Into the Next Stage: Do Your Public Duty: Boycott ‘The Last Airbender’

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The mainly Asian lead characters of the cartoon series “Avatar: the Last Airbender” juxtaposed with the actors who will be playing them in Paramount’s upcoming big screen adaptation. From left: Aang played by Noah Ringer, Katara played by Nicola Peltz, Sokka played by Jackson Rathbone, and Zuko played by Dev Patel.

By GUY AOKI

In January 2001, Children Now, a non-partisan, national organization “for people who care about children and want to ensure that they are the top public policy priority,” issued a 36-page study titled “Fall Colors: Prime Time Diversity Report, 2001.” It outlined the preponderance of white males in television playing the heroes and people of color getting non-leadership roles mostly in service positions.

“As America’s primary storyteller and chief cultural exporter, television provides messages and images that contribute to the worldviews of millions. When certain groups are privileged, others subjugated and still others altogether excluded, prime time sends skewed messages to viewers-especially young ones-that these groups are valued differently. This in turn affects the way viewers perceive themselves and interact with particular groups. And youth want to see the diversity of their lives reflected on the prime time screen. As one Native American youth told us, ‘It makes you mad because you wish other people could get in there and not just whites, because they’re on everything.’”

An Asian Pacific American youngster said that when you watch TV, “You want to think, ‘I could do that. I could be there. That could be me in five or six years.’ But you don’t see anything of yourself, and you’re just like, ‘Oh, well maybe I just have to go do this [lower goal instead].’”

I imagine the people at Children Now were overjoyed with Nickelodeon’s Saturday morning cartoon series, “Avatar:  The Last Airbender.”  The popular series ran for three years and appealed to children-and adults-of all races even though the world was made up entirely of Asian and Inuit people. Kids fought over who was Aang, who was Sokka, and who was Katara. They were powerful.  They could achieve. They could aspire to the best of their abilities.

When Paramount announced they were doing a live action, big budget motion picture directed by M. Night Shyamalan (Sixth Sense), fans expected those roles to go to Asian and Asian American actors.  There was a nationwide casting call for unknowns to fill the roles of Aang, Katara, Sokka, and Zuko. But in December 2008, the studio revealed that the four main stars were going to be white. Entertainment Weekly’s Web site was filled with 78 pages of comments, the majority from angry commentators vowing to boycott the white-washed project.

New Web sites sprung up expressing their outrage.  A group that eventually became Racebending.com (now more than 7000 members from over 50 countries) urged East West Players and MANAA to reach out to the producers in time to reconsider their choices. What particularly incensed them was the casting notice that called for “Caucasian or any other ethnicity.” Clearly, they had had a preference. No wonder they ended up with that line-up. Furthermore, a casting director, DeeDee Rickets, looking for extras, had told a Pennsylvania paper, “We want you to dress in traditional cultural ethnic attire. If you’re Korean, wear a kimono. If you’re from Belgium, wear lederhosen.”

Apparently, the woman didn’t know Korean from Japanese, Belgian from Bavarian. In February of 2009, singer Jesse McCartney dropped out only to be replaced by Dev Patel from “Slumdog Millionaire.” He would be the villain of the piece and lead his Fire Nation against the Earth, Water, and Air Nations.

Both EWP and MANAA tried to meet with the producers that month, but they didn’t respond until a month-and-a-half later when casting was complete and shooting had begun. Sam Mercer, Frank Marshall and/or his producer wife Kathleen Kennedy (we don’t know because they only signed their letter “The Producers”) wrote: “The four nations represented in the film reflect not one community, but the world’s citizens. Their societies will be cast from a diversity of all races and cultures.”

In other words, when faced with an all-Asian project, they suddenly began caring about diversity—away from Asians—so they could include more white people. Can you imagine them freaking out when, on their other movies, they ended up with all-white casts?  Not me either. Hell, look at their long body of work. See any prominent Asians in any of them?  Nope. So is it a surprise they managed to wipe the slate clean of Asian heroes, replaced them with white people, and only allowed the Asians to be the villains?  Rhetorical question, my friends.

