Thursday Night Movie Club
The Last Airbender
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Release Date: 1 July 2010

Director: M. Night Shyamalan
Noah Ringer
Dev Patel
Nicola Peltz
Jackson Rathbone
Shaun Toub
Aasif Mandvi
Cliff Curtis
Seychelle Gabriel
Katharine Houghton
Francis Guinan
Damon Gupton
Prince Zuko
Uncle Iroh
Commander Zhao
Fire Lord Ozai
Princess Yue
Katara's Grandma
Master Pakku
Monk Gyatso
The Last Airbender movie poster #1 The Last Airbender movie poster #2 The Last Airbender movie poster #3
M. Night Shyamalan's The Last Airbender did get one thing right. The word "Last". There is very little chance that any sequels will be made to this mess of a movie. Shyamalan may have a lot of trouble trying to get another picture made.

There are some pretty good special effects in this movie. That is about the only redeeming quality of this film. Effects alone do not warrant paying money to see the movie. The acting is sub-par at best. The main character and supposedly the hero of the story begins as a whiny kid and isn't much better by the end. In fact, the main character is rather annoying.

The Last Airbender photoThe fight scenes are rather ridiculous. For example, the good guys have the ability to control the natural elements like wind and earth. They wave their arms around while their power over the elements grows. Meanwhile, the bad guys stand around looking at the good guy. After the first 30 minutes of arm waving, one big surprise of the movie is that none of the bad guys has the mental fortitude to simply shoot the arm waving idiot with an arrow. Come to think of it, the bad guy can just walk up to the frantic arm-waver and stick a fork in him.

In the land of... ? Well, there are four kingdoms: the Air Nomads, the Water Tribes, the Earth Kingdom and the Fire Nation. The four nations are kept in check by a mystical being known as the Avatar. The Avatar has disappeared setting the stage for the Fire Nation to wage war on the other three kingdoms.

A young boy named Aang (Noah Ringer) is trapped in some ice before he is set free by sister and brother, Katara ( Nicola Peltz) and Sokka (Jackson Rathbone). Not much time later, Prince Zuko (Dev Patel) and his henchmen arrive searching for the lost Avatar. Zuko has been exiled by his father, the Fire Lord Ozai (Cliff Curtis). Zuko can get back in his father's good graces if he can return with the Avatar as his prisoner.

The Last Airbender photoIn a noble and heroic gesture, Aang agrees to become Zuko's prisoner if he will leave the local village in peace. Well, Aang wasn't really doing anything else. He is the Avatar after all with magical powers so no one can really harm him. Rather than outright killing Aang, Zuko's Uncle Iroh (Shaun Toub) tests the young boy to make certain that he is indeed the lost Avatar. Aang passes all of the tests. You can't keep a good Airbender down. Aang promptly escapes.

Ang and his new friends make there way to the Southern Air Temple. It is here that Aang learns what will become his life's pursuit. The Air Nomads have been wiped off the face of the planet. Not very good news. In his despair, he enters an Avatar state of consciousness where he meets a guardian dragon that advises Aang. He must journey to the four kingdoms and learn the different skills of bending the elements. Only after he has mastered all four Bendings will Aang have the ability to bring peace and harmony to the realm. Was sequel mentioned yet? At this point, a feeling is building that this will be the only Airbender movie filmed.

The Last Airbender photoThere is some intrigue as the bad guys from the Fire Kingdom constantly thwart each other's efforts in the hopes that they will capture and control the Avatar. A mysterious Blue Spirit saves Aang from the evil Admiral Zhao (Aasif Mandvi) who has his own agenda, presumably. Anyway, Aang and his friends make their way to the Northern Ice Kingdom where the climactic battle between Fire and Ice takes place. Fire melts ice unless ice freezes fire first. Aang eventually grows a pair, masters the technique of Water Bending and creates a huge wall of water to hold off the marauders. He doesn't kill them. He just creates the wave to turn back the assault and send the Fire Kingdom invaders on their merry way.

Did sequel get mentioned yet. Presumably, the Fire people are needed for the sequels: Avatar: The Last Fire Bender; Avatar: The Last Fire Bender; Avatar: The Last Battle; and just when you think it is all over, Avatar: The Return of Jason Voorhees.

The Last Airbender photoNone of the actors in The Last Airbender are recognizable from other movies. Therefore, the acting skills of anyone involved in this film are below average. There is not a single character worthy of capturing the interest of the audience. One exception is Princess Yue played by Seychelle Gabriel. The only thing interesting about her is that Gabriel is smokin' hot. The irony is that her character resides in the Ice Kingdom. Go figure. The bad guys are not all that menacing either. The idea certainly looked better on paper.

All in all, there is nothing interesting about The Last Airbender. Poor acting, poor script and poor directing make for a poor movie. You can always spend the two hours playing "Spot the Director" as M. Night Shyamalan likes to make cameo appearances in all his films. Then again, you have to know enough about Shyamalan to actually spot him.

A family of four can have more fun at a Chuckie Cheeses restaurant than watching The Last Airbender. Foogedaboutit!