Movie Review: The Last Airbender (2010)

In Uncategorized on January 28, 2011 at 8:08 am

If ever there was a movie that could have benefited from about 2 more months of editing, this is the one. The concept (based on a cartoon which I have never seen) should have been a natural movie making idea. All the storylines and characters are pre-laid out and just ready to be transformed to the big screen. Unfortunately, the movies falls incredibly short of meeting any of these expectations.

First, and what is perhaps the biggest problem with the film, the acting is just horrible. I mean beyond atrocious. Dev Patel (of the completely overrated Slumdog millionaire fame) is truly the only “star” name of the movie, and as bad as the actors are, it is doubtful you will be hearing about any of the others anytime soon. The accents and dialects are all over the place. Even characters who are from the same villages speak in completely different ways. It makes for a jumble, unpleasant mess on the ears. There is a forced love story about 3/4 of the way through between two of the most stiff, wooden actors I have ever seen. At no point during their scenes together do you ever believe there is any chemistry between them.

However, you can’t blame the actors totally. M Knight Shyamalan (who wrote the script and directed) did the actors no favors with either of his duties. The script is a brainstorming session gone bad. Instead of putting together a well thought out narrative, Shyamalan instead gives the audience what appears to be his favorite portions from each cartoon episode strung together. There is no coherent direction or goal to the script in any way. Combine this with the forced dialog which is interwoven through the film, and the audience feels beaten up by the time the end credits roll.

Even more disappointing were the martial arts / fight scenes. Everything looked like it was shot in half speed and all the motions looked completely out of sync. Some of the fighting bordered on the laughable. It was like I was watching an old Keystone Cops skit. There is one scene in particular, where two characters are training together and are obviously supposed to be doing is in unison. The problem is, in this beautifully choreographed scene, the two characters are about a second off from each other. So instead of being a sweeping almost dance like sequence, you are instead left to sit there and think “how did this not get caught in editing?”

In the end, the movie fails to excite or entertain on any level.

1.5 out of 5.


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