|Hopefully the Last Airbender Movie||2 out of 2 users found this review helpful.|
I have absolutely no idea what the Hell M. Night Shyamalan was thinking when he put this movie together. How to best butcher and ruin a genuinely spectacular series? Because that’s what it felt like.
Before anyone claims that I am biased by the original series though, I have to say that I was vaguely aware of the Avatar: The Last Airbender series but I had never seen it so I honestly went into this movie with no preconceptions. Even so, I felt disappointed at what I was forced to endure. The movie is in fact, a string of clips that feature the best scenes of the first season of the Avatar cartoon series that is strung together in a vague attempt to tell a hugely complex plot and story in a disjointed and compressed format. It is essentially 100 minutes of crap in my opinion. I simply could not follow what was going on, it was so rushed, characters are rapidly introduced and then were practically shoved off the screen so that they could introduce more characters and more and more. And it was like that for the entire movie. There is no time for emotional development and no time for us to understand what is going on as we fast-forward from scene to scene at a hectic pace.
In all honesty, I sincerely feel that there is simply no way that Shyamalan or anyone for that matter could have told an entire season in a movie format. It was an ambitious and lofty idea, but not at all realistic. He should have considered making a live action television series if he really wanted to adapt it in this manner.
Other than that, the rest of the film was tremendously disappointing as well. I found the actors to lack any great charisma and depth. I simply could not establish an emotional connection to them and they seemed to simply expound themes and concepts in a bland tone of voice. I simply felt no drama and the climax felt forced.
The special effects varied in quality. On the one hand, a great many of the marital arts sequences looked stiff and faked and the CGI elements of the various animals simply didn’t look very real at all and the vast majority of the sets were poorly constructed in my opinion.
The one bright spot was Noah Ringer (Aang) whose martial arts performances were very nicely done and looked very well executed instead of the flailing arms that so many of the other benders did. I also did think that the elemental manipulations weren’t bad either, particularly the air and water sequences. I do think that the earth ones could have been a bit more impressive and the fire effects could have been improved as well in certain sequences. Ringer and those water and air special effects are primarily the sole reasons why I gave it such an impressive score. But they simply can’t carry the rest of the movie alone.
If you really want to see a series that exemplifies spiritual and philosophical issues and grapples with issues of power, greed, love and loss, and is funny to watch; then I suggest that you consider watching the animated cartoon, Avatar: The Last Airbender over this. It may be a lot longer than this movie, but you won’t be disappointed. There’s a good reason why they tried to make a live action big budget movie to try and cash in on this series.
RATING: 1 and 1/2 STARS.