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The Last Airbender (2010)

A movie directed by M. Night Shyamalan.

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Despite The Wind Being Knocked Out Of It, It's A Decent Film

  • Jul 5, 2010
  • by
I had really high hopes for M. Night Shyamalan's "The Last Airbender." Few films in recent years had me looking forward to their release, but "Airbender" had me excited from the moment I saw the sneak peek trailer awhile back. Based on the popular "Avatar: The Last Airbender" cartoon series, it appeared that this film had all of its ducks in a row.

Unfortunately, "Airbender" didn't deliver on my expectations.

Instead, it was a decent film with poor dialogue, bad acting, stiff direction, and wonderful special effects. Shyamalan definitely dropped the ball on this film, sucking the life (or air) out of a brilliant animated program and making it a stilted live action production.

The plot is easy enough to understand. The Fire Nation has declared war on all of the other tribes, those being Water, Earth, and Air. With the Air Nomads obliterated, the Fire Nation focuses its attention on finding the Avatar, the last Airbender who can control all of the elements and eventually bring about the demise of the Fire Nation's rule.

The Avatar (Noah Ringer) has been missing for one hundred years, but is mistakenly found and awakened by Katara (Nicola Peltz) and her brother, Sokka (Jackson Rathbone). They take him to their home, but he's quickly discovered by Prince Zuko (Dev Patel), the estranged son of Fire Lord Ozai (Cliff Curtis) who is trying to win back the favor of his father.

After a quick escape, the Avatar (who's revealed his name to be Aang), gets back with Katara and Sokka and the trio begin a rebellion against the Fire Nation that draws hidden Earth and Waterbenders out of hiding. The only problem is that Aang only knows how to bend air. While he has the ability to bend the other elements, he hasn't learned how to do it yet. With this in mind, the group heads to the north to meet with Master Pakku (Francis Guinan), a Waterbender who lives in one of the few places where benders openly use their powers.

While training with Pakku, power-hungry Admiral Zhao (Aasif Mandvi) sets his sights on finding the Avatar before Prince Zuko does in order to finish off both Aang and the Fire Lord's son. Who wins in the end? Watch the film to find out.

The film is loaded with wonderful special effects. Watching earth, air, fire, and water get bent was visually stunning. I was particularly fond of the dirt walls that the Earthbenders created. Aang's flying friends, Appa and Momo, while having only limited screen time, are very fun to watch as well. The scenery was created quite well, with CGI and man-made sets blending nicely.

The story itself was enjoyable enough to watch as it unfolded on the screen. As already mentioned, the acting was pretty bad, with Guinan and Shaun Tob (who portrayed Zuko's uncle, the quietly powerful Iroh) delivering the best performances overall and Peltz reciting line after poorly stilted line. For a decent comparison, refer to Hayden Christensen and Natalie Portman's choppy dialogue during the romantic scenes of Episodes II and III of the Star Wars films.

I did not see the film in 3-D, as it wasn't offered in my area in that format. To be quite honest, I don't see where the 3-D gimmick would enhance the film at all.

In closing, I gave "The Last Airbender" three stars for the fact that despite sub par acting, bad dialogue, and questionable direction, I still enjoyed the film. I find it funny that many of the things that people panned this film for here on Amazon and on other websites are the same things that people glossed over in their glowing reviews of "Avatar" by James Cameron. If I had to pick between the two films, I'd have to go with "Airbender."

