Monday, February 15, 2010

Dear Charlie:

Yeah, I know. I'm a bad blogger. Sosumi.


Anyway, I just watched the entire Avatar: The Last Airbender series, and I gotta say that I hope M. Night Shyamalan does it justice. I hope he keeps the humor.

I know, I know. DragonBall: Evolution tried to keep some of the anime humor and failed miserably. Ugh. Boy, did they ever. I can't even put my finger on how they went so far wrong, other than to say that a couple of the attempts actually made me shudder.

But honestly, though the Avatar series is a cartoon and is hilarious, I think the humor is to allay the darkness of the subject material. Yes, darkness.

Think about it. The whole plot comes down to this: a power-crazy adult wants to kill the one person who can stop him from world domination...and that one person is a child. A kid who wants nothing more than to play with his friends.

All of whom are also children.

If that ain't dark, I don't understand the meaning of the word. These kids, none of whom are over sixteen (and one of which is blind) have to save the world, which means being ready to give their lives, if needed. They lose loved ones, even die themselves, in their quest. All they have is each other and the few additional friends they're able to make on the way.

Worst of all, it isn't just good versus bad. Some of the bad guys are sort of good. Some of the good guys are just as crazy and willing to sacrifice the innocent as the bad guys. And the Avatar himself, the eleven-year-old kid who's holding the weight of one hundred years of war on his small shoulders, is a monk who was raised to believe killing anyone -- even the epitome of all that is evil -- is wrong.

How do you permanently defeat someone without killing him?

Dark, dude. I'm seriously.

Which is why I hope the humor stays. Sokka, especially, keeps the group going through some of their darkest hours. He'll say something ridiculous. He'll say something inspiring. Doesn't matter. It always works, even when it doesn't.

Trust me. It makes sense.

I'm just saying that, if they're planning to stick close to the source material -- as well they should -- they'd better keep the humor, too. It doesn't detract from the seriousness. In fact, it points out just how serious the situation is and saves it from utter despair. If Sokka can still make a joke, everything must be still be okay, even if only for another five minutes.

Now, Shyamalan isn't known for that kind of humor. He's more known for quiet jokes.

In The Happening: "I'm talking to a fake plant. I'm still doing it."

In Signs: "I cursed." "I heard."

In Unbreakable: "I bet my dad could beat up your dad."

Subtle. Quiet. Hardly the occasionally broad humor of anime, which jokes about there being no bathrooms in the spirit world and turns "Monkey feathers!" into a frustrated curse.

So, I hope he can do it. I hope he can keep that "we're still just kids, even if we have to save all of life as we know it" humor that gets everyone through to the end. Because these are just kids. These are the Mercutio kind of characters who would joke about their own deaths if they had time.

Can't you just hear Sokka saying, on his death bed, "Ask for me tomorrow, and you'll find me a grave man"?


Okay, he'd more likely ask you to pack him a picnic lunch for his walk into the Afterlife. Preferably with meat. Lots and lots of meat.

I'm just sayin.


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