It Was Okay.
STORY: The show has an amazing story, but this movie's story is messed up and it moves too quick at a fast pace since it's only 1hr-and-40mins, and I agree that it should have been longer than that. It's just too many episodes crammed into one tight film along with cheesy dialogue that didn't make sense. The names on some of the main characters were pronounced wrong and I was a little disappointed like some other people were. There were also some parts included in this movie that were not in the show and got me a little lost. I'm sorry to say, but there was also barely any time to develop the characters, leaving you nothing to identify with. I'm also curious why the Kyoshi Warriors were cut out from the film. It could be that they couldn't make the movie longer than 1hr-and-40mins or something like that.
The script for this movie definitely deserves a Razzie nomination for Worst Screenplay since it and the dialogue messed up the show's popular story, and any fan of the show probably knows that too! Too bad non-fans of the show will not get what's going on because of the pacing and dialogue of this movie. The film will just leave them with questions in their heads, but since I'm a huge fan of the show, I wasn't confused by it. Although, the story is still messed up and the movie just moves too quick without explaining things properly in a neat way. That's all I have to say.
ACTING: Some of the performances were decent, but some were bad. Noah Ringer wasn't great, but I thought he did a fair job as Aang since this is his first movie. Nicola Peltz...eh, I watched some YouTube videos of her and I thought she might be perfect for her role because she showed great and serious emotions on those videos I watched, but her character in this movie barely showed any emotion and she was nothing like the Katara I know of from the show. Jackson Rathbone? No. I don't think he was the right person to play Sokka. His performance was stupid and he doesn't bring much sarcasm to his character. I think he's a lot better in the "Twilight" movies instead. Dev Patel was only okay, but he wasn't as angry and tough as Zuko was in the show. Cliff Curtis could have been a little bit more vicious as Fire Lord Ozai. The girl who played Yue was decent, but her voice sounded a little high-pitched. But I mostly hated the guy who played Admiral Zhao. He was acting like a complete retard instead of acting like a powerful Fire Nation soldier like he did in the show! But there was one good performance: Shaun Toub as Iroh. His performance was probably the only one I liked because his acting does remind me of the same Iroh from the show even though he's not fat. That's what I think about the acting.
DIRECTING: M. Night Shyamalan, okay, here's what I think about his other movies: "The Sixth Sense" was really good; "Unbreakable" was kinda boring and I didn't care for it that much; "Signs" was great and is my favorite movie from him; I really liked "The Village" despite what other people thought of that movie; "Lady In The Water" was horrible and is his worst movie ever; and I thought "The Happening" wasn't bad either, but I liked it a lot better than "Lady In The Water."
Even after "The Happening," I still had faith in M. Night and I thought he would be really famous and popular again with this movie, but I'm afraid his directing to the film was bad. I liked his camera work, editing, and the incredible music he picked out, but I didn't like what he did with the story and some of the acting. I was expecting that he would make this first chapter of a planned trilogy a lot like what Peter Jackson did with "The Lord Of The Rings" trilogy which is still one of the best trilogies ever made, and I compared that trilogy to the show because they're both so epic, great, and powerful! Too bad, he failed big time.
I also think M. Night TWISTED the story. Just when I thought he would stop making thrillers with twisting endings, he made this fantasy's plot into a twist and that's also what made the story so messed up other than just the fast pace and dialogue. It kinda feels like he didn't watch all the episodes of the show's first season, and that he made this movie his OWN way. I had faith in him before this movie, but now I think it's slowly going away. I won't care if he gets a Razzie nomination for Worst Director. He probably deserves it. Oh, well, "Signs" still remains as his best one and my favorite movie from him.
VISUALS: The amazing visuals were one of the few things I loved about this movie. From the previews, this movie looked like it would be rated PG-13 because it looked really serious and epic; but as for a PG rating, the visuals are still fantastic! The CGI on Appa and Momo looked cool and realistic! The bending elements were also so amazing that I actually liked a little bit better than the ones in the show because this movie is live-action and the show is anime.
The visuals are the only praise I give for this movie along with the style and music from James Newton Howard, who also did incredible music for my favorite movie of all-time: "King Kong" from 2005! Let's not forget that the cinematography for this movie is spectacular and the scenery of the places were pretty cool too! This movie might be nominated for Best Visual Effects and for Best Cinematography I really do think that, but that's it. Great visuals since I saw this movie in 2D, and I had no problems with that since I heard the 3D was terrible!
OVERALL: Other than the quick pace, messed up story, pretty bad acting, and cheesy dialogue, I find this movie only decent. I know many people hated it, but I thought it was only okay because I loved the amazing visuals, the incredible music, and the style of it since I mostly love movies that are so epic. The movie was indeed not great, but it wasn't horrible either. Although, I do wish that this movie could have been a LOT better and I do agree that it is NOT the best movie of the summer. Fans of the show who have not seen this movie yet, I would say wait for the DVD and rent it instead of seeing it in the theater, but you'll probably be disappointed either way. Non-fans who don't know anything about the show, I say watch the T.V. show first before you see this movie because you will not get it and you'll be confused by it if you do see it. Luckily, I have all 3 season packs of the show that I can re-watch again and again since I haven't seen them in a long while!
One Final Word: I think this movie needs a reboot with a new cast and new director instead of continuing on with the sequels because I'm worried M. Night might mess up again if he does direct them. I'm thinking Peter Jackson can do it as soon as he is done with "The Hobbit" movies, along with a better cast. That's my choice. And just like many people, I was expecting a little bit more out of this movie.