The Last Airbender

The Last Airbender

In Theatres: 
Jul 02, 2010

I am a huge fan of the cartoon as is my 10 year old brother and my would kill me if I told you how old he is Dad and tonite we all joined up to go see “The Last Airbender”. Now pre-watching I had heard some things about the movie and went in prepared so that might be why I ended up enjoying it as much as I did.

Starting off I was a little worried about the story. It seemed rushed. In about 5 minutes they find Aang, the Fire Nation is attacking, and Aang is captured. But it is to be expected if they are going to cover all of Book One Water in a movie and still manage to keep it short enough for children. In fact the whole movie pretty much hit some of the highlights from the cartoon instead of going into a lot of detail with some of the individual storylines. They do show Aang, Katara, & Sokka helping Earthbenders get free from Fire Nation captivity but in the movie it is a prison in their own village not on a ship. Many other skirmishes with the Fire Nation are shown in a quick montage as they journey North to the Northern Water Tribe. Gone completely are things like Aang tinkering with Firebending, and characters like Jet, June, Teo and Suki.

I can understand the cutting of some of the storylines. It may work for ½ hour weekly episodes but if you try and cram them all into a 2 hour movie it would become jumbled and feel more like a bunch of little stories instead of one cohesive tale. That doesn’t mean I don’t wish they could have kept a bit more; but cuts are to be expected. A few other changes to note: there isn’t as much comedy in the movie as the cartoon and Uncle Ironh isn’t as laidback & goofy in fact he is pretty B.A.

Now then those are a few things that fans of the cartoon can expect going in that are different. As far as the movie itself though I found it to be entertaining, to go by rather quickly, and to have me looking forward to the other Books being brought to life. The three standout actors are Dev Patel as the tortured Zuko, Shaun Toub as the strong-willed caring Uncle Ironh, and finally Noah Ringer as Aang. I was amazed at some of the choreographed fight scenes that the young actors were able to pull off. The bending were beautiful dance-like moves (perhaps a bit too long) that reflected many you see in the cartoon. The effects of the elements were excellent. A surprise was how well Appa & Momo looked as I thought those would be two of the most difficult creatures to capture in motion.

I have seen some complaints about horrible acting and bad lines and I went in expecting that. Honestly after watching the movie there is nothing that really stands out as supporting either of those in my mind. This could be because I was ready for it, or because I have seen the cartoon and many of the lines in the movie were taken from it. Either way there was nothing that distracted me enough to ruin it for me.

What I can say about “The Last Airbender” is this. I walked out surprised that almost 2 hours had passed, I was pleased with what I got though not blown away, I am looking forward to the other movies (if they get made), my brother could not stop chatting away about how much he liked it and how great Zuko was in it, and my Dad gave it his seal of approval. The only things I would change if I could make it my perfect movie is I would have added some more comedy that usually Sokka or Ironh contributed to in the cartoon, I would have shortened the bending moves a tad, I would have tried to add a bit more of their adventures on the way to the Northern Water Tribe, and I would have had them pronounce Aang & Sokka correctly. For Aang you are suppose to stress the A like in hang not make it sound more like the u in the word hung and it is pronounced Sock-ah not Soak-ah.

Review by Pandora
Follow him @ Twitter