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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Guide for Clueless Parents
If you are like me, you hate watching a kid's movie and then walk away scratching your head. This movie has that potential.

I liked the movie in spite of its short comings. I have not seen the Avatar cartoon, which may be why I over rate this as compared to die-hard cartoon fans. I have been a big fan of the early RPGs until my PS-1 died.

The world...
Published 23 months ago by THE MOVIE GUY

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars A missed opportunity
The Last Airbender had been pretty hyped up on all our visits to the cinema for the last year or so, so my daughter (aged 14) and I were quite looking forward to this one. Quite often for a film like this, it's more often a case of style over substance but in this case I found the reverse to be true - the story I found to be excellent but the execution was often lacking...
Published on 23 Aug. 2010 by tallpete33


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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Guide for Clueless Parents, 27 Jun. 2013
If you are like me, you hate watching a kid's movie and then walk away scratching your head. This movie has that potential.

I liked the movie in spite of its short comings. I have not seen the Avatar cartoon, which may be why I over rate this as compared to die-hard cartoon fans. I have been a big fan of the early RPGs until my PS-1 died.

The world consists of a number of spirits which create harmony (moon spirit, dragon spirit etc.). Mankind in divided into four nations, each of which controls one of the 4 elements, water and Earth, Wind & Fire. Each element has its own spirit too. Each Nation has people who can control their specific element. The are called "benders." There is one person, and only one person in all the world who can control all 4 elements, that is the Avatar. The Avatar spirit always lives and is passed on, or reincarnated in every generation.

In this movie, the Avatar originated from the Air Bender nation. However, he didn't want to be an Avatar because of the self sacrifice so he ran away before he could learn all of his skills and powers. He ended up encased in a block of ice in the southern world, only to be "rescued" a 100 years later. During that 100 years, the Fire Nation and their machines have taken over the planet. They symbolically represent civilization destroying the planet and ruining the harmony of nature. The Air Bender must learn to master the other 3 elements in order to become a complete Avatar. This is his quest in the movie. Once he does that he can save the planet from the Fire Nation. He is capable of going into a deep trance and talks to the dragon spirit for advice.

Now to make this movie slightly more complicated there is friction within the Fire Nation. The king has disowned his son (a Fire Bender played by Dev Patel, who was a good guy and bad actor in "Slumdog Millionaire" now is simply bad all around.) The son is tasked to bring the would-be Avatar to the king to prove his worth. At the same time, the evil fire general, (Noah Ringer, who is great on Comedy Central but stinks in Air Bender) is trying to bring back the Avatar also.

The acting wasn't solid. The script is filled with holes. 3 1/2 stars
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3.0 out of 5 stars A missed opportunity, 23 Aug. 2010
By 
tallpete33 (London, UK) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 100 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: The Last Airbender [DVD] (DVD)
The Last Airbender had been pretty hyped up on all our visits to the cinema for the last year or so, so my daughter (aged 14) and I were quite looking forward to this one. Quite often for a film like this, it's more often a case of style over substance but in this case I found the reverse to be true - the story I found to be excellent but the execution was often lacking in parts.

It centred on Aang, the last Airbender (no sniggering at the back please) who was also found to be the latest incarnation of the Avatar, the special one who could also bend the other elements i.e. fire, water and earth (but not manage Chelsea FC). Made aware of his powers at a young age, understandably he panicked and fled, somehow ending up under the ice to be discovered a century later by Sokka and Katara. Katara was the last Waterbender of the Southern tribe, albeit not a very good one and like Aang her skills needed mush work! Aang's rebirth coincided with the Fire Nation's push for domination, starting with the destruction of Aang's Air Nation although rivalry in their army would often disrupt their plans. Aang, Sokka and Katara travel to the Northern territories to team up with the Waterbenders there and stage a stand-off against the evil Fire Nation.

As mentioned, I enjoyed the story which is nicely set up for part two but feel Shyamalan missed an opportunity here. With the exception of the excellent Dev Patel and Shaun Toub (the disgraced Fire Prince and his uncle) the acting was often wooden and the script could clunk like a drunk old man in clogs. Aang's preppy American accent grated to start with and his spiritual and training scenes borrowed from the original Karate Kid but lacked that film's soul and depth despite the authentic settings. It often seemed disjointed and the early "air" skirmishes were not the spectacles they could have been. Maybe it was a late decision to make the film 3D but the novelty soon wore off and the ok 3D effects trade-off was often blurry 2D scenes. For a big budget and well hyped title it definitely lacked the polish and heart of e.g. The Golden Compass.

