The Last Airbender: Aftershock

2 07 2010

M. Night Shyamalan needs to stop making movies. Period. He’s just plain bad at it. Case and point, The Last Airbender.

I’m really not sure if I can express just how bad this movie is in words, but I’m going to try. Shyamalan throws out 12 hours (as this is based on season 1 of the series) of carefully constructed plot and engaging character development and basically opts for a “lets make it up as we go” approach. It doesn’t work. At all.

First of all, the plot is in tatters. While Shyamalan keeps a basic (VERY basic) outline of the events from the animated series, he omits many interactions, in some cases VITAL interactions, that show us how the characters bond with one another. The result is that we are left with characters that feel more like cardboard cutouts than real people. I never thought I would say this, but the acting in this movie made the actors in Twilight look like masters of their craft. And we all know how I feel about Twilight, so that says a lot.

The CG was decent, although I don’t know what they did to Appa. He looks like a creepy, flying, furry man-spider. I really don’t even know, but he is possibly the second creepiest thing I’ve ever seen next to the Cymbal Monkey from Toy Story 3. Momo was decently animated, but as he was in the movie for a collective 2 minutes, that doesn’t really matter.

I have an issue with the way bending is portrayed in this movie as well. Whilel the martial arts are cool and pretty fluid most of the time, none of it ever seems to relate to the object being manipulated. Especially with the Air and Water bending, it seems like Aang (pronouced AANG not ONG. This movie makes his name sound like the noise a gong would make) just swings his arms around in circles and has water or air just come from wherever. He basically looks like he’s performing a Kata or something and the CG elements were added in as an afterthought.

I don’t understand how someone can take source material so utterly amazing and turn it into such a jumbled mess that it makes Twilight a welcome alternative. If there was ever someone who was a genius at being bad, Shyamalan gets the prize.

Lets hope the Last Airbender really is that, the last.

1 out of 10

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