Boy, M. Night sure knows how to keep riding that gravy train that is The Sixth Sense. You know what, I liked Unbreakable and to an extent Signs, but I just can’t believe that this man keeps getting creative control of his films and also still manages to find work. No one knows how to abuse an audience and make us do mental gymnastics to even make the mental leap to enjoying his movies, better than M. Night does. It’s astounding that his movies make the money they do, but then again when your earlier movies are based on twist endings, I guess people want to go and guess them.
So it comes to a surprise to me that M. Night was getting an opportunity to do this movie. The Last Airbender is based on an established, fantastic television cartoon from Nickelodeon entitled Avatar The Last Airbender, so their is a template for success right there and a fanbase that will follow along. It’s a perfect “no fuck-up movie” that will get him back in the good graces of film goers. Well, this should have been titled “The Last Movie M. Night Gets To Make”.
Suspense auteur M. Night Shyamalan takes a break from crafting original screenplays to tell this tale of a 12-year-old boy (Noah Ringer) who provides the last hope for restoring harmony to a land consumed by chaos. In a world balanced on the four nations of Water, Earth, Fire, and Air, people known as the Waterbenders, Earthbenders, Firebenders, and Airbenders have mastered their native elements. Though the masters can each manipulate their native elements, the only one with the power to manipulate all four elements is a young boy known as the Avatar. When the Avatar subsequently appears to die while still mastering his powers, the Fire nation launches a global war with the ultimate goal of global domination. One hundred years later, two teens discover that the Avatar and his flying bison have in fact been locked in suspended animation. Upon being freed from his prison, the Avatar embarks on an arduous quest to restore harmony among the four war-ravaged nations. ~ Jason Buchanan, Rovi
How? How in the fucking world could you ruin a movie with a built in story, extensive backlog of characterizations, back story, fan base and a wonderful world in which Bending takes place? I mean you would have to basically just take all the notes and material and just torch it in front of the creators to not even come close to giving a shit about making this movie something special to the fans. M. Night just shits all over the legacy of this series, a show that managed to weave a tapestry of mysticism and intelligent, strong characters all for the sake of special effects and nothing else. This is all this movie has even remotely going for it, the special effects. M. Night presents “Airbender Effects!” in 3D!.
I think the thing that pisses me off more is the fact that M. Night, a person of color and minority, basically white washes all the good guys in the film instead of casting people of Asian descent, whom are the primary characters in the show. Why the fuck would you limit the outlet for those that loved the show because it finally gave a character of Asian descent the starring role? I mean you made sure that you found a person of color to play the villain/s of the movie, but not even a chance to find a young Asian kid to play the lead. That’s what is so irritating about this movie, apparently American audiences wouldn’t be able to tell who were good and bad guys in the movie cause they are all Asian looking.
This was a huge controversy because there aren’t a lot of leading roles for Asians in American cinema, so an established show with Asian characters doesn’t even get that sort of treatment. Pathetic.
Even with that complaint, if you are going to white wash the cast, at least find people who can fucking act. The Last Airbender had some of the worst acting ever. Not a single emotional moment or effective line delivery comes from the actors. Yeah I get that they are kids, but hell there are amazing child actors out there who can act. Fuck the lead Avatar kid got the role cause he could do martial arts.
Everything about this movie is so poorly done that you have to wonder where the bloated $150 million budget went to. It certainly didn’t go into the set design or the costumes or the acting talent or maybe into none cheesy looking effects. Shit it didn’t even go into lighting cause this was one of the dimmest looking movies I have ever seen. It’s like it was shot in a dark overcast every single day of the shoot. M. Night squanders everything good that the show establishes and just outright sinks what could have been a continuing series, one that I would have loved to see if it were any fucking good.