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M. Night Shyamalan, cast and crew have rolled up in Reading, Pennsylvania to film some scenes for The Last Airbender. The principal location appears to be the Pagoda atop Penn Mountain, probably the most appropriate piece of architecture in Shyamalan’s beloved home state for the Eastern-ised aesthetic of the original cartoons, and apparently now the movie adaptation.

The Reading Eagle report that the location was dressed to represent a village destroyed by the “evil Fire nation”. Villains. More details and pictures below this virtual crease – some of which you might consider mild spoilers.

From the further set-up the paper provided it seems this Pagoda scene will come early in the story:

The movie’s screenplay (written by Shyamalan) focuses on Aang (Noah Ringer), the title character and a so-called Air nomad, who emerges from frozen hibernation inside an iceberg to discover that his village has been annihilated. The Fire nation is waging war on the other three: Air, Earth and Water.

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I’ve seen bits and pieces of the cartoon and actually found it rather charming, certainly well conceived and more interesting than this sort of Saturday morning sprog-fodder typically aspires to be, let alone succeeds in being. My generation is supposed to feel nostalgiac for nonsense like Transformers, or perhaps Scooby Doo and the current wave of little ones get this Airbender business? They don’t know they’re born.

Previous shooting for the film took place in Greenland, here standing in for the Arctic. Greenland’s website Sermistsiak reported on that portion of production thus:

Filming in the north-west Greenland village will take place from 23 March to 3 April, and the scenes will make up a total of six minutes in the final production, estimated to have a budget of $250 million.

Here’s a picture from their site, showing the village in which Shyamalan was filming.

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I’m possibly the only person actively blogging on a well-read site that will profess a love for this man’s work. I can find fault with Lady in the Water and The Happening, but I can also find a lot that is right with them – particularly Lady. Criticism of The Village leaves me utterly bemused, however, because that’s a genuine corker. It’s definitely on my list of the top 10 American films about the American political situation post 9/11.

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