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8/10
Much better then expected.
20 August 2010
My kids (who are 6 and 4)love the animated series (they have seen all 65 hours of it - probably more than once) so my wife and I were always going to get dragged along to this as soon as it opened in the UK.

We're both seen a few of the cartoon episodes but aren't really that up on it (not in the rather geeky way a lot of adults seem to be about it).

Anyway it was fine. The kids adored it and my little 4 year old boy was copying Aang's bending actions throughout and afterwards. It didn't go on too long either.

The plot hurtled past missing out large chunks and with little time for character development (we knew the basic trajectory of it but not the minutiae so this was OK by us). The effects looked great. Music was good and both my wife and I though the 3D worked in quite a good 'field of depth' way throughout.

The dialogue was 'meh' (think the newer Star Wars movies) and Aasif Mandi as the baddie general was a bit off-putting (as he's best known for being a sidekick of Jon Stewart on the Daily Show) but I don't really go to see a kids fantasy film for brilliant dialogue.

We all came out having enjoyed it and looking forward to Book 2.

Whilst it might be a bit fast/shallow/confusing if you've no idea of the milieu and could be really irritating if you are a geeky fan of the animated series, as a holiday kids movie (with popcorn) it ticked all the required boxes.

The film did much better box office than its reviews would suggest so perhaps Book 2 will get made at some point.
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Next (2007)
9/10
Unexpectedly Good
27 March 2009
I saw this movie on sale for a bargain £3.

I had never heard of it, but Nicholas Cage is usually watchable, Lee Tamahori did the brilliant Once Were Warriors and the 'look 2 minutes into the future' Macguffin sounded intriguing enough; so I bought it and put it in the DVD player after dinner for myself and the wife to watch.

It was really good and kept us both on the edge of our seats until the end (the ending was also very clever IMHO).

Actually the best movie (along maybe with Watchmen) that I've seen this year.

I imagine the pitch was something like 'Groundhog Day meets Die Hard', but for once they more or less pulled it off.

They could have had a love interest with less of an age gap (but I assume Jessica Biel is there for eye candy not acting reasons) and the plot is a bit silly at times, but Cage plays it with just the right amount of 'tongue in cheek' as a lead in a paranormal action romance and compared with the last movie I sat and watched with my wife (the third Mummy) which is in a similar genre I suppose, this is in a different class.

I can't really understand why so many folks give this really low ratings. Maybe it's real hard core action guys who dislike it, and it's probably not for them - but really this came as a very pleasant surprise. Highly recommended.
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