaki film.”

Avatar: The Last Airbender is an anime show following a young hero who is gifted with a power to stop a nation from destroying other countries.  Recently, Shyamalan spoke with Empire Online to talk about the plot of the film and how it relates to the Nickelodeon show.

“The actual plot is in a place where there are four tribes of people.  And these people each have people within their tribe that have mastery over one element: water, earth, fire or air,” Shyamalan explained.  “They all live in a balance and harmony and once every generation there is born an individual who can bend – that is manipulate – all four of those elements and thereby keep a balance between all.  They are kind of a Buddha figure to some extent.”

Moreover, he adds that like any other epic story, a young hero will emerge among the chaos of the nations.  A personal conflict will also arise, as the hero “doesn’t want this job.  He’s forced into the position of putting the world back together again.  It actually has a lot of Shakespearean overtones to it.  There’s lots of family angst, and fathers denying sons in different storylines.”

Shyamalan says that the story will delve into transcultural philosophies as well.

“Buddhist and Hindu philosophies run through the stuff,” he said.  “When I realized that is what it was, it really drew me as the template for putting storytelling on a new level.  There is a kind of thread that connects Star Wars and The Matrix – the first one.  That same thread is in this story, about a forgotten belief system, or the illusion of the world now.”

But this film promises not just any preachy philosophical content, as it aims to bring the latest in special effects, as well.  In fact, he wants it to be a perfect balance between content and imagery, and thus will have a keen eye open for every detail that goes into the film, which will be released under Paramount Pictures and Nickelodeon.

“It’s daunting on the level of not doing it properly,” Shyamalan said.   “It can’t be special effects for the sake of special effects… Everything has to have that detail.  I can’t leave it.  I have to make sure that I make it the same kind of storytelling, but with just one more tool.”

-Valerie Anne del Castillo, BuddyTV Staff Columnist
Source: Empire Online, Variety
(Photo courtesy of DLP Cinemas)


Valerie Del Castillo

Staff Columnist, BuddyTV