Monday, April 11, 2011

THE LAST AIRBENDER


Experience the thrilling live-action adventure based on the hit Nickelodeon series Avatar: The Last Airbender. Join Aang, an extraordinary boy with incredible “bending” powers, as he journeys through an exotic land filled with magical creatures and powerful friends. As the Avatar, he is the only one who can end the age-old conflict between the four nations: Air, Water, Earth and Fire. An inspirational journey, The Last Airbender is exciting entertainment for the entire family!
[Amazon.com description of The Last Airbender]

Director: M. Night Shyamalan
Based on: Avatar: The Last Airbender (Book 1: Water)
Studio: Paramount
Rating: PG

{I, the reviewer, give The Last Airbender, 1 out of 10!}

Often times, anime or any animated series, is tainted by a live-action adaption. Of course, there are always exception to these rules (such as the Transformers), but for the most part, they fail. Why do they fail? It's not really the fact that it has cheesy special effects, but mainly when they utterly butcher the story and get things wrong. Unfortunate to say that M. Night Shyamalan's live-action adapation of the popular Nickelodean series Avatar: The Last Airbender (shortened to just "The Last Airbender") is one of those butchered adapations. Anime and anything like it is sacred, and should not to tainted by live-action. This movie is a good example why. Let me warn you - this review is has some spoilers for those who have not watched the first season of the animated series, as well as this movie. (If you want, just skip to content if that's what you're worried about).

I can't even begin to describe how much they got wrong in this movie. After I had read all of the 1 and 2 star slams at Amazon, I was simply just expecting the film to have actors who don't fit the characters and the storyline to be a bit off from the animated series, with some lovely visual effects. But it was worse than I had anticipated. The costumes were completely wrong. Everyone looked like a bunch of cosplayers. In fact, if you would have hired cosplayers to star in this movie, it probably would have been better 'cause they look much more accurate and believeable then the people in this movie. And the visual effects? Oh, come on! Appa looked like a monster, the bending wasn't all that great....and speaking of bending, it takes them FOREVER to bend an element! The bending forms weren't as elegant and quick as they were in the animated series. Not only that, but they made the Fire Benders weaker than weak! They made it like they can only bend fire that was there, which they can, but they can also MAKE their own fire by using the heat from their bodies! How could a nation that cannot create fire from their fingertips have all the other nations trembling in fear for 100 years? Not only that, but they got so many things wrong! I know you can't fit an entire season into one movie, but this was WAY too condensed that if you haven't seen the series, you would be totally confused. And the guy they chose for Fire Lord Ozai?? Not intimidating at all, PLUS his face wasn't even supposed to be revealed 'till book 3! But you see him in this film! And Admiral Zhao wasn't intimidating either. Wasn't his firebending supposed to be out of control? Which reminds me, Aang's first firebending teacher, Jong Jong, was cut from this movie!

Too many things were cut and done differently, making this film NOTHING like it's animated counterpart (the superior counterpart). And not only is the humor totally sucked out of this movie, leaving it to be WAY too serious, but even the emotion and passion entirely was also sucked out, leaving this film dry and passionless. Where is Zuko's scar? Oh, they did show the flashback of how he got the barely noticeable mark around his eye. There was alot of emotion in Zuko's backstory, where you felt really bad for him in the animated series, but in the movie, you feel nothing. In fact, you feel nothing for any of the characters. When Aang finds out all of his people were destroyed, you feel nothing, while in the anime, you feel Aang's overwhelming saddness. Then there's the relationship between Sokka and Yue. You honestly feel no attachment or sympathy for these characters at all throughout the entire thing. For only an hour and 30 minutes, this film drags. And the scene where Yue gives back life to the moon spirit is TOTALLY screwed up in this film. It was originally an emotional scene where she makes the decision to give up her life. When she "dies" and falls into Sokka's arms, her body vanishes and then she becomes the moon spirit, where she and Sokka have their final kiss and she tells him goodbye and she'll always be with him. In this movie, however, though there's a final kiss between her and Sokka before entering the water, there's no emotion at all. As you watch, it's like "meh, whatever". And she goes into the pool, and then when her life is gone, her hair returns to black. She doesn't become the moon spirit, she just...dies. That totally ruined the beauty and elegance, and not to mention the emotion in the final of book 1. This scene which brought me to tears in the anime had me full of outrage at how they ruined it! They even cut the part about Princess Yue being in an arranged marriage, just like their GranGran (oh yeah, Kana's 'arranged marriage' wasn't mentioned, either!).

I can go on and on about several other things. Such as Zuko's missing passion (he doesn't yell at all in this movie!), several beloved side characters not making an appearance, the fact that a stupid dragon spirit replaces Aang's spirit journey with Avatar Roku (actually, Avatar Roku is NOT EVEN in this film!) And they also cut out Ko, The Face Stealer, that really scary creature that, when I first saw it, sent chills up my spine! Also, Aang could not have a family? That's not true! And where did Sokka's sarcasm go? Where did Katara's encouraging speeches of hope go? Where did Uncle Iroh's wisdom, love for tea, and care for his nephew go? Where did Aang's childness go? What happened to the awesome bending battles? They even cut Master Paku and Katara's epic water-bending battle, where she was angry how the Nothern Tribe doesn't allow women to bend! Also....they made it like Katara had ease learning waterbending and Aang had trouble, IT WAS THE OTHER WAY AROUND! And worst yet...WHERE were the Aang and Katara moments? In the series, he fell into her arms and it was practically love at first sight, but in this film they just found him and nothing sparked between them. There's so much more I can say...but I don't think I have enough time to rant on and on about it, nor do I think you guys really want to read all that....heheh.

