Guild's The Last Airbender movie review

Discussion in 'Books, Music, TV & Movies' started by Guild McCommunist, Jul 8, 2010.

  1. Guild McCommunist
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    Member Guild McCommunist (not on boat)

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    My first movie review. Yay. Unfortunately, this movie sucks. Boo.

    So The Last Airbender is the creation of famed director M. Night Shaymalan, whose most known for The Sixth Sense and Signs... And less known for The Happening, Unbreakable, Lady in the Water, etc. This movie was supposed to be relatively big, I mean you've got a big name director doing a big name franchise on the big screen. So, how did it turn out? Horrible. That's all.

    First off, before you even see the movie, you can think about the concept in a bit. Instead of, you know, making an original story set in the Avatar universe, Shaymalan decided to take the whole first season of the show and make it into a movie. That's a terrible idea if you think about it. Like any good show, it doesn't progress on one plot point. It bounces around a lot and has a lot of one-episode side stories and what not. Most of the time it can be seen as filler but they also add to character progression. It's like taking the first season of Star Trek and making a two hour movie based on all of it. Well, I'll be nice and say Star Trek: Voyager since it had a more overarching plot (HOW THE FUCK DO WE GET HOME) than the original or TNG or whatever. And the other bad part is that the first season of Avatar is 20 episodes long, each episode being about 23 minutes each (if you were watching it straight from the DVD). Round that down to 20 minutes an episode times 20 episodes is 4,000 minutes. Divide that by 60 and you get about 6 and 2/3 hours. And Shaymalan is trying to make about a two hour movie here. Really, it shows terribly. The plot is overly compressed, key plot points and even plot points that aren't as key as you think are butchered together and characters that have over 6 hours of pure screen time in the cartoon are given no time here to develop.

    The other catch here is between people who saw the cartoon and those who didn't. If you don't see the cartoon the plot will seem jumbled and it'll be hard to follow. If you do see the cartoon you'll just be saying things like "That's not how it happened" and generally recognizing how bad the plot and characters of the movie are compared to the cartoon.

    Well, anyway, the plot of the movie is basically there are four nations in the world (Earth, Air, Fire, and Water), each of which has people called "Benders" who can manipulate the element of their tribe. But, there is one person, the Avatar, who can control all the elements, and the Avatar is constantly reincarnated. However, as the Fire Nation attacks, the Avatar is thought to be lost, especially after the Fire Nation wipes out the entire Air Nation and every Airbender. The story starts with two members of the Southern Water Tribe, Katara (whose a Waterbender) and her brother Sokka stumbling upon a young Airbender named Ang, who is found after being frozen for a hundred years in a block of ice. Ang is last living Airbender and is also the new Avatar, and he sets out to master the three remaining elements and save the world. This first chapter focuses on him going to learn Waterbending. First off, the plot in the cartoon was pretty good, it was in an original universe, etc. Here, it's compressed, and the universe is nice but it's still too compressed and too condensed to actually work. If you're one of the people who saw the cartoon, you'll realize numerous things missing, most of them filler episodes (which we can live without) but other plot points that were some HOLY SHIT FORESHADOWING moments (not gonna ruin anything for those eager to see the cartoon but if you did, you may remember Ang's trip to the Spirit World and his consultation with Avatar Roku). It's just sad they turned such a nice plot into such a confusing one here.

    As for the characters, I seriously wonder how Shaymalan could've butchered them this badly. First off, the acting is downright awful. Everybody in this movie is "mediocre" at best. And I mean very best. Ang seems like he was just pulled out of his fifth grade play to do this movie, Katara sounds like she got a role here after reading Acting for Dummies, and Sokka was probably reading cue cards. Even the relatively bigger names here are bad. Dev Patel, you know, that guy from BIG OSCAR SWEEPER Slumdog Millionaire, plays Zoku, and he does it quite badly. He's overly dramatic and only acts like he's constantly trying to take a shit. Yeah, in the cartoon Zoku was always pissy and angry but he also had some points that he was more noble and stuff like that. There's no character development for him, or for that matter, anyone else. There's character development in the cartoon, plenty of it, and pretty much every character starts and ends the same outside of learning a few new tricks with water.

