Movie #277 The Last Airbender
(2010, US, d. M. Night Shyamalan)
I love writing about Shyamalan’s films, because it’s hard to get inspiration to write such atrocious reviews just off the top of your head. You really need something that drives you. And in this case, it’s his most recent directorial effort – The Last Airbender, based off the popular Nickolodeon cartoon series. Not being familiar with the source material, all I can give you is my opinion on the film itself, which I’ve also summarized into one word: crap. Seriously. There’s not a single thing in this worth getting praise for, save for some art direction. First of all, Shyamalan has completely forgone with any sense of narrative driven plot here. He jumps from location to location without any clear reason for any decision he makes, save for trying to get an entire TV series stuffed into less than two hours of screen time. None of the characters had any chemistry with each other. Apart from semi-talented Noah Ringer, who plays the lead role of Aang, I don’t even want to spend 5 seconds looking up some of these guys. It’s a waste of time. Even Dev Patel feels like some relative Shyamalan just wanted to cast. Thirdly, the special effects are so completely non-story driven, it’s ridiculous. Without any clear sense of narrative, the effects seem just in place to create something worthy to look at, and considering the material they are in, even the effects seem ashamed and half-hearted. The writing is atrocious as well, but I’m sure you could tell I felt that way already. The Last Airbender is a film that requires no thought, though mainly because it doesn’t seem as if any thought was put into it in the first place. And though I don’t agree with critics who think Shyamalan should just give up on his filmmaking career, this certainly gives those critics a lot more credibility. I feel sorry for the creators of the show. To see something they created fall apart in front of their eyes must really be difficult.