Just watched TLA and...I hated it.


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sanaSANA

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Just watched TLA and...I hated it.
« on: July 08, 2010, 11:31:18 PM »
Hello everyone! It's Sana, but I forgot my password to my account and my email to access it. :/ I have just watched TLA a few days ago and was very eager to share my opinion. Please don't be offended.

I respect MNight's interpretation, but I really did expect more from him. The acting in my opinion was trash. I personally thought the only decent acting came from General Zhao and Iroh. Noah Ringer's acting wasn't tip top, but I didn't expect it to be. He is first, and foremost, a martial artist, not an actor. And it was also his first time ever acting, so I understand. He did pretty good for it being his first time. The acting from everyone overall was very stiff.

The music was wonderful! The martial arts were wonderful.

The trailers made it seem better than it really was.

The beginning of the movie was soooo awkward! it jumped around toooo much. It seemed just thrown together and the only way one could really understand was if they had seen the show.

I felt that MNight did not capture what Avatar was really about. A lot of the things that made the show so endearing were missing in the movie. I understand the movie has a time limit, but I believe the time given could have been put to better use. The MIA Kyoshi warriors REAALLLYY disappointed me. I can't believe he chose to cut them out, especially after all the time and effort put into the actors who played them. I believe MNight stated that the movie wasn't about them and he made a tough choice to cut them out. Wrong choice.

It was as if he saw what great potential the show had to be a movie, and started off with a great idea, but just threw everything together in a sloppy manner. I'm not sure if he had watched the show, or not, but I believe he should dedicate some time into doing so. Immediately, if he is going to be scripting the next movie.

I wasn't the only disappointed one. Many people in the theater were commenting, saying how they wasted their money or how they thought it would be better than it was.

I cannot think of anything else at this current moment, but if anyone responds with a comment I just may think of something.

EDIT: Before I saw the movie, I went to eat at Chili's and our waitress was really friendly. She talked with us for a bit and said that she had seen the movie and not to watch it. She said something like (indirect quote) "It was horrible! I'm a fan and I hated the movie. And Indian people are bad directors, I know because I'm Indian and I've seen enough Bollywood movies to say that. Don't waste your money."  That really deterred me. I was thinking that maaayyybe she was wrong. After all, some of MNight's other films I really liked. This one couldn't be as bad as she says. That night, I went to see it.
« Last Edit: July 09, 2010, 05:50:33 AM by sanaSANA »

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Re: Just watched TLA and...I hated it.
« Reply #1 on: July 09, 2010, 01:00:22 AM »
It's Admiral Zhao. That's all I'm going to say here. ::)
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Re: Just watched TLA and...I hated it.
« Reply #2 on: July 09, 2010, 02:40:12 AM »
i cant respond sana's comment coz i havent see the movie yet   >:(....its not release yet in jakarta....why it take it sooooooooo long....damn......
pardon my english :)

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Re: Just watched TLA and...I hated it.
« Reply #3 on: July 09, 2010, 05:38:54 AM »
It's Admiral Zhao. That's all I'm going to say here. ::)

please excuse my mistake.

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Re: Just watched TLA and...I hated it.
« Reply #4 on: July 09, 2010, 05:43:31 AM »
It's Admiral Zhao. That's all I'm going to say here. ::)
\

Have you seen the movie? After reading it, which I'm sure you have since you corrected me, that's all you have to say? Can't be. I would like some input.

sanaSANA

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Re: Just watched TLA and...I hated it.
« Reply #5 on: July 09, 2010, 05:52:18 AM »
i cant respond sana's comment coz i havent see the movie yet   >:(....its not release yet in jakarta....why it take it sooooooooo long....damn......

I know it's not the same, but they've already put up pirated versions.

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Re: Just watched TLA and...I hated it.
« Reply #6 on: July 09, 2010, 11:39:07 AM »
i cant respond sana's comment coz i havent see the movie yet   >:(....its not release yet in jakarta....why it take it sooooooooo long....damn......