As word of MANAA’s dialogue with the producers got out, we received dozens of e-mails from people across the world begging us not to let up—to not let Paramount get away with this. Encouragingly, most of them were white, black, or Latino. They were incensed that Asian children couldn’t be the heroes in their own story.

They were going to boycott the film and tell their friends to do the same. In other words, the non-Asian audience the studio sought to seduce to see their project, wasn’t falling for it. Their cynical plan backfired.

In June of that year, Paramount President John Lesher, who developed the project with Shyamalan, was fired.  He was replaced by Adam Goodman. In November, as part of a coalition of organizations including MANAA, JACL, and IW Group who were outraged by another Paramount picture —“The Goods”—I met with Goodman and outlined our concerns. He promised to show me a pre-screening of the movie to prove to me it was far more diverse than I imagined. He insisted it wouldn’t be at the last minute either— not two weeks away from the film’s opening.

Well, we’re now two weeks away from the July 2nd debut. Despite an e-mail to Goodman in February when I heard the director was showing test screenings of the movie to audiences in Phoenix (and later, Chicago), Goodman said it wasn’t yet ready. Another overture last week wasn’t responded to by the time we went to press.

Paramount paid for a handful of website-owning geeks to fly to Virginia to meet with the director as he tried to put a positive spin on his controversial project.

This is how he defended taking an all-Asian project and making all the heroes white and all the bad guys Asian or brown: “Here’s the thing. The great thing about anime is that it’s ambiguous. The features of the characters are an intentional mix of all features. It’s intended to be ambiguous. That is completely its point. So when we watch Katara, my oldest daughter is literally a photo double of Katara in the cartoon. So that means that Katara is Indian, correct? No, that’s just in our house. And her friends who watch it, they see themselves in it. And that’s what’s so beautiful about anime.”

Right. And obviously, what white people believe is more important than even your own daughter, so that’s why you ended up with your rather pale cast. Isn’t that “great?”

Why is this such a big deal? Because Hollywood writers rarely allow Asian people to be the heroes and stars of their own stories. So when studios take source material where we’re written to be just that… and still give it to white people… and then cast us as the villains… that’s just plain unforgiveable. We’re tired of being the comic relief and/or the villains who get beaten up. If you won’t let us be heroes when we’re written that way, when will you ever?

The fact that Shymalan is South Asian American only goes to show that people of all races can become co-opted by the institutionalized racism of the Hollywood system.  He’s just another sell-out who rationalizes perpetuating more white heroes when he could’ve had more integrity and cast us as the heroes and possibly launched several Asian American careers instead of…more white ones.

There were visionary directors in the ‘60s who said, “Screw the South. Sidney Poitier’s a great actor, we’ve got a great story to tell, and I’m making him the star of my movie.”

If it weren’t for people like that, we’d never have graduated to Denzel Washington or Will Smith, who is now a bigger box office draw than Tom Cruise.

Hollywood is ridiculously short-sighted in choosing which ethnic community their stars can come from. Everyone benefits from having popular actors of all races.  Why just from the white and black community? But if the M Night Shyamalans have their way, that’s all we’ll have 20, 30, and 40 years from now. We’ll only be reading more creative excuses for while we’re still seeing mostly white faces up there on the big screen.

When Rising Sun came out in 1993, MANAA didn’t call for a boycott of the movie. As disturbed as we were by the way the Japanese nationals were portrayed as taking over America with white henchmen killing in their interests, we told audiences, “If you choose to see the film, fine. Just keep our concerns in mind and see if you don’t agree.”

So why are we asking people to not see The Last Airbender? Because this is not about story or plot. It’s about discrimination. And if this $100 million film does well, two more sequels will be green lit on the backs of Asian American actors. Paramount will have gotten away with it. We can’t let that happen. Because it’ll only encourage more studios to keep doing it.

Two years ago, Sony did it with “21”:  It was based on a real-life story about an MIT professor who taught his math students how to win at black jack in Vegas. The professor, most of the students, and the guy who won the most money for the team, were Asian Americans. In the film, they were mostly white. The star of the picture was Jim Sturgess, a Brit who had to have a dialect coach on set so he could pretend to be an American! In both that case and Airbender, the producers weren’t depending on big names to sell their movie: It was the concept. Yet they still felt putting too many Asians on screen was too risky.

