Wednesday, June 30, 2010
The Last Airbender
Once upon a time, a talented young director made an excellent film called "The Sixth Sense" and rose to the fame. Then, he moved to Hollywood, and began to fit in and live the expensive life style for his films. His characters gradually disappear in his films behind the ostentatious high tech toys. His newest film "The Last Airbender" (USA 2010 | 103 min.) sinks to a new low, as if a painted cardboard display in a store window, lacks of any substance. His name is M. Night Shyamalan.
Since "Avatar" is already established as the king of the box office, "The Last Airbender" must drop the name Avatar from the animated television series "Avatar: The Last Airbender," which the film is based on.
While the film loses Avatar in its title, it also loses many great Asian characters to very white Caucasians. Even the stories are washed away by giant 3-D water balls. Apparently, showing off CGIs outweighs any character development.
Aang (Noah Ringer) is the last Avatar, although the film makes him sound like the Dali Lama. He is also the last "airbender," that is, someone can bend the air as a weapon during a fight. However, he does not know how to water-bend, fire-bend, or earth-bend, because he runs away from leaning when he was younger. Now he is the only hope to fend off the invasion from the aggressive Fire Nation, while he is the most wanted by the exiled son of the Fire Lord.
It is ridiculous to hear these characters speaking like they are reading menus that explain what, why, how they are doing. This is no longer a cartoon show on TV, but they continue to talk like a cartoon. There is absolutely no character development, only cheesy setups and fancy 3-D effects. However, you have seen the visuals in "Red Cliff", "The Lord of the Rings," and of course, "Avatar!"
It is also unclear exactly what Aang can do and what he cannot. In one scene, he is able to fly in the sky and fight an army with his bare hands. The next scene, he is tied up with a rope and hung from the ceiling—with the tattoo on his bald forehead, that can be easily mistaken as a display at Folsom Street Fair.
M. Night Shyamalan just offers us this film as one of the worst films this year. If he does not move out Hollywood any time soon, even this last Avatar indeed turns into the Dali Lama, his films will not be saved.