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Avat-I mean The Last Airbender Movie Review

I should proably note two things right off the bat:
1. Uhhvitar The Last Uhhbender is actually the first chapter of the series “Book 1: Water”
2. I haven’t seen more than 2 or 3 episodes of the cartoon.

That said, last night I went along with a bunch of peoples to see M. Night Shaymin’s new film which I was quite excited to see since I know a good number of people who are huge Avatar (TV Cartoon, not the oversized Smurf allegory movie) fans. Not to mention that the trailers made it look like an entertaining popcorn wire-fu flick with some neat effects. We opted for the 3D version, since a few people that joined us wanted to experience a 3D movie for the first time.
We were treated to not just a 3D film but a Sony Pictures 4K 3D Movie! I asked the nice ticket lady what a 4K 3D movie was and if it had any relation to Capcom’s naming conventions (I.E “Super Street Fighter 13 Ex Plus Alpha Remix Unleashed Off The top rope 2: The Legend Begins: The Video Game” ) She said she had no idea. (Ok So I made the Capcom part up, but she honestly had no clue what the “Sony 4k” part meant)
Moving along, we got our glasses and headed to the theatre. I caught a glimpse of a Scott Pilgrim Vs The World poster and suddenly was excited that I might get to see the International Trailer in 3D! I dashed ahead into the theatre, where we split in to two groups. “Stupidly Close” and “Insanely Distant” in relation to the screen. I of course chose the Stupidly Close option since I have terrible judgement in life.

The previews gave me a pleasant surprise on how excellent the 3D effect is being utilized. Despicable Me looks like a comic gem in the vein of Bolt and UP with various levels of humor. The 3D effect was actually….THREE DEE! (Note: Whenever I say 3D or THREE DEEE, imagine me waving my hands annoyingly close to your face to simulate the 3D effect.) The movie looks very enjoyable and very witty. Steve Carrell seems to be left to his own cracked mind in this one, and I think it could be a breakout hit this year.

Legend of the Guardians seems to be a movie about the bastard child of Hedwig from Harry Potter and the Penguin from Happy Feet fleeing and I guess being all legendary. Fleeing from what? Legendary who? I had no idea. The trailer looked awfully feather-y and gave the impression of being an epic tale of species survival in a fantasy world with anthropomorphic Owls, but I was utterly baffled (yes BAFFLED) at what the hell they were escaping from/to/against/with. Just a lot of talk about Legends and Guardians. Again, Great 3D effect and if you have an Owl fetish this just might be your thing. Expect this movie to sell billions, since it looks cute, regardless of having any semblance of cohesion.

The trailer was for Megamind, an animated feature featuring the voice features of Will Ferrell, Bradd Pitt, Jonahh Hill, and Tinaa Feyy. I am sure most of you have seen the trailer already but it looks decent. I withhold judgement if this is something to see in 3D or even in the theatre since half of Will Ferrell’s films are utter trash that I wouldn’t touch with a 10 meter cattle prod, and others are pure comic genius. Brad Pitt is an interesting choice, since he seems to have dropped off the “Super Duper AAA-Lister in 10 movies a month” list, and usually animated features aren’t his usual fare.

There’s my review. Oh wait, we have a movie still don’t we?

THE LAST AIRBENDER! COOL THREE DEEEEE TITLES!!!! SCROLLING THREEEEE DEEEE TEXT SUMMARIZING THINGS YOU DONT REALLY NEED TO KNOW TO WATCH THE FILM!!!!

Going into the movie, I knew that it was converted to 3D after production, so I didn’t expect a supremely exciting effect, but I guess I expected more than the words to pop out of the screen. Then I realized that they must have done the titles after production in actual 3D to make you think that this was 3D not Viewmaster.

