"THE LAST AIRBENDER" (2010) Review
Director M. Night Shyamalan decided to explore the world of fantasy-adventure by filming an adaptation of an animated television series called ”AVATAR: THE LAST AIRBENDER”. This movie is a fantasy-adventure tale set in a fictional, Asian-influenced world with Chinese martial arts and elemental manipulation.
”THE LAST AIRBENDER” tells the story of a young monk and the only surviving airbender (one with the psi ability to manipulate air) named Aang, who is believed by others to be the future Avatar – one who can manipulate all four elements of air, water, fire and earth. With his two new friends from the Southern Water Tribe, Aang seeks to learn to manipulate three other elements – water, earth and fire. In this movie, he journeys with his friends Katara (a waterbender) and her brother Sokka to the Northern Water Tribe, where he can learn how to master the waterbending skill from a master. Tracking Aang, Katara and Sokka is Prince Zuko, the Crown Prince of the Fire Nation; who has been exiled by his evil father, Fire Lord Ozai and sent to capture the future Avatar. With the Avatar’s capture, Zuko’s honor and right to the throne will be restored.
I would have never bothered to see this movie. But an office colleague of mine had really enjoyed the movie and recommended that I go see it. Needless to say, I do not regret following her advice. Mind you, ”THE LAST AIRBENDER” was not perfect. The movie’s first five to ten minutes failed to kickstart my interest. It bored me so much that I found myself on the verge of falling asleep. Most of the cast members gave performances that ranged from mediocrity to sheer boredom. And a good deal of the movie’s dialogue seemed extremely cheesy to me – the kind of dialogue one would find in the ”STAR WARS” and the ”LORD OF THE RINGS” franchises.
One of the biggest problems with "THE LAST AIRBENDER" for me proved to be the casting. Many of the leads - namely those characters that portrayed the film's protagonists were portrayed by white actors. White actors in a movie set in Asia, portraying East Asians or Inuits? I found that troublesome. And although the film also featured non-Westerners in major roles, they portrayed the film's main antagonist. I do not know about the rest of you, but this form of casting seemed to reek of racism.
From what I understand, ”THE LAST AIRBENDER” was not exactly a hit. The movie managed to earn a profit, but barely enough to fully earn back the money spent on its production and not enough to be regarded as a box office hit. It has failed to fully earn back the money spent on its production. Well . . . what can I say? Regardless of whether it was a hit or not, regardless of its flaws - including racist casting, "THE LAST AIRBENDER" managed to provide some semblance of entertainment.