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The Last Airbender
The Last Airbender. A movie based off of the hit TV series Avatar: The Last Airbender. Before it was released into theaters, there was an excitement in all of the ATLA fans' hearts. Even a few adults were anxious to see the movie magic that the cartoon was transformed into. In 3-D nonetheless.
All of the hype about the movie was soon destroyed once it hit the cinemas, crushing many spirits and disappointing all. A great many things had changed, which was to be expected, but not with what they had done to such a genius show.
For one, the effects were just sloppy. I didn't believe them for one second and I almost laughed at how cheap they looked. The effects weren't worth the praise the advertisements had given them and it was a huge let down. I am pretty sure that's what everyone was looking forward to the most. Bending in real life. Instead, we are given lame computer grapics.
Along with the bad effects was the way the actors “bended”. They weren't fluent at all, especially the water benders. They were very jerky and very stiff which made the effects even more unbelievable.
Another problem with this movie was how rushed it seemed. It's understandable that they have a certain time limit, but it would've been nice to know what was going on. I've seen the series myself and I could barely keep up. I could only imagine what it must've been like for those who haven't seen the TV series. Movies are supposed to flow from scene to scene, so it feels as if this really is someone's life. This movie did nothing of the sort. The scenes were choppy and clipped. There was a missing link in between a majority of the scenes and I felt like something was missing. I hated how fast it went and how confused it made me.
Now I come to the characters. First up is our star of the show, the Avatar himself, Aang. Or as they call him in the movie, “Oong”. I began to wonder if the director had actually seen the TV show before he even bothered to start on this movie. I guess I'm not so mad about the whole name change because I understand that it's the correct pronunciation in China and Japan. So I at least see where he was coming from, but I really think he should have stuck to the pronunciation in the show. Now about Aang himself. Didn't you just loved the way he goofed off? Remember the light feeling you had inside whenever you laughed at one of his crazy antics? Well, I'm glad you do, because they have nothing close to any of that in the movie. Instead of the high-spirited, laughable twelve-year-old kid that everyone loves, he was entirely serious throughout the whole movie. I felt like they had killed Aang and replaced him with a bald, scarless Zuko (minus the rage). It just wasn't right.
Which brings me to another character who might've well been killed. Sokka, otherwise known as “Soak-ka”. Yet another mispronunciation. Onto his actual character. Sokka was also someone in the series who made you laugh. He had his moments of brilliance and seriousness, but it would've been nice to have some funny moments in the movie. To give us some familiarity from the original series. He didn't once complain about hunger in the entire movie. I was greatly disappointed.
Up next, Iroh. Or, “Ee-roh”. Ah, yet another confusing mispronunciation of a name. Sad, really. I get one name, but three? How did this guy hear about the series and get the details without watching it? Because apparently, he couldn't have seen it for he would know the cartoon pronunciations. Now Iroh, was a kind-hearted soul who rarely saw the wrong in people. He never judged and he made sure that everyone (mainly Zuko) had a choice to make for themselves, that there wasn't just a single path in life. In fact, to me, Iroh was the human moral of the series. I learned more from him about life than anywhere else. Then, to lighten him up even more and make him seem more relatable, they made him a music lover and someone who enjoyed tea. Yet, he also had a fierce side, which gave him that intense feeling. Almost like, he was nice, but if you messed with the people he loved or cared about, he'd unleash his wrath. But in the 2010 movie, they took all of that away. Not something I was too happy about.
Now I feel the need to point out some minor details that I spotted here and there. First off, the iceberg scene. In the cartoon, Katara snatched that weapon from Sokka and pounded on the iceberg relentlessly and went it cracked open, a large gust of wind threw them flying backwards. In the movie, it seemed like Katara just tapped on the iceberg and skidded back when the gust of wind came. You know, like in those old movies with the windy storms and the person is actually just sliding across the concrete? That's what I thought of that scene.
Another detail I noticed was after they got him out of the iceberg. He acted all exhausted and tired while in the cartoon series, he was extremely hyper and shooting up higher than ten feet in the air. What happened to that? Oh that's right, there wasn't happy Aang in the movie. It was sad and serious “Oong”.
Also, everyone remembers the prison that held the earth benders like Haru and his father, right? Did anyone else notice that they were surrounded by earth? I mean, that part was poorly portrayed. If I was a captured earth bender surrounded by earth, I would definitely fight back. I wouldn't be afraid of the consequences. Besides if all the fires in the camp were put out, the fire benders would be powerless anyway.
Which brings me to my next subject. Did anyone else notice that the firebenders could only bend when there was fire present? They couldn't actually bend from their hands. My theory was proved when Iroh shot fire out of his hands and everyone freaked out. There was even one person who screamed “He's bending from his hands!” like it's something new. Then again, to them, it was. I wonder if I'm the only one who caught that.
Plus, who else honestly said “Are you kidding me?” at Zhao's death? Four completely random waterbenders came up and drowned him in a bubble of water. Once they were done they just walked off. I would've been happier if he suddenly turned into a clutz and tripped and drowned in the water below the bridge. Anything but what they did in the movie.
So now, to wrap things up, I'm actually going to compliment the movie. I will admit, they did a really nice job with costumes and scenery. Then again, that's probably where most of their budget went. Which I find very sad and lame.
And lastly, I thought Yue's death scene was beautiful. It was better than her death scene in the cartoon by far. She actually laid down in the little pond and her hair returned to it's original black. Creative and unexpected.
So even though it had its moments, I would not recommend you see this movie. Especially if you love the cartoon.