The story is about The Last Airbender who is believed to be the “Uhhvitar” or “Ahhvitar” (Yes that is how they pronounced Avatar, very grating.) that will unite the warring factions of Water, Fire, Earth and Air. About Benders: A “Bender” is a robot that bends things on the recently revived animated series Futurama. (Couldn’t find a video for The Great Luke Ski’s Bender Roboto, so here is “A Man Named Jayne”, Buy his stuff at http://www.thegreatlukeski.com)
In this movie, however a “Bender” is someone that has the power to manipulate their nation’s element. Ang (Pronounced “uhn” in the film) is the titular “Last Airbender”. See how that works?

Well that is about all that does. The biggest complaint I have on the film is how the dialogue was atrocious. The actors may be young and some new-ish to the silver screen, but that does not excuse the words they were forced to utter from their mouths. Everyone dictates mindlessly what they are doing at all times, to ensure the audience doesn’t need to actually think about anything except for trying to figure out why we care about any of these people.

What there was of action was passable, and enjoyable, however infrequent and seemingly edited down for time, ignoring logic and believability. There were some genuinely exciting battles, and one that over-used slow motion, but was choreographed well enough to really stand out from the rest of the fights. I really am making an effort to make this spoiler free, hence why I won’t say much about the battles since all the details will be huge spoilers. Suffice to say, the fights that are featured work pretty well and I think had the movie focused more on these epic battles, I would be more concerned for the characters’ well being rather than them reiterating how dire everything is verbally.

There wasn’t enough backstory for those of us who never watched the show, so I didn’t understand why people were doing what they were other than “because they are”. No one had a motivation for anything, and I failed to care about anyone’s existence. The movie is built on a fairly epic story I am told, but it fails to give us a sense that the world is bigger than the small band of compatriots featured in the movie. I am no more than a casual fan of the Lord Of The Rings trilogy, but they immediately gave us the idea that this is a huge living world that is imperiled by some evil presence. The Matrix even made us want to know more about the worlds involved. This movie did not. It travels entirely too fast from point A to point B without really giving us a sense that the Fire Nation is as powerful as claimed throughout the film. They have big boats and can manipulate fire. Cool….I suppose. The same problem occurs in 300 as well. Those who know me know that I really hated that film since I went in stupidly expecting some story from a Mark Miller adaption and got Violence Porn to heavy metal music. I swear my balls grew 3 sizes watching that film, which I am happy to say they have returned to their normal state in the time since. Both 300 and The Last Airbender have rich backstories that could have been expanded upon to immerse us in the worlds and their plights.

The best actor was the “banished prince’s” Uncle he gave a sense of weight to his performance that others lacked. I didn’t catch his name, since it may have been mentioned one or twice like the rest of the cast, but it was inconsequential. People show up without much fanfare or real urgency, and things just kinda happen. The young man who played “Ang” (uhhn) had the look and could make the moves look solid, but his delivery was actually worse than any “daily morning show” I have seen/heard. I think if most actors in the movie would have shut the hell up, blinked once or twice and shut their mouths when NOT speaking, this would be a very enjoyable film.

The effects were very nice and felt appropriate to the scenery without being too cheesy or distracting.
Now I took my 3D glasses off about 30 minutes in when I realized that unless it was a heavy CGI scene, it was not in 3D at all. Even the scenes that were supposed to be 3D felt more like watching a movie through a grainy Viewmaster. a minor sense of depth was all it had to offer. My good friend Joe Warner keeps ranting about how 3D is just a gimmicky fad, and if this was the only thing I had ever seen in 3D I would wholeheartedly agree. (In fact this movie will make me research more in depth before seeing ANY 3D film if I choose to waste 3$ more on a ticket) A note to filmmakers. Either make it in 3D or don’t. Don’t convert it since it just doesn’t work and feels like a ripoff.
Oh another note to filmmakers:
If you put Andre “Black Nerd” Meadows in the upcoming Smurfs Movie, (the only person who deserves a part…this is not opinion, this is fact. See here: check him out at http://www.blacknerdcomedy.com) I will gladly pay the extra 3$ to see it, and you can keep the glasses. That’s 3$ in your pockets movie making peoples!!! Besides the biggest Smurf nerd deserves to be in a future smurf movie, just like the biggest Gremlins nerd *ahem…me!* deserves to be in any future Gremlins project. It is just the nature of things.