Recently, Mickey Rourke announced he was going to be playing Genghis Khan in a film! It never ends. But maybe you can help turn this train around. Boycott “The Last Airbender.”

Tell your friends and their kids to do the same. Support something else, spend moretime with your children, or donate money to your favorite charity.

Till next time, keep your eyes and ears open.

Note: To find more information on this topic, go to manaa.org/articles/html or Racebending.com

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Guy Aoki, co-founder of the Media Action Network for Asian Americans, writes from Glendale. He can be reached at [email protected] Opinions expressed in this column are not necessarily those of the Rafu Shimpo.

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84 Comments

  1. What’s it going to take for people to say enough is enough? They’ve whitewashed Goku, Aang, and Ghengis Khan. Next they’ll be whitewashing Bruce Lee. Boycott “The Last Airbender.” The cartoon was fantastic, but the film was obviously made by people who had no understanding of the material they were working with. It’s so sad it had to happen to such a good show.

  2. I will join your boycott if you join my boycott. My action network is boycotting the NFL and NBA as these racist organizations lack Asian and American Indians and Short People. We have been successful in getting Asian atheletes into professional golf and would like to parlay our success. Think I live in a fantasy world. Wake up you are too. I am glad you got almost a dozen people from all over the WORLD to encourage you to keep up the fight. No one takes you seriously and it shows in the treatment that studios and others (more than a dozen, if you can count) commentators. I am sick of you liberals types with self serving agendas. Quit wasting space on the Rafu, at least your piece has entertainment value. Anyway thanks for encouraging me to go watch this movie and to tell others to do the same.

  3. if the writer of this article knew what they were talking about, they would have realised that the “enemy” actually becomes good in the story. maybe you should research and learn your stuff before you write rubbish like this. people read too much into things, just go and watch the movie.

  4. Exuse me ,but toph will be asian in the second movie ok the only reason theres no asian heros is because we this movie hasnt gotten to movie two where toph appears and toph is the only one who looks asian because of her hair and her hair. Aang doesnt look asian in the show. The guy who’s playing him looks just like him. An asian just wouldnt match him. But seriously the kyioshi warriors are gonna be asian in this film and they werent in the show ok. Why are people complaining about race anyway huh its about how good the actors are thats why zuko is indian rather than asian or white like he looked like in the show cuz in the show he looked white and sounded white the only one that sounded asain was iroh and only FEW people in the show looked asian. Its just their environment thATS ASIAN. AND THE WATER TRIBE WASNT ASIAN AT ALL. SO DONT SAY THIS WHOLE TV SHOW IS ASIAN. AND EVEN THOUGH NOT ALL THE EARTH KINGDOM WAS ASIAN THE MOVIE HAS THE WHOLE EARTH KINGDOM ASIAN. OK OK OK DONT YOU DARE CALL SHAMALAN AND HIS TEAM RACIST IF YOU DONT KNOW CRAP

  5. LastAirbenderWILLbeawesome on

    I have posted a comment above, which is the 9th from the top. I hope that i wasn’t one of the commentators who spoke disrespectfully. But seriously,Mr.Guy Aoki, let the people decide IT THEY WANT TO SEE THE MOVIE. And TO THE GUY who thought most of the the COMMENTATORS are FUNDED by Paramount, THINK logically, how many people do you think are going to read this article (before they go to see the movie) and how does it represent the audience, its not even a 1/100 of them at maximum. So Paramount wouldn’t waste money on that, considering their latest movies do not provide them with enough profit.

    PLEASE USE YOUR BRAINS people (to the media action group and some of the commentators)…….

