No, I haven't seen it, and almost certainly will not. If ever there was a movie that deserved to fail, it is "Last Airbender," with its disgraceful whitewashing of an Asian motif. If ever an artist sold himself out, it is M. Night Shyamalan. What white director has never made a film with Caucasians? Female director who has never made one about women? He has cut himself off at the root, and I doubt he will ever find his way home again. Reports say it is an incomprehensible mess. How could it be otherwise? Films and novels are too complicated to hold purely in the conscious mind. And on some deep level, Shyamalan has to KNOW what he has done. Ang Lee or John Woo can dabble in Hollywood...but can go home and work with the mythologies of their own people, or look back on a body of work that reflects their own culture and genetics. What director, ever, has been in such denial? There are damned few writers who have never labored in their own vineyards, culturally speaking. And speaking from my own personal experience, there would only be a few reasons to do this:1) A genuine and deep fascination with the "other." There are a few white writers who are so fascinated with, say, Asian culture that they have created characters set in ancient China, and to my knowledge have written nothing or little else. This is really remarkable, and rare
2) Money. The knowledge that if they write about "their own" they risk rejection and/or poor sales. This is the road to hell, because that artist has to deal with a few ugly things, for instance the belief (valid or invalid) that the group he creates for has contempt and/or disinterest/ disconnection from people who look like him.
3) Fear/Protective coloration. This is the "self-hating Jew" path: changing the name, bobbing the nose, and pretending to be Protestant. Or the self-loathing Gay conservative who votes against gay marriage while cruising the bars at night, courting self-destruction. It is the "see? I'm just like you! Don't hurt me! I actually agree with you about "those" people. I'm not one of them!" This is a horror. I would say that maybe 2% of such artists are case #1. I don't think Shyamalan is one of them. I think that if you go deep enough, he would want, at the least, to create multiethnic stories . At best, nurture and create stars of his own "kind" to tell stories that reflect his culture and genetics. To CHOOSE to do otherwise is one thing. To be FORCED to in order to have a career, to sell out your heart for money and fame, is something else all together.
When we do that, we are raping the creative child within us. I think he is a brilliant man. I also think he is lost, and can no longer recognize the sound of the human voice. He has nothing but intellect now, no heart to guide the way. And was he right to believe he couldn't reflect his own reality and appeal to America? I would say absolutely. I would reiterate that Hollywood is LESS racist than America as a whole, and America more open to those "others" than the world as a whole. The problem is human perception itself, tribalism, deep survival patterns that kept our ancestors alive in ages past. It is not "America," "Hollywood" or "white people." It is us. The way Liberals and Conservatives each use language suggesting they are more human, wiser, smarter, more ethical than their political opposition. The way most religions quietly assume their own superiority, and that everyone else is going to hell. The way nationalism assumes that everyone's country is "exceptional." Or that most people think they are above-average drivers or lovers.
This is what we are. We are all victims of it, and we all oppress. The only difference I see is that some people are aware, and try to swim against this tide, and others believe if we all just stop acknowledging differences and "special interests" it will all work out. All that is necessary for bigotry to triumph is for people of good will to believe we are "Post Racial."
I think the trainwreck that is M. Night Shyamalan's career is a classic example of self-denial devolving to self destruction. If I was an Asian actor, I would want to strangle him. On some deep level, M. Night would probably want to help.