The Last Airbender - Grading & Discussion

Discussion in 'Science Fiction & Fantasy' started by Agent Richard07, Jul 1, 2010.

?

Grade the movie...

  1. Excellent

    2.7%
  2. Above Average

    18.9%
  3. Average

    18.9%
  4. Below Average

    18.9%
  5. Poor

    40.5%
  1. Agent Richard07

    Agent Richard07 Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Jun 20, 2001
    Welcome to the grading & discussion thread for The Last Airbender.
    [highlight]***SPOILERS AHEAD***[/highlight]





    THE LAST AIRBENDER

    [​IMG]


    "Air, Water, Earth, Fire. Four nations tied by destiny when the Fire Nation launches
    a brutal war against the others. A century has passed with no hope in sight to change
    the path of this destruction. Caught between combat and courage, Aang (Noah Ringer)
    discovers he is the lone Avatar with the power to manipulate all four elements. Aang
    teams with Katara (Nicola Peltz), a Waterbender, and her brother, Sokka (Jackson
    Rathbone), to restore balance to their war-torn world. Based on the hugely successful
    Nickelodeon animated TV series, the live-action feature film The Last Airbender is the
    opening chapter in Aang's struggle to survive." - IGN

    Official Website | Trailers | IMDb Page | Wikipedia Entry
    Box Office Mojo Page | Rotten Tomatoes Page
     
  2. CaptainCanada

    CaptainCanada Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
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    Location:
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    Ebert and Berardinelli both tear this movie to shreds. Them both not liking (hating, really) something is an automatic don't-see for me, though I wasn't planning to see this to begin with (Shyamalan sucking as much as he does).

    From the sound of it, this movie sets a new low for 3D conversion.
     
  3. Hound of UIster

    Hound of UIster Vice Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    May 26, 2002
    Okay what?
     
  4. Skywalker

    Skywalker Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Feb 24, 2005
    Yeah...did Ebert just make that up, or is that actually in the movie? :wtf:
     
  5. RoJoHen

    RoJoHen Awesome Premium Member

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    Location:
    QC, IL, USA
    I mean, the last part is right....

    I don't know, but in the show, the planet didn't look particularly devastated to me.
     
  6. Skywalker

    Skywalker Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Feb 24, 2005
    It reminds me of Oliver Stone's first draft of Conan the Barbarian, which would have taken the Hyborian Age out of the established antediluvian era and moved it forward into a post-apocalyptic future. :wtf:
     
  7. Hound of UIster

    Hound of UIster Vice Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    May 26, 2002
    Thundarr the Barbarian?
     
  8. Kelthaz

    Kelthaz Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Yeah, Ebert's definitely a bit on the insane side. I rarely pay any attention to his movie reviews.

    Although the film is getting torn to shreds over on Rotten Tomatoes with a 6% fresh rating. The Last Airbender actually has a lower fresh rating than Grown Ups. I was really looking forward to this film given my unnatural and unhealthy love towards the TV series, but I'm passing on this one.
     
  9. Aragorn

    Aragorn Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Dec 30, 2002
    The first time I saw a major screw up in an Ebert review was when he thought a young Captain Picard was the captain of the Enterprise B in Star Trek: Generations.

    If this movie is as bad as the early reviews suggest, then Armond White should be giving it a glowing review and praising it for the exact same things he criticizes acclaimed movies for. :)
     
  10. SG-17

    SG-17 Commodore Commodore

    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2008
    Location:
    Pennsylvania
    Spoilers below.


    It was a horrible film. Completely trash. The only good part of the film was Zuko's scenes. He was the only character that felt like the show and his parts were good. Everything else on the other hand...... I mean the film jumped around so much it felt like a YouTube mashup.
    Jumps from the iceberg to Haru's village and the prison which was by the way, in a canyon instead of on a rig. Jumps to another village they 'free'. Jumps to 'Fire Nation Colony 15' with Iroh telling Zuko to relax and go get laid. Then his ship explodes from a fucking gas leak. No pirates, no powder kegs, a fucking gas leak.
    Ozai was not intimidating at all, neither was Zhao. No agni kai between Zuko and Zhao, no Ocean Spirit Godzilla, no Fire Nation ships were destroyed at all. Aang just scared them off with a wave.
    The Spirit World was also weird. Aang was talking to Roku's dragon, not Roku himself. No Hei Bai, no Koh the Face Stealer, no cranky monkey.

    I could barely sit through it. I wanted to get up and leave, but I had to finish it.
    Hopefully when/if a second film is made, Bumi, Toph, Azula, Mai, and Ty Lee will be like their show counterparts like Zuko is. Hopefully the more Zuko centric second book will make the film better than the first.
     
  11. RoJoHen

    RoJoHen Awesome Premium Member

    Joined:
    Apr 14, 2000
    Location:
    QC, IL, USA
    Sounds super lame.
     
