Escape to the Movies: The Last Airbender

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HOW HOW HOW can they make this a live action film >.< it's an atrocity i tells ya!

I saw this about 2 weeks ago. The movie has some of the best effects I have seen but they killed the movie by making to short, cutting out away to much, and all the funny stuff and joke from the series are gone too. This should have been a 3 hour movie or 2 3 hour movies for the first season alone.

I've watched the show a few times, was impressed... I have heard plenty bad about the movie though, It doesn't make me very happy that fans should be deprived of the film they disserve.

Maybe it was all the negativity around this movie that lowered my expectations, but I actually enjoyed this movie. xD

It's not great (characters are way too serious and underdeveloped) but it's definitely not as crappy as most people say it is.

Maybe in the next movies there'll be more character development, since there's less stuff to explain.

peice of SHIT!!!!

I get why they'd shorten the story because the kids it was obviously made for don't have a great attention span, but I didn't enjoy this movie. The bending moves were way too elaborate compared to the results the brought (a handful of earth benders needing a five second dance just to throw one rock?), the acting was sub par and the characters were way too underdeveloped. Except maybe for Zuko, they got the gist on him.

I know if I would be able to judge this movie by its own merits I would have found it- no, wait, it would still be bad, just not as bad as I think it is now.

It's a shame, but I'm not obsessing over it. I do think they should leave it at this one movie, save the money for something more worthy, because I'm not quite sure they can take this anywhere better.

I'll be watching the animated series again soon, to get this film out of my head.

The first two Harry Potter movies are the best in the series, or, at least, most faithful to the original plot, which, in my opinion, is what makes a movie of that calibre great.

I love the series but shoot me if I see this.

you know, I didn't exactly hate this movie, but I could have actually liked it if they just included the giant godzilla koi fish from the war at the north pole, instead all he did was lift a ceiling of water and everyone ran away.

bob gave it far FAR too much credit. That movie was an unadulterated steaming pile of dumpster shit


When i first heard of this movie i was EXTREMELY EXCITED! This is hands down one of the best cartoons to come out in the US in at least 20 years! I kinda gave up on western animation until i watched this little beauty! Then i noticed M. Night Shamalamadingdong as its director...

Then i was crossing my fingers SOO HARD hoping he wouldnt completely destroy this movie...
Because i know he is talented! He has more talent than i do as a director i will say that much for sure! But he always misdirects that talent and it usually ends up VERY BADLY!

So one of my friends went and saw this movie in theatres he is also a fan of this series he then latter tells me of its total FAIL!

Basically what you said in this review is the way he felt. He liked the action but there was almost NONE of it... The rest of the movie was the story. WHICH he and i would not have a problem with if it was told right!

Hell even the cartoon was mostly story building with a few epic action scenes thrown in to make it interesting for the kiddies... But at least that story was GOOD.

This movie took everything that you could possibly love about this series and destroyed it!

This was the final straw for me Shamalamadingdong!

I truly hate you now!

This was one of my favorite cartoon/animated series of the last decade...
And you shat all over it!

I loved the visuals, but yeah, the characters felt very bland as opposed to the ones from the original series, and the casting seemed strange (why is the Fire Nation just Indians?)

Bob, I want to say thank you. I just watched this and then went to look at what some of my favorite online personalities had to say about it. You are the only one who seemed to give it any level of disconnect and honest appraisal, as you are want to do. Most dwelled on the negative aspects of 3D and used the word shit many times. Not to say we shouldn't disagree, that'd be awfully boring. Ive disagreed with several of your views both here and at the overthinker. But that is why we don't have but one source. I agree that it is not one of the better films we have seen recently. But it feels entirely like the first act of a larger production. I would like to see Night take a crack at the next chapter, but I doubt it will happen. The only spot here where I disagree is that I only liked Unbreakable and 6th Sense.

People desperately need to understand that film, books, tv and games are entirely different media. Adaptations will never be perfect translations. Being unwaiveringly faithful to the source material typically ends with things not feeling right. And people would understand this if they had a broader experience base in all things, mostly books. I have seen countless great books I have loved transformed into movies. After a while you grow accustomed to what will come of the transformation. The best ones make some of the most radical changes. Hell, Fight Club ends completely differently. I've most recently been torn by the changes made translating the movie Outsourced into a weekly sitcom. First time I have made that transition and it is going ok.

I didn't see even half of the great Bob was talking about. A lot of the fight scenes were lame and the plot was equivalent to taking sandpaper and rubbing it directly on my brain.

This most have been the worst movie I had ever seen. I thought it would be good when I enterd the cinema, but after the movie, I just sat and almost cryed! Mr M. Night Shyamalan has destroyed one of the greatest animated series ever made. The movie had no sense of humor what so ever! Sokka was smart (all the time, he is not smart all the time in the series), Katara was cold as ice, and so was Aang. And uncle Iroh, that wasen't him. That was some skinny old man in black beard trying to be him. His love for tea was only shown once....ONLY ONCE! And prince Zuko? That wasen't him. And Zukos father, The Fire Lord? Bah, just some random guy in a palace. If they haven't told me his name I never would have thought that was him.

