Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Twilight Saga: Eclipse VS The Last Airbender

Tomorrow marks another day in tween history: the release of another Twilight film. The Twilight films are based off of the world wide best selling novels by Stephanie Meyer whose success story was rocket fast in the world of publishing. When the films came to be movies, they launched an obsession for tweens, despite Twilight being classified as young adult fiction.

Twilight was only rated so-so if not down right hated in the eyes of many fans, but many of them considered the sequel New Moon to have delivered. With the introduction to the Bella/Edward/and often shirtless Jacob triangle as well as some additional fight scenes that were not in the books (but really helped the film), it was actually a good movie (if you didn’t mind Bella screaming and crying in her sleep for half of the film). New Moon actually debuted with the number one opening day gross ever with over seventy-two million dollars surpassing the Harry Potters, Spiderman 3, Transformers 2, and even the beloved Dark Knight.

But New Moon is easily the favorite book from the Twilight series, so can Eclipse outperform it’s predecessor?

My money is on “probably”. It’s main promotion is for it’s vampire and werewolf war drawing in people who may not care about romance and may not know it’s a romance, but they like seeing things fighting and killing each other. Also, young Jacob actually gets up the nerve to fight for young Bella’s affection instead of staring at her intensely and waiting for her to lean in and kiss him. Edward doesn’t disappear for half the film either so it’s a full on fight for Bella’s love.

If I were a film maker, I wouldn’t put up anything against the power of little girls who beg their mommies to take them to the theaters so they can stare at men too old for them and cry over situations they’re too young to understand. But M. Night Shyamalan has proved to take risks creatively with some of his work. It’s no shocker that he’s taking a risk and putting The Last Airbender on the line against a major contender.

The Last Airbender–known to many as “The REAL Avatar” (sorry Cameron), are looking forward to this highly anticipated film. The Last Airbender is based off of a hugely successful cartoon created by Michael Dante DiMartino and Bryan Konietzko that aired on Nickeloden and attracted an audience well beyond it’s demographic with it’s brilliant story telling and serious subject manner. It’s easily one of the greatest cartoons of all time. Avatar: The Last Airbender isn’t a love story, though there is romance. It’s a story about young kids with powers who have to fight a world wide war to save the world from a truly evil man and his army. The premise sounds more epic than a random small town girl deciding whether or not she wants to give up her non-interesting life to turn into a good vampire. The show is still very fresh in the fans minds and they were desperate for more stories. So who will win the tween vote?

The Last Airbender has been surrounded with some controversy. Two main characters, Sokka and Katara, are brown skinned in the television series but are being cast by two Caucasians, one of them who plays Jasper Hale in the Twilight series. Another controversy comes from the villain and eventual good guy, Zuko, who is a fair skinned character yet is cast by a boy of Indian descent, Dev Patel, who is best known for Academy Award-winning film Slumdog Millionaire. While no one is questioning their acting ability, fans of many different nationalities are angered by the race changes and even coined the term “race bending.”

But even with that going against the film, the previews themselves are compelling the fans to give it a shot. Besides the obvious nationality changes, the film mirrors the source material in a lot of ways and the special effects are down right cool.

With Last Airbender coming out in 3D, it also has a chance to outdo Eclipse in sales due to 3D prices being a bit higher, which is how Cameron’s Avatar made it’s groundbreaking amount at the box office.

Eclipse may have two successful films backing it, but The Last Airbender appears to be a film that moms and highly testosterone filled dads will take their kids to see. Besides, with Twilight films subject matter becoming increasingly more adult, such as the eventual impregnation of Bella in Breaking Dawn, the eight year old girls might have to start sitting out of the shows.

So who is going to win the epic battle for biggest movie of the summer? We’ll see this weekend. Twilight Saga: Eclipse premiers June 30th and The Last Airbender premiers July 1st.

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