I just saw The Last Airbender [in 3D] last weekend together with my kids. I decided to write a mini review to share my feelings about the movie since I am a fan of the animated series. I have always kept my eyes open for new episodes at Nickolodeon channel and Avatar: The Legend of Ang has always offered me fun and entertainment after a grueling work, or tasks from the office. It offers me a brief moment of solace and isolation from the world around me, as I engulf myself in the world of Avatar. I have come to like all the characters, and have always been looking forward for the next episode. So it's not a surprise that when a movie was planned, made, and shown, I am also one of the faithful that flock the cinema. I will now share my mini-review and my feelings after watching the movie.
The background of the movie is familiar to all fans of the series. However, if you're new to the series, then here's a short background. In the world of Avatar, there are four nations, which falls under four elements: Earth, Wind, Fire, and Water. Strictly speaking, each nation can control the element and only that element i.e. Water Element can control Water, and those who can can control the element are called "bender". They use to live peacefully, until 100years ago, Fire Nation decided they are too good to share the world to everyone else (not really accurate, but I can't spill too much spoiler) and so war sparked. Fast forward to 100yrs later, that is, the current day of Aang, the last Airbender surfaced. It so happen that this last Airbender is also the fated Avatar. And again, in the world of Avatar, only this Avatar can learn bending all elements and is looked at as the hand of justice and the only one that can bring
Again, trying not to bring out too many spoilers, suffice it to say that the storyline is quite streamlined. There's a war against Fire Nation, (yeah all three nations vs Fire nation) and Fire Nation is gaining the upper hand and gaining momentum in controlling the land. Aang has just been liberated from the frozen ice he got himself stucked stupidly and found out later that he's a 100yrs late going home along with his pet Appa (flying bison).
Aang found out the story about Fire Nation, and got convinced that he's the one to restore the balance. But in order to do that, he needs to learn Water, Earth, and of course, Fire Bending since he only knows Air Bending. And in this movie, it's Book I: Water so it's about Aang learning Water Bending.
This is one movie where I am not familiar with most of the casts except Fire Lord Ozai and Zuko. It's already a tell-tale of what to expect, knowing that I'm mostly familiar with most Hollywood movies it only means that I'm also mostly familiar with the casts. So watching a movie filled with casts that I don't know, then it's a gamble...
I hate Aang in this movie. I don't hate the actor, but I hate the fact that Aang isn't even Asian. It's probably a personal thing, but if not for that, I hate the way he portrays Aang. I can't blame the kid, he's young and has pretty good moves. But the way he delivers his line is so.....bland. There's. just. no. feelings. He is not, in any way, Aang! As soon as I heard him speak a few lines and after a few more scenes, he doesn't have the antics and the character that I was looking for. He's just not "it"
Katara, the child actress looks good, but how could she be caucasian? The director probably would like to mimic the Eskimos, but really, this is an imaginary world. The animated series Katara is brown, or dark-skinned and has such mesmerizing voice and calm deliverance of line. I also don't like the way Katara portrayed as weak, she's very capable even when she isn't the best Water Bender. In this series, she's just not as good a fighter.
Sokka, whatever happens to my favorite character? Where's the "meat", where's the "sarcasm", what happened to the cheesy lines, corny jokes, invented stupid words. His romance with Yue hasn't even been developed, the movie just "narrates" his shortlived lovelife. It's just wrong!
Then there's also Iroh, and Zuko and I just can't bear to spew more blasphemies against these characters. Zuko's scar? I hardly notice it. What about Uncle Iroh's fetish for tea? Zhiao loses his evil resonance, he's just a normal villain. And Firelord Ozai, I already know his face and it's just Book I:Water.
IV. Costumes, Effects(FX), and Battle Scenes
The costumes are ok, they look rather cheap but passable. However, the battle scenes are pathetic. I mean, how could Aang took 5mins to cast his spell? And what's more mind boggling, in this moment of casting, his enemies seems to be just waiting till Aang has finished casting it. This is stupid!
Thankfully, the effects are acceptable. I will not say "great" effects, but it's decent. However, the "3D" is just awful. I spent most of my time viewing the movie without the glasses.
V. Verdict and Conclusion
I have only seen the movie once, and I quickly wrote this Blog while the vivid images and storyline is still fresh from my memory. The calm, but roaring, whispering sound still lingers in my ears long after I left the movie house. I know I'd watch it again if have the time to spare. I'll definitely be grabbing a DVD for me to enjoy it in its full glory with subtitles, extras, and other freebies. So my verdict? Go watch it!
The Official The Last Airbender Movie Site