TITLE: The Last Airbender
DISTRIBUTED BY: Nickolodeon, Paramount
DIRECTED BY: M. Night Shamylan
ACTORS/ACTRESSES INVOLVED: bunch of unknowns aside from the dude who played Jasper in that god-awful "vampire" movie I won't name and the guy from Slumdog Millianare.
RELEASED: Summer 2010
PREMISE: Based on the hit tv show Avatar: The Last Airbender, Katara and Sokka find a boy trapped in an iceburg who ends up being the long lost Avatar.
MY REVIEW: Okay, Avatar: The Last Airbender is one of my favorite shows, in fact it's on my top ten list of best shows ever (for those curious, this list includes Buffy, Stargate, Gilmore Girls, and a couple others). So I was eager for the movie adaptation. Then the previews came and then the reviews came so I decided to wait and rent it instead. Now doubtless, many of you have already heard of the complaints against it: bad acting, cheesy effects, bad pacing, the whole white-washing scandel etc. Those are all legitament complaints believe it or not because this movie was bad. Granted, the action was good, I do actually think the way they did the bending was well done, and the design of things was accurate (aside from everyone's race being wrong). My main complaint however is how they utterly destroyed the characters and thus destroyed the story because Avatar works well because of story, characters, and humor. For you fellow fans, I will lay out what they did wrong (this post may get a tad long. Sorry):
Aang: first, they pronounced his name wrong (annoying). Then there's the fact that he was a little angst bucket in the movie. Aang is supposed to be fun-loving, he supposed to be constantly moving and rather hyper at times because oh yeah, HE'S TWELVE YEARS OLD. Also, there was never any rule about the Avatar not being able to have a family and even if there was Aang wouldn't have cared CAUSE HE WAS TWELVE. Didn't you writers watch the show? Aang was actually okay with being the Avatar, what he wasn't cool with was how differently people treated him after learning he was the Avatar and how that effected his fun and also how the monks were about to take away the closest thing he had to a father.
Zuko: Actually, Zuko may be the most accurate portrayel in this, but I give credit to the actor (the lead from Slumdog Millianare) not the writers because I think he actually understood who Zuko was. But still it was a tad wrong. Zuko is supposed to be loud and angry a lot, particularly in the first season. While he did get the angst right, I don't think he got the anger and loudness across that well.
Sokka: God I was beyond ticked with how they ruined Sokka, who is my favorite character on the show. No sarcasm? No foot in his mouth? No clumsiness? No epic fights with Katara? No big plans which generally lead to trouble? I don't know who this puppet in the movie was, but it was in no way the Sokka I'm familiar with.
Katara: She was kind of ruined too. This Katara was seemingly perfect. If you watch the show, Katara has a lot of flaws such as a stubborn streak, a temper, and she kind of hates being told that she's wrong. Plus she can be kind of bossy. But she was also kind and was pretty a bad-ass water bender in her own right and I got none of that from the pretty girly Katara in the movie who never had any awesome fight sequences accept for the one where she fights Zuko and loses.
Appa and Momo: Design was right but you didn't even bother telling people Momo's name, and they had basically no scenes and were actual pets instead of actual team members like they were in the show. LAME.
Iroh: Iroh is my second favorite character after Sokka and like Sokka he was RUINED. The beauty of Iroh's character is that he genuinely looks like a harmless senile old man. He was small and pudgy, had a beard and obsessed about tea and mahjong and had a very zen like personality a lot of the time. So people would underestimate him and then would be shocked when they learned he was a former general and actually could kick some serious butt. But the Iroh in the movie? NOTHING like this. I didn't get the strong bond between him and Zuko, and he looked bad ass so it wasn't really surprising when he kicked butt. Plus no tea and mahjong?
Emperor and Zhou: God, these guys were wusses compared the actual Emperor and Zhou on the tv show. They are supposed to be intimidating, and scary guys! I didn't get that at all from them. This Zhou was an outright WIMP.
In short this movie was a disaster. For the love of god do NOT make a sequel please. I can't bear to see you guys destroy my third favorite character Toph as well. Heaven knows what you'd do to Azula and the girls. If you even put them in there. By the way, you have the Kiyoshi statue but no Suki and Warriors of Kiyoshi? LAME, LAME, LAME! So my fellow Avatar fans, avoid this movie at all costs. I myself am rewatching the show in order to try and forget this travesty.
WHO SHOULD SEE: No one, avoid.
MY RATING: One out of Five flying bison