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Avatar: THE PROMISE - January 2012

General Discussion about the Nickelodeon television series that ran from 2005-2008.

Re: Avatar: THE PROMISE - January 2012

Postby Mindbender on Wed Aug 31, 2011 2:45 pm

The writer on the books is multiple Eisner Award winner Gene Luen Yang. Interestingly, he is very familiar with the show, and was outspoken against the casting decisions made by Shyamalan/Paramount (whomever was ultimately responsible) on his blog. He even made a webcomic about his feelings on it:

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Mike Dante DiMartino and Bryan Konietzko have been silent about the movie since very early on in the film's preproduction (when the filmed the Book 2 box set extra feature where they were sitting in a theater with Night). There has been some evidence that they disagreed with the casting and other early decisions and did not like the final product. It would be fair to venture that they are contractually obligated to refrain from speaking ill of the film. It would be very safe to guess that even if they weren't contractually obligated, they have chosen to not upset Paramount, whom own Nickelodeon and all the intellectual property rights to all things Airbender and are the gate-keepers to further exploring that world, with or without them.

I don't know if Mike Dante DiMartino and Bryan Konietzko hand-picked Gene Luen Yang for this project, or if that was Dark Horse's doing, but whoever hired him knew about his public proclamations and they clearly are not bothered by it or they completely agree with him.
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Re: Avatar: THE PROMISE - January 2012

Postby Archsage on Wed Aug 31, 2011 3:43 pm

Well now, in light of what Mindbender posted, I'm definitely looking forward to this guy's story (if he rejected the Movie's direction) and actually know about Avatar. I'm a little skeptical as his focus seemed to be only on the "asian-ness" of the series (and I'm sure that everyone here could agree with me that Avatar: The Last Airbender was a lot more than just 'reflective of Asian culture'), as well as his art-style. But if he tries his best to remain true to the animated series, the story will be pretty good, I presume.
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Re: Avatar: THE PROMISE - January 2012

Postby Mindbender on Thu Sep 01, 2011 7:05 am

Archsage wrote:Well now, in light of what Mindbender posted, I'm definitely looking forward to this guy's story (if he rejected the Movie's direction) and actually know about Avatar. I'm a little skeptical as his focus seemed to be only on the "asian-ness" of the series (and I'm sure that everyone here could agree with me that Avatar: The Last Airbender was a lot more than just 'reflective of Asian culture'), as well as his art-style. But if he tries his best to remain true to the animated series, the story will be pretty good, I presume.

A few notes: 1) He is writing the books, not drawing them, so your skepticism of his art style is a moot point. 2) I argue that his focus is not "only on the "asian-ness" of the series," he said it has "multifaceted characters and addictive plot lines, all set in a beautifully-constructed Asian fantasy world" as well as saying the the writing was "not only witty, thoughtful, and clever, it showed deep respect for Asian cultures." Clearly, he was expressing his appreciation of the show's genuine "asian-ness" as bonus to the show's strong fundamentals (story, character, humor, intelligence, mythology), considering that he perceives that genuine reflection of Asian culture is a rare thing in American media.
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Re: Avatar: THE PROMISE - January 2012

Postby Archsage on Thu Sep 01, 2011 7:39 am

That's all fine and good, but again, (and likely because he is Asian himself), I'm weary of his explicit focus on the subject. I'm sure it was more than a "bonus" to the shows points. Notice how his comments all revolved around that specific context -- even his, albiet comical, analysis of the show's overarching plot-line revolved around the "Asian-ness" of the series. Even more, his reason for not wanting to watch the Movie was centralized on "Asian-ness" more so than anything else (as was exemplified in this comic of his). I would argue that if Avatar: The Last Airbender was not set in an "Asian Fantasy World", he would not be anywhere near as interested in this series as he is now.
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Re: Avatar: THE PROMISE - January 2012

Postby Mindbender on Thu Sep 01, 2011 8:01 am

Archsage wrote:That's all fine and good, but again, (and likely because he is Asian himself), I'm weary of his explicit focus on the subject. I'm sure it was more than a "bonus" to the shows points. Notice how his comments all revolved around that specific context -- even his, albiet comical, analysis of the show's overarching plot-line revolved around the "Asian-ness" of the series. Even more, his reason for not wanting to watch the Movie was centralized on "Asian-ness" more so than anything else (as was exemplified in this comic of his). I would argue that if Avatar: The Last Airbender was not set in an "Asian Fantasy World", he would not be anywhere near as interested in this series as he is now.

I think you are projecting a bias onto him that is not evidenced in that webcomic. There is no reason he shouldn't like the deep respect and love the show demonstrates of Asian culture and that that can't be one of many good reasons for him to like the show. I am not Asian, and that is one reason I like the show very much. And he was right about the casting. It was wrong of Night/Paramount to specifically seek out Caucasian actors, and it should have served as a warning sign to more fans that the spirit of the show would not be honored. TLA wasn't bad because of the white actors, the casting of the white actors was indicative of driving forces behind the making of the movie. Some people realized that right away, like Mr. Gene Luen Yang, other were perplexed by the decision, but allowed themselves to rationalize it because their hopes were so high, but realized it in hindsight (moi...), others still rationalize the decision despite being disappointed with the film, still others don't think there was anything wrong with the casting.
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Re: Avatar: THE PROMISE - January 2012

Postby Archsage on Thu Sep 01, 2011 12:21 pm

Mindbender wrote:There is no reason he shouldn't like the deep respect and love the show demonstrates of Asian culture and that that can't be one of many good reasons for him to like the show.