And the action then....don't even get me started. I'm gonna stay short on this. IT WAS BAAAAAAD!!!

You know what, I can go on all night and tell you why this movie sucked so much but I am gonna stop here and give this movie 0/10. See ya next time.

I found that the tone was off too, it was all too serious all of the humour from the series was totally lost.

The Rifftrax for this is out now, and makes it TOTALLY worth watching.

I disagree on the point "it had Great Cinematography" it didn't. it had Shit Cinematography so much so that i had to triple check that this actually even MADE by M Night. But it was; and it sucked balls.

Here's a rule that I think we should all follow, not just for movies, but for media in general:
Please, do not make an adaptation of something that worked perfectly well by itself.

If the movie did nothing but re-state everything the series did verbatim -without even any alternate character interpretation, interesting new subplots or understanding- then it just hasn't added anything of value to the mythology.

The best adaptations completely rewrite the original in a way that is familiar but completely fresh. Or use the best aspects of their form of media to make the adaptation necessary.

So a funny thing about the Sixth Sense. I saw it twice, and between viewings, I forgot the twist ending. So I got stunned twice by it. That's mostly made me amiable towards Shyamylan, even in the context of his bad movies.

Having said that, if you're someone who never saw the animated series, I suggest you go see it. Probably one of the best (anime?) animated series you'll watch for a while, and easily one of the best examples of compelling storytelling in an animated medium.

I've only recently watched the entire series in about a week and fell madly in love with it. It truly is one of the best TV shows I've ever seen, let alone an animated one. The whole series has an incredibly well thought out arc, the characters are fleshed out and likeable like no others (except Azula, who is awesomely hateable) and the crazy switch in tone between serious and comically silly is brilliant.

Then I watched this movie. I had heard it was bad, much more so than Bob's review let on. But I thought they just left out too many details important to fans, or alter the basic story so that it's maybe less of an adaptation and more of an "inspired by" thing.

Boy was I wrong. Instead of a film that tries something and fails we get the most pointless and soulless assortment of filmed scenes possible.
Every character in the show was immensely likable. The movie didn't even have characters, it had bipedal lifeforms spouting exposition. To be fair, Shyamalan got it right that Zuko was probably the most interesting character, but getting a hint of insight into one out of dozens of non-characters is hardly a saving grace. And then Zhao still had more screentime. Full of incredibly clichéd, predictable, one-dimensional lines. Mandvi probably did a good job, but then he gets plenty of practice on The Daily Show, where he constantly plays one-note dicks.

What story was this thing trying to tell anyway? The Gaang arrives at the Northern Water Tribe at the half-point of the movie. So Shyamalan didn't compress the entire first season into an hour and a half, he compressed it into 45 minutes. They apparently start a rebellion in the Earth Kingdom, partly in a half-assed fighting montage, mostly because at one point someone said "We started a rebellion".

So the second half of the movie is setting up the "big finale". What big finale? It was at this point that I wondered why this movie was made in the first place. 1998's american Godzilla remake was made because Hollywood wanted a big CG lizard rampaging through New York. That's a reason. Still didn't make for a very good movie, but at least we know why they wanted to make it.
Why did they want to make M. Night's The Last Airbender? Certainly not to have an awesome battle or fight scene at the end, because that never happens. The movie's big bad stands defiantly against 4 nameless waterbenders, takes off his cloak, assumes a fighting stance.... and promptly drowns without even pretending to start firebending. What.
But there wasn't anyone to fight Zhao anyway, because the hero didn't kill him in the show, so he can't do it in the movie. Needs to be faithful after all, right?
Wrong. Again, why make this movie? For an impressive finale where this bending-magic stuff kicks the bad guys' ass, maybe? That'd be an idea. Why did I bring up the much-derided Godzilla 2 paragraphs up? Well... because of Kaizilla. Surely, if you saw the Season 1 finale of Avatar your watery eyes popped open at the sight of the Avatar become the Ocean Spirit, laying waste to - oh what's the point in gushing over it when all "Oong" does is raise a wall of water. Which makes the Fire Nation armada run away. What.

I have to correct myself. The movie didn't fail. It couldn't fail. For in order to fail you need to set out to achieve something. M. Night Shyamalan's The Last Airbender wasn't trying to achieve anything. Anything at all. It didn't try to introduce anyone to the show or its world, it didn't try to capture one iota of the show's spirit, it didn't even try to show off cool magic-fu or a giant sea monster.
It only tried to film some scenes reminiscient enough of the show to wear its title to dupe moms into seeing it with their kids. After all, it was "just some show on Nickelodean", right?


Bob, I'll say this much. If you ever, watched at least three episodes of the cartoon, you'd know three things...