Final thoughts? This was a disaster. It was like the entire film was based on only a description of Avatar: The Last Airbender. I mean, you just can't get THAT many things wrong! If you've ever watched Mystery Science Theater 3000 where they make fun of cheesy movies, I'm sure you'll recall alot of those movies and wonder how does stuff like that even get made! And The Last Airbender looks like a movie that could be on that show! It's like a weird mix of high budget and low budget. It was a high budget film that looked low budget. O.O
And I thought Masters Of The Universe, the live-action adaption for He-Man was bad. At least that was amusing. This was just a pain to watch. To fans of the series, spare yourself the pain and agony of trying to stomach this film and stick with the cartoon, and for those who have never seen the cartoon, stay far away from this film and check out the cartoon. There's action, adventure, light romance, depth, emotion, awesome bending, friendship, character developement...and a solid story! Everything this film lacked.

Recommend?
I didn't want to hate this film, but it butchered one of my all-time favorite animated series and turned it into a dark, emotionless disaster. The special effects couldn't save it 'cause even that fell short. If you want a real story, then watch the animated series which this film was supposedly based on. You and your family will have alot more fun watching that than this.

[VIEWING PLEASURE]

[MUSIC]
This film hardly had any music it seemed, and even when it was there, it's nothing very memorable.

[SUB VS. DUB]
This film was always in English, but the acting was pretty bad.

[MOVIES/MANGA]
There's like a cine-manga type comic for the animated television series.

[RELATED TITLES]
"Avatar: The Last Airbender" animated series and yet to be premiered follow-up "Avatar: The Legend Of Korra".

[DVD EXTRAS]

[CONTENT CARD]

[LANGUAGE]
There wasn't any,

[TABACCO/ALCOHOL/DRUG USE]
Not that I can remember.

[SEXUAL CONTENT/NUDITY]
Clear of this.

[VIOLENCE/BLOOD AND GORE]
There's alot of fighting, but all of them bloodless. In a flashback of Zuko, it is implied he was burned by his father. When Aang, Sokka, and Katara are at one of the air temples, they find the skeletons of the Air Nomads that were killed by the Fire Nation.
(SPOILER! Princess Yue gives her life back to the moon spirit by going into the sacred pool. Her hair just returns to black and she floats, dead).

[RELIGIOUS MATERIAL]
There are those with the ability to "bend" one of the four elements. The Avatar is the only one who can bend all four elements. There is the Avatar Cycle, where when the Avatar dies, is then reincarnated into the next nation in the cycle. Princess Yue was a still born, but the moon spirit gave her life. When Aang enters the spirit world, he speaks to this dragon spirit.

*EPISODE LIST*
(this is a movie, so none)

13 comments:

  1. I would have loved to hear you say something about the 'race lifting' they gave the characters- all the good guys are now played by white actors (Sokka and Katara are definitely not white in the series!), and the bad guys all played by other races.

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  2. I forgot to mention that!!! It's like....WHERE are the ASIANS??? O.O It's an Asian based world. There was so much more I wanted to mention in this review, but I forgot. I was also going to mention how the episode "The Ember Island Players" in Book 3 was a more accurate portrayal than this movie XD!! I'll probably edit both statements in the review later...

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  3. The last airbender movie and anime series is the best episodes/movie i saw in the last time. I indeed loved the AVATAR! 3D but the Aang is the best character that plays in and for me is my favorite! Thanks for the news! Cheers!

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  4. The best movie i like is The Last Airbender! Thanks for all!

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  5. Last airbender it is the crazyest movie i saw in the last period! Thanks for the review!

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  6. The movie is incredible. Thanks for the news. I saw last year in cinema and now i will search for it again!

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  7. I just love the anime. I am an anime lover since i was born and never stopped from watching it!And the movie i just felt for love at first sight!

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  8. Avatar-The Last Airbender it is a great movie and it sees in it a lot from the anime. Who loves the anime, it is loving the movie, especially 3D!

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  9. I am an anime lover since i had bought a notebook 3 years ago. But never saw something like aang or the movie! The anime was outrageous but the movie was criminal!.

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  10. The many ways that the anime and movie gets along it is crazy! The anime indeed it is scifi action but seeing the movie in 3D in the local cinema it is indeed as crazy as jumping with a car over a cliff! Thanks for the reminder for what do we love anime!

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  11. Great series with the last airbender! I will watch it again, from the beginning!

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  12. The anime Avatar! The last airbender it is a great scene for all anime lovers! It is incredible in all it is doing! I am a lover of anime action, so i love it a lot!Thanks for the article!

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  13. I never expect much of any kind of live-action adaption. After I saw what they did to Percy Jackson movie, The Last Airbender wasn't that awful.
    Keep up the great blog! I'd like to read more visual novel reviews =)

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