Dante Basco Roasts The Last Airbender, “The Movie That Shall Not Be Named”
It’s not exactly breaking news to say fans of Avatar: The Last Airbender regard M Night Shyamalan’s film adaptation as an insult to the franchise. While many have chosen to forget the film ever happened, not everyone has been able to move on. That’s why fans took the chance to ask Prince Zuko himself, Dante Basco, for his thoughts on the controversial and critically panned flick during his appearance at Unplugged 2016.
Responding to an inquiring fan, Basco joked on stage, “There’s always gotta be somebody talking about that Voldemort movie. That’s that Voldemort movie, you know? That’s the movie that shall not be named.”
Before saying more, Basco prefaced that he never watched the now six year old movie based on the advice of series creators Michael Dante DiMartino and Bryan Konietzko. “I mean I probably should watch it, but Mike and Bryan said ‘don’t watch it.'”
Although the 41 year old actor certainly holds the Avatar series sacred, Basco is more sympathetic to Shyamalan than many fans might be. Having himself worked in the film industry for multiple decades, Basco insists fans should understand how rare it is to make a good movie in Hollywood:
“[Shyamalan] is a great filmmaker, but he did not make a good film, so they say with this film, right? But I tell fans like, yo, this is the deal: it’s hard to make a good film in Hollywood. Outside of the emotion of we all love this franchise, it’s hard to make a good movie.Think about all of the movies you saw last year. how many were actually good? Not that many. Truthfully, well yeah there was like maybe two really good films last year, understand what I’m saying? It’s hard to make a movie of such a great beloved thing, even though he’s a great filmmaker, great filmmakers want to put their fingerprint and their twist on something.
“Maybe someone can come around later and reboot it,”
And sometimes it’s not always appreciated by a fanbase, so it was a miss. But there are so many misses in Hollywood. Umm, hopefully it wasn’t too bad of a miss that maybe someone can come around later and reboot it, you know? That would be great. But so yeah, We ain’t supposed to talk about that movie at cons.”
It wasn’t all insults at Unplugged 2016, though. Firelord Zuko also took a moment to explain why he thinks the Avatar series has resonated so well with fans for so long.
“I grew up a big Star Wars fan, still a big Star Wars fan…so when you’re in a project where it becomes like a Star Wars for a new generation…where these creators make these worlds so real, like so detailed that they feel real. And we all understand the story, we understand the rules of the world, and the characters are so vibrant that we just, you know, want to be a part of that world. It’s this fantasy world that’s so amazing, it feels real. But also the story is so significant that it actually reveals truths about our world, right? And we all hope to be in it.”
Avatar indeed stands the test of time, now over ten years old and still kicking with fans new and old celebrating the series at conventions and online. There’s no plan to stop building on the world, with a new original Legend of Korra graphic novel, “Turf Wars,” set to pick up where the TV series left off, landing in 2017.
Do you agree with Dante that a film reboot of Avatar is still possible? Would you want one?