Here’s the retelling of one of my favourite tv shows, The Last Airbender.
Now I loved the series, one of the few animated series I watched regularly. Its believable storyline and light hearted yet deep emotion was more than enough to keep me interested. So when I heard M. Night Shyamalan was making it into a series of films, I was straihgt onto youtube to watch the trailers. And what I got was a resounding “eh.”
The first thing through my mind was a plea that it wouldn’t rely on the visuals and abandon acting and relationships. But that is exactly what it did. The whole way through, it used effects to try to wow a crowd but for a fan like me, the characters were left in the dust. Filled in with child actors was a risk anyway, but it was not one that they pulled off. The acting was mediocre at best, with extra mediocre credit going to Miss Nicola Peltz. Her annoying voice was thrown into far too much redundant dialogue and a barely believable crush on Aang. I know that children should be let off slightly because generally they’re still finding their way in the acting world, but we cannot forget performances from Henry Thomas in E.T and Dakota Fanning in War of the Worlds, which set the bar.
There was no believable acting and throughout the whole film, the Show, Don’t Tell rule got a fire blast out the window. You can tell us that Katara has feelings for Aang and you can tell us that after fifteen minutes Sokka develops a love so deep for a character that he is mortified when they die. But that doesn’t mean we will buy into it.
I will indeed credit the visuals though. They were very realistic and for me, it’s always nice to see real people throw rocks around and bend water around their bodies and throw it at someone. The 3D, while not particularly necessary, did add to a couple of shots. The giant wave in particular was a sight to behold.
However, overall this was not a good film. If you like something with deep relationships and well acted characters then this is not for you. If you do like something pretty with no substance, then this is for you. Or alternatively, just watch Star Wars Episode 3.