Tonally, the film is much much darker than I expected. Some scenes will definitely unsettle some parents and probably sensitive children that are used to the cartoon. People do die on-screen, and others are found likely dead so it was one of the few things that really made me feel that there was some minor urgency to the characters.

Speaking of dark, the 3D print is VERY dark visually almost to the point of watching the movie through sunglasses in many scenes. Solution: see it in 2D or just take the glasses off. It genuinely helps.

I realize come across as if I hated the film, but it was definitely not a bad movie, yet it certainly does not make me pack my Beyblades up and get in line tonight for The Last Airbender Book 2: Whatever Element is Next but Not Last. I was also informed that the movie spanned something like 35 episodes of the cartoon, so that would explain why I felt things were very rushed and there was no sense of time passing through the movie. When you find yourself laughing with the person next to you about how Twilight: Eclipse would probably have been better in 3D due to genuine action, barely better dialogue and 3D shirtless Jacob….I mean….werewolves and vampires fighting and stuff… yeah that’s it….you know you aren’t really enjoying the film you are there to see.

Too Long; Didn’t read version –
If you are a fan of the cartoon, go for it. The Last Airbender is apparently a pretty decent adaptation of the cartoon known as “AVATAR: The Last Airbender”.

If you have no ide what The Last Airbender is, rent it, or see it in 2D at a matinee.
Definitely bring someone that knows something about the series to answer questions like:
“How is fire that dangerous? Can’t water douse it, Earth block it completely, and Air push it safely away?”
“Wait who is that again?”
“Do you want to make out? I don’t have any attraction to you, but the movie is just that painful right now that I would gladly make out with you just to distract myself.” (Yes all these things were said during the film by myself…for the most part. I didn’t ask about the fire thing until after the movie.)

I give it a Signs out of a possible Jurassic Park (new comic series by IDW in stores now!)

Can we get a Jurassic Park in 3D? or how about various cool Star Wars scenes in really neato 3D like the trench run, hoth battle, or the Episode 3 space battles?

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10 responses to “Avat-I mean The Last Airbender Movie Review

  1. Gizmolover July 3, 2010 at 6:54 pm

    plus your not the bigguest gremlin nerd. I AM!

  2. Gizmolover July 3, 2010 at 6:53 pm

    i just watched this. ITS AWSOME. the last airbender may of been rushed since their were 45 episodes in the firsts season.

    • JP Cupertino July 5, 2010 at 12:34 pm

      I am glad you enjoyed it, I really couldn’t get into the movie and it frustrated me that it was an “ok” movie that could have been “Great”.

      Either way let’s hope they use some of the decent ticket sales to make the next one better.

      • Gizmolover July 5, 2010 at 3:59 pm

        my dad said something like that. it was a PG-13 movie based on a Y7+ tv show. he even asked the box office why it was rated PG-13.
        the next book ( season of the show )
        was about 21 episodes.
        i am a great fan of the show, and i own all of the video games, even the comic books.
        the 2nd season was the best, so if their is another movie, lets hope it wont we THAT rushed.

  3. Gizmolover July 3, 2010 at 10:30 am

    i heard about the smurf movie remake. i love to watch it on boomerang when ever i have the time.

  4. Gizmolover July 3, 2010 at 10:24 am

    plus its a great TV show.

  5. Gizmolover July 3, 2010 at 10:24 am

    i hate it how they cant use the original name just cause the stupid people who made the oversized smurf movie had the same title! WHY DID THEY NOT GET SUED?

    The full title of the cartoon series is Avatar: The Last Airbender, while the fantasy/sci-fi action film was called simply Avatar.
    I think they were smart in not calling it Avatar to avoid confusing people that were fans of the James Cameron Film.

