Synopsis: A lone Avatar with the power to control all four elements of the Earth must restore balance to the world.
Release Date: July 1, 2010 MPAA Rating: PG-13
Genre(s): Science Fiction, Fantasy
Let us all hope that the title will make good on its promise and this will, in fact, be the last Airbender film. Because I cannot imagine sitting through anything again that is so undeniably boring and poorly structured. The fact that the script uses more voiceover narration to explain missing parts of the plot, not the story, cues you in very early on that there is not going to be much focus on continuity in The Last Airbender.
Which is a serious problem when dealing with a story that has a large amount of material it must explain and move forward with in a short amount of time. This cheap shortcut leaves much unanswered or explained even with the narration and the characters very one-dimensional. The Airbender himself is devoid of personality. As the “savior” figure he is something far from one of the people since his people skills are in desperate need of work. If he was meant to possess one note emotions than Noah Ringer (Airbender/Aang) did exactly what the character portrayal called for.
As a viewer trying to embrace this character, it never happens. As for his two comrades, Katara (Nicola Peltz) and Sokka (Jackson Rathbone), Mr. M. Night Shyamalan must have forgotten they existed when it came to direction because they fair no better in acting ability or delivery. Surprisingly, there is one performance, and character, with a small amount of potential, Dev Patel’s Prince Zuko. He moves between being the son set upon reclaiming his dignity with the feared fire nation and the more pacifist man he actually is inside.
I would like to say The Last Airbender tries to enact adventure, supply action, and develop a strong foundation to build on with the war between the fire nation and the others, with the Airbender leading the charge. All I gathered from the film though, and I believe you will also, is that no one seemed to be trying to make a great movie. Or even a decent one. At some point, it seems everyone gave up on The Last Airbender and as a viewer, you will have no choice than to do so also.
Using your bending gift, be it air, fire, water, or earth, takes time to process. There are specific movements one must make in order to perform a specific action. This does not translate well into The Last Airbender as the action feels like it is on slow motion. The fighting begins but there is a distinct pause that lasts far too long and is draining on the viewer. The anticipation of what is to come is there, for a moment, and then quickly gone as the payoff takes too long to come and is not much of a payoff in the end anyway.
The most exciting and thrilling pieces of action in The Last Airbender are reserved for the final climactic battle. Things do improve with pacing at this time but not by much. A stronger set of choreography would have done wonders for the film’s action as well as more cutting to optional angles to keep the eye busy while the characters muster their skills.
Cast and Crew
- Director(s): M. Night Shyamalan
- Screenwriter: M. Night Shyamalan
- Cast: Noah Ringer (Aang), Dev Patel (Prince Zuko), Nicola Peltz (Katara), Jackson Rathbone (Sokka), Shaun Toub (Uncle Iroh)
- Editor(s): Conrad Buff
- Cinematographer: Andrew Lesnie
- Production Designer(s): Philip Messina
- Music Score: James Newton Howard
- Country Of Origin: USA