I know it's not the same, but they've already put up pirated versions.
naturally they have pirated versions

@sanaSANA
the movie was definitely not the best but i think expectations where set too high in general and that can't have helped with general reviews - despite not REALLY liking the movie i try to be more moderate so please excuse me for agreeing or disagreeing with you  ;)
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Re: Just watched TLA and...I hated it.
« Reply #7 on: July 09, 2010, 01:57:24 PM »
Hey there everyone.

So I have seen The Last Airbender. And here is my review:

Over three years ago, it was announced that a live-action film adaptation of Avatar: The Last Airbender would be made under the helm of M. Night Shyamalan. Being an enormous fan of both the show "Avatar" and M. Night, this was mind-blowing news. Just the thought of Avatar in big-screen format was one heck of a good feeling, and the fact that it would be directed, written, and produced by the masterful M. Night was extremely promising. For years I awaited the release as I dreamed of all the possibilities the live-action film could actually be.

In the winter of 2008, casting details were announced, and if anyone can remember that time, the internet was cluttered with battle zones over why it was terrible or why it wasn't necessarily that bad. I myself, was overall on the sidelines, but even with that being said, I questioned the fate of The Last Airbender. A few months later, filming began. Although I was becoming increasingly skeptical, I always found it very exciting to see a release of shots from the set or an interview with a cast member. More info kept on coming to the web, and it was then that some optimism started coming back from me. A teaser trailer was then released in June of 2009, and while I had some concerning questions that I wished to be answered, I felt there was hope. Many aspects of that trailer had pleased me in some way. Not much more info came until the Super Bowl of 2010, were a TV Spot was put online and on the air. My doubts were put to the shelf. At that point I could say "Alright, this is awesome. Can't wait for July".

3D is announced, to which I was almost certain that the feature would be a flop. But I didn't care, nothing was keeping me from seeing the 2D version. Release date moves to a day early for a July 1st opening. It's coming closer, so much closer. We're almost upon the very edge of release and....the reviews come in. Videos are posted on YouTube. Ebert calls it "agonizing", others call it a failure. The internet is flooded with dismal reviews, and I'm sitting there with disappointment entering my mind. What in the world is going on? Wasn't this supposed to be Shyamalan's best movie? I mean, I know he's had some films in the past that weren't well-received critically, but this was a whole different show floor. I mean, this is my Avatar, what has he done to my Avatar?!

Look, I mean, I wasn't expecting Academy Awards, that wasn't exactly Shyamalan's intention. But let's look at films with  similar demographic: Harry Potter, for instance. Every one of those films have earned positive reviews, and it seems just plain inappropriate that The Last Airbender couldn't pull that off. When a film doesn't even seem to have one single decent review from a critic, something has to be wrong. So when I'm entering the theatre, I have an open-mind, still, but in the back of my mind I think I know what to expect.

So this is where the review actually starts.

Within the first ten minutes of The Last Airbender, the first thing I notice is how each character that is shown in the film, is never actually introduced. When watching the TV series, I had a clear vision of who the characters were because of how well they were presented to us. Throughout the entirety of TLA, probably every single character seems like a total stranger. Look, I know who these characters are. I've seen every single episode of the show as I love the series. But this is Shyamalan's vision, and these "other versions" of the characters seem so ill-represented in TLA that I would imagine that anyone who is not familiar with the series would have trouble understanding who exactly these characters are. There are number of culprits for this serious flaw. 1: The camera never seems to actually take the time to get a good-look at the characters. This could either be Shyamalan's fault for not bothering to use these details when presenting us with a new character, or it could be the editors, or most-unlikely, the cinematographer (whom I respect for the past films he's done, and there are many scenes here where he's done a nice job). 2: The screenplay. There's so little interaction between characters to the point where their relationship with each other is unclear, and also to the point where there's a sever lacking of descriptive dialogue for each character. 3: We all know that this way too short of a film, and if Shyamalan just told himself to take his time with scenes, let it flow, and if if it ends up being over two hours, so be it. Just because there will be a lot of children watching this movie, that doesn't you should sacrifice the quality for children's attention.

In the end, I'm left with a feeling that this is Aang, Katara, and Sokka. With all of the factors listed above, they seem like strangers.

