Tuesday, July 06, 2010

The Last Airbender

The Last Airbender

This past weekend was the release of M. Night Shyamalan’s venture into children’s entertainment- a movie adaption of the cartoon Avatar: The Last Airbender. I’ve been a huge fan of the cartoon for the past few years now and when The Last Airbender movie was announced, I was skeptical. I followed the release of trailers and production stills avidly for some time before I was even mildly confident that this movie would be any good.

It turns out that my gut reaction was the one to go with. While this movie wasn’t the worst thing I’ve ever seen, it was pretty far into the realm of meh. There were aspects of it that I liked. The effects were gorgeous, the wide shots of ships and cities and landscapes were breathtaking, and the music was well scored. The martial arts used for the bending was very cool and the Blue Spirit sequence was spot on.

But honestly? The rest was pretty lame. The storytelling was choppy and incomplete, at best. There would be much left unexplained to anyone who isn’t already familiar with the story. You could tell that they tried to grasp the most important moments, but they all seemed off, like they had thrown darts at the story and said, “Eh, that’s close enough.” None of it flowed together, information was revealed at oddly inappropriate times, and there were plot holes large enough to fly a bison through.

The dialog was horrendous. Nothing sounded genuine and lines were thrown around all over the place. Half of the time they repeated things already said by other characters only a few minutes before and other times they referred to apparently nothing at all. It was very distracting. Zhao seriously needed to shut up about that library.

Oddly enough, the people most in character were Zuko, who I thought was going to go terribly wrong because he’s such an extreme, and the fire nation soldiers. Seriously, those soldiers messing up and falling off of things and making comments like “He was throwing rocks at me…. It hurt” were the best parts of this movie. After the first half hour, I just watched them and tried to disregard the terrible acting of the main cast.

If you have never seen Avatar1, this might be worth taking a look. The general consensus is that people who haven’t seen Avatar are more inclined to like it, but that’s not a guarantee. However, if you are fond of the show in any way, do not see this movie. It will only make you sad.

1 The REAL Avatar. It’s been around years longer than James Cameron’s movie.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I couldn't take Zhao seriously throughout the entire movie. Probably because he was being played by Aasif Mandvi from The Daily Show with Jon Stewart. I kept thinking "Do the thing where you stand in front of the green screen and talk funny!" every time he opened his mouth. So, no go for that bit.

But seriously, the pacing was crap, and the only funny bit was how terrible the pronunciation was.