Posts Tagged ‘The Last Airbender’

By Shannon Penrod

Let me start by saying that in my life I have not shown enough appreciation for my mother.  Becoming a mother myself has taught me more about my mother than I ever dreamed of knowing and as a result I am seriously considering filing papers to have my mother canonized. 

I never appreciate my mother more than during holidays.  Growing up I had the idyllic holiday experience of coming home from school to find a festively decorated house with cookies fresh out of the oven and a hand sewn Halloween costume waiting for me to try on.  It was great, but it’s a lot to live up to. 

How on earth did my mother have time to pull off Holidays?  She worked, she had no help, she even ironed…how in the hell did she do it?

I love holidays…I just wish we could go back to the old days where my mother pulled it all out of her butt (at least that’s what I thought) and I just get to show up and enjoy it.  But that ship has sailed, the torch has been passed and now it’s my turn to chain my leg to the sewing machine trying to create the costume that can’t be bought at the store.  Which brings me to this Halloween.

Our entire household enjoys Avatar: The Last Airbender a wonderful cartoon that airs on Nickelodeon.  If you haven’t seen it, take the time to watch it.  Personally, I am addicted and so is my seven year old.  The show is about a little boy named Aang who must save the world.  It is best thing on television.  Which is why M. Night Shamalan decided to make a movie version of it, which was in theaters last summer.  The movie was good, but not as good as the cartoon, a sentence I never thought I would utter, but that is my opinion.  My child does not agree, he loved the cartoon but really grooved on the movie.  Thus came the moment of doom when he said, “Mom, I want to be the Last Airbender for Halloween, not the one from the cartoon, the one from the movie.”  Uggghhh.

How do you explain to a 7 year old that the movie didn’t do well enough for them to mass produce a Halloween costume?  You don’t, not if you have a legacy to live up to.  Instead you make the costume from scratch, without a pattern.  Heavy sigh. 

So the last week I have attempted to live up to my mother’s standards of holiday enjoyment with somewhat less than perfect results.  The costume is almost done.  I am currently putting the third coat of paint on the bathing cap we will be using to make the bald cap.  The costume will be success but the rest of my life is in ruins. My house looks like a fabric store exploded there are gold and maroon threads stuck to every surface including the stacked dishes, there is no clean laundry and the cupboards are all but bare.  There are also no Halloween decorations and the gluten-free pumpkin cookies I made a week ago are now stale.  I ask again – How did my mother do this?

At this point all I can hope is the same forgetfulness that assails new mother’s and allows them to get pregnant again with little memory of the pain of passing an 8 pound bowling ball through an opening the size of a keyhole somehow effects children’s holiday brains and allows them only to see what their mothers have accomplished and not the piles of laundry they are sitting amongst.  Yeah…let’s hope for that.

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By Shannon Penrod

Why is it that creative geniuses always seem to be surrounded by “Yes” men?  C’mon you know it’s true!  Look at Steven Spielberg… who was willing to tell him that A.I. had gone completely off the rails?  Apparently no one.   M. Knight Shyamalan is the latest victim.  The much awaited release of The Last Airbender has left this writer convinced there is no one in Shymalan’s entourage who has a back bone or the willingness to speak up.

How do I know this? The extremely misguided decision to change the pronunciation of the title character’s name for the film version.  Shymalan chose to pronounce it “Ahng” as in “Wrong”, instead of “Aang” as in “gang” of angry viewers who have no idea why you would make such a bone headed decision.  Are you kidding me? 

When Shyamalan bought the rights to the story for a film version my entire family rejoiced.  We love the Nickelodeon cartoon and watch it addictively. There  was some speculation about whether Shyamalan would stay true to the series but I heard that he was a “fan” so I felt better.  Really M.?  You decided to stick very close to the Nickelodeon beloved tale with amazing loyalty, but you changed the pronunciation of  the main character? Really?  

No, I can see it.  You’re in the shower, visualizing the film version and wanting to in some way put your mark on it, make it different from the already spectacular cartoon version.  How can you possibly separate the film version from the cartoon version?  Suddenly it comes to you.  Change the pronunciation of the main character’s name!  What a great idea.  You jump out of the shower with renewed purpose.  You’re a creative genius!  Except that is the moment when someone on your team is supposed to give you a reality check.  That is the moment when some lucky schmuck is supposed to break it to you that your idea is not pure genius, it is pure caca. 

I sat and watched the film today with a large group of fans all of whom visibly flinched every single time someone said “Ahng”.  Talk about ripping people out of the moment!  It was like going to see “Batman” and having everyone in the film call him “Bootman”  It was wierd.  It was unnecessary.  It was wrong!

This, ladies and gentlemen is what happens when you don’t keep someone on the team whose job description does not involve kissing your butt and telling you how great you are.  It’s the same reason  no one told Michael Jackson that he needed to get off the meds.  It’s the same reason  Donald Trump keeps turning up on television with ridiculous hair.  Somebody needs to tell these people the truth!

Having said all of that (other than that Mrs. Lincoln…) there was a great deal of the film that I really liked.  I didn’t think it was possible for me to love a live actor playing Aang but Noah Ringer made me a believer.  I hope that Shyamalan gets the opportunity to complete the trilogy and I will certainly plunk down money to see the films.  But M. if you can’t find someone to tell you the truth, call me!  I will be happy to be your reality check!

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