Paranormal/Fantasy Romance Author

Movie Review: The Last Airbender

The Last Airbender

Basic Premise
Katara, the last water-bender of the Southern water tribe, and her brother Sokka have discovered Aang, the last airbender, buried deep in the ice. They release him and with him let loose a series of battles as the fire nation tries to capture Aang because he is the avatar, the one person who can use all four elements and bring peace to all of the nations the fire nation wants to subjugate. Aang must travel North, learning his role as he evades capture with the help of his new found friends.

Review
If you have not seen Avatar: The Last Airbender the cartoon series on Nickelodeon (they are running marathons at the moment and its available on DVD), then you will be lost.

This is a movie made by a fan for the fans. Coming to this movie with no knowledge of the original series will put you at a severe disadvantage only because this movie is a quick (hyper speed, in fact) summation of the Book of Water — what amounts to the first major story arc (20 half-hour long episodes). Think Cliff Notes on fast forward and you’ve got this movie. Anyone who hasn’t seen season one of the cartoon will most definitely be lost and come away disliking this movie.

As a writer, I’m always told to show my readers the action, not tell them. This is the only movie I can remember that has broken this cardinal rule. There was very little showing of any kind. Don’t mistake me. There is bending. You see a lot of airbending. There’s even a decent amount of water and fire bending with a smattering of earth. BUT, that is the only draw this movie has. But the movie was, as I already said, a summary.

Katara, the narrator, gives you highlights of each major event with a few slides as examples and then zips you along to the next major plot point. You don’t see any one character long enough to become attached to them emotionally, not even the main characters. There’s too much going on in a short amount of time and too many characters being tossed at you. The movie needed to be longer or they needed to cut out a great deal more. I’m not usually a proponent of cutting stuff when making a movie, but in the case of Last Airbender, they needed it.

On the bright side, the distinctive martial arts for each nation was there. It was slow but it was there. Everything moved slowly. I can only guess it was done this way so the audience could see the beauty of the art but there were too many showy movements to do some very simply bending. Not to mention, the cartoon series didn’t require so much superfluous movement for the same techniques.

It’s visually pleasing. That’s all it has going for it. Much of Aang, Sokka, and Uncle Iroh’s wackiness was left on the cutting room floor so the movie came across serious and somber throughout. So far as special effects, you don’t need to waste your money on 3D. The movie didn’t present in 2D enough evidence that the 3D version is worth the extra cost. Not much is “leaping out” at you.

For the fans, have at it. It’ll make you want to watch season one of the cartoon again. I know it did that for me and my husband. For people who are new to the whole thing and just want to watch a “blockbuster” movie, you might be better off seeing something else that doesn’t require homework.

Previews
Nanny McPhee Returns – I didn’t see the first one and I’m not going to see the second one but it looks like it might be good.

Sorcerer’s Apprentice – Only a few weekends away.

Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga’Hoole – Did I really need a trailer with director commentary? Nope. No I didn’t. But hey, that’s what I got.

Rango – I like Johnny Depp and all and I’m glad the director of Pirates of the Caribbean has work but I think I’ll wait for the DVD

Megamind – I’ve already talked about this.

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