Greetings beautiful people
So I’ve been trying to write this review for the last few days and I almost feel that external forces been preventing this. Everything from family obligations to computer problems and finally in the late hour I get to sit down and give my thoughts. I originally wrote a long review on my parent’s computer but it was lost because they have a virus on their computer. In any case this will be a straight to the point Mr. Sawyer take on “The Last Air Bender”.
I’ll try my best not to draw comparisons to the cartoon, but it will be difficult because of the clear mythology laid out by story’s creators Michael Dante DiMartino and Brian Konietzko. So I’ll get right into it.
The Good: The casting, the opening sequence, the art direction
The Bad: The casting, the dialogue, the directing, the acting
The casting: So I’ve consistently heard criticism that the movie has been white washed, because the top 3 main characters where cast as caucasian. I personally feel that’s bull shit. Aang was perfectly cast in my opinion. Take an image of the cartoon Aang and put it next to Noah Rider. Damn near twins. Katara and Sokka, where people living in the South pole with tans on the cartoon. It makes more sense that they would be white living in cold climates.
Dev Patel from Slum Dog Millionaire did a good job at Prince Zuko and Shaun Toub was an excellent alternative to the old funny guy on tv.
I’m tired of hearing non Asian people bitching about how the characters aren’t Asian. Your black! Your white! Why do you give a f*ck? The director is Indian and the entire Fire Nation is Indian. Not to mention all the other races sprinkled through out the movie. Aang’s teacher is black. Not African black, but like South Central black! Get over it!
The Opening Sequence: Love the way he showed in live action the drama and variety in fighting styles amongst the different nations. Good job, loved it.
The Art Direction: I loved the costumes, colors, and settings through out the movie. The color palette was richly textured and I felt the cold of the Water Nation. I felt the heat of an Indian Summer in the Fire nation. Excellent art direction and translation into live action of this animated world.
Now the bad.
The casting. Ok now, if you do pick white actors to occupy an Asian centered world, please pick good actors! This goes in line with the criticism of the dialogue + acting. I mean damn near every line delivered had me laughing at how unbelievable it felt. The film had every ounce of emotion and humor ripped from it. The logic of certain soliloquies were absent. Certain things were redundant and explained in the opening sequence, no need to repeat them.
The direction: I can say that I’ve like everyone of M. Night Shyamalan’s movies up until this one. I know the critics dog him, but I love his concepts and how his style of directing matches his concepts. Maybe the flaw here was that the concept was already built in. Maybe he didn’t know how to direct something that had been directed so well. Watching this movie, I felt he had never been behind a camera or saw a movie in his life. The little things like timing, and making sure the actors actually acted slipped his mind. The way he directed action was a little interesting, but not good enough for a kung fu film. M. Night used one camera shot to show all action on the screen rather than rely on cutting, editing, and sound effects that make classic kung fu flicks amazing. He should have watched the way Tarantino did fight scenes in Kill Bill.
So overall did I like the movie? No. Do I think it’s the worst movie ever? No. Since this is the first installment in a trilogy, the next two movies need to be about an hour longer, to get some character development. They’ll need 30 minutes more of action. They’ll need better special effects and not the kind you can get at Mejier. They’ll need better dialogue. They’ll need Jesus!
Be blessed beautiful people