The Last Airbender (PG)
Dir. M. Night Shyamalan
Reviewed by Matt Adcock
The much maligned M. Night ‘will I ever make another film as good as
The Sixth Sense?’ Shyamalan tries his hand at a more mainstream
directing gig with this big screen adaptation of the popular Manga books /
animation ‘Avatar: The Last Airbender’. Dropping the ‘Avatar’
element of the name due to some other film that you might have heard of,
The Last Airbender tells the tale of a strange world divided into four
kingdoms, each represented by an element. So the realms of Water, Air,
Earth, and Fire exist but all is not well as the Fire Nation want to rule
the whole world and decide that they should be the only nation allowed to
have ‘benders’ – people who can control the forces of the elements
e.g. a fire bender can throw fire as a weapon or heat their hands up when
This bender discrimination leads to war and the Fire Nation launches an
attack to eradicate all members of the Air Kingdom as they are said to be
the national from which the ‘Avatar’ will arise. The Avatar is a
mystical super bender who can control all four elements but it has been
100 years since he was last seen.
Our heroes are Katara (Nicola Peltz), a young girl who can bend water, and
Sokka (Jackson Rathbone) her brother. These two kids from the Water
Kingdom unwittingly stumble upon The Avatar who turns out to be young monk
named Aang (Noah Ringer). Seems he’s been locked in a block of ice for
the last 100 years and although destined to be the saviour of the world,
he didn’t actually complete his bender training and can only bend air.
"who are you calling a bender?"
So the scene is set for a desperate struggle for Aang to master the other
elements and avert a mass bender massacre. The wildcard in the mix is
shamed Fire Nation Prince Zuko (Dev Patel), on a mission to capture Aang
and restore his honour because he was banished by his father, Fire Lord
Ozai (Cliff Curtis).
The Last Airbender is an averagely enjoyable romp, the mystic plot limps
along and is only really enlivened by some nice bender enhanced fights. It
really didn’t need to be in 3D either and would have worked just as well
without the need to wear the 3D goggles. Also the plot is left on a wide
open cliff-hanger for the next film in the series - we can only hope that
they get better as they go along.
UNSEEN DELETED SCENE:
Aang gives up his quest and takes a job at McDonald's using his air bending powers to flip burgers...
Darkmatters rating: ööööö (5 bending mystics out of 10)
Darkmatters quick reference guide: Action 6 / Style 6 / Babes 5 / Comedy 5 / Horror 5 / Spiritual Enlightenment 4
Check out another review here (The Telegraph)