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The Last Airbender (2010)

A movie directed by M. Night Shyamalan.

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Possibly the second worst film of 2010; second only to "Legion".

  • Jan 22, 2011
* 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" was entertaining out of its unintentional silliness and intriguing (but poorly executed) premise. "The Last Airbender" isn't even close to what "The Happening" was. And I didn't even like "The Happening"; at least not as much as I would have liked. I am completely open to watching anything Shyamalan directs since I know that someday he's going to make his come-back. He is a talented director who has had some bad luck lately; and with "The Last Airbender", Shyamalan has made his first nigh unwatchable flick. He gets just about everything wrong in the making of this movie. It fails as a drama, an action film, and even the super cool CGI fest that it wants to be. It's just an ugly film; and while "ugly" could indeed be used in a sense to admire (if only mildly), I use ugly here with the utmost negativity. This is just an awful film. It's joyless and bland as well as a visual disaster; which is rare since Shyamalan has done well when it comes to visual interest in the past. But then again, don't forget the time he raped CGI all-together with his lawn wolves (yeah, looking at you "Lady in the Water"). I guess Shyamalan just isn't the kind of guy who knows how to spend his big bucks anymore; and somehow I think that "The Last Airbender" was not made out of passion. If this is the case, then this should be the "last" stand for Mr. Shyamalan. I hate to see talent go to waste, and since Shyamalan is indeed fairly talented, "The Last Airbender" was an even more painful ordeal than it already was. If there's any reason to watch it then it's for the amount of unintentional laughs present. There are plenty of them; but even smirks and giggles can't make up for the sense of detachment and visual ugliness that accompanies Shyamalan's latest. And I wanted to like it too; since just about any Shyamalan-directed film could mark a come-back for the man. I've said this before and I'll say it again: Shyamalan needs to make a damn good come-back if he ever wants his fans back. He's lost more than half of them by now, and since "The Last Airbender" is a rather unfortunate (and unwatchable) switch in genre tone for Mr. Shyamalan, there's all the more reason for his former fans to despise it. Avoid this mess like the plague.

"Avatar: The Last Airbender" was a series which I was semi-interested in for the time that it went on. At least it was watchable; and at least it was visually interesting. Shyamalan's live-action adaptation is simply neither. It's the kind of awful film that you never want to see out of a talent such as Mr. Shyamalan, but sure as hell it's around the corner anyways. I thought that Shyamalan would never succumb to the kind of Hollywood-crap story-telling that he exhibits here; although sure enough he must have made the switch from his intoxicatingly thoughtful tales to this kind of lazy junk. "The Last Airbender" is about the war between the Fire and Water Nations. There was a third nation, the Air Nation, thrown in there; but they all died out when the Fire-Bending bastards took them out. One day, two Water-Benders happen upon a boy (and his strange flying mammal) trapped in a giant sphere of ice. They "awaken" the boy, only to have him captured and questioned by Prince Zuko; AKA, everyone's favorite Fire-Bending bad-ass. The boy (whose name is revealed to be Aang) evades his captors and we learn through the dialogue within the Fire Nation's ships that he is what everyone calls "The Avatar". It is said that The Avatar can control every "element"; thus making him the savior of the universe (essentially). As of now, I think I'm giving such a horribly handled plot more of my time than it deserves, and since it's such a horrifically predictable story, you should know how it goes on from here. The film follows the show decently, but to an extent where it feels very detached. I think "The Last Airbender" sucks because for once, Shyamalan didn't come up with the premise. Also, the movie plays out like an action film contrary to the usual psychological thriller that I'd expect out of Shyamalan. M. Night also seems to have abandoned the religious themes of his previous works; perhaps for the better. All in all, "The Last Airbender" is just stupid. It's one of those crazy awful movies that's so self-absorbed that it leaves room for a sequel. Yeah, "The Last Airbender: Book 2" could be in the works. Let's hope Shyamalan doesn't pen or helm it, since he really screwed the pooch with this one. It's a Shyamalan film that will disappoint even his most honest fans.

Some young stars start out great. Some, like Noah Ringer, do not. This is young Ringer's first role, and it's a hell of a way to start a career that can only go down-hill from here. For starters, Ringer is no Aang. He doesn't have the sense of free-will and destiny that the Aang character had; and Ringer's emotions ALWAYS feel forced and his dialogue pretentious. Sadly, he's not the only mis-cast actor in the flick. Nicola Peltz and Jackson Rathbone play Katara and Sokka respectively. For some reason, Shyamalan can't get the racial issues right, since Katara and Sokka were definitely NOT white. Also, Dev Patel is cast as the villain. Patel showed talent in Danny Boyle's Oscar-Winning "Slumdog Millionaire", although in this film he feels revoltingly bad on so many levels. His performance is just so lame, and it's even worse given the fact that he was absolutely spectacular in "Slumdog". The rest of the cast...oh, you know what: screw it. If you care enough then you can research the cast for yourself. There's a cameo by Randall Duk Kim and strangely enough: no Shyamalan. This is one of his first directorial features in a long time that Shyamalan had no acting credits for, even if it was a mere extra. He was even in his previous feature "The Happening" as a voice on a cell-phone message. Maybe he's too embarrassed to show his face in his own films, since I think even he knows how awful they've become.

