I may have made this clear already, but just in case I hadn’t: I’m not going to see the new Avatar: The Last Airbender movie.
Part of this is because I take issue with the movie’s overall Fail at changing the races of Aang, Katara, and Sokka, leaving Zuko as the only non-white character. Part of it is also because I don’t trust M. Night Shymalan to take three seasons’ worth of awesome cartoon–or even the first season, if they’re doing a thing of ‘one movie per season’–and distill it down to only two hours and still have something coherent.
But part of it is really just based on what I’ve seen of the trailers being unremittingly dark and grim. If you’ve seen the actual Airbender cartoon at all, you’ll know that young Aang is NOT a dark, grim character. So very much of his portrayal is full of boyish glee that it’s really heartwarming to watch; hell, one of the iconic moments in the opening credits of every episode is how a giggling Aang, riding a rotating ball of air like a top, slams into a statue. The Aang in the cartoon, despite being the most powerful person on the planet and having, as the series progresses, to stand up to some truly terrifying challenges, remains joyous at heart.
And I’m not seeing the slightest sign of this in the trailers. So yeah. Not going there. I really don’t need to spend two hours of unremitting grim in the theaters, not when it’s not going to be a story I don’t even trust to be good to begin with.
In fact, I’m feeling an urge to re-watch the actual cartoon coming on. If any of y’all out there might be thinking of taking children to this film, may I encourage you to do the same? Maybe have parties to watch the cartoon. It’ll be cheaper, and odds are you’ll have better snacks for small persons at home anyway.