The Last Airbender Review

December 2, 2010
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The nationally renowned director, M. Night Shyamalan, most recently released a movie called The Last Airbender. The Last Airbender is based off of a popular television show that incorporates goofy humor, magical elements, and strong morals. The show was a work of Nickelodeon's, but soon the audience grew from just children and pre-teens. Many families all over the country enjoyed the show for the action sequences, the strong character bonds, and the overall fun created by the plot. With an opportunity at hand, Shyamalan decided to direct, write, and produce a live action version of this important piece of culture and entertainment. Having a friend who worked for the marketing company that represented this movie, I was invited to a premier screening in Atlanta, Georgia. Along with several friends, I went wearing an Avatar: The Last Airbender shirt and pin and was soon joined by crowds of people dressed up in full costume. The energy that surrounded this mob of fans was absolutely vibrant. We soon found ourselves finding our seats and putting on our 3D glasses. The movie soon began. The opening sequence and credits were almost an exact replica of the show, which really started to set a good mood among the audience. After the beginning narration, the first establishing shot revealed a winter wasteland where two of the main supporting characters sat in a boat. Although I was a very big fan of the show, I did not have the greatest expectations of the movie and just prayed for decent acting and a plot that carried the same key elements as the show. After the second line, all great expectations that were sunken in the depths of my imagination had been obliterated. The actors clearly showed in just a few minutes of screen time that the directing and the acting was not even close to par with what had been expected. I watched patiently expecting that I would either accept the flaws of the movie, or that as the plot line expanded, the acting would instinctively become more complex. I had never been so wrong in my entire life. As the movie played through, I became more and more disappointed. Not only were the foundations of the movie below any expectations, even those of a five year old, but also the computer generated graphics which engulfed well over half of the screen were not ground breaking or impressive.

The movie itself was a complete disappointment and an embarrassing attempt from M. Night Shyamalan. With complete creative control Shyamalan used that artistic license to create a bland film with the maturity level of an Elementary school student. He attempted to bridge a gap from the show by boldly stamping his own creative thoughts by mispronouncing names and changing key elements of the characters where he sought fit. The down fall besides the semi-talented actors who were misdirected (along with a cast of adults who neither fit their roles, nor were able to carry the weight of the young actors), was the fact that Shyamalan created a very effortless and unsophisticated script. While jotting-down his draft, he rewrote several important fundamentals of the themes that run deep through the show and make it a true piece of art and entertainment. The only true parts of the script were the most irrelevant aesthetic devices. Along with the awful writing, bad directing, and so-so cinematography, the casting seemed to create themes that drew the attention away from the plot. The main character, Aang, was cast as the young martial arts prodigy, Noah Ringer. Young Mr. Ringer struggled through the movie to convey emotion and strike passion into the hearts of the audience. The worst part of that cast was the fact that Aang never presented any remarkable or difficult Martial Arts in the movie. The action sequences that included Aang were neither stunning nor compensated for his poor and unimpressive acting. This so-called movie has obviously shown that M. Night Shyamalan has sorely lost his creative touch and has proven that he no longer has what it takes to make an entertaining, elaborate, and interesting film. I would give this movie one star, if any.





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