Another serious error in TLA is the build-up that leads to exciting events. There is none. No build-up, no "leading up" to the events. Each scene plays out as "BOOM. BOOM. BOOM." "Slow down", I said to myself while watching. "Can we just examine a scene for a while?" Let's stop right there and revisit the term "examining a scene". Anyone who knows the classic style of M. Night's directing should very well know that looking at an event in the film for a while, delving in to the characters as they interact with each other, observing the setting, the people--that's something Shyamalan is a master at, and it makes me wonder why it's not apparent in The Last Airbender. Was it M. Night's mindset when developing the film? I don't know.

So I've stated the flaws, but now I'll say what I really did enjoy: The bending. Good, good, good job on the bending. The visuals that come from the bending are a joy to watch, whether it be the wonderfully well-done martial arts or the water or fire glimmering and zooming through the air as it to attacks the enemy. Props to the choreographers and visual effects teams. Colors are vibrant with the elements, and I love the relationship between the martial arts and the elements. It all moves together with harmony, and it looks very soulful.

As for the visual and special effects as a whole, it looks very good in most cases, but there's one problem: It has the tendency to look very out of place when seen next to live actors. This became a bit distracting in scenes.

There's another issue here I have to bring up: Where's the color palette? Excluding the Spirit World scenes and some of the Northern Water tribe, it's absent. It makes many shots look unfinished and still in the editing process. With such a rich world like Avatar's, I would expect a definitive feel to TLA, but there really isn't.

Speaking of the world of Avatar, throughout TLA, there were many instances where I wasn't feeling like this was the Avatar world. I wanted so much more in feeling as if I had been transported into a live-action world born from the TV series. I really wanted that insane feeling of awe as I had when I watched the beautiful show.

Let's now talk about the actors. None of them are bad, but none of them display the characters well-enough, and I ponder as to whose fault this is, the script or the actors. An actor I was very pleased with-- Dev Patel. Wonderfully well-acted, and he pretty much seems like a Zuko I suppose, but with the lack of good character examination and development, I wanted more. Another great casting choice was for Princess Yue. She both looks like the character and acts as her very well. But in the scene where she gives herself for the moon, I felt no real emotion like I did with the show, because again, in TLA the characters simply are not presented well. The acting is fine folks, but other factors play in to cloud their good acting, unfortunately.

One of the immediate questions I and fans had when the film was announced was "What will Appa and Momo look like?" Well they sure do look terrific, but I was immensely disappointed when coming out of the movie that I realized that there really were very few shots of Momo and Appa. This is sad because they have such a vibrant personality and importance in the show. I love Appa and Momo, and it comes down to the same quote: "I wanted more".

Now here's one of the most significant questions that must be asked here: Is the film entertaining? And you know what, yes it is. I was never exactly bored as I was annoyed, and as I said before, the bending was some terrific eye candy. And I've criticized the screenplay before, and while I believe it is very flawed, there were two fantastic lines in there that I was very pleased with, and they really are very wise. The ending finale of the movie was visually extraordinary to watch, and the film never really loses site of it's exciting moments. So to say that The Last Airbender wasn't entertaining would be a flat-out lie. It's fun, it really is. The flaws are immensely distracting, yes, and while I personally was left with a mostly bad taste in the mouth, I had many family members telling me they had a great time with TLA, and the fact that they are happy pleases me. So in a way, Shyamalan has succeeded. He's stated in interviews that he wanted to make an adventurous summer film for the family, and he did. I had fun watching this with my family. I was seriously bothered by a number of things, and I'm left wondering what could have been, because yes, I personally don't think they represented Avatar very well. So I suppose what I'm trying to say is that it's a bad adaptation, but it succeeded in its mission to bring the family together, which is something we can all appreciate.

I want a reboot, actually. Because the characters haven't been well-established, it would be inappropriate for this to carry on in a sequel. I want a reboot that well-displays the rich world of Avatar, and also brings the same vision that The Last Airbender did very well.

Oh, and I apologize for this extremely long review, there was just a lot to say.

Thanks guys. ;)

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Re: Just watched TLA and...I hated it.
« Reply #8 on: July 09, 2010, 04:47:37 PM »
Shyamalan ruined any chance of a great trilogy with this first installment. Just about everything was wrong in the movie. It was terrible!  Not just from an adaption perspective, but from a general film perspective. :'(

The only way TLA could bounce back is with an entirely different cast and crew -- including director and screenwriter. Perhaps (after completely rebooting for the sequel) after the third film, the M. Night first installment will get a reboot to flow effortlessly into the rebooted second and third installments.

