Oh, M. Night Shyamalan, how that name used to mean something. With such greats as The Sixth Sense and Signs, he used to be seen as the next Steven Spielberg, and I even believed that at one point. But in 2004, it was the beginning of the end for Shyamalan with his film The Village. Then it continued downhill from there, with Lady in the Water, and his last effort The Happening. Never have I seen such a digression of quality from any filmmaker of recent memory. Here is a man who was nominated for two Oscars for his film The Sixth Sense, and now he is being shunned by his once proud fans, I being of his fans. What happened? How can he be doing this bad? I was hoping he could redeem himself with this film, The Last Airbender, but sadly, I left angrier than ever. I almost walked out of The Happening back in 2008, but this film was different, it was like I couldn’t walk out, I had to see how much worse it could get. The real difference between the two films is one is from his own mind, and this one is an adaptation from a beloved TV series. The funny thing to me is that this film was one M. Night actually told his fans would really bring him back to form. Boy, how wrong was he? Let’s start from the beginning, the story. Here is the story: It’s about a child named Aang, who is believed to be the last airbender, the only one who can bend all four elements: earth, air, fire, and water. But the fire nation wants him for some reason, and he and his two partners who rescue him from his frozen prison ( he was trapped in ice for a hundred years, how he got there, we don’t know). His partners/friends are named Katara and Sokka, and they believe that his really is the last airbender, and they decide to watch over him, and help him bend the other elements( because he ran away from home before he could master them) by taking him to the other nations. But the fire nation is the real problem here, they want to capture the avatar (ya, that’s what he’s called) and some other things happen…and…wow, I got lost there…what was I talking about? You see, it’s that kind of movie that doesn’t make a lick of sense, and Shyamalan believes that we’re just supposed to know what’s going on, without really explaining anything. It’s like he was trying to be confusing on purpose; he was applying his formula he’s used in the past for this film, but the only difference here is that he is trying to combine an entire season into an 103 minute film, so that whole trying to be confusing on purpose thing didn’t really pan out in the end for him. Next thing we should talk about is the script, which was written by Shyamalan himself, like all his previous work. The script has to be the worst thing about the movie, the dialog is some of the worst I’ve heard from this guy since The Happening. It also seems like the editor had a hard time putting scenes together, because most scenes seem like dialog is missing for some reason, so we are left wondering what the heck they were talking about. There is some attempt at humor, but none of is set up right, and all of it falls flat. Shyamalan still hasn’t gotten out of this rut his been stuck in since 2006 with Lady in the Water, but I really hope he gets out of it soon, because it’s killing him. The next thing I have to talk about is the performances. OH MY GOD!!! How bad are they really? If you read any reviews, you know how bad they are. And I am here to prove that review right. Aang is played by Noah Ringer, and he is the most unconvincing among the whole cast, and he is the main character! All of his lines are spoken in one tone, and none of what he says sounds good coming out of his mouth, all his performance is the worst one of the movie, and the whole time it seems like he is reading Que Cards off camera. Sokka and Katara are played by Jackson Rathbone and Nicola Peltz and they are very unconvincing as brother and sister. Separated from one another, they give O.K. performances, but that isn’t saying much. The only one who does a good job (but still over acting his part) Dev Patel who plays Prince Zuko, who is a man looking to redeem his name. The rest of the cast isn’t worth mentioning, none of them give good performances, and that is a big problem when only ONE of the actors give a good performance. The special effects are spectacular, but at least they look good. The action is boring, the editing is sloppy (the whole time the film kept cutting too quickly back and forth between scenes) the direction is completed slacked, and is an all around a terrible movie. I still believe in Shyamalan, and I do believe he will deliver us a great film, but I’m sad to report that this film will most likely be the nail on his coffin.
The Last Airbender
July 7, 2010