Kid's will enjoy this probably more than adults (mine gives it 4 stars for the record) but I admit I am intrigued enough to see how the next part turns out. Maybe another director will take up the mantle and do a better job.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Much better than I expected - a good cinema moment to enjoy with your children, 6 Aug. 2010
By 
Maciej "Darth Maciek" (Darth Maciek is out there...) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
Before reading the rest of this review, please see those three precisions / warnings:

1) I never saw even one episode of "Avatar" TV series before or after seeing this movie, so if you are a fan of "Avatar" and look for a comparison between those series and "The Last Airbender", further reading of this review will be for you unsatisfactory.

2) Due to very bad reviews this movie received, I went to see it with extremely low expectations and it may be one of the reasons why I was so pleasantly surprised - so if you are a fan of "Avatar" TV series AND in the same time you hate this movie, further reading of this review will be for you probably upsetting.

3) In many (not all) fantasy and SF movies I have a tendency to root for the bad guys, so if you are a fan of "Avatar" TV series and for that reason you hate the Fire Nation, further reading of this review can be for you life threatening....

MINOR SPOILERS AHEAD:

I found this movie much better than I expected and together with my 9 years old daughter we spend a good moment watching it. To compare "The Last Airbender" with other vaguely similar fantasy movies, I would say that it is better than "Eragon" and "Golden Compass", mostly on the same level as "Narnia II: Prince Caspian" and only slightly less good than "Narnia I: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe".

"The Last Airbender" is suitable for seeing with children provided that they are 8 years old or more - there is no real graphic violence, in most of fights we can not be really certain if people die of if they are just knocked unconscious and there is only one scene which can be scary for younger children, in which a large number of old human bones and skulls are visible. Fantastic creatures are of rather benevolent nature and designed to not scare the young public (although the mighty spirit-dragon is indeed very huge, very dark and it is clear that it can be deadly dangerous if bothered). Younger children will be probably delighted with the flying lemur - my daughter found in fact that there was not enough of it on the screen.

The intrigue is rather well conceived, the action pace is satisfactory and the characters are quite attaching. Noah Ringer who plays the young Avatar is certainly doing a very good job, but I believe the real performance in this movie is given by two other young actors:

Jackson Rathbone, who became quite famous after his role in "Twilight" saga, is excellent as young warrior Sokka. As I did not see "Avatar" TV series, I do not really know how does he compare to the cartoon version, but I found him excellent and I would like to see more of him in a possible sequel. In fact after watching "The Last Airbender" I think it is a pity that Jackson Rathbone was too young when George Lucas was doing "The Clone Wars" and "The revenge of the Sith" as I believe that he could be an EXTRAORDINARY Anakin Skywalker and an even better young Darth Vader! But well, this ship has sailed...

Nicola Peltz, who plays Katara, is as good in her role and when considering that she is only 16 her performance is even more to be praised! She is a very cute young damsel and she certainly can act. She is another reason for which I would rather like to see the sequel of this movie.

Another reason for which I liked this movie is the Princess Yue, played by Seychelle Gabriel. With her white hair, ice-blue eyes and purely incredible smile she is an absolute delight, one of the most incredibly gorgeous fantasy princesses I ever saw in the movies (and I saw a lot!). Whoever made her make up, hairstyle and clothes deserves the highest praise! And although finally she doesn't have so much screen time, it is clear that she can also act well - her future career also is to be watched with great interest.

But in the end what REALLY delighted me was the bad guys - the Fire Nation! Of course no fantasy/SF bad guys can be as cool as Empire officers and soldiers from "Star Wars" but the Fire Nation from Mr Shymalan's movie is really well placed to dispute the second or the third place! Their black and red uniforms are dead right on target and their weapons, war machines, specialized Fire Masters and giant lizard riding elite warriors are also very well done. But all of this pales compared to their warships: gargantuan size steel behemots permanently spitting heavy black smoke out of their enormous black funnels. They are so aggressive, arrogant, dirty and vile and in the same time so majestic, that there is no other choice but to love them!

The supreme bad guy Fire Lord Ozai played the Maori actor Cliff Curtis is also a real pleasure to watch - his performance is so good that I for one can easily believe that thousands of fanatically devoted soldiers would be ready to fight and die for him and his empire. His second in command, vile to the point of being venomous general Zhao is another delight.

At the end of the movie we are introduced to Fire Lord's daughter, drop dead gorgeous and joyfully evil Azula, the Imperial Princess and quite possibly Heiress to the throne of the Fire Nation Empire. Played by 22 years old Summer Bishil, she is another gorgeous creature and she is my other reason to expect a sequel, as both the actress and the character are very VERY interesting! I really hope that Fire Nation will fight on and not give up easily in its war for world domination!