    Its also true that Asians actors are growing like crazy in HOLLYWOOD. I don’t think, perhaps the majority of the intended audience, will not think of the movie as racist. So you shouldn’t be UPSET, considering many other nations who are barely existent in western culture and Hollywood, and how they feel about it. Do you really THINK M.Night Shyamalan is RACIST, he didn’t cast 99% of the actors and actresses. SO TO THOSE DUMMIES WHO THINK M.NIGHT is RACIST and needs to be thrown in the jail (its true SOME IDIOTS actually had comments like these), you need to get shot in your balls. You have no respect in others, then disapproving your existing life. M.Night is trying to thrive with this movie because of his previous flops. I really think all of his movies were great except Happening only. And i think, with his responsibilities, he did a great job with this movie.

    I ALSO AGREE with one of the comments, that HOLLYWOOD is not racist, because their main targeted audience is America and Europe. Please there are only a few asian actors with perfect accent, which is important for the audience.

    PLEASE don’t spoil it for the millions of other viewers who want to watch this movie and their sequels. If you want to support the fans, then you (Guy Aoki) would watch the movie in theatres so the fans could see their entire beloved series. Not like the idiots who doesn’t want to support this movie but they WILL watch it by using torrents illegally. That just doesn’t make sense. They don’t want the sequel to come out by not paying in the theatres, but they want to SEEEEE this movie by download, i mean WTF.

    To all of you racebenders, don’t think you are the only fans out there for Avatar: The last airbender. There is this 80% of the fans who wants to see the entire series on the big screen. You are the minority in this case, you are just about 20%, not 100% of the fans out there. Please don’t ruin it for them.

    Again, IF PEOPLE WANT TO SEE THIS, Then SEE IT……Please do not listen to these kind of boycotts, which doesn’t thrive on its own.

  6. Stupid racebenders on

    Did it ever occur to you that M Night is Indian too? And HE MADE THE MOVIE?
    You idiots need to simmer the f**k down.

  7. The thing about this is it’s all about money. Execs don’t care about race, they care about how much money a particular movie will put into their pockets. Since white people are still the majority in the nation, they appeal to that majority in an effort to make a guaranteed profit. If that changes, then you’ll see more lead roles going to people who aren’t white.

    My person opinion is that it’s all racist. If you only go to a movie because there a white people in it, that’s racist. If you don’t go to a movie because there’s only white people in it, that’s racist. Since this is about money and not race, why don’t we all stop the hating and get over ourselves!

  8. I am Mexican-American, but my culture is basically american, i barely speak spanish. I listen to music in english, I dont eat beans or tortillas everyday. My culture is american, not mexican. I dont look american, like with blue eyes and blonde hair, I’m actually a brunette with really dark brown eyes. Just because my culture is american doesnt mean I look american, same with the last airbender, just because is BASED on asian culture doesnt make them asian, so please stop with your bs, this movie is going to be the best. Dont even bring kids in this because they dont see race, I have a little cousin with small eyes and black hair who thinks she’s ariel, when she actually looks more like mulan, and when i call her mulan she gets mad lol, kids dont see race or physical similarities, they want to be who they connect with the most no matter how they look. This whole boycotting thing is absurd and a waste of time, well for ya’ll .

  9. the african darkside on

    Would hollywood consistently turn white comic book characters into people of color?

    Batman,Superman,etc

  10. LastAirbenderWILLbeawesome on

    Who the hell wrote that he is eating whale meat…….Guy Aoki? or some random commentator?

    No matter who you are…….Let me tell you something………i hate Asian fishermen who, for F****** money, kill dolphins and whales and sharks. If i see you in person, you will regret it for what you are doing and to all the Asians who love these type of meat, i dont know what to say, you just have no respect in this world, but taking advantage that suits you.

    I don’t know why this guy brought up this topic in this forum……

    And its true the Characters in the series do not look 100% Asian…..please understand that before you make up your assumptions….

  11. I think you are missing the point! The Last Airbender is a good movie! So many movies are violent are degraded. This is a great family movie or just let your kids go and you can feel good about it. I really hope it makes lots of money so Hollywood gets the message (make uplifting movies). You need to get a life if all you do is spend time putting down movies because you don’t like the race. You know your the racist here!

