The LAST AIRBENDER
The best thing I can say about this movie, is there isn't an ounce of director M. Night Shymalan's usual elements within the film. Shymalan who because of his recent failures was forced to try something different, and Nickelodeon's Avatar\ animated series seemed to be the deviation he was looking for. If you are a parent of a young child, you are already familiar with these movies. The high quality production does appear very dedicated to recreating the live action saga as closely with the comics, and animated series as possible. Perhaps catering to children is where Shymalan belonged all this time.
In a fantasy world, where people are represented by the elements they can control, the benders as they are called, have all been separated and controlled by the fire benders. A bender is someone who can control either fire, air, earth or water. These people use to have a protector they called their avatar, but for the last 100 years he has not appeared. When a strange boy is found by a young girl who is the last water bender of her clan, she and her brother realize they have found the avatar. The fire benders get word of this and as the last air bending avatar summons all benders to reclaim their power the war begins to rage.
Off his success with Slumdog Millionaire Dev Patel is an odd choice for a villain, and appears completely out of his Bollywood element. The rest of the cast were likely chosen for their physical representations to their famous characters and not their acting skills. The script, also written by Shymalan is catered completely to children; this becomes very obvious as almost all the characters talk to themselves. It's understandable that grownups or anyone over the age of 15 would have no interest in watching this kind of fantasy, science fiction, mythology type story.
The special effects here are on par with movies like The Chronicles of Narnia or National Treasure. While all of the animated movies this film is based on have Avatar in the title, the studio had to remove the title due to James Cameron's film of the same name. Some of the visuals in combination with James Newton Howard's musical score are interesting for what they are, and the movie does seem to have a clear direction where it intends to go if the studio greenlights a sequel, which according to the ending, they are banking on.
Final Thought – A special effects spectacular for kids, but a snooze ride for adults.
By: Dustin Chase W.
Editor: Jennifer Gih