I think Night simply lost himself in the special-effects, becoming an even lower-class Michael Bay. It truly shocks me that people would defend this souless, horribly acted, terribly edited, rushed mess. But I try to bite my tongue, as people have their own opinions.

For the sake of his fans, and the fans of Avatar: The Last Airbender, I hope he has nothing to do with the sequel. For the first time ever, I'm not just sad, I'm angry about an M. Night film.


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Re: Just watched TLA and...I hated it.
« Reply #9 on: July 09, 2010, 05:56:09 PM »
i cant respond sana's comment coz i havent see the movie yet   >:(....its not release yet in jakarta....why it take it sooooooooo long....damn......

I know it's not the same, but they've already put up pirated versions.
naturally they have pirated versions

@sanaSANA
the movie was definitely not the best but i think expectations where set too high in general and that can't have helped with general reviews - despite not REALLY liking the movie i try to be more moderate so please excuse me for agreeing or disagreeing with you  ;)

agreed :]

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Re: Just watched TLA and...I hated it.
« Reply #10 on: July 09, 2010, 06:01:46 PM »
Hey there everyone.

So I have seen The Last Airbender. And here is my review:

Over three years ago, it was announced that a live-action film adaptation of Avatar: The Last Airbender would be made under the helm of M. Night Shyamalan. Being an enormous fan of both the show "Avatar" and M. Night, this was mind-blowing news. Just the thought of Avatar in big-screen format was one heck of a good feeling, and the fact that it would be directed, written, and produced by the masterful M. Night was extremely promising. For years I awaited the release as I dreamed of all the possibilities the live-action film could actually be.

In the winter of 2008, casting details were announced, and if anyone can remember that time, the internet was cluttered with battle zones over why it was terrible or why it wasn't necessarily that bad. I myself, was overall on the sidelines, but even with that being said, I questioned the fate of The Last Airbender. A few months later, filming began. Although I was becoming increasingly skeptical, I always found it very exciting to see a release of shots from the set or an interview with a cast member. More info kept on coming to the web, and it was then that some optimism started coming back from me. A teaser trailer was then released in June of 2009, and while I had some concerning questions that I wished to be answered, I felt there was hope. Many aspects of that trailer had pleased me in some way. Not much more info came until the Super Bowl of 2010, were a TV Spot was put online and on the air. My doubts were put to the shelf. At that point I could say "Alright, this is awesome. Can't wait for July".

3D is announced, to which I was almost certain that the feature would be a flop. But I didn't care, nothing was keeping me from seeing the 2D version. Release date moves to a day early for a July 1st opening. It's coming closer, so much closer. We're almost upon the very edge of release and....the reviews come in. Videos are posted on YouTube. Ebert calls it "agonizing", others call it a failure. The internet is flooded with dismal reviews, and I'm sitting there with disappointment entering my mind. What in the world is going on? Wasn't this supposed to be Shyamalan's best movie? I mean, I know he's had some films in the past that weren't well-received critically, but this was a whole different show floor. I mean, this is my Avatar, what has he done to my Avatar?!

Look, I mean, I wasn't expecting Academy Awards, that wasn't exactly Shyamalan's intention. But let's look at films with  similar demographic: Harry Potter, for instance. Every one of those films have earned positive reviews, and it seems just plain inappropriate that The Last Airbender couldn't pull that off. When a film doesn't even seem to have one single decent review from a critic, something has to be wrong. So when I'm entering the theatre, I have an open-mind, still, but in the back of my mind I think I know what to expect.

So this is where the review actually starts.