Woah, woah, woah, this is not what I was saying at all. All I said was that he had a central focus on the asian-ness of the show. Because the show itself did not focus on 'asian-ness', it merely used it as a theme, I think the writer might get a little carried away with his work on The Promise, as far as that's concerned. I never said there was anything wrong with that or that he shouldn't respect the Asian theme of the show. But all of his comments regarding the show in the web-comic seemed to aggrandize the "Asian-ness" over others:

"Here was an American Cartoon with multi-faceted characters and addictive plot lines, all set in a beautifully-constructed Asian fantasy world"

This is his first one. And this is fine.

"The writing was not only witty, thoughtful and clever, it showed a deep respect and knowledge of Asian cultures"

Clearly, here, the focus of his concern of the writing is regarding the it's "Asian-ness"

"Don't you see?! The politics of the Fire Nation reflect those of Japan during the Meiji Restoration!"

Again, a focus on Asian-ness is displayed here.

After that, the remaining panels are all concerning the representation of Asian actors in Cinema (and most particularly, the Last Airbender). His reasons for not watching the movie was all central towards "Asian-ness".

Notice how I never said that his infatuation with the Asian culture (I presume, his own culture) was a bad thing at all. All I said was that I'm concerned with how it will play out regarding his involvement with the series. Because it's clear that his focus (at least what can be taken from what you posted of him) displays a centrality on "Asian-ness", and it's also clear that Avatar is most certainly not about taking the Asian theme as its center focus. So surely you can see my concern is reasonable... or do you still disagree with me?
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Re: Avatar: THE PROMISE - January 2012

Postby vanja1995 on Thu Sep 01, 2011 8:57 pm

From Guhihiru's blog:
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Aang actually looks really good ^_^
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Re: Avatar: THE PROMISE - January 2012

Postby Mindbender on Thu Sep 01, 2011 9:42 pm

Archsage wrote:So surely you can see my concern is reasonable... or do you still disagree with me?

I do disagree with you. He mentioned the strong respect for Asian culture in a long list of things he liked about the show, talked about the Asian aspect as a kind of "cherry on top" and you are making the leap that it is the most important thing to him. You read "[h]ere was an American Cartoon with multi-faceted characters and addictive plot lines, all set in a beautifully-constructed Asian fantasy world" as seem to infer that the characters and plot line as trivial and secondary tom him next to the Asian part. Why? I suspect you have a chip on your shoulder about this issue, but that's pure speculation.

I read a webcomic about how he is delighted to see a uniquely great show that also celebrates his heritage with such great respect, something he perceives as most rare, and you read a webcomic that the only thing he cares about is whether something is Asian, all else being secondary in concern. I'm sure you'd be upset if a movie claimed to adapt the life of Joan of Arc or Paul the Apostle, but re-imagined them as Hindus. The reason is that Christianity are central to Joan of Arc and Paul's stories. He doesn't believe the Asian influence in ATLA is a purely cosmetic choice that would have been swapped out with a European fantasy world or a Mayan one or an African one, he believes the Asian culture in the show in fundamental to the essence of the shows themes, and I agree with him. ATLA would not have been the same series had it been set in a Lord of the Rings style setting, or in outer space. The casting choices were reflective or a film production that disagreed with that principle.
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Re: Avatar: THE PROMISE - January 2012

Postby Archsage on Thu Sep 01, 2011 10:37 pm

I'm not sure what your point is, Mindbender. At one moment you say that you disagree that the guy has a heavier focus on the Asian culture than the show does, and then you say that he does... And then when you went and show me how I was wrong (from what he posted in the webcomic) you only referenced the first quote, which I already explicitly stated was a neutral point in my last post.

I really believe that, for the sake of being argumentative, you've adopted some strange caricature of what my point is. Did I say that the casting choices were right and should have been accepted? No. I actually agree with the guy on that issue. Did I say that the theme of Avatar shouldn't have been Asian? No. I actually like the Asian theme. So what are you arguing about Mindbender? You've been consistently missing the point. And it's precisely because you are arguing against some sort of caricature that you have of me. This is clearly evidenced by your reference to Christianity, Paul and Hinduism in your second paragraph.

The fact is, the webcomic focuses heavily on the Asian-ness of Avatar -- way more so than the shows themselves did. Because of that, I'm concerned that Luen Yang's work might be too reflective of that. But as I've said previously:

Archsage wrote:But if he tries his best to remain true to the animated series, the story will be pretty good, I presume.
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Re: Avatar: THE PROMISE - January 2012

Postby Jasmine Firebender on Thu Dec 08, 2011 3:10 pm

...AWESOME...!
I friggin' love Zuko. He's the coolest on the show! Also, I'm a Christian. A very strong Christian.
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