Beginnings are important. That should go without saying. It's the first thing that your audience sees, and oftentimes it can be a representation of the quality of the film to come, the tone, or director's style. However you put it, the way you begin a film can automatically sway your opinion on a film.
This was the first nail in the coffin in the 2010 version. Don't let Star Wars fool you, text crawls never work! It's a lazy way of delivering exposition, at best.
But that's not the only problem.
The text crawl is boring, and every audience on Earth would agree with me. To me, the first shot (and scene) should not only have some emotion behind it, but should also reveal something about what we're going to see.
The only text that appears in this version is the same text that appears in the show's intro. The rest is my idea of how to open this.
The Legend of Aang : The Lost Boy
SUPER: 水 土 火 气
FADE IN TO:
EXT. SOUTHERN AIR TEMPLE – DAY
A leaf floats gently on a small brook.
We see TWO FIGURES playing PAI SHO at a small outside table. The younger one, AANG, stares in deep thought at the board.
The other one, GYATSO, chuckles a bit as AANG attempts to make his move.
AANG finally settles on one tile, which he places a space forward on the board.
AANG nods. GYATSO playfully places another tile on the board, forcing AANG’s off the board. AANG sighs, smiling.
You’ve compromised me.
Oh, come, Aang. Look for yourself.
AANG observes his hand, soon brightening quite a bit. AANG confidently plays a tile, but GYATSO looks pitifully towards AANG. He plays another tile, which AANG responds to with a groan.
I’m terribly sorry, my friend.
GYATSO’s smile fades when he sees AANG does not share his enjoyment.
Oh, come Aang. Tell me you are not so far gone as to take a game of Pai Sho this seriously.
He reaches across the table, lifting AANG’S head up by his chin. AANG eventually breaks out a small smile.
They both begin to stand up from the table.
Don’t despair, Aang. You were more than admirable.
GYATSO prepares to leave toward the temple, but stops as
They couldn’t have made a mistake, could they?
GYATSO turns back to him.
I mean… the monks. Could they be wrong? Could I not be the Avatar?
The only mistake made was telling you now, before you were of age.
I don’t feel… ready for it.
GYATSO kneels down to meet AANG’S eye level.
You will be. I have never had pupil I valued more than you, and not because you were the Avatar, but your tenacity. You will do fine, I know it.
AANG finally truly smiles, and the two share a hug.
EXT. SOUTHERN OCEAN – DAWN
AANG awakens from a dream, looking around at the icy landscape, with a regretful look on his face.
He leans over, revealing that he has been sitting on a saddle this whole time, which in turn is mounted on an enormous bison-like creature.
He reaches over, petting the creature between the eyes.
Wake up, Appa. We had better get moving.
He turns his eyes to the sky, which is covered in clouds. Dark clouds.
EXT. SOUTHERN OCEAN - DAY
The clouds begin to swirl overhead, as we see APPA floating down the water, surrounded by glaciers.
AANG is beginning to grow nervous, as he looks around himself. His breathing grows heavy.
He quickly pets APPA, who he in turn feels is growing agitated.
Lightning strikes nearby, frightening both of them. AANG recovers from his shock, swerving to miss an ice formation. He then is shocked to see that waves are beginning to form, as heavy rain begins to fall.
APPA growls as AANG furiously tries to keep them aloft, but even he cannot stop them from crashing into the waters below.
They are able to bring themselves out of the water, but only long enough to get tossed around by the winds once more.
Without warning, another wave hits them, and the two go crashing into the waters below.