The Last Airbender is M. Night Shyamalan’s adaptation of the popular cartoon series “Avatar: The Last Airbender (The Legend of Aang in Europe), and it was written, directed, and produced by Shyamalan himself.
I read a ton of bad reviews, however I still wanted to see it for myself, thinking that maybe people just wanted a carbon-copy of the cartoon series.
I went ahead and went to see it this past Sunday, and overall the movie is not that bad, it’s aimed at kids mostly, so I’m pretty sure children will enjoy it more than adults.
This movie is basically a summary of the first book (Water), but with some changes.
The first problem I found with the movie was the acting. The main characters’ acting in general was pretty stiff, specially Sokka. For some reason he sounded too nervous, which is bad, and I blame the director for not making sure the right takes were used for the movie.
In general I didn’t like the cast, not because of race (many people complained the whole cast should be Asian), but because of their rolls. For example, Admiral Jao was nothing like the original character, he lacked that certain “evilness” and the actor’s voice was too soft, I think the actor who played Fire Lord Ozai would have been a better choice for that part.
Speaking of Ozai, there was a huge error in the movie, there’s a scene where Zuko shows some sort of picture of his family (mom, dad, sister, and him), and that was a painting from the cartoon series, where Ozai had long hair and a long-skinny beard, but the actor didn’t look like that at all, in fact it was a whole different person. That goes for uncle Iroh as well.
Iroh should have been an old fat guy, not this skinny, evil-looking person (really creepy looking if you ask me).
They also seemed to have problems with the characters’ names. Katara often pronounced Aang “Ohng,” Iroh was pronounced “EEroh,” and Sokka was pronounced “Sohka.”
Something I really hated was the face shots, they were too close and stayed too long on the screen, in fact Aang was often so close you could touch his face, and I didn’t even see the 3D version.
I’m beginning to think the reason behind the weird shots was the 3D version, but even with that I don’t think the movie was any better.
Many scenes were either too long or too short, important things were either removed or changed for no good reason, kinda makes you wonder why they placed the Nickelodeon’s logo in the credits if they were not even consulted through the making of the film.
The special effects were nice, but didn’t make the movie any more dynamic.
Scenes like the findings of monk Gyatso’s body changed the feeling of the whole scene, it was way better on the cartoon, and we’re talking about a cartoon on Nick Toons.
Something that really angered me was the water monster, the whole scene of Admiral Jao killing the moon spirit was junk, nothing made sense and Aang wasn’t even present to see anything and go berserk, in fact he didn’t even drown the Fire Nation ships, the most epic scene in the first book was reduced to a boring tidal wave that didn’t do anything.
And what really made the whole movie boring was the music, it was too generic and repetitive. I felt many of the fighting sequences, specially the big one in the Northern Water Tribe had the most boring music ever.
Last but not least, the lack of humor. This wasn’t really a big deal, but with a movie this boring it could have helped. A lot.
Specially with robot Sokka, to be honest I did laugh but at his stiff acting, it was like seeing acting students practice during a rehearsal xD.
I think the biggest mistake in this movie was allowing Shyamalan to write, direct, and produce everything by himself, there should have been a team of writers to make sure the story makes sense, and consult every detail with the writers of the cartoon series.
If there is a second movie it should be longer, there is too much to cover and it will need about 2 and a half hours to cover the most important stuff properly, make it PG-13, this is not Pokemon, and moving the script to different hands would help greatly.
I still support the idea that children are more likely to enjoy this movie.