Within the first ten minutes of The Last Airbender, the first thing I notice is how each character that is shown in the film, is never actually introduced. When watching the TV series, I had a clear vision of who the characters were because of how well they were presented to us. Throughout the entirety of TLA, probably every single character seems like a total stranger. Look, I know who these characters are. I've seen every single episode of the show as I love the series. But this is Shyamalan's vision, and these "other versions" of the characters seem so ill-represented in TLA that I would imagine that anyone who is not familiar with the series would have trouble understanding who exactly these characters are. There are number of culprits for this serious flaw. 1: The camera never seems to actually take the time to get a good-look at the characters. This could either be Shyamalan's fault for not bothering to use these details when presenting us with a new character, or it could be the editors, or most-unlikely, the cinematographer (whom I respect for the past films he's done, and there are many scenes here where he's done a nice job). 2: The screenplay. There's so little interaction between characters to the point where their relationship with each other is unclear, and also to the point where there's a sever lacking of descriptive dialogue for each character. 3: We all know that this way too short of a film, and if Shyamalan just told himself to take his time with scenes, let it flow, and if if it ends up being over two hours, so be it. Just because there will be a lot of children watching this movie, that doesn't you should sacrifice the quality for children's attention.

In the end, I'm left with a feeling that this is Aang, Katara, and Sokka. With all of the factors listed above, they seem like strangers.

Another serious error in TLA is the build-up that leads to exciting events. There is none. No build-up, no "leading up" to the events. Each scene plays out as "BOOM. BOOM. BOOM." "Slow down", I said to myself while watching. "Can we just examine a scene for a while?" Let's stop right there and revisit the term "examining a scene". Anyone who knows the classic style of M. Night's directing should very well know that looking at an event in the film for a while, delving in to the characters as they interact with each other, observing the setting, the people--that's something Shyamalan is a master at, and it makes me wonder why it's not apparent in The Last Airbender. Was it M. Night's mindset when developing the film? I don't know.

So I've stated the flaws, but now I'll say what I really did enjoy: The bending. Good, good, good job on the bending. The visuals that come from the bending are a joy to watch, whether it be the wonderfully well-done martial arts or the water or fire glimmering and zooming through the air as it to attacks the enemy. Props to the choreographers and visual effects teams. Colors are vibrant with the elements, and I love the relationship between the martial arts and the elements. It all moves together with harmony, and it looks very soulful.

As for the visual and special effects as a whole, it looks very good in most cases, but there's one problem: It has the tendency to look very out of place when seen next to live actors. This became a bit distracting in scenes.

There's another issue here I have to bring up: Where's the color palette? Excluding the Spirit World scenes and some of the Northern Water tribe, it's absent. It makes many shots look unfinished and still in the editing process. With such a rich world like Avatar's, I would expect a definitive feel to TLA, but there really isn't.

Speaking of the world of Avatar, throughout TLA, there were many instances where I wasn't feeling like this was the Avatar world. I wanted so much more in feeling as if I had been transported into a live-action world born from the TV series. I really wanted that insane feeling of awe as I had when I watched the beautiful show.

Let's now talk about the actors. None of them are bad, but none of them display the characters well-enough, and I ponder as to whose fault this is, the script or the actors. An actor I was very pleased with-- Dev Patel. Wonderfully well-acted, and he pretty much seems like a Zuko I suppose, but with the lack of good character examination and development, I wanted more. Another great casting choice was for Princess Yue. She both looks like the character and acts as her very well. But in the scene where she gives herself for the moon, I felt no real emotion like I did with the show, because again, in TLA the characters simply are not presented well. The acting is fine folks, but other factors play in to cloud their good acting, unfortunately.

One of the immediate questions I and fans had when the film was announced was "What will Appa and Momo look like?" Well they sure do look terrific, but I was immensely disappointed when coming out of the movie that I realized that there really were very few shots of Momo and Appa. This is sad because they have such a vibrant personality and importance in the show. I love Appa and Momo, and it comes down to the same quote: "I wanted more".

Now here's one of the most significant questions that must be asked here: Is the film entertaining? And you know what, yes it is. I was never exactly bored as I was annoyed, and as I said before, the bending was some terrific eye candy. And I've criticized the screenplay before, and while I believe it is very flawed, there were two fantastic lines in there that I was very pleased with, and they really are very wise. The ending finale of the movie was visually extraordinary to watch, and the film never really loses site of it's exciting moments. So to say that The Last Airbender wasn't entertaining would be a flat-out lie. It's fun, it really is. The flaws are immensely distracting, yes, and while I personally was left with a mostly bad taste in the mouth, I had many family members telling me they had a great time with TLA, and the fact that they are happy pleases me. So in a way, Shyamalan has succeeded. He's stated in interviews that he wanted to make an adventurous summer film for the family, and he did. I had fun watching this with my family. I was seriously bothered by a number of things, and I'm left wondering what could have been, because yes, I personally don't think they represented Avatar very well. So I suppose what I'm trying to say is that it's a bad adaptation, but it succeeded in its mission to bring the family together, which is something we can all appreciate.

