Writers – M. Night Shyamalan
story – The world is divided into four kingdoms, each represented by the element they harness, and peace has lasted throughout the realms of Water, Air, Earth, and Fire under the supervision of the Avatar, a link to the spirit world and the only being capable of mastering the use of all four elements. When young Avatar Aang disappears, the Fire Nation launches an attack to eradicate all members of the Air Nomads to prevent interference in their future plans for world domination. 100 years pass and current Fire Lord Ozai continues to conquer and imprison anyone with elemental "bending" abilities in the Earth and Water Kingdoms, while siblings Katara and Sokka from a Southern Water Tribe find a mysterious boy trapped beneath the ice outside their village. Upon rescuing him, he reveals himself to be Aang, Avatar and last of the Air Nomads. Swearing to protect the Avatar, Katara and Sokka journey with him to the Northern Water Kingdom in his quest to master "Waterbending" and eventually fulfill his destiny of once again restoring peace to the world. But as they inch nearer to their goal, the group must evade Prince Zuko, the exiled son of Lord Ozai, Commander Zhao, the Fire Nation's military leader, and the tyrannical onslaught of the evil Fire Lord himself
Director – M. Night Shyamalan
Country – USA
Based upon the Nickelodeon series Avatar- The Last Airbender.
First off, I watched season one of the series over the past few weeks and am watching season two currently. I love the series. Totally awesome work.
This review is of the currently released film directed by M. Night Shyamalan.
Review: Is this going to a be a super hit? An Academy Award winner? A deep drama? No. It’s a 400+ minute series truncated in to 100 minutes of special effects. Everyone will bicker about parts of the series being clipped off, combined with others parts, parts shifted. Which parts were most important to you? The cabbage vendor? Mang the gap-toothed fan-girl who called Katara a floozy?
Everyone will have a favorite part, and in a film adaptation you can guarantee those sacred cows will be slaughtered in the name of condensing the film in to one easily chewable bite for the target demographic.
I think if I could have one wish for the film, it is that I wish it was about three hours long so they had time to really delve in to the characters and the events that shaped Aang, Katara and Sokka etc.
That wasn’t to be. The target demographic is the short-attention span generation and 90-100 min was all they had to tell a really long and deep story, which is a crying shame.
Without spoiling things I’ll say that series events are shifted around. Parts that were originally Katara’s became Aang’s. Some bits were chopped off. Some bits were shifted slightly. I feel that the overall vibe was there, and the cuts and shifts made were due to time constraints to build on Aang’s character as we had little time for anything else. I would have loved to see more characterization, but again, time constraints.
Show don’t tell. I hear that all the time and in this case it was necessary. There was a lot of ground to cover (literally) and a bit of back story was necessary.
Effects. Awesome. Choreography, awesome. Acting, some was a bit flat, some good. Plot, largely the same as the original series and largely true to it. I believe that the writer and director did a fine job in dealing with the constraints they had. If they had more freedom it could have been better. Just remember that their hands are tied in many ways on this.
Whitewashing? I call BS. While the original series was entirely Asian in many ways, the film is more regionalized: some nations being Asian, some Indian, some Caucasian, some mixed. Some sigils were neutralized. Still the overall flavor was right. It’s still the same story, with the same theme. The regionalization is there to make it palatable for everyone: Whites, Asians, Indians, Blacks, everyone, not just a single culture, which I think is reasonable.
Pronunciation of names? Seriously people? That’s a pretty lame nit-pick. Gimme a break.
I think I would have liked a fat uncle Iroh, but Shan Toub did an OK job with it. Noah Ringer did a fine job as Aang. Dev Patel was good as Prince Zuko. Nicola Peltz (Katara) and Jackson Rathbone (Sokka) were a bit flat, but they didn’t have a lot to work with either. They didn’t really get a chance to shine. M. Night Shyamalan directed without his usual tricks, switcheroos, and whammies.
The Grade: Overall, the film was enjoyable but felt rushed. Like the whole thing was a montage or a highlight reel of the series. The kids in the theater cheered and said it was awesome, so that is great. If it does it’s job it’ll get people to watch the series for more of the good stuff as this was just a taste.
Did it suck more than anything has sucked before? No. Fans of the series will likely be let down as their expectations will not be met. Then again, fans are always bastards to make an adaptation for. Everyone judges an adaptation by the original material and not on its own merits. It’s called an ADAPTATION for a reason. Still, you can never please some people.
I am a die hard fan of the series. With that said it is difficult to try to fit an entire season into an hour and fifty minute movie. One thing I really missed was the quips and humor and funny faces that were an integral part of the series. One thing that bothered me was why in the world did M. Night Shyamalan change the pronunciation of almost everybody’s name? Their names were pronounced differently than they were in the series and to me that takes away from continuity. I also thought they made the actors perform just too many physical moves to bend the elements. Just to pick up a small stream of water they had to make 8 or 9 moves and that got boring. The effects were decent and the story line was okay.