The Last Airbender

Released 7/2/10                              Rated: PG

All around, if you’re a fan of this show, or not, I’ll make this simple. DO NOT SEE THIS FILM. *sigh*  Ok, when I first saw the teaser trailer, I was a little skeptical.  And then I saw an actual trailer, and I just didn’t think it would hold up to the show, which I absolutely love. And then I saw that it was going to be in 3D, and I thought that would be cool; if I had to see it, that would be the way to go, and my hopes were slightly raised, but I was still wary. I was right.

Yes, I realize that trying to fit an entire season of a TV show in to an hour and forty minute movie is not easy. Things are going to be lost in the medium change; we’ve all had to deal with this with the Harry Potter series and the like. But this was just bad all the way around.

1. There were more 3D effects in the Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga’Hoole *trailer* than there were in this entire movie! The whole point of making a movie in 3D is to use those special effects. Why bother charging an extra $4 to the ticket price if there aren’t that many effects flying at the audience? I wanted fireballs headed in my direction, and water droplets splashing off the screen, and little rocks and debris flying all over the place. There was so much potential for this feature in this movie! Stuff is supposed to be flying around!!! How was this not utilized???

2. What was with Uncle Iroh being the only firebender in the world who could create his/her own fire? –And where was that information in the movie?? The entire time I’m watching this movie I wondering why none of the firebenders will produce their own fire. They are pulling it from the lamps or whatever happens to be around. That is B.S. And I’m just going to stop before I get going, because that just really made me mad.

3. I could have written better dialogue than that. I actually laughed at one point. Katara narrated a lot, and that was ok, but it chopped up the movie a bit. Apparently someone needs to learn the art of when to show, and when to tell. For instance: tell me that Aang clears the Fire Nation soldiers out of all the Earth Villages they pass through on the way to the North Pole, don’t show me three different shots of Aang “airbending” the soldiers down the street. Show me Sokka and Princess Yue getting friendly with each other, don’t tell me that they did right off the bat. They are supposed to really like each other. If you don’t show that, it’s difficult to get the right emotions with certain events that occur.

The only thing Zuko ever said was “I need to restore my honor.” And yes, that is Zuko’s character, but I don’t need to hear that ten times in an hour and forty minutes. We get it! And where was his scar? Yes, he had one, but for the most part it was practically invisible. Tsk, tsk.

4. No one was really able to pull off their character. It came across more forced then anything else. The characters in a movie bring the world to life. And that just didn’t happen. I don’t know if it was just the acting, or if no one was familiar with who they were portraying, but it felt like a half-hearted attempt.

Not that these characters were really there, if you want to get technical about it. Katara is supposed to be spirited, and fights for what she believes in. Aang is fun-loving. Sokka is sarcastic, always hungry, and ready for a fight. Zuko is goal-driven, and likes to keep to himself. Iroh likes to smell the roses, but can be deadly if need be. Zhao is power-hungry, and makes up his own rules. None of this is in the film.

5. The bending was a little off. It was mostly martial arts moves with just a little bending at the end of it all. My boyfriend said they were dancing. This brings me back to the argument I started in point #1: not enough stuff flying around! Now, I myself took Taekwondo, and can appreciate the martial arts, but give me some power! I want to see crisp moves, and more bending! Ten moves later….a lone rock glides across the screen. BOO!

6. The Blue Spirit looked like a clown. I couldn’t really take that seriously. Momo looked kinda scary. Maybe just a bit too real. Appa had a weird face. And Appa and Momo were barely in the film. They just showed up whenever it was convenient to have them in the shot.

Overall, this film is a mess. The movie just didn’t flow. There were so many places they traveled to in such a short amount of time that I was confused about where people were all the time. The Fire Lord is supposed to be this mysterious, very powerful person, and I was just like….this is it? That was pretty much my reaction to this entire project. This attempt at making a good movie was laughable, and not in a good way. I will be surprised if anyone tries to make the second book after this.

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One Response to The Last Airbender

  1. Adrian Lewis says:

    Asking someone to make a faithful film adaptation of an entire season is a bit too much, but asking someone to make a good film from all that quality source material is not. It couldn’t have been that difficult. The film practically writes itself. All one would have to do would be to skip the less necessary parts, and make a sensible collage of their journey, with the two water tribes as bookends, with a heavy emphasis on coherency. To that end, all Night would have had to do was to let the characters interact with each other a bit more and allow them to ‘breathe’ and grow more through interaction. But apparently this is just too much to ask.

    I really really wanted to like this movie, but we are just prevented at every opportunity. The Actors do actually look like the characters, for whatever that’s worth. And the worlds look like those of the cartoon. And I think to a certain extent, I could have enjoyed the ‘bending’. Apart from the dance moves, there was a genuine coolness to how the characters bended their environments. And yet, despite all of this, Night extracted all originality that crafted so much integrity within the source material. What we are given instead is a film that serves as a marionette-version of itself, where we recognize the outside, but the soul is gone. The actors ‘look’ like the characters, but lack that certain something that completes the transition. The environments, while faithful, just dont have the complexities that made the show’s environments so cool, such as the air temple’s door locks, for example. And lastly, the bending was simply too complex. I am not exaggerating when I say that the movements looked like embarrassing yoga choreography, which convolutes the ‘insta-bending’ that the show maintained so gracefully.

    To sum up, the movie sucked. It was dry, empty, over-loaded and exaggerated. But worst of all, boring and anti-climactic.

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