M Night Shyamalan on Last Airbender reviews, sequel

As The Last Airbender defies the critics to bring in a fair amount of cash. M Night Shyamalan reacts to the reviews, and talks about where he's up to with the sequel...

Say what you like about The Last Airbender, but M Night Shyamalan’s latest film – while being heavily savaged by critics – has managed to rustle up a decent performance at the US box office. While we await the film’s release in the UK, in the US it’s thus far taken $56.8m in under a week, and should have a sporting chance at breaking the $100m mark that the likes of The A-Team, Sex and the City 2 and Knight & Day have fallen short of.

But those reviews? They really weren’t kind. The film’s Rotten Tomato score currently sits at 8%, easily one of the lowest aggregated totals of the year, and more and more people seem to be openly wondering whether the days of M Night Shyamalan as a director to watch out for are long gone.

However, it turns out that he was unaware of the reviews that his film was attracting. That was until Vulture blog gave him a ring.

When Shyamalan asked if “are you saying in general that they didn’t dig it?”, Vulture put the following to him:

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“In general, no. Roger Ebert, who liked The Happening, did not. The first line of his review is, “The Last Airbender is an agonizing experience in every category that I can think of and others still waiting to be invented.” How do you react to something like that?

Shyamalan’s response?

“I don’t know what to say to that stuff. I bring as much integrity to the table as humanly possible. It must be a language thing, in terms of a particular accent, a storytelling accent. I can only see it this certain way and I don’t know how to think in another language. I think these are exactly the visions that are in my head, so I don’t know how to adjust it without being me. It would be like asking a painter to change to a completely different style. I don’t know.”

That explains it, then.

He also revealed that work on the first sequel in the planned trilogy is going well.

“I wrote the first draft of the second movie”, he revealed, “and I was really happy with it. Usually the first drafts I hate, I want to just kill myself, but it came out really strong. That’s as far as I’ve gone. I haven’t really thought about how I would construct the third [movie] too much”.

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Paramount is set to decide whether or not to commission The Last Airbender 2 before the end of the year. We’ll keep you posted.

In the meantime, Vulture’s piece is here.