The full trailer for M. Night Shyamalan’s live action take on Avatar: The Last Airbender is up, now with 100% less “Avatar” in the title. I do confess that it wasn’t until sometime last year that I realized that Shyamalan’s film and Cameron’s film were actually different projects. I’d heard about each in turn, and the random bits and pieces seemed highly incompatible, but it took an embarrassingly long time before I realized they were actually different. [shrug] What can I say, I thought Marilyn Monroe and Madonna were the same person until I was ten.
The trailer combines all sorts of good elements: mystery, darkness, explosions, war, genocide, nifty fights waged by people who can control the elements. I’m a sucker for well done super human fight scenes. The best part? The lead character is supposed to be twelve years old and he is actually being played by a twelve-year-old. A twelve-year-old who has never had a role in a film before. So the film is going to live or die on whether or not Shyamalan has found another Haley Joel Osment.
The film is proposed to be the first of a trilogy, and the source animated television series only ran for three seasons and has already completed its run. Sixty-one episodes, 24 minutes each. Even uncut, the source material only runs a bit over 20 hours, which means that three movies running two hours or so each won’t necessarily have to butcher the original. But hey, Peter Jackson burned two-thirds of The Two Towers on a single chapter of the novel, so don’t rule anything out yet. Shyamalan might need an hour of the run time just to set up the twist ending.