And finally, to end with the Fire Nation, the character of first born son of Fire Lord, Imperial Prince Zuko, is quite interesting and very well played by Dev Patel, who is better known for his leading role in "Slumdog Millionaire".

CGI effects are very honest and images of cities, fortresses, monasteries and majestic landscapes are other strong points of this movie.

So, all well considered, I simply can not do otherwise but to give this movie five stars - something that I really did not expect to do before seeing it, as I was influenced by all the horribly bad reviews. I think I will also buy the DVD once it is available and if there is a sequel, I will certainly see it.
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3.0 out of 5 stars LOOKS STUNNING,BUT KIND OF DRAGS., 24 April 2013
This is visually a feast,but it drags after a while and i just got a bit bored with it,though it is watchable.

The story's a little unusual.
A young boy who is discovered to be a bender,destined to be a master bender,is trapped under ice for years due to reasons explained in the story.
This young lad is discovered years later by a brother and sister who unwittinlgy break the ice,she is a bender too,a water bender.
She isn't a very impressive bender though and keeps getting her brother wet,the males seem to be better benders. This young lad and his story is soon better known,he soon realizes he needs to be a master bender at everything to be the avatar,but so far can only bend air. So to battle the evil fire benders who are causing chaos by making life hell for benders of the earth,or earth benders if you prefer,he has some learning to do,he's just not a good enough bender so far.
The girl teaches him how to bend water and more so how to hold his wrist at a certain angle to be a more impressive bender (honestly,this really does happen). He also needs to learn from other benders in order to be the best bender of the lot,the avatar. So there you have it,the story in basic without spoiling it too much. It's an interesting tale about being what you are,bender or not,it looks great,which will win over a lot of fans,but for me it just falls flat of being intersting enough to watch again. But i'm sure if left many people wishing they were benders too.
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14 of 18 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Bad film. Amazing Cartoon Series., 10 April 2012
This review is from: The Last Airbender [DVD] (DVD)
For all of you people who love this film but HAVE NOT seen the cartoon series, please go and watch the series. This film misses out SO MUCH content it makes me want to cry. Seriously! What were these guys thinking. The film isn't completely bad, but it's borderline 1 star. Now i'm sure if I had never seen the series this film might be quite good however this isn't the case! Please listen: Film 1/2 out of 5 stars. Cartoon 6/7 out of 5 stars. (Yes I can count...)

Follow this link and buy it now, please for the love of God!
http://www.amazon.co.uk/Avatar-Book-1-DVD/dp/B001KQ034G/ref=sr_1_5?ie=UTF8&qid=1334051791&sr=8-5
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28 of 37 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Wrong, wrong, wrong, 21 Feb. 2012
By 
E. A Solinas "ea_solinas" (MD USA) - See all my reviews
(HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)    (TOP 500 REVIEWER)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Last Airbender [DVD] (DVD)
There are good adaptations. There are bad adaptations. And there are adaptations that rip asunder the source material and gleefully devour its corpse.

This is one of the last category.

I might have been able to still enjoy "The Last Airbender" if it had merely had special effects, a horrible script and actors with the charisma of a plank. But director M. Night Shyamalan gets EVERYTHING ELSE wrong too, from the character motivations to bending.

Southern Water Tribe girl Katara and her brother Sokka stumble across a glowing glacier, and find a young Airbender boy inside. Since all the other Airbenders are dead, Katara figures out that Aang is the Avatar -- the master of all four elements, and the only person in the world who can defeat the powerful Fire Nation.

However, the Fire Nation has already found him, in the form of the disgraced Prince Zuko (Dev Patel). Aang, Sokka and Katara set out on a perilous voyage to the North Pole to find a waterbending master. But the malevolent Admiral Zhao -- Zuko's nemesis -- is approaching the North Pole with the Fire Nation navy, with a plan that may destroy them all.

M. Night Shyamalan had a golden opportunity with "The Last Airbender" -- the original cartoon was intelligent, funny, complex and filled with brilliant martial-arts and strong philosophical overtones. So instead he decided to make a movie with NONE of that -- a witless, humorless, simplistic stumbling behemoth of a film.

The culture, the characters, the climactic battle, the bending, the acting, the action sequences, and even the pronunciation of the names... EVERYTHING IS WRONG. WRONG, WRONG, WRONG. But if I listed everything wrong with the movie, this review would be the size of a novel.

