If it's crap ... We'll tell you
Having read the reviews of this film ahead of time, I knew that I needed to physically and mental prepare before I saw M. Night
Shyamalan’s newest cinematic massacre called The Last Airbender.
So before going to see the film, I planned out an amazingly fun outing,
complete with a delicious cup of frozen yogurt and the purchase of one
of my favorite films Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, which
was on sale for a cheap price. All of this was designed to put me in
the greatest possible mood for seeing this film, so everything I saw on
the big screen would be dampened through a filter of positivity.
Despite my best efforts however, The Last Airbender was a terrible piece of garbage that even made the newest Twilight film look good in comparison.
The Last Airbender is a live-action adaptation of the animated series, Avatar: The Last Airbender. Just like the series, the film takes place in a world where humanity
has the ability to bend the four elements (Earth, Fire, Air, and Water)
to their will. These elements are divided into four countries,
collectively called The Four Nations of the World. The film begins with
the awakening of Aang (Noah Ringer), who has been frozen in ice for a
hundred years. Recovered by a pair of siblings, Katara (Nicola Peltz)
and Sokka (Jackson Rathbone), Aang discovers that since his absence,
the Fire Nation has conquered all the other countries and are in search
of a being called the Avatar. The Avatar is the only one capable of
mastering all four elements and is responsible for maintaining peace
and balance between the Four Nations. It is soon revealed that Aang is
the Avatar, and joined by Sokka and Katara, they find themselves thrust
into a perilous adventure to both liberate the tribes under the control
of the Fire Nation, while escaping those who relentlessly pursue the
Avatar; particularly Fire Nation royalty Prince Zuko (Dev Patel).
Looking for what’s wrong in this movie is like looking for clothes at the Gap, it just bombards you with so many absurdities that its hard
to simply narrow them down into a categorized form. For one thing, the
story of the film is completely ridiculous and filled with gaping plot
holes at every turn concerning the nature of the powers, the ‘spirit
animals,’ and the effectiveness of bending to begin with. Throughout
this whole film I see moments where the best of these “Benders” are
hardly effective one moment and then running on deus ex machina the
next. It’s completely ludicrous, especially when it shown that martial
arts play a huge part in the whole Bending deal, as it takes five to
ten seconds of flipping and kicking to perform even one bending move.
Here’s a novel idea, rather than wait for your opponent to use
spiritual powers to throw a rock at you, SHOOT THEM. Much more
efficient I guarantee you.
The casting of this film is deplorable, and the acting is specifically executed to reflect that. Adapting as a source material
that clearly comes from an Asian influence and starring clearly Asian
and Arabic characters does not call for the majority of the casting to
be a bunch of pasty white actors with no talent whatsoever. Which
brings me to the performances, which have all the emotion and quality
of an episode of Speed Racer. These are career-worst
performances for every actor across the board, as all the actors speed
through their lines as if prophetically knowing how bad the film would
be and just trying to get it all over and done with. While I must admit
there is an occasionally good scene from one of the actors, 99% of
what’s delivered is delivered horribly and with no effort or attempt on
the cast’s part to make it anything more than tripe.
Rounding this film’s horrific quality is the presentation of its story, which is horrendous on so many levels. The visual effects are
laughably bad and inconsistent, varying between somewhat decent to
sci-fi channel on a dime and overall takes you out of enjoying this
even on a purely visceral level. The musical score is unmemorable at
best and quite annoying at worst, showing little inspiration or
creativity with its tired, epic tones. And finally, the pacing of this
film is even more rushed than the stupendously awful dialogue,
attempting to cram a Season’s worth of material into a hour and a half
film. Because of this, there is no explanation, no development, and all
we get our crappy cliff notes that could have been made by a ten year
old on a paper thin budget.
Now I’ll be fair, this film actually has some good action and an occasionally good moment, but that is not enough to save this movie. It
is moronic, rushed, and poorly crafted in every sense of the word. It’s
like M. Night Shyamalan did everything he could to take a dump on a
franchise that was beloved by a lot of children in the last five years.
To say it’s a bad movie is an understatement, as it is quite terrible
and worthy of completely skipping.