I want a reboot, actually. Because the characters haven't been well-established, it would be inappropriate for this to carry on in a sequel. I want a reboot that well-displays the rich world of Avatar, and also brings the same vision that The Last Airbender did very well.

Oh, and I apologize for this extremely long review, there was just a lot to say.

Thanks guys. ;)

You have said it all perfectly. I completely agree. Thank you!

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Re: Just watched TLA and...I hated it.
« Reply #11 on: July 13, 2010, 01:03:58 PM »
i agree with everyone who said the movie sucked. cuz it did. i was so disappointed with it, I wanted to cry when i got home. ive been so excited for this movie to come out and now that its out, i wish M. Night wouldnt have ever thought about recreating it into a big screen film. my boyfriend told me it was going to be terrible, but i told him to just wait and watch, it was gona be good. no, i was way wrong about that. the casting was terrible too  :-\ i didnt like who they picked for Iroh, Zuko, Ozai, Azula, Katara, Sokka... it was just all backwards, the people who were supposed to be dark were pale and the people who were supposed to be pale were dark  >:( everything about that movie just sucked major. and yes i know this isnt a very well-organized review but right now im just upset.

i cant think of one good thing to say about the movie. they changed everyting, Aang's name, Sokka's,  Iroh's. everytime someone said Iroh i though they meant to say ear, its not Earoh. i thought of soap whenever someone said Sokka's name. and dont even get me started on Aang's name. M. Night completely ruined a great series.

the bending bothered me too. there was too much movement to do a simple move. i think M. Night would have been better off sticking to how they actually did it in the cartoon, cuz it was way better in there than in what he produced. i mean, there was like a whole minute of movement before anything would actually move. and firebending...  :'( i dont even know where to start. out of all the elements, firebending was the one my mom liked the most because she said you didnt need anything to bend it. you could create it. with water you need water, air you need air, earth you need earth. fire was supposed to be special. i was joking throughout the whole movie until i came to the part where Iroh was bending at the oasis. the other firebenders were like "he created fire out of nothing! run!" it was just so ridiculous and after that i just sat there slumped in my seat waiting for this agonizing thing everyone called a movie to be done with.

the firebenders were not ruthless!! that was what was so terrifying about them in the show, they werent scared of anything, they took out anyone in their path, and they could shoot fire from their fingertips! and in the movie.... he interpreted them in such a terrible way it made me cringe. that thing was not a movie, it was a disaster. a nightmare. i didnt like it at all and i cant believe i contributed to their $100 million so far. i wish i could take it back because that movie did not deserve it.

im not angry about the movie so much as sad and disappointed  :-\ the series is the only great thing left and thats completed with nothing new to come
« Last Edit: July 13, 2010, 01:17:02 PM by avatarluv13 »

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Re: Just watched TLA and...I hated it.
« Reply #12 on: July 18, 2010, 01:38:58 AM »
Hey there everyone.

So I have seen The Last Airbender. And here is my review:

Over three years ago, it was announced that a live-action film adaptation of Avatar: The Last Airbender would be made under the helm of M. Night Shyamalan. Being an enormous fan of both the show "Avatar" and M. Night, this was mind-blowing news. Just the thought of Avatar in big-screen format was one heck of a good feeling, and the fact that it would be directed, written, and produced by the masterful M. Night was extremely promising. For years I awaited the release as I dreamed of all the possibilities the live-action film could actually be.

