Tag Archive | cartoon

Why The Last Airbender Fails

There was such potential for The Last Airbender film, based on the beloved Avatar: The Last Airbender American anime series, to be the start of a very lucrative and popular film franchise. The cartoon series is filled with humor, rich characters, intriguing mythos, action, adventure, romance, friendship, coming-of-age, etc. All sorts of amazing things in the source material which could have life breathed into it in a real-world setting.

Yet, from it’s very conception it was fumbled so horribly.

THE CAST

There has been a riot of protest against the casting choices made for this film and with good reason. You wouldn’t expect a cartoon cast that is racially diverse, with a plot that is set in areas of a fantasy world devoid of white people to be represented as anything other, right? Especially when their cultural heritage is so integral to the plot and the characters themselves.

Of course Hollywood would change that. They need to appeal to white people, the main contingency of their audience. While I don’t agree that is the case, Hollywood has explained their rational on many occasions. But instead of changing just one or two characters races  – they change them all. Aang is now Ong, a pouty lipped white boy. Katara, Sokka and their Grandmother are now the only white people in the entire Southern Water Tribe. All of the Northern water tribe is comprised of white people.

The Earth benders are Japanese, the Air Benders are mixed race, and the Fire Benders vary between East Indian and Middle Eastern, all featuring dark skin aside from Uncle Iro. So in this way Hollywood is allowed to perpetuate the myth that dark skin = bad and light skin = good. Again. As always. Even more shameful coming from M. Night Shyamalan, a director of color.

Gah – these turn of events are so horrible that people have been planning for years to boycott the movie. Unfortunately, I was caught up in the fervor of watching the television show with my nephews and agreeing to see the movie with them before I realized what had happened to the cast of one of my beloved shows. It’s either compromise my morals or break my nephews hearts at this point – so I sucked it up and chose to watch the movie.

At no point after reviewing the cast list did I believe it was possible for this movie not to suck. I had some hope. But a serious compromise of the core of the source material does not a good adaptation make.

Racebending is an outstanding website to catch yourself up on the whole phenomena.

THE NAME IS THE THING

And screwing up the name pronunciation of main characters is not EVER going to please a fan-base. So not only are the main characters completely the wrong races, but their names are also pronounced improperly. According to M. Night Shyamalan himself, he chose to use the root source of the words and had a linguist come in to explain all these details. OK – fine, but WHY bother doing this after you already horribly mangled the race of the characters? Why be sure to include something that will no doubt whip the fan-base into an even further frenzy?

Cause you really don’t care about the source material. You are already taking liberties and pissing on something beloved and who cares about getting it right? Grrrr. I don’t think I’ve been this insulted by an adaptation since The Last Stand or Spiderman: 3. Actually, this is probably worse. Not only did I visibly cringe and actually verbalize to the theatre every-time I heard the mis-pronunciation, but the pacing was off, the acting was subpar at best and the visual styles were all terrible as well.

THE FILM PARTS OF THE FILM

Were all awful. The really visual interesting pieces of the film (the bending) were few and far between, and for the most part the visual style was dominated by these strange really close-in and tight shots that didn’t allow you to absorb the action or the scene itself. Frowny face for that.

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Bechdel Test Post #3

TRUE BLOOD: Season 3, Episode 26: Bad Blood

Bechdel Test for Women

1. It has two or more women in it (with names)

2. At least two women talk to each-other: Sookie and Kenya. Sookie and Pam. Sookie and Tara. Sookie and Jessica. Tara and Arlene.

3. There were no conversations between two women that didn’t revolve around Bill or Eric. Tara and Arlene were fighting about race – but that conversation was spurred by the death of Eggs. There was a brief exchange between Tara and Lettie Mae – but it was being coaxed by a male reverend. The only line not uttered through or about a male was when Tara told her mother she was going to take a shower.

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Bechdel Test for Men

1. It has two or more men in it (with names)

2. At least two men talk to each-other: Jason and Andy Bellefleur. Jason and Hoyt. Eric and the magistrate.

3. Jason and Andy discuss the death of Eggs. Jason and Hoyt talk about their life situation – Hoyt asks to move in. Eric and the magistrate discuss the sale of “V” in Louisiana.

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Bechdel Test for Race

1. It has two or more people of color in it (with names) – Tara, Lafayette, Lettie Mae

2. Tara and Lafayette. Lafayette and Lettie Mae.

3. Tara and Lafayette talk to one another about the death of Eggs. Lafayette and Lettie Mae talk to one another about Tara and their own relationship.

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This True Blood episode DOES NOT PASS the female test, PASSES the male test and PASSES the Bechdel Test for Race.

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THE GUILD Comic Book: Issues 1-3

Since these were all read in one grouping…I decided against doing a Bechdel test on each, so they will be measured as a unit.

Bechdel Test for Women

1. It has two or more women in it (with names)

2. At least two women talk to each-other: Cyd and Clara in issue 2. Cyd and Tink in issue 3.

3. Cyd and Clara talk about the  rules of The Game and how to earn points. Cyd and Tink talk about arranging a raid, and later about joining The Guild.

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Bechdel Test for Men

1. It has two or more men in it (with names)

2. At least two men talk to each-other: No men talk to each-other in issue 1. Zaboo and Bladezz in issue 2. Zaboo and Vork in issue 2. Zaboo and Bladezz in issue 3.

3. Zaboo and Bladezz discuss the game and homework. Zaboo and Vork discuss the game.

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Bechdel Test for Race

1. It has two or more people of color in it (with names): Tink. Zaboo.

2. Two minorities talk to one another: Neither of the two characters interact with one another.

3. N/A

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Two issues PASS the female test (2/3), two issues PASS the male test (2/3) and none of the issues PASS the Bechdel Test for Race (0/3).

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