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The Last Airbender (2010)

DVD Cover (Paramount)
Director:
M. Night Shyamalan M. Night Shyamalan
Starring:
Noah Ringer Noah Ringer
Dev Patel Dev Patel
Nicola Peltz Nicola Peltz
Jackson Rathbone Jackson Rathbone
Shaun Toub Shaun Toub

4.1 / 10 - Overall Rating

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Genres / Traits: Adventure, Children's / Family, Children's Fantasy, Fantasy Comedy, Martial Arts, 3-D
The story follows the adventures of Aang, a young successor to a long line of Avatars, who must put his childhood ways aside and stop the Fire Nation from enslaving the Water, Earth and Air nations. --TMDb
Avatar
Review by Ginose
Added: August 04, 2012
What can be said about Shyamalan's career that hasn't already been said a thousand times over? He's a hack. The man blew our minds with a great and finely directed feature debut with "The Sixth Sense" and continued to blow MY mind, at least, with the well-crafted breakdown of the superhero mythology in the form "Unbreakable" then... he kind of trickled into Shitsville with a slew of terribly assembled, and awfully directed films with quasi-mindfucks like "The Village" and "Signs". Since then he's only gotten worse. Bizarre vanity works like "The Happening" have truly ruined any respect I had for his filmmaking abilities and now he's had the opportunity to apply his shit-Midas touch to the feature adaptation of a well-loved children's cartoon. Gee, I wonder how that turned out.

A boy name Sokka (pronounced Sooka) and his water-bending (meaning she moves water) sister, Katara, in their home of... Southern Water Tribe... I think... find a boy and his flying Bison frozen in a glacier. Taking them back to their village they discover his name is Aang (pronounced Ong) and that he was a young boy who ran away from home... only to get frozen. Then, after an attack by an invading nation of fire-benders (people who move fire around), led by disgraced prince Zuko and his uncle General Iroh (pronounced Ear-oh), capture Aang and reveal him to be the Avatar, a spiritual figure-head and bender of all four elements (earth, fire, wind, water and, apparently, hearts) who apparently disappeared a hundred years ago. Aang is rathered perplexed by this, as he only remembers disappearing a few days prior, the eyes having kept him unaging and preserved for the whole century. See, as it turns out, during those hundred years the fire-nation had launched a war against all the other nations of the world, in a campaign to put them under their rule. Had Aang been around and learned to master all four elements he could have prevented this. Now, it is clear that his goal should be to master them and save the world as he should have so long ago.

Did that plot seem overly-complicated? In truth, it's a story that fits quite well in its original televised format. Each story piece and aside is given enough time to expand and show how the characters grow and change throughout. Somehow, though, it seemed to everyone that the best idea would be to condense the first season (20 full 30-minute long episodes) into a 90-minute film. Who the hell thought that would work? This story is jumbled and emotionless. The characters never grow or learn, they just do. All they do is perform tasks that forward the plot. There is no emotional investment. There is nothing worthwhile from any of the characters or ideas we are introduced to. Hell, the history of it all is stinted and jumbled as all-hell. There is practically no story for chunks of the film, because the plot meanders and changes like nothing. Characters have little-to-no motivation to do the things they do and... fuck... I could rant on, but, what you need to know is: it's bad. The structure is bad, the new plot is bad, the writing is bad, the characters are bad. The entirety of what was one of the first grand-epics of children's television that I have seen in years is burnt out into jumbled bullshit and weird-ass action scenes.

Oh, and there's another thing: The action. Holy crap. I was told by many people who disliked this film that the SFX were worth a mention. Lying bastards. I'm honestly utterly confused as to where the budget of this film went. The rendering looks great, but the bending is put to know real effect or worth, and the fights just look ridiculous. This is some of the worst fight-choreography that I have EVER seen. There are moments where attacks are blocked before they are performed and characters move like dancers as if to emulate some kind of martial-arts on which these moves are based! This was... painfully awful to watch. There could have been some kind of effort put in here, but I didn't see a damned bit of concern from anyone involved.

Acting, again, is something worth frowning on, painfully. There seemed to be almost no direction at all for most of these actors. The children all seem to have no idea what to do or where to go at any given point and have, no doubt, had little to know experience prior to this. Hell, even they can't be to blame because dramatic veteran Dev Patel, as Prince Zuko, seemed completely lost in this. It's like the only direction he got from Shyamalan was "be angrier"; I'd read that Jesse McCartney was originally cast in this role... I can completely believe that.

This movie is a train-wreck. It is... just terrible to watch from beginning to end. This didn't just offend me as a fan of Nickleodeon's "Avatar" series, this didn't just offend me as a film fanatic: this offended me as a person. To know that so much time and money went into such a terrible creation. To know that somewhere, at some point, people saw the final reels of this film and thought that people could enjoy this. To know that Shyamalan is in no way ashamed of his recent failings as a director and chooses to defend all of his work, even this one. You may have heard that this movie is terrible and believed that many overstated how bad it actually was. You're wrong.

1.3/10.
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Crispy #1: Crispy - added 04/06/2014, 02:33 PM
As someone who hasn't seen a single episode of Avatar, this wasn't that bad. Not good, but not bad. The effects were nicely done, but there was definitely way too much plot slammed into to short of time. Ideally, this would have been released as a two parter, maybe even with each film hitting that three hour mark, to tell its story. 4/10
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