1) Why you ca't go to ANY site which may show artwork (IE: Deviantart and so on...) without seein at least ONE piece of bad-phenominal fan-art. (Also see YouTube vids/amv's/other crap. Seriously, these kids ATE. IT. UP.)

2) Why Nickelodeon insisted on showing episodes of it almost CONSTANTLY for several months on end upon the ending of it's final season, even making a separate sequence with little text boxes popping in with info.

3) Why the fans of it were A-B-S-O-L-U-T-L-Y P-I-S-S-E-D O-F-F.

I didn't keep up with Shyamalan much after 'The 6th Sense', but I didn't have to really to hear and see where his career was going. Call it an odd pessemistic hunch, or possibly just some horror-film-hater's hopes, but I think he was just a director who got lucky a few times, and nothing more. If ever a shot at redemption had been offered, his career had recieved a blow from the proverbial guilotine the moment he decided to tackle making a movie around a showwith such an absolutly massive fan-following.

In essence, in the fan's eyes, he had, somehow, inexplicably, managed to re-create Dragonball: The Movie. [Insert Shuddering Here]

"Harry Potter didn't really find out how to be good until the third one" mind you that was the one when they fired Chris Columbus (who couldn't direct traffic let alone a movie), and hired Alfonso Cuarón. MORE PROOF that letting go of Shyamalan could do Airbender some good.

I'm surprised at your ending recommendation there Bob. After watching the movie myself when it came out (which was the worst movie I had seen in 2010) I tuned in to your thoughts on it... out of all the bad things you said, how could you still recommend we go see it?

I know I'm late to the table here (almost 6 months late) but it took me forever to find the comments on the Escapist site. Now that I have, I must comment my wonder at why you would call a movie bad and then recommend people to go and see it?

For a critic it may not cost you money to see a movie so from your perspective, a meh film is no skin off your back. It cost me 10 bucks for the tickets though. Now I didn't see it based on your recommendation but I was looking forward to hearing you bash this film to bits which you did! And then ended saying, "So yeah you know what, give it a shot."

I do enjoy your show and thoughts on movies, I just don't know if I can trust your recommendation on things. Perhaps it's simply a difference of opinion and taste. Yet in this instance we both agreed it was bad movie... so I'm a bit confused here.

On another note my friend said the cartoon is wonderful. I recommend you Skip the movie and go watch that instead.

This movie was my Transformers. The movie was worse than I thought it was going to be, which is pretty bad. It's worse than Twilight (although I don't think Twilight is as bad as everyone says, I will say Twilight is pretty bad.) This movie is just a direct F U to the Avatar fans. I don't even think Edd Wood could screw up this bad.

It's not the worst movie I've ever seen, but it's probably the 2nd or 3rd worst.

You need to see it in order to understand what I'm talking about, but I wouldn't recommend paying to rent it. I'd advise to see it at a friends house or watch it on Netflix if you want to watch it.

I agree with this review a lot. I mean theres no way to cram all of season 1 into an hour and a half without some major fine tuning. If only it were longer maybe so they could have some time for character development kinda like how lord of the rings ran kinda long but in the end was worth it. Lets cross our fingers for the second last airbender to be more compelling.

To a fan of the cartoon it is still shit on a bagel

This might be a bit off-topic but, how the hell could moviebob think Unbreakable was "excellent", it was terrible in pretty much every way, the script was terrible, the characters were uninteresting and incredibly stupid, and the acting wasnt very good either.
On-Topic: The fighting scenes in this movie was just fucking annoying, when in the cartoon did the characters have to dance for 40 minutes to fire/water/air/earth bend?

I just came back to this following the Spider Man review. As someone who really does like the television show, "disappointed" doesn't quite cover how I reacted to this movie. The fight choreography was so awful I actually laughed in the theater, the main actors were all static or barely one dimensional, and frankly even the casting seems racist given how the original characters looked. Though props to Aasif Mandvi, he's hilarious without even trying.

Just to back this up, meet "pebble bending".

My whole point here is, why does this get such a pass in your book? In your other reviews anything like this earns a howl of corporate cash-in, but here you seem to overlook just about all of its flaws except that it's "too ambitious". Just a question that kind of bugs me about your reviews.

I'm going to have to disagree with you on the action scenes. It was one of the things that bothered me, next to characters pronouncing names wrong and the 3D that wasn't there. When the characters were fighting it took so long for the moves they made to give a result, it pulled me out of it. Maybe it's because I've seen the animated series and I already have an opinion on how the fighting should go, but the way I see it, action scenes are supposed to be more than just well executed choreography. I think that in an action scene, specifically a scene where some characters fight, has to give the impression that those characters are truly fighting, not just dancing. They have to look like they're trying to hurt each other, and in this film, because it took so long for the moves to generate a response, it doesn't feel that way. Remove the elements 'bending' and you have a padded dance. It's been long since I have seen the movie, so the other action scenes have been forgotten, but this is what bothered me about them, and I don't think they come close to fantastic.

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