  12. This is the craziest thing I’ve heard of. Do you people realize that the story of the last airbender is an epic and that Aang and Zukko both have to take an adventure to find their personal purpose in life? SPOILER ALERT… Zukko becomes a hero at the end! Zukko’s adventure and obsession with capturing Aang eventually leads him into helping defeat the Fire Lord. This is a great story that children love because even if they might not make the best choices at first, they can always do better and redeem themselves. Its about forgiveness.Why wouldn’t we want to teach these values to our children? So sorry, I don’t see this as a racial issue at all. I have no idea what your problem might be. Instead of looking at the cover of things, look at what lies beneath and you might find a treasure.

  13. GetALife Bender on

    I’m a late 30-something male Ozark American, honky white guy, whatever you want to call it; and for the most part racism is dead except for idiots like this. I’ve seen a lot of racism and good never comes out of it. If morons like this would let go of their hate and quit trying to find a cause that focuses attention on themselves and get a life, racism would be extinct. But people that hang on to it are a lonely pitiful bunch. I’ve watched the whole animated series and not once did race cross my mind other than the water tribe seems to resemble the Native Americans, the Fire Nation seems to represent Asians, the Air Nomads seem to represent Hindu-Indians, and the Earth Kingdom seems to represent a little of every culture. But all of these are simply people. Like when the Earth Kingdom Nomads said to Aang, Kitara and Sokka, “Hey river people.” and their response was, “no, just people.” and he replied back “Aren’t we all.” This can be found in the Cave of Two Lovers episode in series two. That’s enough right there to teach kids that people are people regardless.

  14. Boycotting this movie is definitely NOT my public duty. My public duty is to be a good, upstanding citizen. How dare you try to force this clearly unjustified boycott on people? It’s a cartoon for God’s sakes. This is the kind of thinking that will ruin America, bringing issues like race into something as innocent as a children’s cartoon. The producers of this cartoon are white, the voice actors for the most part, are white and the characters do not all look Asian. Yes its lovely that the series was Asian inspired, but key word is “inspired”. The show did not take place in Asia but in a fantasy universe. Furthermore, the movie rights were sold to Shyamalan. It’s his property and he’s free to do whatever the hell he wants to do with it, whether the fans like it or not. Let’s just be thankful that he is making what appears to be a rather respectful and faithful adaptation of the source material, for he might have very well gone Dragon Ball Evolution on us. This is hollywood, not fanfiction. We are not in control. Thank you and goodnight.

  15. Guy Aoki is a genius on

    We should all do what Guy Aoki says and boycott this movie. He is profound, he is full of wisdom, he thinks for us, and he knows what is best for us. He will not rest until the world conforms to his race-based reality. Resistance is futile. Merit is irrelevant. Opinions of others doesn’t matter. Racism in favor of Asians is all that matters.

  16. I don’t see how anyone can support a movie with a plot the boils down to “3 white kids save all the other races from the evil indians/arabs” in a story that was clearly an Asian based fantasy world. Look at the statistics: Asians, Mexicans, native Americans all get grossly underrepresented in Hollywood movies made today, and when they do get air time they are put up as stock characters or worse stereotypes! Racism is still around, its not dead, its a fire that still burns if only just under the ashes. If Asians Americans have to fight like blacks did to get equal representation so be it, I support that fight, F this movie!

  17. Response to common arguments

    “But this movie and its sequels will have so much diversity”

    Having white protagonist and multi-racial stock/background characters is not diversity, its tokenism, later in a sequel we may get an Asain in with the 3 white protagonist, that too is blatant tokenism! And placing Indians and Arabs as the evil villains is not diversity, its stereotyping, and hoping that by the 3rd movie handful of them turn good does not make up for that.

    “But in the TV show it was so hard to tell if anyone was not white”

    The producers and animators have specifically stated the characters were Asian, that it was an Asian fantasy world and that many characters were based off of living Asian people. If you could not tell this because you need to see stereotypical slanted eyes and buck teeth to distinguish Asian-ness, that your problem.

    “This movie will be great!”

    Read the pre-screening reviews! One pre-screener said “We were told we were the first to watch this movie, and I hope we are the last!” all the pre-screening reviews claimed it was not palatable for anyone over 12! And these people had no clue about the original series or the controversy of the casting and mentioned nothing of it, the movie sucked on its own lack of viable plot pacing, acting and dialog so they claim.