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More The Last Airbender reviews
review by . July 02, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
Indifferent Storytelling and Clumsy Direction Makes This Film Rather Dull!
I have always said that like him or not, M. Night Shymalan makes an effort to try to be original. Yes he does, but lately, it can be said that he is experiencing a sort of a creative slump, that his latest movies have become more of a miss than a hit. The last movie that I really liked from him was “Unbreakable” and that has been such a long time ago. People then began to become disappointed with Shymalan‘s “The Village” and his recent film “The Happening” …
review by . January 22, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
* out of ****     As if "Lady in the Water" and "The Happening" weren't enough to concern us of director M. Night Shyamalan's current mental state, "The Last Airbender" essentially confirms that the man we once loved has officially gone mad. This is the man's first revoltingly unwatchable feature; merged with that now complete feeling of pretentiousness that's been building up faster and faster as Shyamalan's movies have been getting lamer and lamer. I mean, at least "The Happening" …
review by . December 14, 2010
I have one word respect. None of which is in M. Night Shamalayn's The Last Airbender. Not only does it not give respect towards the original work but there is no respect between the characters in the picture. Watching Airbender made me so nauseous that I felt like throwing up my popcorn. And believe me, it's that bad.      The Last Airbender is the culmination of season 1, dubbed Book 1, of the hit nickelodeon series Avatar: the Last Airbender. Sadly because of the super …
review by . December 16, 2010
As a great fan of the original animated series, of course I had high expectations for this movie. And it was agonizing.      There are so many problems in this movie that I don't even know how to begin. Let's start with the most obvious. Oh, wait I still don't know what the most obvious is. But well, the first problem that really began to disturb me are the fights. If you've seen the original cartoon you know how awesome the fights are. They are exciting and …
review by . July 21, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
1/2 a star :
Long ago in a forgotten land there were four nations Earth, Air, Fire and Water the four fabled nations lived in peace and harmony with one another that is until the ruthless and power hungry fire nation declared war on the three other nations. Only the fabled AVATAR the master of all four elements could stop them but when he was needed the most he vanished, for a hundred years, the Fire nation ruled thinking that the only threat that had   the power to defeat them was long deceased. …
review by . December 05, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
Pros: The opening element montage is directly out of the show     Cons: The humor and rounded characters were left back in the show     The Bottom Line: It's a great late-night movie after a bad day at work.     Zuko: "That... Wasn't a good play."   Aang: "I'll say."   Katara: "No kidding."   Suki: "Horrible."   Toph: "You said it."   Sokka: "But the effects were decent."   Avatar: …
review by . July 01, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
Ever since seeing "The Sixth Sense," my nature has been to resist the films of M. Night Shyamalan. I have to admit that now. I'm aware of his technical skills and his ability to build tension, and yet something within me finds his work profoundly unappealing. I go in with an open mind, but then, minute by minute, it seems as if he's purposely trying to push me away with his unreasonably slow pacing, his amateurish dialogue, his bizarre character development, his ill-fitting sense of humor, and in …
review by . July 06, 2010
The Last Airbender? Could be Possible
The Last airbender is a live action adaptation on a nickelodeon tv show Avatar: The last Airbender. Now the show was devided into three seasons and this film adaptaion was directed by the sixth sense director M. Night Shyamalan. Now i have to say i did like the movie but i can see why other people did not. For those who watched the cartoon the end of season 1 with the water nation vs the fire nation battle was one of the biggest events in the series but i thought the friendship between Sokka …
review by . July 15, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
When I first heard that this series was being made into a movie I was very excited. Then, however, I learned that M. Night Shyamalan was directing the movie...I was afraid that it would bomb because Shyamalan's latest films have not been the greatest. As soon as the first scene played in front of me, I knew that it was as bad as I expected it to be. First of all, Shyamalan change the pronunciation of many of the character's names. Watching further I found that many of the scenes were precise …
review by . August 30, 2010
If for no other reason, The Last Airbender will bomb in British cinemas for a very childish one: someone forgot to research local playground slang.    At a moment of critical plot exposition early in the film a character motions to the mysteriously tattooed child Aang, who has just demonstrated awe-inspiring mystical skills, and portentously asks an elder:"when did you realise he was a bender?"    What little spell director M. Night Shyamalan had mustered …
About the reviewer
Kendall Fontenot ()
Ranked #8
Despite looking extremely cool, I have to admit that I'm a dork. I grew up on the outskirts of the small town of Oberlin, LA. I have since relocated to the Lake Charles, LA area.I love my home state … more
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About this movie


The Last Airbender is an action-adventure fantasy film released on July 2, 2010. It is a live-action film adaptation  based on the first season  of the animated television series, Avatar: The Last Airbender. The first of a planned trilogy, it will be produced by Paramount Pictures and Nickelodeon Movies. The series, influenced by Asian art, mythology and various martial arts fighting styles, was created by Michael Dante DiMartino and Bryan Konietzko, and was adapted by M. Night Shyamalan, who will also direct and produce the film along with Frank Marshall, Kathleen Kennedy, Sam Mercer and Scott Aversano. Filming began in mid-March 2009; the movie is scheduled to be released on July 2, 2010 in both traditional two-dimensional projectors, as well as in 3D.

Poster art for "The Last Airbender."

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Runtime: 103 minutes
Studio: Paramount

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"Elemental, My Dear Shyamalan"
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