The Last Airbender (2010)

3 ratings (2 Epinions reviews)
Share This!
  Ask friends for feedback

The Last Airbender - Entertaining But Flawed

Jul 9, 2010 (Updated Jun 3, 2011)
Review by  
Rated a Very Helpful Review

Pros:Entertaining movie with interesting plot.

Cons:Not much character development.  Few issues with effects.  Slow at times.

The Bottom Line: The Last Airbender has a few issues, but it is still an entertaining movie.


The trailers for The Last Airbender looked interesting, so I was interested in the movie even though I wasn't sure what to expect from it.  

Four nations live in peace for many years.  The nations - Air, Water, Earth, and Fire - can control the different elements.  Each generation, there is one Avatar, a person who can control all four elements.  The Avatar maintains balance and keeps peace among the four nations.  100 years ago, the Avatar disappeared.  After that, the Fire Nation launches attacks, wanting to dominate the other nations instead of live in peace with them.

Brother and sister Sokka and Katara of the Southern Water Tribe discovers Aang, an airbender and the Avatar, frozen and releases him.  Katara is a waterbender - someone who can control water - who is just learning the ability.  Aang doesn't realize how much time has passed, so he doesn't know that the Fire Nation has been waging war against the other nations and oppressing people who can control the other elements.  Aang should be able to deal with the situation, but he hasn't been trained in how to control the other three elements.  Katara and Sokka decide to help Aang and stand up to the Fire Nation.  

Prince Zuko, the son of the Fire Lord, has been exiled by his father until he can find the Avatar.  Prince Zuko, accompanied by his uncle Iroh, is determined to find Aang.  Commander Zhao seems to be the second in command to the Fire Lord.  Zhao likes his position of power and doesn't want Prince Zuko to succeed.  Zhao is also determined to find Aang so he can keep his position of power in the Fire Nation.

The Last Airbender is based on an animated series, Avatar: The Last Airbender.  The first trailer I saw for the movie had that title, but Avatar was removed from the title since James Cameron had a movie with a similar title.  The animated series ran for three seasons and from what I have learned since watching the movie, it is based on events from the first season.  I've never seen the animated series, so I have no idea how the movie compares or what is different beyond it being live action instead of animated.  I have read that this movie is supposed to be the first in a trilogy and I did see set up for that even before knowing about the other movies being planned.

I think the pace is slower overall for The Last Airbender.  Part of that is probably because some time does need to be taken to set up things.  Several scenes do move slower or even seem to drag, making some last too long.  Some of those scenes do get a bit boring.  The pace does pick up in scenes that have some action, only to slow back down once the action stuff is done.  The pacing is rather uneven overall.  I could see some people being bored by some parts of the movie even though I do think the plot is interesting.  It would have been better if there had been more balance to the pacing.  

Action turns up in several scenes of The Last Airbender.  The Fire Nation has been waging war on the other three nations for years.  Once Aang is back, he is involved in a few different confrontations and fights using his ability to control air.  Some violence does turn up during the fights, though it is rather mild.  The movie is rated PG, so there really isn't anything objectionable in the movie.  Younger children might be bored by what is going on because of how long the movie is and how slow much of it moves.  

There are a lot of special effects used in The Last Airbender.  Parts of the effects look good, but there are issues with the effects as well.  When the fire, water, air or earth is actually moving, it looks pretty good, but once the movement is stopped, there isn't any evidence left most of the time.  People hit by water or fire aren't wet or burned - or even singed.  The earth goes right back into the ground and there is no dust left on people.  I think one person who was sort of surrounded by water was wet once the water receded.  Aang is able to send people flying through the air, but once they land, they don't look disheveled like they have been in high winds.  Things would have seemed more believable if the impact of the elements was carried through.  That is sort of a minor thing, but I did notice it.

Character development is very limited for just about every character.  Even the few characters that have a little more development still ending being rather flat overall.  Aang is an airbender and also the Avatar.  From what I understood, the Avatar is reincarnated over and over as different benders who ultimately learn to control all the elements.  When Aang is told that he is the new Avatar, he has trouble dealing with the responsibility and he runs away.  That leads up to him being frozen for 100 years.  Aang doesn't realize how long he had been gone and he does struggle to accept all that has changed and his being the only living airbender.  Noah Ringer does fine with the part.

Katara is the only waterbender in the Southern Water Tribe.  She is trying to learn the ability on her own, but she is struggling.  She is less cautious than her brother and she is the one who pushes to help Aang.  Nicola Peltz is fine in the part, though nothing special.  Sokka is Katara's older brother.  He is more cautious and has no waterbending ability.  He seems nice enough and Jason Rathbone does fine with what he has to work with.  Other members of the Souther Water Tribe, including their grandmother, are briefly shown.  Princess Yue is the princess of the Northern Water Tribe who feels very responsible for her people.  Seychelle Gabrielle is all right in the part.