In the winter of 2008, casting details were announced, and if anyone can remember that time, the internet was cluttered with battle zones over why it was terrible or why it wasn't necessarily that bad. I myself, was overall on the sidelines, but even with that being said, I questioned the fate of The Last Airbender. A few months later, filming began. Although I was becoming increasingly skeptical, I always found it very exciting to see a release of shots from the set or an interview with a cast member. More info kept on coming to the web, and it was then that some optimism started coming back from me. A teaser trailer was then released in June of 2009, and while I had some concerning questions that I wished to be answered, I felt there was hope. Many aspects of that trailer had pleased me in some way. Not much more info came until the Super Bowl of 2010, were a TV Spot was put online and on the air. My doubts were put to the shelf. At that point I could say "Alright, this is awesome. Can't wait for July".

3D is announced, to which I was almost certain that the feature would be a flop. But I didn't care, nothing was keeping me from seeing the 2D version. Release date moves to a day early for a July 1st opening. It's coming closer, so much closer. We're almost upon the very edge of release and....the reviews come in. Videos are posted on YouTube. Ebert calls it "agonizing", others call it a failure. The internet is flooded with dismal reviews, and I'm sitting there with disappointment entering my mind. What in the world is going on? Wasn't this supposed to be Shyamalan's best movie? I mean, I know he's had some films in the past that weren't well-received critically, but this was a whole different show floor. I mean, this is my Avatar, what has he done to my Avatar?!

Look, I mean, I wasn't expecting Academy Awards, that wasn't exactly Shyamalan's intention. But let's look at films with  similar demographic: Harry Potter, for instance. Every one of those films have earned positive reviews, and it seems just plain inappropriate that The Last Airbender couldn't pull that off. When a film doesn't even seem to have one single decent review from a critic, something has to be wrong. So when I'm entering the theatre, I have an open-mind, still, but in the back of my mind I think I know what to expect.

So this is where the review actually starts.

Within the first ten minutes of The Last Airbender, the first thing I notice is how each character that is shown in the film, is never actually introduced. When watching the TV series, I had a clear vision of who the characters were because of how well they were presented to us. Throughout the entirety of TLA, probably every single character seems like a total stranger. Look, I know who these characters are. I've seen every single episode of the show as I love the series. But this is Shyamalan's vision, and these "other versions" of the characters seem so ill-represented in TLA that I would imagine that anyone who is not familiar with the series would have trouble understanding who exactly these characters are. There are number of culprits for this serious flaw. 1: The camera never seems to actually take the time to get a good-look at the characters. This could either be Shyamalan's fault for not bothering to use these details when presenting us with a new character, or it could be the editors, or most-unlikely, the cinematographer (whom I respect for the past films he's done, and there are many scenes here where he's done a nice job). 2: The screenplay. There's so little interaction between characters to the point where their relationship with each other is unclear, and also to the point where there's a sever lacking of descriptive dialogue for each character. 3: We all know that this way too short of a film, and if Shyamalan just told himself to take his time with scenes, let it flow, and if if it ends up being over two hours, so be it. Just because there will be a lot of children watching this movie, that doesn't you should sacrifice the quality for children's attention.

In the end, I'm left with a feeling that this is Aang, Katara, and Sokka. With all of the factors listed above, they seem like strangers.

Another serious error in TLA is the build-up that leads to exciting events. There is none. No build-up, no "leading up" to the events. Each scene plays out as "BOOM. BOOM. BOOM." "Slow down", I said to myself while watching. "Can we just examine a scene for a while?" Let's stop right there and revisit the term "examining a scene". Anyone who knows the classic style of M. Night's directing should very well know that looking at an event in the film for a while, delving in to the characters as they interact with each other, observing the setting, the people--that's something Shyamalan is a master at, and it makes me wonder why it's not apparent in The Last Airbender. Was it M. Night's mindset when developing the film? I don't know.

So I've stated the flaws, but now I'll say what I really did enjoy: The bending. Good, good, good job on the bending. The visuals that come from the bending are a joy to watch, whether it be the wonderfully well-done martial arts or the water or fire glimmering and zooming through the air as it to attacks the enemy. Props to the choreographers and visual effects teams. Colors are vibrant with the elements, and I love the relationship between the martial arts and the elements. It all moves together with harmony, and it looks very soulful.

As for the visual and special effects as a whole, it looks very good in most cases, but there's one problem: It has the tendency to look very out of place when seen next to live actors. This became a bit distracting in scenes.

