02
Jul
10

The Last Airbender (1/5)

The Last Airbender: Four Nations, One Destiny, and thousands of angry fans.

The Last Airbeneder is M. Night Shyamalan’s attempt to take Nick’s wildly popular nick series Avatar: The Last Airbender and turn it into a live-action epic summer blockbuster.  The premise is that there are four nations: Earth, Air, Water, and Fire.  Each nation has people who can bend the nation’s element.  There is one person, called the Avatar, who has the potential to control all four elements.  After he suddenly dissapears, the Fire Nation wages a war on the other nations.  100 years later, a young boy named Aang is discovered by a young waterbender, Katara, and her brother Sokka.  He is revealed to be the avatar, that the trio set out on a quest to bring peace.

Before I get any further.  I think it should be known that I love the original series.  I only recently started watching it (thank you Netflix instant play!) but within the last couple months it has become one of my favorite shows.  In my mind it is right up there with Stargate.  Therefore, I naturally compared it to the series.  I shall try to save most of the comparisons until the end of the review.

This film is about 85% exposition.  They are constantly trying to explain the back-story, character motivations, etc.  Even at the climax of the film, they are still explaining things.  This might not be so bad, but the plot skips from scene to scene randomly.  The story pretty is incoherent.  It honestly feels like they took a 3 hour film, and randomly cut out scenes until the film fit 103 minutes.  If I had not scene the series, I doubt I would even know what was happening.  The story also suffered from some gaps in logic.  For example there was a scene where a character, Iroh, seemed to have knowledge of another character’s past, yue, in spite of the fact that this scene was the fist time they met each other.

The fight scenes are a mixed bag.  On one hand, the effects look great and so does the choreography.  And often times, it look pretty awesome.  However, it does feel a bit like they are showing off.  For example, there is a scene where in the middle of a fight, Aang starts airbending rotating doors that line a small circular room.  While this scene looks cool, it serves no purpose as no real fighting is done, save for the few idiots who walk too close to the doors.  Also the waterbending seems to require a lot of dancing around before anything acually happens.  The enimeis seem to sit back and watch until the water comes flying at them.  As a result, it often felt more like a ballet than a fight.

As far as acting goes, this film is not that great either.  It felt as though most of the characters were reading their lines off a cue card.  Also, Katara and Aang always looked like they were about to burst into tears for no reason.

Admittedly, part of the problem was not so much the way the lines were delivered, but how they were delivered.  Almost none of the lines felt like anything a real person would say.  It felt very forced.  Honestly, it felt like the writer tried to make every line sound like a nugget of wisdom, but none of them were that wise.  We never really get time to know the characters that well.  Also few of their actions make any sense, they feel like they are just…well, acting out a part.

Ok, now to compare it to the series.  (Note: if you have’nt seen the series there may be some slight spoilers here)

First of all, he changed the pronunciations of the names.  Aang now rhymes with Tong rather than Tang.  Iroh is not pronounced Eeeroh, Sokka is being pronounced like sock-ah.  They changed a lot of things like this, and it made me angry.  There was no reason for it!

If you were looking foward to seeing King Bumi, Suki, or Jet then you are out of luck.  They are no where to be sene in this film.  They even shot scenes with Suki and the rest of the Kyoshi Warriors but cut it out at the last min.  Though this could be a good thing…did we really want them to have more characters to mess up?

Also, Appa and Momo looked terrible.  Also, they had no personality in this film.  Appa was used only for transport.  Momo, well…he was there in a couple scenes…but thats about it.  Neither of them felt like the silent protagonists we have come to know and love, they were just cgi props.

They tried to incorporate humor in this film from time to time, but it did not work.  It was not funny, and it felt forced.

There was one redeeming quality for the fans.  There were a lot of easter eggs thrown in for us.  They were about the only thing that made the film bearable.

Overall, I do not recommend this film!  Not even a little!  However, if you are a fan, you may want to see it for yourself anyways, if so I reccomend you go to a matenee and get the 2d version.  The 3d is not good, and you will want to spend the least amount of money possible on this film.

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3 Responses to “The Last Airbender (1/5)”


  1. 1 Patrick
    July 2, 2010 at 10:37 pm

    Hate that it was so bad. You should write a review for the parallel universe praising all the things the movie did right in comparison to our reality.

  2. July 5, 2010 at 4:08 pm

    Totally agree. It wouldn’t have been as bad if it wasn’t such a hugely missed opportunity and just such a shamble of a film with such bad… Everything

  3. July 6, 2010 at 6:31 pm

    Patrick: I like the way you think, unfortunately, I have already written that post…in a parallel universe…

    And Earl, yeah everything was bad. I saw a comment on the avatar wiki that said “The movie would have been good if it wasn’t so bad” and I think that sums it up perfectly.


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