Review: The Last Airbender (Allegedly in 3D)

I’m not a movie critic or anything; I didn’t study film in school or get whatever kind of certification one needs to become a professional film critic, and I’m not pursuing a career as a future anything in the movie industry, so I am well aware that I’m not as qualified to assess a movie as, say this guy is, but I believe that I am in the possession of a couple of things which do enhance my credentials.

I HAVE EYES.

Yeah, I have two of them, and I have a brain to supplement what my eyes see. There.

Not that it’s enough to just have eyes, but for M. Night Shyamalan’s latest flop work, The Last Airbender, having the gift of sight proves to be a liability. Between the excessive use of intertitles to indicate locations such as the “Northern Water Nation,” “Southern Fire Nation, Colony 15,” then back to the “Southern Water Nation,” (but not before a brief visit to “40.851587,-73.915407 Earth Nation”) and the uselessness of the 3D glasses (which without any three-dimensional elements only gave the perspective of watching the movie from behind the tinted windows of a car), the eyes quickly become irritated. I’m surprised there were no intertitles for “trees,” or “the last airbender” whenever he showed up on screen. Shyamalan should have used this excess to help the audience keep track of the film’s running time. “45 minutes have lapsed since this disaster began,” and “15 minutes of torture remaining” on screen would’ve been much more appreciated.

It’s a liability for sure, but nothing proves deadlier than the ability to hear the dialogue throughout this film. Shyamalan, being the writer, is also responsible for the film’s atrocious script. As many have already duly noted, in the role of Katara, the last remaining waterbender of the Southern Water Tribe, Nicola Peltz (whose lackluster performance is only trumped by Seychelle Gabriel as Princess Yue of the Northern Water Tribe) delivers a line that epitomizes the mediocre exchanges between characters. Speaking to her brother Sokka, (played by that guy nobody remembers from Twilight, Jackson Rathbone), who is cynical about winning the war against the evil Fire Nation lead by Lord Ozai (a guy you sorta remember from movies such as Live Free or Die Hard and the award-winning 10,000 B.C., Cliff Curtis) Katara responds by saying “we need to show them that we believe in our beliefs as much as they believe in their beliefs.” (: : Ouch : : I immediately began displaying symptoms of arthritis from all the contagious stiff movements.) Really? But what if they don’t believe that you believe in your beliefs as much as they believe in their beliefs? What if you only showed them that you believe in your beliefs almost as much as they believe in their beliefs? Will they be moved by the power of failed elocution?

Based on the animation series of almost the same name, Avatar: The Last Airbender, it is obvious why M. Night Shyamalan disassociated his latest project from what quickly became the biggest selling movie of all time. The comparisons to James Cameron’s Avatar would be career-ending. I couldn’t handle them either; not if I were trying to get away with selling my Payless shoes in the wake of Christian Louboutin’s newest collection. . . and especially with an unconvincing performance by the title character himself, the avatar, (Noah Ringer) a.k.a. the last airbender. I can’t pick on him too much, he is just a kid, and hopefully Hollywood will overlook this little smudge in his filmography. But it’s difficult not to point out Mr. Ringer’s failed attempt to bring this character to life, particularly considering Jaden Smith & Co.’s impressive debut in The Karate Kid, which hit theaters earlier this summer.

Nothing you do in New York is ever cheap.

Watching a movie in this city definitely doesn’t cost you as much as an arm and a leg, but I’d say maybe somewhere around a finger. Or a tooth. Especially these recent 3D movies. Fuck me, dude. It’s almost $20 a roll for these three-dimensional so-called “blockbusters.” And for that price, it should be ILLEGAL for any one of them to suck. It should be one of those things that’s a guaranteed hit. For that price, M. Night Shyamalan should have watched the movie with me (or on second thought, maybe not). But I should’ve at least been given temporary air bending powers or something for that price. Now I just feel cheated.

My only suggestion, beginning with writer/producer/director M. Night Shyamalan, as well as to Mr. Ringer and cast, is that they actually WATCH THE SHOW before they participate in its on-screen adaption.

There are no spoiler alerts here, only disappointment alerts.

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