Contrary to all the negative reviews surrounding M. Night Shyamalan, as a writer and filmmaker/director, I had always enjoyed his work for the most part.The Sixth Sense. Signs (even with Mel Gibson the Flaming-damn-Racist). Devil.The Village. Lady in the Water. Unbreakable (even though Samuel L. Jackson is the villain). Even the bogus documentary. I even thought The Happening was a good idea even if it didn’t pan out all too great.
Ever since I read a quote from him about the spiritual message intended in his films, I was drawn to him and his work as an artist. I had nothing but high hopes.
It literally nearly made me cry when I heard that he screwed up Avatar The Last Airbender the live action movie. I was even more surprised to find that the casting was racist and that two clearly brown main characters central to the story were cast as lily white people (Katara and Sokka). Aang was even white. The acting wasn’t that great and I’m too scared to look at the other criticisms of the movie. He screwed up the plot and changed the pronunciation of names.
This show was handed to him–plot, details, action, emotion, potential–on a gotdamn silver platter. How did this happen?
I was heartbroken. But why? I had never watched the ATLA animation. As an American “cartoon”, most likely produced by white writers, I put it immediately out of my mind, as my opinion of most American animation is very poor, thanks to Disney and a white, conservative, middleclass dominated market. I prefer Japanese animation/anime, though Japan has it’s racism against POC, Black people in particular, that it needs to fucking deal with.
What I’ve come to realize though is that People of Color are never the main characters in M. Night’s movies. He himself is Indian (as in from India). As I understand it India is one of the nations of brown people known for it’s history with white European imperialism and colonization. Maybe this has something to do with it? There just has to be a reason why he has yet to make a film where a person of color is the main character.
The American mainstream film industry needs to die a hard, painful death. I give up.