  12. Theonethatis

    Theonethatis Commander Red Shirt

    Joined:
    Mar 1, 2008
    Location:
    Seattle
    There was once a time I liked Shymalan. I started watching Avatar because he was directing it, and I was very interested in what this was. Now with all the reviews coming out I have to say A semi sentient garden gnome couldn't fuck this up!!!!!! Yet Shymalan did. The source material is so good it really should have been impossible. Yet M night did!!!!!! WHAT THE HELL IS GOING ON!!!!!!!!!!!

    Still going to see it this weekend. But instead of the glorious epic it should have been. its going to be the death knell of a film adaption and Shymalans career. Well at least we have the new series coming out.

    Really who's bright idea was it to cut out the middle of movie???? 45 minutes to get to the Northern water tribe??? This film should have been 2 hours at least. You cant speed this up. people are not going to get it. LOTR worked because we were introduced to world of middle earth coherently. that way they got to understand the world before the main plot began. This is what should have been done here.

    NO Agni Kai!!!!!!!! Isnt that Zukos whole story!!!!!!!! Really how can you not put Zukos whole reason for existence in the damn movie.
     
    Last edited: Jul 1, 2010
  13. SG-17

    SG-17 Commodore Commodore

    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2008
    Location:
    Pennsylvania
    They show his Agni Kai with his father in a flashback, but there is no Agni Kai between him and Commander Zhao.
     
  14. Theonethatis

    Theonethatis Commander Red Shirt

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    Location:
    Seattle
    Well at least there's that. Zuko is my favorite character I hope they don't destroy him to badly. So is it really 45 minutes untill they get to the NWT and is there really no character development? And especially is the dialogue of the adaption of one of the best written TV shows this decade really that bad???
     
  15. Kestrel

    Kestrel Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Damn, I'm sounding really disappointed by what I'm hearing. I love the show. :(

    Although Ebert clearly doesn't know what the devil he's talking about.
     
  16. Capt. Vulcan

    Capt. Vulcan Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Location:
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    Ugh, someone told me today that Airbender had a 6% rating on rotten tomatoes and I thought they were joking. How hard is it to take such great source material in to a decent movie? Holy crap. I've defended Shamylan in the past because I've enjoyed some of his less popular movies like Unbreakable and the Villiage... but this is unforgivable. I should have guessed there was something wrong when they waited so long to screen it and they scrapped plans to do all three movies at the same time. What a horrible horrible waste of the source material. I hope this next animated project, whatever it is, will at least help us forget some of this crap.

    Ugh. I know I should wait to see the movie, but reading reviews from both people that had never seen the show and those that were fans... it's not looking good. From all accounts the movie is an utter failure. Maybe in about 5 years they can get a better director to take another crack at the franchise, because it really does deserve better treatment than this.
     
  17. M'rk son of Mogh

    M'rk son of Mogh Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Did anybody see the movie (not including critics) that HASN'T seen or doesn't know anything about the TV series?
     
  18. Scherazade

    Scherazade Lieutenant Junior Grade Red Shirt

    Joined:
    Sep 28, 2008
    Spoilers below. Read at your own risk.

    Please forgive any bad grammar and writing in this review: I'm extremely tired while writing this and there is so much to discuss.

    My Grade - D. I could give the movie an F, but I think that would be too harsh. Transformers 2 deserves a F; this movie isn't that bad.

    Quick summary: The movie needed another 45 minutes, better choreography, and to be written and directed by someone not M. Night Shyamalan.

    Full review: Disappointing. Awful. Failure. Those were the words that spring to mind after seeing this movie. I was hoping for a grand epic, but all I got was trash. It was a horrible, horrible movie. In the interest of full disclosure, I have to say I am a huge fan of the show. IMO, if someone compiled a list of the top 10 or 20 shows created in the past decade, Avatar: The Last Airbender should be on that list. However, what makes the movie bad is not that it wasn't enough like the show; it's just that it was a bad movie. First, let's go into why it was a bad movie. Then I will go into how the movie could have been more like the show.

    Directing: M. Night was just the wrong director and writer to pick for this kind of movie. This movie should have been staged as an epic fantasy with awesome martial arts action. It could be deep and spiritual (something Night tries to accomplish in his other movies), but it needs to be fun to watch and dazzle the eye. The movie doesn't do these things. There are too many close-ups, and weird shots, and horrible lighting. And the choreography suffered as a result.

    Choreography: They really should have gone with a director who has more experience with this kind of thing, especially because the martial arts play a pretty big role in the universe. There were a couple of cool moments, but they were few and far between. The characters seemed to spend more time talking about action instead of allowing us to see it directly. And what action there was not impressive. When the action centered on Aang or Zuko it was okay, but otherwise, it was incomprehensible. I don't know how you can have two armies fighting and make it seem like nothing is happening. As a martial artist, I was disappointed in this, especially since the choreography in the show was top notch. Some of the action scenes could have been lifted frame by frame of the show, but they never occurred in the movie; like there wasn't enough time for it. This leads me to the next problem...

