The story follows the adventures of Aang, a young successor to a long line of Avatars, who must put his childhood ways aside and stop the Fire Nation from enslaving the Water, Earth and Air nations.
The story follows the adventures of Aang, a young successor to a long line of Avatars, who must put his childhood ways aside and stop the Fire Nation from enslaving the Water, Earth and Air nations. less
Based on the animated TV Series of the same name on Nickelodeon, 'The Last Airbender' narrates the story of a reluctant 12 year old hero, who can control all the four elements, Earth, Fire, Water & Air. It is this Avatar, who can bring peace to all the warring nations.
The movie is about Aang, the last survivor of the Air Nomads, a clan killed in a genocide by the Fire Lord Sozin. Aang has the power to bend and play the elements of nature at his will and it is only he who can bring peace. Planned obviously as the first part of a trilogy, this episode covers the journey of Aang from the Southern Water Tribe, where he befriends the sibling duo of Sokka & his younger sister Katara (the only living water bender in her tribe). The village is attacked by Prince Zuko, the exiled prince of the Fire Nation, who has been banished by his father, until he returns after capturing the Avatar. The rest of the movie is about the journey of Aang, Sokka & Katara on the flying bison, Appa to the Northern Water Tribe, enroute liberating various Earth Kingdoms under the rule of the Fire Nation. The film ends on various notes:
- - Aang accepting his destiny as the Avatar - - Sokka experiencing heartache by the death of his love - - Katara mastering the art of water bending - - Zuko along with his uncle Iroh, rebelling against his father - - The Fire Lord Ozai appointing his daughter, Azula, to hunt down Aang and stop her brother Zuko
M.N. Shyamalan, trying a different genre from his oft tried last minute supernatural suspense dramas brings a whole set of expectations for the viewer on the screen. That coupled with having current heartthrob Dev Patel (Slumdog Millionaire) starring in it just adds on to the burden. Unfortunately, The Last Airbender fails on both counts.
The lack of depth in the characterisation is one major flaw which hits you right in the beginning. Although there is an attempt, you do not feel the parental loss for the water bending siblings. There is an effort to show angst in the expressions of Sokka (Jackson Rathborne) but it fails. His character keeps on talking about responsibility throughout the movie, but besides him everyone else seems more responsible. Even his short love story with Princess Yue (Seychelle Gabrielle) is very ill sketched. Likewise, Prince Zuko (Dev Patel) seems lost and comes across more like a spoilt brat. Inspite of the absence of any grey shades in his role, one still doesnt know whether he is good or evil. If they are planning a sequel, then the scripting team will have a lot of midnight oil to burn.
Comparisons to Harry Potter, Narnia, Lord of the Rings etc. in todays times are inevitable and this is where this film fails badly. Only special effects cannot help a bad movie. The performances are listless, dialogues long and contrived. Even the fight sequences are not much to talk about. The movie, although being 1 hr 34 mins in length, gets boring at regular intervals. It seems Shyamalan suffered from a major George Lucas hangover and forgot that only big budgets and decent special effects, do not make a hit movie.