Prince Zuko should be the heir to the throne of the Fire Nation, but he has been exiled by his father.  Zuko can only return home if he finds the Avatar, which is basically a wild goose chase since the Avatar had been missing for so long.  Zuko is a talented firebender who is determined to find Aang and return home.  Dev Patel does fine with the part.  Iroh is Zuko's uncle.  Iroh is traveling with his nephew and doesn't agree with all the decisions.  Iroh seems to show more respect for the others while also being a powerful firebender.  Shaun Toub is fine in the part.

Ozai is the current Fire Lord and Zuko's father.  Ozai is determined to dominate all the other nations and he is willing to do anything to reach that goal.  He is not a nice guy.  Cliff Curtis doesn't have a lot to do, but he is fine in the part.  Zhao is a commander is the Fire Nation who seems to act as a second in command to the Fire Lord.  Zhao does not want Zuko to succeed.  Aasif Mandvi does well with the part.  Summer Bishil is barely in the movie as Azula, Zuko's sister, who is the favored child of the Fire Lord.

Main Cast
    
Summer Bishil - Azula
Cliff Curtis - Fire Lord Ozai
Seychelle Gabrielle - Princess Yue
Aasif Mandvi - Commander Zhao
Dev Patel - Prince Zuko
Nicola Peltz - Katara
Jason Rathbone - Sokka
Shaun Toub - Iroh
Noah Ringer - Aang

M. Night Shyamalan - Director

The Last Airbender is entertaining even though it has some issues.  The story is interesting, but it does drag in some spots.

*This review was originally posted after I saw the movie in the theater.  It is now available on DVD and Blu-ray.

M. Night Shyamalan Movie Reviews
Lady in the Water ~ The Village ~


Recommend this product? Yes


Share this product review with your friends   
Share This!


Related Deals You Might Like...

The Last Airbender Ds

The Last Airbender Ds

Based on M. Night Shyamalan's live-action film, itself inspired by the Avatar animated series that aired for three seasons on Nickelodeon, The Last Ai...
eBay

$12.71

FREE Shipping
Last Airbender (DS)

Last Airbender (DS)

The Last Airbender [An M. Night Shyamalan Film], a Nintendo console exclusive, is a fantasy based general action game.
Walmart.com

$4.83

+$4.97 shipping
The Last Airbender: The Movie (nintendo Ds, 2010)

The Last Airbender: The Movie (nintendo Ds, 2010)

Based on M. Night Shyamalan's live-action film, itself inspired by the Avatar animated series that aired for three seasons on Nickelodeon, The Last Ai...
eBay

$17.05

+$3.99 shipping
Last Airbender : Nintendo DS

Last Airbender : Nintendo DS

(No description currently available)
Family Video

$19.99

+$2.99 shipping
Avatar: The Last Airbender : PlayStation 2

Avatar: The Last Airbender : PlayStation 2

(No description currently available)
Family Video

$19.99

+$2.99 shipping
Brand Sealed Avatar The Last Airbender For Nintendo Gamecube

Brand Sealed Avatar The Last Airbender For Nintendo Gamecube

Based on the Nickelodeon series, Avatar: The Last Airbender features four playable characters from the show who blend elemental magic and martial arts...
eBay

$11.99

+$5.99 shipping
The Last Airbender: The Movie Nintendo Ds, 2010 Dsi

The Last Airbender: The Movie Nintendo Ds, 2010 Dsi

Based on M. Night Shyamalan's live-action film, itself inspired by the Avatar animated series that aired for three seasons on Nickelodeon, The Last Ai...
eBay

$8.95

+$3.95 shipping
Avatar The Last Airbender For Nintendo Gamecube Brand New, Factory Sealed

Avatar The Last Airbender For Nintendo Gamecube Brand New, Factory Sealed

Based on the Nickelodeon series, Avatar: The Last Airbender features four playable characters from the show who blend elemental magic and martial arts...
eBay

$10.95

FREE Shipping
Avatar: The Last Airbender (sony Playstation 2, 2006) Ps2 Black Label

Avatar: The Last Airbender (sony Playstation 2, 2006) Ps2 Black Label

Play as Aang, Katara, Sokka and Haru as they grow into an unstoppable team utilizing the kung fu-inspired bending arts.
eBay

$17.95

+$3.95 shipping
Avatar The Last Airbender: Into The Inferno Ps2

Avatar The Last Airbender: Into The Inferno Ps2

Based on the third and final season of the acclaimed, anim-influenced action series, Into the Inferno follows Aang and his friends while they prepare ...
eBay

$99.99

FREE Shipping