The only reason that I am writing this review is because I needed to set a standard for my lowest rating. In general I do not plan to write too many reviews that bash films without any constructive criticism. A tremendous amount of time and work goes into movies and sometimes they just do not work out. The Last Airbender is an example of, possibly, the poorest execution of a film in recent history.
To the film’s credit there was an overwhelming amount of hype for this film by the followers of the animated series, Avatar: The Last Airbender, that preceded it. At a minimum, a film can only be as strong as its script and this is where the disaster begins. For some reason Shyamalan, or the studios, or some other force, decided that the 10 hours of a beloved show would work as a just under 2 hour condensed version in film format. This film adaptation could have easily taken up 3 movies.
This fatal initial flaw forced the film to progress at lightening speed and leave no room for any real dialogue or story telling. It results in a bad over-produced trailer of the cartoon with major changes to the story and climax of the series. I do not fault the acting in this production as they obviously did not have much to work with. Even if you do not compare this to the story it is based off of, you still get a jumbled mess with the most anticlimactic ending to a long and confusing story.
I am just baffled by the intent behind this project as it is complete non-sense for an adult viewer and a tragedy for the younger audience. In the words of Dr. Ian Malcolm, “[They] were so preoccupied with whether or not they could, they didn’t stop to think if they should.” It is no wonder that the film swept at the Razzies that year.
Directed by: M. Night Shyamalan
Cinematography: Andrew Lesnie
Written by: M. Night Shyamalan
Music by: James Newton Howard
Starring: Noah Ringer, Dev Patel, Nicola Peltz, Jackson Rathbone
Runtime: 1h 43m
Genre: Action, Adventure, Family
Distributed by: Paramount Pictures