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 ... Written by
The Massie Twins
In Britain, "bender" is a slang term for a male homosexual, so lines in this movie such as "Look out, he's a bender!" resulted in plenty of giggling in UK movie theaters, making it difficult for audiences to take the film seriously. See more »
When Zuko takes Aang onto his ship, Iroh puts a rock, lit candle and water in front of him, to which all three pull towards him, showing he is in fact the Avatar. However, Aang walks by several rocks, water and fire and they never react to him, without bending. See more »
A hundred years ago all was right with our world. Prosperity and peace filled our days. / The four Nations: Water, Earth, Fire, and Air Nomads lived amongst each other in harmony. / Great respect was afforded to all those who could bend their natural element. / The Avatar was the only person born amongst all the nations who could master all four elements. / He was the only one who could communicate with the Spirit World. With the Spirits' guidance the Avatar kept balance in the ...
See more »
The closing credits feature Aang, Katara and Zuko bending their respective elements of water, fire and air (no earth bending is demonstrated). See more »
The Last Airbender: A Momentous Achievement in Monotony
"The Last Airbender", directed by M. Night Shyamalan is tortuously lethargic, uninvited, abysmal, and uniformly atrocious (in every aspect). And that's me being nice!
Based on Nickelodeon's beloved animated series (to which I am only vaguely familiar and thus can't compare) is set i a world in which the population is divided amid the four elements (Earth, Wind, Water and Fire) and some skilled practitioners whom can "bend" these elements to their will. Since the elements are naturally at odds with each other, an overall controller is needed to maintain order among the kingdom. This role is played by the Avatar, who can manipulate all the elements and thus can keep balance and peace amongst the tribes. Only problem is this Avatar has gone missing for 100 hundred years.
"The Last Airbender" follows a brother and sister from the Water Tribe, Sokka (Jackson Rathbone) and Katara (Nicola Peltz), who discover a 12-year-old monk-child from the Air tribe frozen in a block of ice and his gigantic furry steed (that resembles the luck dragon in "The Never Ending Story").His name is Aang (Noah Ringer), and he, of course is the missing Avatar. Now freed, he finds his home air tribe are all dead and the rest of the world in turmoil. All at the hands of the tyranny of the dreaded Fire Nation. Aang, who never wanted to be the Avatar in the first place (thus why he ran away) must step up, lead a resistance and bring peace back to the Kingdom. However, he must first learn how to control the elements other than air (was imprisoned by an ice storm before he could train). The Fire nation led by Lord Ozai (Cliff Curtis) wants none of this of course and seeks to capture and subdue Aang (they would just kill him but he'd just get reincarnated). Rounding out the plot is Ozai's son, Prince Zuko (Dev Patel), living in exile with his uncle Iroh (Shaun Toub), who also wants to capture Aang and bring him back to his father to win his honor back.
Sound like a lot? It is, but surprisingly not as convoluted as it sounds. The scope of the plot, which attempts at mysticism, politics, religion and a whole obvious Jesus angle isn't the problem. Its how the story is told that makes it unbearable. It throws a lot at you with no effect. It fails definition and lacks resonance. Everything is rushed. Characters and story elements are given no development. Take the Fire Nation for example. We are told they are scourge of the once unified kingdom but we arn't shown this. They travel the globe in their ominous, menacing, iron ships and have a mightier than though attitude but all in all nothing that establishes their evil-ness; albeit a later incident with a glowing pond guppy. Because of this we have nothing at stake, no reason to root for the good guys to triumph. Another example would be a big part of Aang's journey. Which involves him letting go of his anger towards the genocide of his people (a scene depicting said genocide would have helped sell the fire nation's douchey-ness) but we never see him get angry enough to make "letting go" have meaning.
Void-ness of emotional moments are what really plague this film. I would blame this on the script but the performances are what make it not work. Every actor in this film (minus Shaun Toub) delivers dialogue as if they were reading it for the very first time. Not one thing anyone says carries any weight, none of it resonates emotionally. To say the actors suffer from wooden acting would be insult an to wood.
It seem Shyamalan seemed much more interested in the visuals than the narrative (or the dialogue, which is shoddy at best). M. Night manages a few striking images, most of them involving otherworldly landscapes and ornate set design. There are strong special effects and action sequences which are fluid and vivid. Particularly with the fights involving element- manipulation. Winds gusts slamming people around like rag dolls, earth barricades, globs or walls of water and so on are eye popping. The effects are top notch. The hand-to-hand, Kung-Fu fight sequences are well choreographed as well, but a bit too extraneous. Should also mention that this movie is available in 3D and lets just say it's a wasted element (pun intended), an unnecessary afterthought. It wrecks whatever visual grace that might have been (and will give you a massive headache).
Though, relatively successful in cinematic aspects Shyamalan, overall fails to capture the sense of adventure. There is a signs of a beautiful journey but it ultimately falls flat.
Underwhelming and joyless Avatar: The Last Airbender is sure the be the final nail in the coffin of M. Night Shymalans stunted career.
M. Night Shyamalan: Fool me once? Shame on you. Fool me four times? "The Sixth Sense" was clearly a fluke.
339 of 590 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?