Thursday, July 1, 2010

The Last Airbender- She said

The Last Airbender is a big, fat mess of a movie. M. Night Shyamalan took a world that seemed rich with story and fantasy and somehow made it almost incomprehensible to people who have never seen the series.

The story starts with telling the background of the world. There are four types of tribes of benders that all live and keep balance within the world: Air, Fire, Earth and Water. (I was seriously getting a Captain Planet vibe a few times during the movie). Then, the Fire tribe decided they were so hot that they could take over, so they killed all the airbenders, except for one…Aang, who is the “Avatar“, the one who can bend all the elements. The Avatar is the one that is going to bring balance to the world again, but Aang ran away before he finished his training, so he needs to learn the rest of the elements, and this movie is the first book which focuses on him learning water.

Oh, there’s also, a water bender and her brother that follow/help him, a jaded Prince who was banished, his loyal uncle, an evil fire king, and a dragon that appears in Aang’s dreams. You follow me? Yea, me either. The story itself isn’t too difficult to follow, but it seems that Shyamalan was doing a lot of set up for the next two movies. When all the movies are out, then we’ll be able to look back at movie one and realize how certain characters/incidents fit together. However, that’s not conducive for people who don’t know this world. Many of the names of characters are lost and hard to follow.

I will say the visual style of the movie is quite entertaining. The movement of the elements are pretty believable and fun to watch. Thankfully none of the style was lost when the movie was up-converted to 3D. Now, the 3D didn’t really add anything to the movie, but it didn’t make the action sequences messy or incomprehensible.

The biggest problem I had with the movie was pacing. I had no sense of time during the characters travels unless someone mentioned it in passing. The scenes seemed very episodic and rushed. In the beginning, the brother and sister find Aang, and Aang comes back to their village. Then, the evil fire people come, within hours it seems, terrorizes the village, and Aang decides to go with the fire people. Then the brother and sister up and go and rescue because they need to? Like him? I wasn’t sure why they even went after to rescue Aang. I was told later that in the cartoon Aang was in their village for a few weeks, so they got to know each other. Again, a very rushed relationship I was suppose to buy into and believe.

This movie had the potential. I’m not sure what happened, but it doesn’t make me want to watch the cartoon at all. The movie’s a mess; don’t waste your time.

1 comment:

  1. Please don't let this trainwreck of a movie turn you off of the animated series! It is far, FAR, indescribably better than the movie adaptation!