For those who know me well, know that I have always wanted to pursue directing since I was five years old. When I would play with my brothers I would like to play well and act as if it were a rough draft for a movie script. In 2006 I made plans for a live-action film adaption for Avatar: The Last Airbender but stopped once M. Night's film was announced. After watching it I revived my plans for obvious reasons and still make plans to this day. I am still deciding how I am going to convince Paramount pictures to let me shoot four high budget films back to back, each with a three hour running time. Even without Avatar I would pursue directing.
The franchise should be renamed to “The Legend of Aáng” for “The Last Airbender” would be overlooked because of the Razzie winning 2010 film’s title. The subtitles “Book 1-3” should also be changed for Season 3 would be split for the title “The Legend of Aáng – Book 3: Part 1” is rather long. The subtitles should reflect upon the main plot aside from the element such as the first film would be entitled “The Avatar Returns” and the second “Crossroads of Destiny”. The films themselves are based upon a rather long running time series, so each film would have over a three hour run time in a similar fashion to The Lord of the Rings. Book 3 would have to be split into two films to contain the important content and flow well with the franchise.
- ’’’Book 1: Water:’’’ ‘’The Legend of Aáng: The Avatar Returns’’
- ’’’Book 2: Earth:’’’ ‘’The Legend of Aáng: Crossroads of Destiny’’
- ’’’Book 3: Fire:’’’ ‘’The Legend of Aáng: Black Sun’’ and ‘’The Legend of Aáng: The Journey's End’’
Feel and Tone
The feel and tone of the franchise should be much like the series only within a darker state. The films should have a larger emphasis on character development and emotions rather than just fighting and brief dialogue. The films should surpass the series, not just be a regular adaption, in fact the films should surpass all others, not just be a decent cool series like Transformers. Overall the tone should be dark but maintain the same feel as the series including jokes and light heart spirits. Believe it or not but without humor it would make it less realistic. There would be scary moments, dramatic, creepy, humorous, light heart elements, romantic, emotional, and friendship moments. The characters are kids so regardless of being on an important mission, they would still manage to find time to goof off, much like in the film Stand By Me. The main feel and tone would once again be more similar to The Lord of the Rings.
Races and Culture
Avatar: The Last Airbender is indeed inspired by Asian culture and by judging the skin tones of most characters in the series, the characters are indeed Asian. When it comes to casting, it should be judged by the acting skills, not the race. Although it would be best for Aáng to be Asian or Asian American, the acting comes first. Not all characters should be Asian however, as the films should insert different races to remain in a diverse state. The Fire Nation definitely would not be ‘’’all one skin tone’’ like in The Last Airbender for that is actually racist against others. The series was actually diverse but mainly included supposed Asian races of different skin types, Piandao was darker in skin tone than most fire nation civilians such as Zuko who is rather pale in skin. Also how could Katara and Sokka blend well within the Fire Nation in season 3? The citizens of Omashu such as Bumi seem to be darker in skin whereas the eastern Earth Kingdom citizens had paler skin. The general trend of skin colors for the films should coincide with the series. The name pronunciations should follow the trend of the series, for it is the world of Avatar, not the world of Asia. The overall appearances of the characters should follow the series as well including clothing. Aáng’s arrow tattoos should be dull blue in color, rather than gray or light blue. .
Another big question is how old is too old for the children that would be cast. All the characters should remain the same age as how they are within the cartoon series but the actors themselves wouldn't really matter. Aáng himself would have to be within the 11-15 year range, and Katara within the 14-16 year range. Azula, Yue, Zuko, and Suki all look older in the series than how old they actually suppose to be. Just a simple change of hair and makeup can actually go along ways then most people would actually think. In the 2002 drama film "White Oleander" Alison Lohman (Drag me to Hell, Big Fish) plays as a fifteen year old girl and looks it too, however in reality she was actually twenty-three years old. With this in mind an eight-teen year old could actually play Princess Azula.
Creatures and CGI
Computer animation should be high budget and high quality for the film series. If the goal were to be completely realistic, the CGI should meet the goal. The creatures themselves should be well designed enough to convince the audience that they are real. King Kong (2005) featured several convincing CGI creatures. Another great case of common CGI would be used for the bending styles, each element would need to be quite convincing. The air would have to be the biggest struggle for no body can actually see air, therefore air would not be animated in that aspect, however dust particles are.
Like in the cartoon series the bending should flow alongside of the martial arts that they are based off of. Waterbending was the biggest failure of martial arts within The Last Airbender for the water did not flow with the move sets the benders are moving, in fact a majority of scenes Katara and Aáng are practicing water bending but don't actually bend water. The source for fire would draw from the sun and not from torches and the chi.
Addition and Subtraction of Content
Most would already know that adapting the series into a movie franchise would require addition and subtraction of content. Subtraction is needed to benefit the story to make it flow smoothly, along with a decent running time. Addition is needed to make the story flow smoothly as well and make the franchise it's own. Composite characters (a new character that has elements of other characters mixed together) is quite common among adaptions from original sources. Several episodes must be removed to save on run-time but elements of them can be shown later. For example by my understanding the episode King of Omashu should be removed from the first film. Bumi, himself would appear in the movie series, but later on. Elements of episode King of Omashu would appear later on as well. Haru, is another character that should be removed from the first film but appear later on within the series. Some episodes such as The Great Divide and The Fortuneteller would be removed completely without a single homage. Only episodes and episode homages that benefit the story of the film should be kept. Story homages would be small shots that are based upon small shots of an episode without actually keeping all or nearly all of an episode. Exact lines from the series could be kept as well, one of favorite ones that should be kept is a line from Iroh to Zuko in Lake Laogai (which is my favorite one part episode).
|"It's time for you to look inward and start asking yourself the big question; Who are you and what do you want?"|
|— Uncle Iroh to Zuko in "Lake Laogai"|
Music serves as a very important part within films. A lot of times music is what makes a film so good. Composed background music is called "score". The score within The Last Airbender was decent, but technically it is not memorable, unless you have played the film 100 times in a row (like I did accidentally, long story). The music's score must be remembered, I would want children to hum it during class time because it is stuck in their minds. Star Wars, Harry Potter, Jurassic Park, and The Lord of the Rings all have catchy score. I would like the main theme to be a violin composed version of the series' main theme. The music within the series such as "Winter, Spring, Summer, and Fall" should be included (probably rewritten though). The song "Brave Soldier Boy" should be replicated in the same way as the series.
According to Director Peter Jackson who is currently filming The Hobbit, shooting a film at 48 frames causes the film to look more life-like and believable especially once converted into 3-D. Converting a film shot at 48 fps down to 24 fps is not a hugely difficult process, but it requires testing to achieve the best results. Whether the films would be in 3-D or not would depend on if 3-D films are popular within that time period. I myself, believe 3-D films will die down as they cause problems to the weak eyed. The locations of where the films should be shot would include Greenland for obvious reasons. It would be the ideal North Pole and South Pole area where the cast and crew wouldn't freeze too easily. Greenland, Iceland, and New Zealand are all regions which include amazing locations that would be ideal for filming.
SAG (Screen Actors Guild) cards are given to actors of a film to allow them to have an important or supporting role. Without a SAG card the actor can not speak. Usually SAG card actors are the only actors to be credited with the exception of silent characters who have up close shots. An average budget movie has under 40 SAG cards, each card given to the important and supporting characters who speak along with very unimportant characters who are added for realism. Background voices and lines are often added to films while background characters move their jaws although their actual voice is not included within the film. By my plan each film would have an average of 40 SAG cards given to characters:
This blog covers information about my plans for the first live-action film of the rebooted saga.