The Last Airbender (2010)

Where was the twist?

Aang (Noah Ringer), is the last in a long line of Avatars who was born with the super ability to control the four most powerful elements: earth, air, water, and fire. This makes him the target the evil Fire Nation, specifically, the exiled prince (Dev Patel) who needs to capture the Airbender in order to return home and prove his daddy proud. Appearing in this movie definitely didn’t do the trick.

I must admit, I never read the magna or even watched the anime show that this flick was based on, so maybe I wasn’t as hype as others out there were for this thing but from what I heard: it had a lot of promise in terms of material. Look at it: you got martial-arts, you got people with super powers, you get Asians and Indians duking it out, and better yet, you got the guy who did the Sixth Sense and Unbreakable! That ain’t too shabby, right?

Well, that’s where the final-product, aka, our movie, comes into discussion.

There’s so much to say about where, how, when, and why this flick messed up on so many, goddamn levels but I think the main element to start on first would be writer/director/producer/twist-master M. Night Shyamalan. I’m one of those very-rare breeds of people that actually think Shyamalan is still talented, still has got a lot going for him, and is due for a comeback, eventually one of these days, but here, he just makes me look like a dumb ass. In all honesty, I thought it would have been better had this movie been actually made in Asia, since they can handle this shit a lot better than us Americans, but that’s just where the problem for Shyamalan begins.

Looks like a student-made film of that's dedicated to Mortal Kombat.
Looks like a student-made film of that’s dedicated to Mortal Kombat.

Way too much of this flick is just exposition, exposition, exposition, and exposition. All of which is told in this hilarious, over-the-top dialogue that seems like a 5th-grader wrote it, and considering that most of the target-audience for this movie was them, I wouldn’t throw out the possibilites. Nobody actually speaks to each other in this movie, instead; they just yell, command, argue, or go on and on about some freakin’ mystical tale that we don’t know anything about, or don’t even care that much to listen. All we really do care is to get some action with some stories on the side for more chewing, but we barely get that, and it’s more or less the other-way around. The exposition probably wouldn’t have been that bad had they actually had some person that knew how to write interesting dialogue like this on-paper, but is just unbearable to listen to after awhile. As the years have gone on by, Shyamalan has gotten weaker and weaker as a script-writer, but Jesus, he just lost me here. I think it’s time just for the dude to stick directly to directing and leave the writing-assignments to others that may know how to make this type of material sizzle.

However, even when the action does eventually come around, it’s filled with that, Zack Snyder-ish slow-mo that seems to just try really hard to add emphasis on the hits and blows people take during these battles, when in reality; they just seem really annoying and like an escape for the director to get past the fact that he’s got nothing going on for himself. The special-effects were definitely on-top-of-their-game, but even looked a bit goofy whenever people would just randomly fly all-over-the-place because of some crazy power one of them would unleash. It just looks goofy and too hard to take seriously, which is why I think M. Night wasn’t the right guy for this material and sure as hell wasn’t the type of person who should be directing action.

What’s even worse than M. Night’s directing and how it seems like it’s out-of-place, is the casting of a whole slew of white actors, in roles that obviously seemed to have been made with Asians in mind. It’s bad enough that you have shitty, white actors in these roles, but to have these shitty, white actors, run around a whole movie and go by the names of Aang, Karata, and etc., because then it’s just freakin’ distracting. However, as I said, it wouldn’t have been as distracting if it wasn’t already for the shitty acting from these kids and yes, they’re kid actors so you have to give them the benefit of the doubt, but when a film rests entirely and solely on their shoulders, and they can’t muster-up any type of acting-prowess whatsoever, then I not only blame them, but the director as well for not being smarter and realizing that these kids can’t act for shit.

Jackson Rathbone plays Sokka and has only one look the whole movie: the constipated, oh-em-gee-I-am-so-shocked-I’m-actually-in-a-movie look. Seriously, this kid is as bland and dull as a box of rocks and every time he just let loose of some half-assed piece of dialogue, I just wanted him to go away and be killed off, if that’s even possible in an adaptation of a Nickelodeon’s kid, TV show. He gets the most shit out of all of these kiddie-actors, mostly because he’s almost 30 and should know how to act by now. I mean there are some actors who still have yet to channel any type of emotion (R-Pats, I’m talking to you), but with this kid, there is no exception. Playing his little sister is Nicola Peltz, and she does what she can, but she’s another chick that’s stranded in Dullsville and can’t seem to get a boarding-pass the hell out of there.

Bruce Lee would total your ass-up, kid.
Bruce Lee would total your ass-up, kid.

However, the worst of them all is most definitely Noah Ringer as our main hero: Aang. I get it that Aang is supposed to be this young kid who has mystical powers that can do any type of damage, to anything that opposes a threat towards him, but I did not for one second feel threatened by this kid, nor did I ever cheer him on. Ringer is such a bad actor that I feel almost too guilty to pick him apart, limb-by-limb, but I’m going to do it anyway because I review movies, and I’m also a dick. As simple as that. But seriously, he is horrible to the point of where I didn’t want to watch him anymore. Even the shit where he conjures up the cool powers, full of CGI and special-effects, didn’t even seem cool because he was the one doing it. Anybody else, it would have seemed alright with, but this kid just really annoyed the fuck out of me and I swear to God, if they make a sequel out of this, he better get killed off in the first 5 minutes, Count Dooku-style. I’m not kidding, I never, ever want to see this character, or even possibly this actor ever again and if I do and he’s still shitty, I’m going to find any copy of his movies, and just blow them up to pieces so nobody ever has to bother with this kid’s shit. I’m sorry, Noah. Actually, fuck that, I’m not. You blow, kid.

