The Air Is Very Thin In ‘The Last Airbender’

Avatar, oops I mean The Last Airbender, is the first film of a planned trilogy.  So get used to the name because I don’t suspect we shall be forgetting it anytime soon.  This newest M. Night Shyamalan film is a live-action film adaptation based on the first season of the animated television series Avatar: The Last Airbender.  Now I finally understand what all the fuss was about in regards to this animated show at 2008’s San Diego Comic-Con.  I remember a guy looked at me weird just because I said I never heard of the cartoon. I guess it was really big with the kiddies back then.

Anyway, in the film’s infancy, the title ownership of the Paramount/Nickelodeon movie was initially in dispute with James Cameron’s Avatar film.  Maybe you heard of that film before?  So as a result, the title of Avatar was dropped, hence the title The Last Airbender. The film also managed to spark controversy over the mostly all Caucasian cast that were chosen to play the predominantly Asian character roles.  I suppose this debate will wage on throughout the planned trilogy of films.  The movie stars Noah Ringer, Nicola Peltz, Jackson Rathbone and the one cast member I was looking forward to seeing, Dev Patel (Slumdog Millionaire).

So anyway, where was I?  Oh yeah… The Last Airbender.  I might as well come right out and say it and forgo my usual fluff.  I hated this movie.  I didn’t hate it as much as I did Jonah Hex, but let’s just say The Bounty Hunter intrigued me more than this.  Although I was treated to a 3-D showing of the film, much like its predecessor, Clash of the Titans, this 2-D to 3-D converted feature does not warrant the honor and respect of being called a 3-D presentation.  It sure felt 2-D to me.  If you take nothing else away from this review, then take heed because I’m a lyrical poet.  No.  Seriously.  This is a film that if you must see, please… please… please (I’m begging you) do not support it in 3-D.  Not only would you be getting robbed by doing so, but you are also giving “real” 3-D a bad name.

I will say it before ad I will go on record saying this again (and mean it this time).  This is the last M. Night Shama-lama-ding-dong feature I will ever see.  I have only one question for Hollywood.  What if this film tanks?  Do we still have to suffer needlessly through two more films?  And if so, why?  I know it’s remarkable that he managed to cram an entire television season into one feature length film, but that doesn’t mean it was any good either.

I’m pretty sure that you will hear many critics say that the character dialog felt forced and always like everything was a matter of life and death.  But what I would really like to focus on is the bad acting.  I have not seen these wooden of actors since Natalie Portman’s unconvincing portrayal of Padme in 2005’s Revenge of the Sith.  And I’m not even going to touch upon the big flying puppy dog in this review.

So should I even bother recapping the plot of this movie?  Do you even care?  I don’t, but I suppose I should anyway, right?  For those that care there are four nations: Air, Water, Earth and Fire.  There are also special individuals that have abilities to bend the elements.  They are called benders.  And most importantly, there has always been one EXTRA unique individual called an Avatar.  They have the power to bend all four elements and maintain peace amongst the nations.  When that Avatar just so happens to go missing for 100 years, the Fire nation forcefully takes control of the others.  Now let’s fast forward 100 years to when Aang (Ringer) discovers that he is the lone air bending Avatar, and that he must learn to bend the other elements in order to bring peace to the world again.  That’s quite a lot for a 12-year old boy to do.  But wait… he’s actually 112 years old.  Confused yet?  Don’t be.  Skip this one!

So there you have it folks.  It wasn’t the worst film of the year so far, thanks to the plenty of other candidates we already have, but in no way can I encourage anyone to spend their hard earned beans on it in the theater.  If you must go see this, and I emphasize the word must, go to a matinee and suffer through this only on a 2-D screen.  Here’s to Hollywood (raising my glass) and yet another lackluster film this year.  Cheers!


5 Responses to “The Air Is Very Thin In ‘The Last Airbender’”

  1. Gregg

    Maybe it was a good thing I wasn’t exposed to this movie. So long CS! Ya thief!

  2. Gerard Iribe

    My GF got me into the show. We will not be watching this at all.

    This will fail, so I don’t think we’ll be seeing sequels.

    BTW, I like how you snuck in a Vanilla Ice lyric in there, Brian.

  3. Brian White

    Thanks Gerard! VI is the man!

    Check out this hilarious quote below from Ebert as he describes how he feels about THE LAST AIRBENDER. I’m glad to know I’m not in the minority here 🙂

    The magazine actually quoted Roger Ebert to Shyamalan, who wrote in his review that “The Last Airbender is an agonizing experience in every category that I can think of and others still waiting to be invented.” Shyamalan’s response:

    I don’t know what to say to that stuff. I bring as much integrity to the table as humanly possible. It must be a language thing, in terms of a particular accent, a storytelling accent. I can only see it this certain way and I don’t know how to think in another language. I think these are exactly the visions that are in my head, so I don’t know how to adjust it without being me. It would be like asking a painter to change to a completely different style. I don’t know.

  4. Chris Stuckmann

    So long CS? Those just so happen to be my initials Gregg.

  5. Jiminy Critic

    I agree, Brian… What a waste of my time and energy… Should have taken a nap instead! Oh wait, I think I did… during the 2nd act! See ya at the movies… JC