Shyamalan Says THE LAST AIRBENDER Is European In Style, And That’s Why American Hate It

Oh M. Night Shyamalan, could you have tried to sound any more pretentious in this interview? Your movies have a “European sensibility” and that’s why Americans don’t love them? Uhhh… I don’t really think that’s true, is it?

It’s universally known that Shyamalan’s mystic movie making abilities have been all but spent. He was once the master of suspense in flicks like Unbreakable or Signs, but he’s since become a bit of a joke. Okay, A LOT of a joke, and the only reason is that he’s lazy.

Yeah, I said it.

In all of his films (save The Last Airbender) he’s relied on a massive “twist” to captivate his audience, which is nothing more than a crutch, and such a basic technique can’t provide for a whole career.

In any case, we’ve recently seen this British interview with the Director circa 2010, and Shyamalan shamelessly defends Avatar: The Last Airbender, which in itself isn’t so terrible. He has every right to explain his craft, the methods he used, and his main objective… even if we think the films suck. BUT, the director committed the ultimate faux pas when he essentially claims that Americans just aren’t smart/hip/adaptive enough to understand his constantly evolving film making style.

I’ve just spent a few minutes transcribing the entire piece, so check it out below:

I don’t know what’s going on with me and the critics in America. They’ve never got me. And it’s getting worse. It’s almost like “Go Away!”. I also think that I’m getting influenced by other cultures more, as you can see in the movie. So I’m not doing a straight up American movie anymore. The tonality are changing. I always had a European sensibility to my movies and the pacing is a bit off to them and it feels a little stilted and they need more electricity. And this is the way I think of things: Hitchcock, Corsair, Stanley Kubrick are my teachers. It could be a little of that. A little bit of cultural difference. Just like in this movie, I’m very used to going on a plane in the US, after being savaged by them, and then going to a place like Japan next, and they’re like “genius!”. You can lose your mind going on Saturday from being an idiot to Sunday being a genius. Luckily for me it’s not something I can fight. It’s not my fight to fight. I’m defenseless. The audience fights for me. And they have through my career. And I’m honored to have that relationship. And maybe in 20 years I’ll get a good review and we’ll sit here and say “I got a good review!”

Influenced by other cultures, you say? That’s an interesting note, considering you’ve completely whitewashed the Asian and Native American inspired cast of Avatar: The Last Airbender.

Although, I struggle to hold a grudge against the Shyamalan. He’s such a great film maker (yeah, I said it). Deep down, beneath all of his recent missteps, this is the same guy who created Unbreakable, the single greatest superhero film of all time. I’m sure he’ll rediscover himself, but in the mean time, defending mediocre films by slightly disparaging a particular culture’s critics is a bit much.

Heyo. I'm Nick Dourian, the Editor-In-Chief around these parts. Now, I went to a few other sites, read a few awesome bios, and I really want to fabricate a badass origins story for myself, but I'm feeling particularly unimaginative today, so 'f' that jazz. I read comics, drink bourbon, and cook meats. Imagine Ron Swanson, but with a fuller beard and cuter eyes.
  • Marcell Hines

    Last Airbender was VERY terrible

  • Heisenberg

    His movies are 99.1% garbage

  • G C


  • Kris Janssens

    Oh Shyamie what nonsense you spout.
    The only way that that “movie” has anything to do with European sensibilities is in how much it has offended them. I have bought my share of ‘bad’ movies but The last airbender is the only one I have ever considered throwing out of my window after seeing.

  • belarus

    No, sorry, the movie was just terrible, no sensibilities about it. The kids couldn’t act, the names were idiotically different, there was literally no reason for the changes in universe physics besides derailing the plot, which also wasn’t discernible, and the CG made me want to cry- delayed, out of sync, and uninteresting for ELEMENTAL POWERS. Not to mention the whitewashing, lack of tension, and complete mangling of good source material. Just admit that one was a terrible shitfest please.