"The Last Airbender" had the potential to be good. Shyamalan could have embedded his directorial style (which up to now I've had no problem with) as well as his religious under-tones to make "The Last Airbender" a mesmerizing experience. But then he had to assemble such an ironic cast and come up with a preposterous story; making "The Last Airbender" an instant disaster whether Shyamalan intended to throw in his stylistic elements or not. In turn, I absolutely hated this movie. It's a complete bore. It's OK when you watch it on mute; with all the pretty looking CGI and all. But it's just pretty CGI; and it can't be called "good", therefore. Shyamalan tries to draw visual attention from the costume design and production values, but his "most expensive film" turns out to be an utter waste of money. Instead of visual thrilling, "The Last Airbender" is a flat-out CGI disaster. The cool camera angles that Shyamalan is so talented at capturing could have made it the slightest bit mediocre, but come on: he doesn't even TRY. I find that so very, very sad. The fact that Shyamalan doesn't seem to care how awful and unwatchable his production is strikes me as pathetic; and the only crowd it will appeal to are the idiotic children who saw an advertisement for it on Nickelodeon. The movie, in all its CGI-riddled glory, will probably make them squeal with joy. But for anyone else with a little common sense still in them, it's a complete failure. It's one of the worst films of 2010; possibly the second worst behind the utterly unbearable and sickeningly lame "Legion". And this time, not even James Newton Howard can deliver a little artistry. His score felt bland and nigh unnoticeable. Simply put; there are few reasons to why you would watch this flick unless you have a passion for watching god-awful movies. It's the kind of movie that delivers a few good unintentional bursts of laughter; but alas there aren't enough to make it a full-fledged, unintentional comedy. It's a rather depressing affair.

If a little more effort had been put into the action sequences and special effects of Shyamalan's newest film, then maybe it would have been...I don't know, MEDIOCRE. Some films can entertain out of their stupidity. "The Last Airbender" is not one of those films. It's the kind that bores you to tears thus disappointing you to unspeakable ends. It's a horribly cheesy movie because for once, I hated what Shyamalan was trying to do. I respect the fact that he wanted to make something for his kids, but really; did he expect us to like the end result? There can be a good "Avatar: The Last Airbender" film in the future, although this isn't the one to nail it. In fact, it doesn't even come close. It needs less pretentiousness and more realization of what it is. It's silly, and not in a particularly good way. As I said, "The Last Airbender" is often times funny due to its own lack of realization that it's possibly the stupidest film of 2010, but it's just not good enough; or good at all, as the case may be. It's just a horrible movie; an unforgivable mess that cannot be made up for in special effects, unintentional humor, or even action sequences. But this is Hollywood for you; a relentlessly brutal excess of potboiler mayhem. It's the kind of movie that you should avoid in consideration of your current emotional and mental health. This movie will probably affect both. And as flashy as it is, it doesn't have nearly enough substance to be good. And for that it's nothing more than a horrid dud. For a proper Shyamalan film, see "Signs" or "The Sixth Sense". For an example of just how much suck he can put into one movie, see his latest flick. This movie will blow your mind; as long as your mind is weak and your will even weaker. It's the Shyamalan flick to end them all; and this could be a good thing. Too bad it's not the end. Not quite yet. Shyamalan wants to treat us to more pretentious mayhem. Some part of me thinks that he'll never make his come-back. But hey, I'm optimistic when it comes to talented filmmakers. So who am I to say that there's no hope for the highly-spiritual Indian-American filmmaker? I'd be a pretty bad person to say such a thing; but I'd also be a pretty bad person to say that Shyamalan's latest is by any means impressive or average. I hated it throughout. Please don't share my pain by watching it.

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January 25, 2011
this was the worst hyped up release of 2010--Legion was better LOL!! nice review!
February 01, 2011
January 24, 2011
The series was much better.
January 24, 2011
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 . 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 . January 03, 2011
I wouldn't go so far as the other reviewers here in giving The Last Airbender just one star. For a comic-book action movie, it's entertaining and has some beautiful locales. Still, it's a pretty unoriginal film. The acting seems almost amateurish, perhaps inevitable given that most of the actors are in their teens. However, ultimately The Last Airbender just comes across as a pale shadow of Lord of the Rings. The fighting isn't anywhere near as dramatic or emotionally powerful. With M. Night Shyamalan, …
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
Ryan J. Marshall ()
Ranked #11
It's very likely that the only kind of reviews I'll ever post here are movie reviews. I'm very passionate about film; and at this point, it pretty much controls my life. Film gives us a purpose; … more
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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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