    Writing: The movie needed to be over 2 hours, maybe 2.5 hours. Right now, it barely clocks in over 100 minutes. There is a reason most live-action fantasy movies are long; they need the time to establish the world itself, and the characters that make us care about the world. While I was watching the movie, I felt lost. At times I thought, 'Good thing I've seen the show, otherwise I wouldn't have any idea what was going on.' The movie jumped from place to place, seemingly at random, so it became difficult to know who I was looking at, where they were, and when they were (the movie takes place over several weeks, but there wasn't much of a sense of time.) And the dialog was horrible, with the characters having the amazing ability to state the obvious. There was no sense of humor or fun at all. There was only one intentional joke that got a laugh out of the audience. The dialog was laughed at more often than anything else. The characters were the worst victims of the writing. Sokka and Katara were barely in the movie, with the flimsiest of reasons given for why we should care. All the characters were similarly short changed, including Appa and Momo (that might have had more to do with budget constraints.)

    Acting: I'm not going to go too much into this, because the actors had very little to work with. It was hard to get a sense of who the characters were, and how they should be acting.

    Now, on to how the movie could have been more like the show, and how it would have been a better movie as a result. There was no chance the movie was going to be exactly like the show. I was willing to accept that many characters weren't going to appear and some events would be condensed, but the show just did everything better than the movie.

    I'm going to nitpick first: WTF was up with the pronunciations. Characters names were pronounced differently than they were in the show, and there was no reason for it. Why say Aang differently in the movie than in the show? It just makes no sense. It has nothing to do with the quality of the movie, but it was an unnecessary change.

    Another needless change: Firebenders now need a nearby source of fire to bend. They can't generate fire by themselves (unless under special conditions). Not really a huge change, but I'm scratching my head at why they made the change at all. The show managed to work it in and not have firebenders be overpowered.

    Here is a prime example of where the movie should have taken something directly from the show: In the first episodes, Zuko captured Aang and holds him prisoner on his ship. Aang escapes, and in the process, Zuko's ship gets damaged. This forces Zuko to dock for repairs, which is where we meet Zhao. This was a logical way to have the characters interact, and gave us insight into their personalities. In the movie, Aang escapes from Zuko, but Zuko's ship is undamaged. While sailing after him, Zuko just happens to run into Zhao, who invites Zuko onto his ship for lunch, humiliates Zuko, and then Zuko leaves. That is how we are introduced to Zhao. It came across as awkward in the movie. I don't know why they didn't more closely adapt what they did in the show. It worked perfectly.

    Another example: Ozai has a fairly large role in the movie. In the show, we don't even see his face until season three. The only reason this is an issue in the movie, is that Ozai didn't need to be there. We had two antagonists already, Zhao and Zuko. Every scene with Ozai ate up screen time for an already too-short movie. They should have spent more time developing the relationships of the other characters than dealing with Ozai. And don't get me started on the absence of Roku.

    Some changes for the better: Sozin's Comet wasn't mentioned until the end of the movie, which worked out well. There was enough motivation presented to have Aang go to the North Pole without that plot thread being introduced. And the comet is three years away, not arriving by the end of the summer, which is what happened in the show. It was a smart change, considering a trilogy was planned and Night had to accommodate how the actors would age during production. Hopefully, the trilogy will not be made with Night as the director (if it's finished at all.)

    I can write a dissertation on how the movie went wrong, but walk away with this. I'm not some fanboy who is upset the movie didn't do what the show did. It was just a bad movie, period. As a fan, I'm concerned by what this means for the franchise. Chances are, the trilogy won't be made because it will be damaged goods. I know Nickelodeon is working on a new Avatar mini-series with the original creators of the show, so there's that. I'm worried about what's going to happen after that. Nickelodeon might have forever tarnished one of their strongest franchises by putting it in the hands of M. Night Shyamalan. Hopefully his career will finally be over after this failure.

    I'm looking forward to hearing other opinions; especially from people who have not seen the show. Maybe the movie isn't as much of a train wreck as I think it is.
     
  19. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2001
    Actually this makes sense to me. I mean, the other three kinds of benders don't generate their elements out of their own bodies (except for Katara bending her own sweat, which isn't quite the same thing); as a rule, they manipulate the pre-existing substances in their environment. In the show, the Firebenders are the exception to that rule. That's somewhat justified by the identification of chi with energy and energy with fire, but the movie's approach here just seems more self-consistent.
     
  20. Kelthaz

    Kelthaz Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    And the fans seem to hate it just as much as the critics, if not more so.

    [yt]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SNl3j3Snkbs[/yt]
     

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