M. Night Shyamalan what have you done to the Last Airbender?
I know I am a bit late on this one, but let me explain. In the beginning of July The Legend of Korra got a blu-ray release. As an animation fan I bought it. I immediately fell in love with it :-). Because I liked Korra’s adventures so much, I soon started to get into Avatar: The Last Airbender. I was very impressed and now love both series. Maybe I should have known better considering it has a Rotten Tomatoes rating of just 6 %, yet I could not help myself but become interested in the movie adaption afterwards. Boy, what a mistake :-).
First things first: It does not matter whether you have watched Avatar: The Last Airbender on Nickelodeon or not. This movie is a complete mess regardless. There is no coherent plot and everything feels episodic. Mainly it is just a few situations without any obvious interconnections. There is some dull narration to explain all the time jumps, but it just feels messy. Basically if you have watched the first season of the cartoon the movie feels like an extremely condensed version that skips all the character development. It just throws in the most important action scenes without any of the buildup. And because of that there is no tension at all. You just don’t care about anything on screen cause you never got to know the characters in this movie. And they really don’t have much to do with their incarnations in the series Avatar: The Last Airbender.
In the series Sokka is a sarcastic but extremely brave and loyal smartass. In the movie all his personal traits are gone and he is just some generic warrior. Katara is a caring but too worried girl in the series. In the movie she has no personality at all. All she does is either look desperate or stare longingly at Aang. The later is a moral but playful boy with an interesting mixture of childishness and wisdom in the cartoon. In the movie Aang almost feels like he has a serious depression. (And why the heck did they change the pronounciation of his name???)
There is also a LOT of miscasting The Last Airbender. Worst is Nicole Peltz as Katara. She does just stare desperately all the time. And what did Shyamalan do to Iroh? He is an old man with a funny attitude and a lot of hidden wisdom in the cartoon. In the movie he is a middle aged man that is just dull. Boy but emperor Ozai might be even worse then Kitara! Cliff Curtis feels like a fat sleazy businessman here. The movie incarnation has nothing in common with the mysterious martial arts master Ozai is in the cartoon.
My rant could go on and on, but I guess you get the picture. Stay away from The Last Airbender and just watch the fantastic cartoon. If you have not watched the Nickelodeon series and check out the movie you will just be either bored or confused and wonder what the fuss was all about. If you have watched Avatar: The Last Airbender this movie will feel like a bad fanmade movie with random scenes from season 1 to you.
Wanna find out more about the series? Check out this article at A Dribble of Ink for further reading :-).