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Review The Last Airbender (2010): Oh Come on this might not be the adaptation people wanted it to be, but it's not that bad!

genre: fantasy, adventure, action,




A live action adaptation of the popular cartoon Avatar: The Last Airbender was bound to be met with some heavy criticism but to this extent is ridiculous. 

As someone who only has watched a few episodes of the cartoon I am not that familiar with the stories and the characterizations. So I am not restricted with knowledge that could get in the way. Because of this I could look at this film much more objectively. And I can honestly say that most people have been far too harsh on it. Don't get me wrong The Last Airbender certainly is flawed in a lot of ways but it is nowhere near the worst movie I have seen. It actually is a decent fantasy flick if you keep your expectations low. I think the hugest flaw is that this adaptation is missing spectacle and fails to impress with the way the action is choreographed. It's too slow and generic. Although I do think Shyamalan redeems himself in the finale where Aang accepts his role as the Avatar. Now I do not know if this message is done in spirit of the show despite I liked this take on it and definitely was the high point in this film. Of course I do concur that one highpoint like this is not enough. Then the cast. It has not go unnoticed that they cast white actors in pivotal roles while they were clearly meant to be Asian. I decided to not be bothered by this fact too much since it would ruin the viewing experience too much if I would. However I am not happy that the characters have not been given more depth. You can sense that underneath there is so much going on. Naturally you can't capture the events and essence of a whole show and their characters into a 100 minute film but still there are ways to show this in more meaningful dialogue or characters actions. I understand the disappointment from fans and non fans in this regard. The Last Airbender is lacking in too many departments to convince us of the epic tale that it could have been. For that I blame M. Night Shyamalan. He simply lacks the vision to make a fantasy movie of this caliber. His strength lies into slow and subtle buildups of stories, misdirection and implying stuff rather than showing. Here you need someone who has to do the exact opposite and go over the top. 

Overall I am surprised that I found this film to be decent enough not to qualify it as a waste of time. It has much more going on for it then against it. But yes it is far from the good film that it could have been. A real shame since I do think that this film deserves a sequel in more capable hands.



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