    “Stop complain and shut up!”

    Why don’t you tell them to sit in the back of the bus while your at it, come on its only the back of the bus what the big deal?

    “The majority of people think this racism claim is BS”

    The majority of people 500 years ago thought the world was flat, the majority of people 50 years ago thought only white people should sit in the front of the bus and today the majority of people think only whites (an black people) but no one else can play protagonist or predominate roles.

    “But Americans can’t related to an all Asian cast”

    Yeah and Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon made 125 million in the USA alone.

    “Racism is dead”

    According to the statistics its not. Black people are the only ones that today get movies roles percentages equal to their population (about 10%), Asian Americans represent 5% of American and only 1.6% of acting roles, and those roles include stock characters and stereotypes. Paramount pictures though has made 0% of any of their movies with an Asian in a primary role. Movies like “21” are stunning examples of blatant racism. Racism is alive and well, at least in Hollywood.

    “Your just a reverse-racist asain!”

    I’m a jew, sephardic jew.

  18. A few points: Your own bias is showing through.

    For transparency, I’m from a Scottish-Irish-British background. White as fresh snow.

    This is probably coloured (see what I did there?) by my upbringing amongst a great deal of discussion about the rights and mistreatments of First Nations but I always figured Sokka and Katara were Inuit. You know, First Nations, and… Yeah. Good luck getting any of the Natives around here in Vancouver to say “Yeah, we’re asian!”

    As for Aang, colour pallette aside, he’s an American kid. Asian or not, he’s this fun loving, carefree goofball. That’s the essence of his character, not what colour pallette he was drawn with.

    As for the rest of the characters, there are strong asian themes (especially in architecture) throughout the series but lets not confuse the issue: The characters in Avatar: The Last Airbender have no universally corresponding racial identities.

    Some Earth Kingdom folks look asian, others look white, Zukko looks kind of asian while his sister looks white, his mother is sort of.. yeah. You starting to see a picture here?

    Avatar isn’t a show, or a movie, about asian people. It’s a cartoon retelling of a heroes’ journey set in a world inspired by certain aspects of ancient culture. Including, yes, a whole bunch of asian inspirations.

    Stop complaining about it being “white washed.” If you want to talk white washed, go look at X-2. That was downright offensive how the only non-American character is the goddamn blue faced monster.

    But did you ever notice that? You know, since he’s German and they’re white. Probably complained about Jubilee instead. Feh.

  19. boycotts don't work on

    boycotts generate greater interest in movies among people who were previously ignorant of the movie – the 14-23 year old male movie target audience doesn’t care. until we have more asian male sex symbols and asian boy bands [symbolS. bandS – the idea that halle berry broke some sort of barrier was ludicrous when she won the oscar – and as you can see from the flood of black actresses that have won since….], the discussion of casting of movies like airbender will remain a discussion and academic. a good start would be asian companies doing their share in using asians to plug products in their us/western world campaigns. macy’s sale circulars, sunset magazine, mail-order catalogues – i think it all starts there – in the meantime, we will continue to be invisible.

  20. The characters of Avatar are clearly meant to be asian. If you think they look white and aren’t asian at all, you’re a f**&ing moron. It’s an asian based fantasy where every freaking inspiration is asian! And it is sad that the brilliant people at Paramount decided that most of the cast should be white.

    If you think “oh, they just hired the best person for the job. Hollywood is color-blind,” you’re as naive as it gets.

  21. At Eb:

    Firstly: Yeah, I feel that the water nation inhabitants are probably Inuit, not Asian. I agree with you on that. But Jackson Rathbone and Nicola Peltz are most certainly not anything close to Inuit.

    Secondly, I don’t know if you could count vegetarianism among traits that are common to Americans. He was very clearly modeled with SOME American aspects, but the specific ones you cite make it seem like you’re saying that there are no non-american “carefree goofballs”. I don’t think that’s the case. I would argue that his most central cultural affiliation can be seen in the crafting of the air-nomads: based on precepts of Buddhism and Hinduism, which are (primarily) Asian religions.