There's another issue here I have to bring up: Where's the color palette? Excluding the Spirit World scenes and some of the Northern Water tribe, it's absent. It makes many shots look unfinished and still in the editing process. With such a rich world like Avatar's, I would expect a definitive feel to TLA, but there really isn't.

Speaking of the world of Avatar, throughout TLA, there were many instances where I wasn't feeling like this was the Avatar world. I wanted so much more in feeling as if I had been transported into a live-action world born from the TV series. I really wanted that insane feeling of awe as I had when I watched the beautiful show.

Let's now talk about the actors. None of them are bad, but none of them display the characters well-enough, and I ponder as to whose fault this is, the script or the actors. An actor I was very pleased with-- Dev Patel. Wonderfully well-acted, and he pretty much seems like a Zuko I suppose, but with the lack of good character examination and development, I wanted more. Another great casting choice was for Princess Yue. She both looks like the character and acts as her very well. But in the scene where she gives herself for the moon, I felt no real emotion like I did with the show, because again, in TLA the characters simply are not presented well. The acting is fine folks, but other factors play in to cloud their good acting, unfortunately.

One of the immediate questions I and fans had when the film was announced was "What will Appa and Momo look like?" Well they sure do look terrific, but I was immensely disappointed when coming out of the movie that I realized that there really were very few shots of Momo and Appa. This is sad because they have such a vibrant personality and importance in the show. I love Appa and Momo, and it comes down to the same quote: "I wanted more".

Now here's one of the most significant questions that must be asked here: Is the film entertaining? And you know what, yes it is. I was never exactly bored as I was annoyed, and as I said before, the bending was some terrific eye candy. And I've criticized the screenplay before, and while I believe it is very flawed, there were two fantastic lines in there that I was very pleased with, and they really are very wise. The ending finale of the movie was visually extraordinary to watch, and the film never really loses site of it's exciting moments. So to say that The Last Airbender wasn't entertaining would be a flat-out lie. It's fun, it really is. The flaws are immensely distracting, yes, and while I personally was left with a mostly bad taste in the mouth, I had many family members telling me they had a great time with TLA, and the fact that they are happy pleases me. So in a way, Shyamalan has succeeded. He's stated in interviews that he wanted to make an adventurous summer film for the family, and he did. I had fun watching this with my family. I was seriously bothered by a number of things, and I'm left wondering what could have been, because yes, I personally don't think they represented Avatar very well. So I suppose what I'm trying to say is that it's a bad adaptation, but it succeeded in its mission to bring the family together, which is something we can all appreciate.

I want a reboot, actually. Because the characters haven't been well-established, it would be inappropriate for this to carry on in a sequel. I want a reboot that well-displays the rich world of Avatar, and also brings the same vision that The Last Airbender did very well.

Oh, and I apologize for this extremely long review, there was just a lot to say.

Thanks guys. ;)

I completely empathize with your review shadowbender,  I remember the joyous feeling of "Hope is all we have left!!" that was felt two years ago as we waited for tidbits of information on the cast and crew of this movie.  I remember the excitement I felt as I mailed in my audition tape for paramounts online Aang casting call.  Now this feeling has completely vanished, we are left with an anticlimactic end to a long journey.

You seemed to like the film a bit more than I did, because I have to disagree with you on one of the points of the film that you praised.  Personally I think that M.Night did not understand the concept of bending, instead of the bending being an extension of one's own movements, I think that he though it was more like a spell that is cast by performing inticate motions (a la the part in the film where we see Aang doing like 10 minutes of martial arts just to shoot a single air wave or something haha)

Otherwise, I think you make some very good points

Imalshen

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Re: Just watched TLA and...I hated it.
« Reply #13 on: July 19, 2010, 12:02:33 PM »
You didn't like the bending? That's interesting. I'm overly biased though. I could watch and learn martial arts forms all day so I just drooled. But I guess it does look rather different than the show (Saying nothing of those poor earthbenders who were going all out and only got one rock).
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Re: Just watched TLA and...I hated it.
« Reply #14 on: July 28, 2010, 11:09:35 PM »
at last i got the date on TLA showing in jakarta..its aug 4th.i probably go watch the 3D instead coz u all told that the film not so great.
pardon my english :)