I just wanted to first off credit GSP for this rating system from his District 9 review. I’m changing it up a little bit, but thank you for the system’s general build.
M. Night Shyamalan is the name of the legendary director behind two of the best films ever: The Sixth Sense & Signs. Since Signs, his films have gotten progressively worse (though I think that Lady in the Water was pretty good). The Village (which I need to see again because I think that I’d probably enjoy it more now that I’m older) was a failure, in my mind (and in Shyamalan’s standards that he set for himself), and The Happening was the worst film he has made and the worst film of 2008. It had potential, but it just failed. If M. Night is going to make an R-rated movie, it needs to be more violent, at the very least. And no cameo!
The Last Airbender is another story. His first PG movie, The Last Airbender stirred up a lot of children because of it being based on the television show Avatar: The Last Airbender. The show, in my opinion, was very good and a fun watch on a Saturday morning (back in the day, of course). I walked into the theater and sat through one of the most meaningless movies I have ever seen. When it was over, I thought to myself “did I just watch that? Did I just pay for that?!”
The Last Airbender was just so… bland. From the bad acting to the unnoticeable plot besides “kill the Airbender,” this movie didn’t deliver whatsoever.
M. Night Shyamalan wrote this film, and I wish he could have been more creative. The movie Signs, which I think is his best, had some fantastic dialog in it, and the screenplay itself was very good. But this film’s writing is low and involves bland characters and even worse conversation.
M. Night directed this film as well, and I think that though it is not as bad as The Happening, it is still pretty bad. Shyamalan has a few good angles here and there and follows with the graphics, but there is still little to behold, since all the film essentially was was the first half boring conversation, and then a CGI fest for the last half.
The cast in this film is simply sad. Dev Patel, who ruled in Slumdog Millionaire, is used as an afterthought in this film, from his bad lines to his cheesy attitude to the denial of giving him the chance to show his ability. Noah Ringer, in his first film, is just annoying and hasn’t been able to develop the ability that someone like Patel has (natural talent). Though the acting wasn’t so dreadful that I left (it takes more than a lot to make me leave in the middle of a movie), it still was not good. Jesus, you don’t cast Aasif Mandvi as Commander Zhao!
Main Actors (4/15)
Ensemble Cast (3/10)
Substance is that category that involves everything else in a movie, from the way characters are crafted (character construction) to the way a plot plays out (plot development). The characters in the film are interesting in a way, since they were initially created in a television show, but the way Shyamalan crafted the characters made them seem like they were just created to put the story together without having to be creative for a moment. The characters, from Aang, the main character, to Zuko, Katara and Sokka, they are all horribly developed. At the same time, the plot played out relatively smoothly, though there were things that weren’t necessary that were shoved in there, but hey, that’s what you’ve got to do to make a long film, right? At least, that seems to be what M. Night thinks, because when you make a film, you need it to be entertaining the WHOLE time, or it is not a good movie. That was a flaw in many movies, such as Avatar (I see that now), A Beautiful Mind (though it was good), and Paranormal Activity (I waited an hour and a half for a two second jump), and movies like Moon and The Departed should be looked at for an even flow of entertainment (Moon may have been a tiny bit dull at times, but the plot and Rockwell’s amazing acting kept your attention).
Character Construction (3/10)
Plot Development (8/15)
F – 33/100
In my eyes, this movie was a fail for M. Night, and I think that if you want to see a CGI-filled, bad dialog film, then go ahead and head over to your theater and, like I did, piss away $10. Or, you could just wait for Inception, like I am doing (already got a ticket!)