Even from an objective perspective, this movie is a disaster. Shyamalan clearly has no idea how to write an action movie, blasting through incoherent fight scenes in one long pan. The story feels painfully repetitive (how many times is Aang going to be captured?!) and the script is horrendously pompous, humorless and rushed ("We have to show them that we believe in our beliefs as much as they believe in theirs" -- WHAT? You're not trying to SAVE THE WORLD?).

Also, there are gaping plot holes that a three-year-old can spot. So the Fire Nation imprisons Earthbenders, who manipulate rocks and soil... in a friggin' MINE. And the pseudo-Buddhist Aang apparently has no problem with COLD-BLOODEDLY KILLING HUNDREDS OF PEOPLE. Was Shyamalan mocking us with how bad he could make this, or did he just not care?

I will give Dev Patel credit -- even though his Zuko's main source of angst seems to be a mild case of eczema, he does put a lot of passion and intensity into the role.

Sadly, the same cannot be said of the other actors. Aang is wooden and mopey, Katara is weepy and inept, and Sokka comes across as a ticking time bomb. Even the talented Shaun Toub plays the horrendously-written role of Iroh with an air of boredom -- he always looks like he's thinking, "Okay, when do I get paid?" Only Aasif Mandvi seems to be having fun chewing the scenery.

M. Night Shyamalan managed something truly impressive in "The Last Airbender" -- he managed to take a funny, well-written, intelligent series and suck out all the humor, cleverness and likability from it.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing, 11 Mar. 2011
This review is from: The Last Airbender [DVD] (DVD)
As a fan of the cartoons, I was really looking forward to seeing this film.

It has to be said, it was largely disappointing. It earns an extra star for fabulous special effects, but overall I found the acting wooden and the storyline inherently flawed (and seriously, how many times can 1 person get captured and escape??)

Buy the original cartoons instead.
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A film of fun effects with a clumsily handled story, 18 Mar. 2011
I've seen a few episodes of the series this live action movie was based on, so as a passingly interested viewer rather than a dedicated fan I was happy to give this a chance to be great despite the bad review upon cinema release.
Sadly, the reviews were largely accurate.
The mythology is pretty simply - there are 4 opposing nations - Earth, Air, Fire and Water. Fire don't like everybody else, and have oppressed them with their war machines and armies, trying to root out any of the mystically talented members of the other nations' populations who can 'bend' and control their element and use it as a weapon.
Unfortunately, the characters are thinly drawn with bad dialogue, so the actors here are lumbered with the kind of roles that even a 2D cartoon might consider 'thinly drawn'. Jackson Rathbone in particular is left stranded as Sokka, smiling and emoting but given little to do except be heroine Katara's brother and make eyes at girls.
As Aang, the hero of the title, Noah Ringer has more to do, but still gets stilted dialogue and poor character development.
Dev Patel, as exiled Fire Nation prince Zuko is thankfully given almost enough meat to get his teeth into, including some tense scenes of humiliation at the hands of his own people, but his role is hamstrung by saddling him with few resources due to his exile status, and a series of endless failures. As a result, the nominal bad guy feels like a weak petulant child, and the heroes feel like trite cardboard cut-outs. Aang and Katara's story arc basically amount to: "I can't do it! Oh, hang on, look, I tried really hard and now I can." This feels insultingly thin and puerile in film of such gigantic budget and vast scale.
Luckily it's not all bad news. The design and effects are often very impressive, with several Fire Nation ships looking breathtaking, the discovery of Aang highly dramatic, and a fight at the end that is so flashy and colourful that it might have saved the film had something similar come an hour earlier.
It's a hard slog, and not as rewarding as it should be. It looks like the sequel they're clearly angling for at the end is never likely to happen either. It's a shame, because there's nothing intrinsically wrong with the film, it just needs a far better script.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Good, action packed and fantasy fun, 24 Oct. 2014
By 
Jon (Milton Keynes) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Last Airbender [DVD] (DVD)
Good, action packed and fantasy fun. Would like to see the rest of the films made, especially as it left on a cliffhanger, but we can live in hope, after alll, they did mentionm inthe film that an event would happen in 3 years time, and itst been almost 4 since the film came out..... hurry up and make rest of series.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars 3D, 6 July 2013
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I liked the movie so ordered the 3D version. I was shocked at how poor the 3D is, It was like 2.1D it's the worst 3D I have ever seen in fact most of the time it was hard to tell it was supposed to be in 3D.
I have bought over 50 3D blue ray disks and this was the worst by far. Save your money and just get a cheaper 2D copy.
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The Last Airbender [DVD]
The Last Airbender [DVD] by M. Night Shyamalan (DVD - 2010)
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