Aug 18 2010 by Ian Bunting, Airdrie & Coatbridge
The Last Airbender
THE Last Airbender is the latest film by M. Night Shyamalan and tells the story of young Aang (Noah Ringer), a successor to a long line of Avatars with the power to manipulate all four elements.
Aang joins forces with Katara (Nicola Peltz), a Waterbender, and her brother Sokka (Jackson Rathbone) to stop the evil Fire Nation from taking over the Water, Earth and Air nations.
Wow, that was complicated to explain! If you’re confused by that synopsis then don’t worry, you won’t be the only one.
Reviews for The Last Airbender have been universally scathing and you start to think maybe people are just jumping on the bandwagon... but, no, this is an abysmal movie.
Shyamalan, on script duty too, is a bit of an enigma. After some superb early films (The Sixth Sense, Unbreakable) he gradually fell off the wagon (Lady in the Water) and 2008’s horrible The Happening rates as one of the biggest ever crimes against filmmaking.
A live-action version of a cartoon that most people won’t have heard of isn’t an obvious choice for Shyamalan’s attempted return to form and after this mess he may want to go away and hide for a while.
Nothing works. The editing is poor, with scenes cut abruptly, and the script is awful. There is no cohesive story as characters just spout exposition and sound really unnatural.
It doesn’t help that the actors delivering these lines put in performances that rank among the worst you’ll lay eyes on.
The child acting is at a CBBC level. Newcomer Ringer is really bland and looks like he’s reading cue cards half the time. Peltz is terrible and her constant narration starts to grate really quickly.
We can possibly excuse them because of their age but the adults are just as bad. The Twilight Saga’s Rathbone is so dull and Slumdog Millionaire’s Dev Patel (Prince Zuko) is quite embarrassing as a scowling, petted-lipped villain.
Due to the poor acting and character development we don’t care about anyone, and we keep hearing of potentially action-packed incidents that have happened in the past... how about letting us see them?
A ‘relationship’ between Sokka and a princess has to be seen to be believed and there’s no humour at all, which for a so-called family film is pretty unforgivable.
To be kind, some of the effects are good and Shyamalan’s camera rotation and wide shots bring energy to the action scenes.
It’s also quite short and not as bad as The Happening but an ending that hints at a sequel is quite frankly terrifying.
No likeable heroes, villains with no menace and a dreadful, at times incomprehensible, story don’t make for a work of cinematic art.
Let’s hope this really is the last we see of this Airbender.
Rating - 4 out of 10.