    Even as straight up summer action flick this sucks. The fight scenes are awful and pointless. In the cartoon the fights were exciting and actually showed lots of "bending". Here it's fucking retarded. They do a bunch of fancy kung fu (hell, not even kung fu, more like tai chi) and then through one weak little rock or one shrimpy little fireball. In the cartoon these crazy mofos were shooting fire out of every punch and kick. It sucks even more that Shaymalan started pulling his own mythology out of his ass and saying that Firebenders can't make their own fire unless they're super powerful, which is absolute poppycock. And when they're fighting, half the time in the movie they're just slapping each other around. I'm sorry, if I can bend the GODDAMN ELEMENTS I'm pretty sure I'd use them. And then there's just common logic here. If you're fighting a Firebender who can't make his own fire and you're a Waterbender (and you'll see a lot of Firebenders vs Waterbenders here), why not just PUT OUT THE GODDAMN FIRE HE'S USING. And in the cartoon, the action was cool. Pretty much every punch or kick in the cartoon was combined with some type of bending and it made for some very cool fighting. Here, it's just really scripted martial arts.

    The only real redeeming part of the movie is the special effects, but that doesn't save it from being a terrible movie. I mean, we're at a point in filming where special effects nowadays are pretty much on-par with each other as long as they have a good budget, and a lot of movies have a good budget. The next big thing in movies though is 3D, like that other Avatar movie, and this one is "full 3D". But the 3D here is useless and just tacked-on to go with the craze and make you shell out the extra money. There's some depth to the movie in 3D but nothing pops out, unlike JC's Avatar which had both consistently. I mean, the most impressive uses of 3D here are the intro and the little subtitles that label what location they're at. And that's pretty damn sad.

    Overall, The Last Airbender is just and blatantly terrible idea. It's a bad concept that results in canned plot and rushed progression. These faults may have been forgiven as a "necessary sacrifice" if the acting and directing weren't so bad, but they are. In all honesty, this seems like something that would be directed by a complete amateur, not someone whose made as many movies, let alone critically acclaimed ones, as Shaymalan.

    So, my movie rating system is Avoid, Watch It, Watch it Again, or Buy It.

    Rating: AVOID.

    It's bad.
     
  2. KingVamp

    Member KingVamp Great... AETHER!

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    Maybe a little harsh ? idk U might be right. Anyway maybe you should did a video review not a writing one [​IMG]
     
  3. Potticus

    Member Potticus GBAtemp Advanced Fan

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    Rotten Tomatoes has it at a blazing 8%
    Which is multiple critics.
    It is agreed, avoid it.
     
  4. Guild McCommunist
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    Member Guild McCommunist (not on boat)

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    Well, I don't have a camera for starters. Second, if I wanted to make a good video review I'd want to have clips from the movie and edit them all together. That takes a good video editing program (which I guess I could pirate) and permission from the company (if I wanted to post on Youtube).

    EDIT: Also, I think written reviews are something that is becoming lost nowadays. People just pull out their video camera and make pretty bland video reviews in mass quantities. Written reviews do take time to formulate, come together, and then be typed decently.
     
  5. Hakoda

    Member Hakoda GBAtemp Addict

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    Nice review and I agree with most of it. Hate to correct you but its "Zuko" not "Zoku"; prolly just a typo cuz u & o are close together on the keyboard.
     
  6. dragon574444

    Member dragon574444 GBAtemp Regular

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    I didn't see it in 3D, but I agree. It was a terrible movie. The casting was terrible, the action scenes were lame, and the plot would be confusing to anyone who hasn't seen the anime (gets flame shield ready.) The idea of it could have been great, make 3 movies for the 3 books/story arcs. But the movie was too short to pull it off and it clearly shows. They left out so many people, like the Kyoshi warriors, Roku, and Haru. I'm not sure how they're gonna make the next movies without them. Suki is fairly important in book 3, and Roku is a pivotal character!

    And why why why did they make Katara and Sokka whiter than the snow they stand on, and the entire Fire Nation Indian? And why why why must they call Aang "Ong", Sokka "Sohkka" and Iroh "Eeroh"? 5 minutes into the movie I wanted to yell at the screen!
     

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