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28 June 2010 @ 09:35 pm
The Other Avatar  
There's a definite correlation between the response to a movie over Twitter on opening night and how well it does at the box office opening weekend. What's no clear is if it's an effect or a cause. Is it possible for negative twitter comments to kill a movie? At the very least it's certainly a possibility.

So would it be disingenuous for people to start twittering during opening night for The Last Airbender about how the movie is bad, even if they haven't actually gone to see it? What if they specify that it's bad because of the whitewashing and not necessarily because of the quality of the movie itself?

Of course i don't have a twitter account, so i don't actually have to decide that for myself. I'm leaning towards skipping the movie in theatres, even though the trailer looks really cool. It depends a lot on shelleycat though. If my half-japanese girlfriend insists on going to see it then i'm not sure if i have a leg to stand on with the "but it's unfair to asian-americans" argument. When i mentioned the whitewashing thing to her her first response was that it didn't seem that important to her since it's set in a fantasy world, and her second response was something like "did they at least use CG to make them look asian? They can do that now, right?" She figures if they can make people blue for the other Avatar then anyone ought to be able to play a character of any race. I'm not quite sure how to respond to that on a theoretical level, though i expect that practically speaking that's still to pricey to do for movies where you can actually find actors of whatever race you happen to need.

Luckily however she's usually pretty amenable to the "let's just watch it on Netflix when it comes out on DVD" option :)
Sister Atom Bomb of Courteous Debateakiko on June 29th, 2010 02:18 pm (UTC)
Being a minority doesn't make you automatically aware of discrimination.

Point to http://www.racebending.com/v3/featured/the-last-airbender-primer/ if you'd like.
Ambermaggiedacatt on July 1st, 2010 06:51 pm (UTC)
Even if they did that, using CG to make them Asian-looking doesn't change the fact that real actors were passed over in favor of whiter actors.

None of the complaints I've seen say anything about the fact that the director is Indian-American.
balivatn: geysir fieldsbalivatn on July 2nd, 2010 08:12 am (UTC)
This is what one of the voice actors had to say about it - he's not as vitriolic as some of the other reviewers, but he does point out a few things:


I was really impressed with Dante's statement. I feel bad for him if he actually sees what the movie turned into, because that has to hurt.

atarunomikoatarunomiko on July 3rd, 2010 09:48 pm (UTC)
The Time-Honored Tradition of Racebending
Okay, let me preface this by saying I love you to death and think you're a great, kind, caring and not-at-all racist person, so I'm sure your girlfriend is all those things, too, but I have to disagree with her CG suggestion.

There's a difference because, to my knowledge, there are no people with blue skin and cat noses (despite what avid anime-watchers like myself may think). If someone wanted to make a movie about black people and cast white actors and CG their skin and features (or go low-tech with black-face makeup) to look more "African" there would be rioting in the streets. I don't think it's any less racist to doctor up white people to look like any other race.

Just look at John Wayne as Genghis Khan and Charlton Heston playing a Mexican in Touch of Evil, all the non-Persian leads in Prince of Persia (even though one of them is the fine-ass Richard Coyle, be-still-my-beating-heart), not to mention the black couple being 'shopped out of the movie poster for the international release of Couples Retreat. Plus there were like 5 recent scandals about white models and celebrities in black-face or dark makeup to look like various minorities. Vaudeville is decidedly not having a comeback. I could go on, but I won't (you can thank me later).

So it's nothing new for minorities to be cast aside in favor of a white actor the presumably white hood-wearing average American movie-goer to identify with ;) because apparently only minorities are capable of imagining that other races are the same as they, and even then only if that other race is white. ;P

One of my friends said it was telling that the race the director chose the one time he did not use Caucasian actors just so happened to be his own race, which is great, but again not the actual purported race of any of the characters by the creators' own admission.

He tried to pass it off as being because he couldn't get Asian actors he liked as much, but I think it didn't help that the casting call called for "white (or Asian)." Notice how it says white first. Many agents won't even send non-white actors out to casting calls that don't ask for whatever their particular race is because they know they are most likely wasting those actors' time.