  6. Kelan Wood July 3, 2010 at 1:24 am

    I am a fan of the cartoon(and a Will Ferrel fan so I dissagree on what you said but thats just my opinion). Anyways I did not get to see all of the cartoon andwill definetley watch it again online. I have seen 2 bad review of The Last Airbender(including this) and the other one was written by a person who was a major fan of the cartoon(maybe not major but a lot bigger then you are). You asked for 3-D Star Wars Scenes you got it becuase George Lucas has brought up in many interviews his thoughts about re releasing all 6 movies in 3-D(no Clone Wars there but I don,t think anyone is very disappointed about that). Jurrasic Park 4 The Extinction is going to be made but the trailer is not out and many people have put fake ones on Youtube(including a possible Rick Roll on the viewer) Jurasic Park 4 may be in 3-D but is not known. Anyways greta review and im glad I can give you the information you wanted.

    • JP Cupertino July 5, 2010 at 12:51 pm

      Thanks for sharing your comments,
      I have heard the same things about the Star Wars trilogy being re-released in 3D but as I noted in the review, I would be extremely hesitant to spend money to see them after the half-baked 3D that was in this and other films like Clash Of the Titans (from what I have read in many reviews). If it was of the quality that Disney and Pixar are putting out, then by all means, give us some badass Star Wars in 3D. Until then, keep it to the films made specifically for 3D.

      Jurassic Park 4 (which currently has no working title officially) hopefully will be a new start to the franchise which sadly waned quickly over the years. I enjoy the Jurassic Park universe immensely and really get a kick out of the extended universe stuff that was done in the 90s with the Topps comics, and is being done now by IDW. We know a Jurassic Park IV will happen someday, similar to a Ghostbusters 3 and hopefully a Gremlins 3/Reboot. It seems JP4 will likely end up being a reboot of the franchise as has been implied by people involved when mentioning “it will be the start of a new trilogy” which probably means a new cast and a new take on the universe.

      I hate to sound like this was a “bad” review, because it was more of a frustrated review. I really wanted the film to be more than it was, I wanted a genuinely engaging world that I cared about, similar to my feelings with Jurassic Park for example. The Jurassic Park world is rich with complex characters that have varying motivations, and often good people that make bad mistakes. The first film really gave a sense of the risk/reward aspect to Hammond & InGen’s operation and you wanted to know more about the How and Why rather than “ooh dinosaurs!” Avatar made me feel like the entire world sat still until this small band of heroes came around to shake things up.
      While I am sure the Avatar cartoon expands profoundly upon the mythos and backstories, it does not apply to the film in the least. No one has any real motivation beyond “it is what they are doing”. The closest to character growth comes from the Uncle and the banished prince as they realize they aren’t happy with their nation’s structure & Ideals. Everyone else just stays who they are. We know Aang already has decided to follow the path of the avatar the minute he starts showing off his powers, and the backstory that tells us of his escape is pointless since we already are told directly what happened.

      • Kelan Wood July 7, 2010 at 9:14 am

        I have to say that Jurrasic Park is one of the best films of all time because it has amasing effects but at the same time it has great characters and even though it is an unrealistic story it is belivable it is not the sought of bad film you watch with your teenaged daughter that sais “how could that happen it makes no sense” and then the parent sais”its just a movie”. if your a person who has never heard of the show The Last Airbender looks like a film that is depended on special effects but if you are a fan of the show then you expect it to be amasing but the truth is the film is depeded on making money. I am not familiar with the works of M.N.S but I found out he made Terminator Salvation and I thought it was a good film of course not as good as the first three especially the first(The Terminator for me is Jurrasic Park for you). His work on T4 could improve my thought on Airbender but it still does not I hate having to go see a stupid movie just because im a fan of a show(being a complete movie nerd puts me in stupid situations).

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