Most everything I have to say about The Last Airbender was pretty much articulated in my monologue, "21 Reasons Why This Movie Already Sucks," the central piece of my show, Jukebox Stories: The Case of the Creamy Foam, in 2008. (Read the piece in its entirety here.) That monologue detailed how Hollywood whitewashed an Asian-American story, setting the API community back years, decades even.
Well, it's 2010, and it's happening all over again—with South Asian director M. Night Shyamalan at the helm, no less. The original animated series' Asian and Inuit lead characters are now being played by white actors in the live-action adaptation. Caving to pressure, Shyamalan did cast one ethnic lead—Slumdog Millionaire's Dev Patel plays the bad guy.
The Los Angeles Times recently dissected the controversy in a much-circulated think piece, but I think award-winning graphic novelist Gene Luen Yang breaks it down best in this succinct comic strip (click to enlarge):
You know how much I absolutely hated those Twilight movies, but on July 4th weekend—when my entertainment dollar will speak for me—I am willing to give my money to Eclipse if it means sinking The Last Airbender into the sea of box office failures.
Look, I don't wish ill upon anybody (for the most part), but I do dig the fact that Airbender is tracking poorly. It could be coincidence, but I'd like to think all the hubbub that's been created is partially responsible. So I'm going to keep hubbubbing, and I hope you'll join me in saying, "Fuck you, Last Airbender."
For more information, go to Racebending.com.
(Thanks to Angry Asian Man and Howard Ho.)