    With that said, I will agree that there isn’t a need for Asian (or Inuit) actors to fill these roles. I think that it is entirely possible for an all-white cast to pull this off and make it a good and faithful adaptation. It would be easier if the races corresponding to the characters in the cartoon were more represented, but it’s not impossible. My concern is that these actor were NOT chosen based on the merit they showed alone, however. I feel that it is highly unlikely that there were not better or equal choices in other races.

    I should also say that, while the fact that this is probably indicative of a larger insensitivity in Hollywood and the United States at large, this isn’t even about racism primarily for me. If the producers of this movie didn’t see that, at it’s aesthetic heart, Avatar was a series set in an Asian world, then what else did they miss? How could they overlook this and not overlook other crucial elements of the series?

    I hope that I’m wrong and that this movie surprises me. But I doubt it.

  22. @ EB

    I don’t know if you noticed from the trailers but what appears to be an angry looking dwarf that they got to play aang is not the happy happy joy joy goof ball that is aang in the series.
    The pre-screening reviews found this movie to be crap and they knew nothing of the racism controversy or the cartoon series, so racism aside this is not looking to be a good movie, in fact the only thing probable to be good about it is the CGI and post Avatar that not a big deal anymore. It not hard to notice in Hollywood movies these day that generally the more the special effects the less developed the plot and characters. What happened to balanced movies, what happened to movies with great everything, this could have been Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon without the need for subtitles but no its @#$%ing Prince of Persia!

  23. I was so excited about seeing this movie. But now I will be boycotting it.
    It is highly offensive and saddening to me that this all Asian show is not ACCURATELY depicting the characters within the movie. It totally transforms the movie into something else. It is not the same Avatar the last airbender Ive grown to love and cherish. Not only are the characters in the show Asian but so are the nuances, demonstrating Asian belief systems, religions, and values and to transform the characters into white people makes no logical or linear since.
    This is ridiculous. I feel like crying. The more I think about the more upset i get…I dont know how the creators of this show let this happen.
    *And think about the confusion it will send to all the little psyches of the children who have been watching the cartoon for years, when suddenly clearly Asain characters become white.

  24. How about a little tolerance? on

    I will definitely be seeing this movie mostly because the trailers look cool but also because I reject the lack of tolerance from those who cannot consider another’s viewpoints.

  25. Look as long as there are people telling you not to watch it make sure it booms, go see it 100’s of times.

  26. ZUKO IS THE HERO! Please watch the television show before you decide to comment on the race of the characters. The show features all races in every nation. This show was Asian inspired not based solely on Asian people and ideas.

  27. My comment is for Mr Okamoto. Your argument about boycotting the NBA, NFL is flawed because these organizations hire people according to their physical performance that usually REQUIRES height, strength, athleticism, etc. If any Asian or short person would possess the needed physical performance capabilities to do what ever position was needed, they would be chosen.

    So, if a 3 foot tall Asian man could clear out a path or block people like Anthony Munoz (Ex-USC and Bengal Offensive Tackle) did, then NFL teams would line up to have him play for them.

    But this is “Hollywood.” Parts are based mostly on who looks the part and who can act. In this case, it seems that Asians actors were not even considered for the main parts. They weren’t even given a chance.

    If you use the argument that the best actors were chosen and they just happen to be not-Asian, then where does that end? First, are you saying there are NO good Asian actors? Second, if for example, Tom Arnold was the best actor in the world, shouldn’t he be used in every movie whether it was for a male or female part? Asian or non-Asian part? No, it would be ridiculous. If they wanted these parts to be played by Asians, they would have found some Asians to play them.

  28. When a Chinese guy was playing the role of jungle boy in Jungle Book, Indians did not complaint. Then, how come you have problem here?

    How come you also did not have a problem when a Chinese played the role in Memoirs of a Geisha?

  29. Pingback: The Last Airbender: premieres in two weeks. « Myblog's Blog

  30. NotColorblind on

    if sokka is Asian then why are his eyes blue? Do you realize less then 1% of asians have blue eyes? People need to get off the racism wagon, grow up and realize this is not burger king, not everything is made your way.

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