The Last Airbender (2010) Review

I actually wanted to write this review last night, right after I watched the movie. I couldn’t, because I was too busy spending the night curled into the fetal position, trying to cry myself to sleep.

Big crying
“It can’t be unseen!”

This movie is so bad that I actually feel like I owe Michael Bay an apology. (But I won’t, because Michael Bay can go eat a dick.) M Night has proven that he knows how to make a terrible movie better than anyone else in Hollywood; Doing it to this film makes it feel even worse.

Lemme ‘splain: Avatar: The Last Airbender isn’t just a good cartoon. It’s an amazing piece of art and one of the best tv shows I have ever seen. I highly recommend it to everyone, regardless of age or taste. It’s simply awesome.

This film spits on the tv show’s legacy, smashes it with a hammer, urinates on its corpse, and then sets the whole thing on fire. This movie isn’t just terrible, it’s disrespectful. In fact, not only does it disrespect the tv show, it also gives a huge, flaming middle finger to all women and entire ethnic groups while it’s at it.

You see, the show was highly praised for having strong female characters, for putting Asian and Inuit characters at the forefront, and for paying tribute to the strong Asian fantasy stories that came before it. The film decided to make all the important heroes white (leaving the minor characters and villains to be played by Asians) and for making all of the female characters into emotional idiots. Well done, M Night! And it’s pretty unfortunate that Shyamalan would make these choices since he’s Indian himself.

M Night
“What a twist!”

I could go on about all the things the movie screws up about the show, but unless you’ve seen the show, you really won’t understand the complaints (but watch the show, fools!) I will, however, complain about the film’s mind-blowingly idiotic decision to change the pronunciation of the character names. And it’s not just one or two characters… almost every character has their name mis-pronounced. Hell, they even pronounce Avatar like Ah-vatar (but only about half the time. The other half they pronounce it like in the show). I can understand if this was adapted from a book. Then I could say, “Oh, I guess I pronounced it wrong this whole time.” But no, this was adapted from a tv show. A tv show where the characters’ names have been pronounced. Out loud. Damn it.

“But Dan,” you say. “That’s a minor complaint. It doesn’t really impact the quality of the film.” And I’d agree with you, Mysterious Internet Commenter. But do you know what does impact the quality? The fact the movie is a God damn mess. Since I’m too angry at this point to think in paragraphs, I present this list:

Every major plot point is explained in narration. Hell, why would we want to see what’s happening when we can be told it?

Princess Yue’s hair looks like a penis.

Princess Yue
No, really

The dialog is ridiculous and terrible. We get gems like, “We have to show them that we believe in our beliefs as much as they believe in theirs.” Try to read that three times without having an aneurism.

Bending looks stupid. In the show (there I go again, comparing it to the show), bending is shown as a natural extension of movement. It almost looks believable. In the film, it’s shown as a series of complicated movements that have little to no relation to the results. It looks like shit. Watch and be amazed as a group earthbenders do the macarena in order to levitate a small stone!

Final verdict: This movie is shit. The acting is terrible, the directing is terrible, and it makes a mockery of one of my favorite tv shows of all time. Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to get back to my crying.

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