He is the last of his kind.....were talking about Shyamalan right?
Reminder: I will judge the story on how it is conveyed in the film
The film opens up with a girl named Katara (played by Nicole Peitz) who is a water bender, basically she can control the element of water. Her brother Sokka (played by the terribly miscast Jackson Rathbone) has the usual argument with his younger sibling as they follow a pair of tracks that lead them to the discovery of a boy named Aang (played by newcomer Noah Ringer) encased in a sphere of ice along with a gigantic creature called Appa. From the beginning of the film, the dialogue is just terrible and incredibly cheesy. The exchange between Katara and Sokka is just plain and it does not even establish a base for people who are not familiar with the series to climb on. Well it is no surprise due to the fact that Shyamalan also wrote the screenplay, all by himself. Like his other films, characters are not really the thing for him. The strongest where his characters actually are interesting is in film "The sixth sense" which garnered him an oscar nomination. Now? He deserves the razzie for worst screenplay.
Continuing on with the story, the boy, Aang, can control the element of air, which can control every other element: fire, water, and earth. This shows him as being a sort of savior, due to the fact that the fire nation has been cruelly controlling all of the nations (water and earth) for a long time. Why is there no air nation? He is also the last of his kind. The last airbender in the world. Airbenders had been qiped out long ago. Wow that sounds pretty serious, but the screenplay disregards its importance and just keeps its focus on the best thing about the entirety of the film: the visuals once again. FX company Industrial Light and Magic create cgi characters, worlds, and effects that are worth more of the attention and yet, they are decent. That says a lot there. The creatures served no purpose then to rather be in the entirety of the film for no more then five or so minutes. The cgi Appa, who has a very strong background within the television series, has a screen time of perhaps two minutes altogether. In this sort of film, the cgi characters seemed very unnecessary.
The antagonist of the film Zuko, who can control fire, has been pursuing Aang for quite a while ever since his exile from the fire kingdom by his father. Now what the hell is Dev Patel doing playing a villain? I can only see him as the main character from his oscar winning film "Slumdog Millionaire" and I just laughed on his portrayal of Zuko. He gives a performance that it is neither intimidating nor impressive. He seems to just struggle with the lack of interesting dialogue that is given to him. His change of heart later in the film was unforeseen and it was just too confusing to apprehend. The script seemed to have just taken him out of the film and placed him back in later on, an almost totally different character. Also, Zuko's father Ozai (played by Cliff Curtis) and Uncle Iroh (played by Shaun toub) are totally unneeded in this film. Both of these characters have changed too much from the television series. I could not even find the slightest aspect of a antagonist within Ozai's character.
Escaping from the clenches of the firebenders, he flees with Katara and Sokka to the remaining nations, where he arouses them up for a rebellion against the fire nation. Having not cared for the film in the first place, I just gave up here. How could the same concept from the television show have gone bad here? The answer: Shyamalan squeezed in the entire first season into one less then two hour long film. He cut out so much important aspects from each episode that it was quite noticeable.
The only thing I actually did like was James Newton Howard's score and it was quite impressive, boasting great symphonic themes and it so obviously did not belong in the film. This film did not deserve such a score not could it even support it. My favorite part where the score is at its best was when Aang is sliding amongst ice, in combat with fire benders who have invaded the water nation. The fight sequence being in all slow motion just made me laugh, the score did not fit at all in that sequence.
Howard's score belonged in a film of epic proportions. This was definitely not that. Come to think of it, none of the fight sequences were worth watching and are very obviously choreographed. The constant usage of slow motion just makes Shyamalan seem like he is trying so hard to convey Zack Snyder.
Shyamalan's portrayal of the story is just so dull and terrible that in the end, the FX effects are the ones that do the talking. My advice? Stick to the television series, by far much, much more better and more fun to watch, all without getting a huge headache.
This has been a review by daveactor7