The only person here who seems to come away from the rest of this flick unscathed is Dev Patel, but even he’s horribly miscast as the evil, and self-righteous prince that just wants his daddies appreciation. Patel is way too cute-looking, in a boy band type of way to really be taken seriously as a bad-ass, especially when he’s throwing down fire and brimstone in the 3-to-4 battles that take place throughout the whole flick. There’s a whole bunch of other cats you may, or may not recognize in this movie and trust me; if you don’t, they probably won’t care a tiny, teenie-bit. Hell knows I wouldn’t. Especially if I was standing side-by-side to Noah Ringer.

Okay, I’m done with the kid. But seriously, fuck him.

Consensus: It’s pretty-looking, but that’s about all that’s left for the Last Airbender to offer as it is as terrible as you may have heard it as being. With a terrible script, terrible group of “actors”, and a story that makes no sense or is not worth caring about, probably 10 minutes in, you’re more likely going to want to get drunk rather than remember this movie or write a review. Trust me, that’s why this review is being written a day after the first, initial-viewing, because I just got shit-faced to wash all of the painful memories of this turd away.

1 / 10 = Crapola!!

Don't worry, things will get better after this kid. Just ask Jeff Daniels.
Don’t worry, things will get better after this kid. Just ask Jeff Daniels.


  1. M. Night Shyamalan is never going to have a comeback. And let’s be honest, was The Sixth Sense really that good? Honestly, it doesn’t hold up and with the exception of Unbreakable, he got worse and it’s likely he’s never going to learn his lesson.

  2. My sister’s a huge fan of the animé series and I’d seen some of it, so we went out to see this in theaters. I remember everyone into movies just MURDERED this in the reviews. I think I was more disappointed with it as an adaptation of the series than as a film in general. The casting process seemed very misguided because the different benders weren’t just quantitied by their elements, but by race as well. Like all the air benders were Asian and the fire benders were Indian. Jackson Rathbone was the only compelling performance for me, but I really disliked how the characters varied from the series.
    Sokka was more of a source of comic relief whereas Katara was the one helping Aang but also kicked major butt throughout the series. Makes me wonder if the writers of the movie made her weak because of their own predjucies, women can’t be strong characters, etc, etc. To a point, exposition does get a little crazy. The movie’s supposed to be geared towards people who watched the series, so they really didn’t need to rehash it for THEM. Otherwise, I don’t remember a whole lot about the movie, but I’m not likely to see it again because I’ll just spend the whole time nit-picking, comparing it to the series… sure, it’s shown on Nickelodeon, but the writing is really good and gets deeper in places than one might think. It has action, comedy, drama and so on. If anything, where the movie seriously failed was that it didn’t convey it as a comedy, which is a major reason why we kinda liked the series to begin with.

  3. This may be the angriest review I’ve read of yours 🙂 I was kind of surprised that M. Night was doing this, seemed very out of place to what brought him fame. That was confirmed then upon seeing it, this whole movie was just amazingly dull! Seems like there is a good story under there somewhere, I could see how it would be a cool anime or something, but it just got totally buried.

    • I could see that maybe, just maybe, somebody could make this good material worth watching, but I have yet to see it. Maybe in a couple of years.

    • On the off-chance you weren’t being sarcastic and didn’t know ….
      There is a cool story under this horrible, horrible film. The movie’s based off a full season long (20-some half-hour episodes) of an American cartoon made for Nickelodeon called Avatar: The Last Airbender. It’s also somewhat my understanding that M Night made the film because his kid was a huge fan of the TV series … poor kid.

      And yes, the three season long TV show is honestly well worth watching.

  4. I love the anime series and tried watching this on Netflix even though I knew it got bad reviews, but it was much worse than I was even expecting. Thanks for not censoring anything about how horrible it was.

  5. I didn’t read the review because I still might watch it, but…

    The only name that came to mind when you said R-Pat was Robert Patrick. And y’know, I think that says there is hope for our generation 😀

  6. I still haven’t seen this but hopefully they’ll put it on Netflix instant streaming soon. If it’s anywhere near as bad as the Dragonball Z movie, I’ll need aspirin.

  7. I’ll admit this is one of the few M. Night flicks I thought wasn’t “too” bad. I actually sorta liked it, but I think that’s because I was spared some idiotic twist suddenly thrown at us.

    • You know, I see people call Avatar an anime all the time but I don’t see people doing the same for the Teen Titans cartoon. They’re both US produced and written cartoons and comics with anime influences as far as the art goes so it’s something that always kind of confuses me.

  8. I watch this movie. I thought the movie was superb, the costuming and sets were exceptional and the tightness of the script took the audience on a wild ride.

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