I'm on the fence about The Last Airbender, and it all relates to my ambivalence about director / writer / producer M. Night Shyamalan. He has evident skills as a director; I mean, clearly he can add visual panache. But as a writer, he simply ran out of ideas, as exemplified by the warmed-over gruel of The Village, the eye-rolling Lady in the Water, and the exasperating, maddening The Happening. Even in The Sixth Sense, Unbreakable, and Signs, there were elements present that were outrageously manipulative and irritating. So how can he possibly pull off an adaptation of an animated series that anyone will want to see?
Judging by a new Japanese trailer, located by SciFi Wire, the answer is: stuff the film full of special effects, martial arts moves, and Caucasian children, and hope for the best. The trailer looks very similar to the latest U.S. theatrical trailer, playing in front of Shrek Forever After 3D and Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time. Begrudgingly, I must admit: if I didn't know M. Night was involved, I'd definitely want to see this movie. Maybe he needs an adaptation, an opportunity to work outside of his own little genre, in order to clean out his creative pipes. Of course, it always helps to have a deep-voiced Japanese narrator for the voice over work; it adds a sense of mystery and wonder.
Watch the trailer -- after the jump -- and then let us know: will you go see The Last Airbender when it opens on July 2?
Japanese trailer for The Last Airbender: