Delmaar wrote:I've thought about it and I think the failure of the movie, for an American audience, was the fact that they dropped out the "American" part and made it too Eastern.
The emphasis on spirituality that does not involve a monotheistic god. Yes it was there in the show, but the movie really kicked it up a notch and made it more central to the plot.
The name changes.
Dropping out the humor. The humor in the cartoon is so strongly based on 100's of years of American slapstick humor traditions (which led to cartoon humor traditions), that by taking it out, it de-Americanized the movie and made it harder for American audiences to get into.
Very, very interesting! I've actually never thought about it like that.... "they dropped out the "American" part and made it too Eastern"
... I think this is so true.
They did focus on spirituality in a weird way in the movie -- they really focused on animism and 'fear of spirits' more-so than I think they should, and on the parts where they should have focused on major spiritual motifs they just plain didn't (like Aang actually being an AVATAR for the Ocean Spirit at the end, displaying the typical 'righteous anger' of enraged deities). I don't think that the movie did too much spirituality -- but I think they presented it in such a different way from the show.
The name changes were all clearly designed to make it seem more Asian. But, hell, Avatar is not an Asian show. It's an American show that uses the "Asian world" for a theme. Like Star Wars uses Space Exploration as a theme or Spongebob uses underwater as a theme. They focused too much on the 'asian' theme and then wanted to make the names reflect that. But in doing so they (again) alienated themselves from both the series and the audience. The majority of us Avatar watchers are not Asian. We speak American English and have English dialects. Don't say "Ahng" or "Ahv-atar" or "Soh-ka"...
Your notes on humor are, by far, the most interesting thing I see in your post, Delmaar. Part of the reason why Avatar worked so was to do with something that you don't get from Hollywood, and you don't get from the "asian world". Cartoon-humor. If Avatar didn't have that Cartoon Humor, it would not fit on Nickelodeon. It could not be on the same line-up with shows like Spongebob or i-Carly. Cartoon Humor is something that made Avatar so lovable by many generations. It didn't pride itself in being too "epic". This is what really sets it apart from many Japanese Animations (which tend to be too serious or so unbelievable quirky) and Hollywood.