Call me the voice of reason.
The previous two movie reviews that I wrote (“Revenge of the Fallen” and “Iron Man 2”) were to discredit the critics. They were written to flat out tell anyone who happens to read my blog that critics were ABSOLUTELY wrong with their criticism of the movies.
Now, here comes M. Night Shyamalan’s live adaption of Nickelodeon’s hit anime “Avatar: The Last Airbender,” a movie that practically have critics sick to their stomachs. Heck, reading through Tweets from casual movie goers almost made ME sick to my stomach. The majority of the Tweets had the same consensus as the critics — “The Last Airbender” is Horrible. (See the capital ‘H?’)
Apprehension raised in my head when I saw that the film is only an hour and a half long. That is entirely too short for this film. The full story can not be told in that short amount of time. The film should easily be three hours long so with that being known, I already knew BEFORE going to see it that it will be a summarization, a condense, version of a 20 episode season one of a children’s cartoon.
So is the masses right that “Airbender” should be flushed down the commode or will I again have to show the critics the error of their ways?
OK, maybe I view films differently than everyone else. Maybe my criteria of what makes a good film is wrong but then again, I could just enjoy showing everyone that critics are idiots (they’ll say the same about me).
“The Last Airbender” is good. Yes I said it and I will repeat it: “The Last Airbender” is GOOD.
The first issue to dispel is the lack of Asians in the film. I have never heard such an outcry about casting of or lack of casting before in my life. The message I have is ‘who cares?’ Throughout the history of film, directors have cast people NOT based on character. Do you really believe the Westerns of the 1950s and ’60s had REAL Native Americans? Get real people. We’re talking about cartoon characters with no clear cut race. The final actors selected were believable and played their characters well.
Which brings me to issue No. 2 — bad acting. Considering the fact that the dialogue is bland, it is delivered well. Then you ask why is it bland? Because it is kid friendly. It’s not like the cartoon gave us Shakespearean colloquialisms.
Third issue: bad writing. I can almost agree with it but all because it’s simplistic doesn’t necessarily make it bad. The early narration was fine because it followed the cartoon. Shyamalan could have gone without the late narratives but it isn’t enough of an issue to scream bloody murder.
What makes “The Last Airbender” good is that Shyamalan kept the essence of the cartoon. What everyone is missing is that “Airbender” is about the destiny of individuals. We all have a purpose and no matter what we do, that purpose will be fulfilled by us — we can not run away from it.
Add to the fact that graphically, the film is beautiful from the sets (the Northern Water Tribe set is amazing) to Appa and Momo to the bending and to the martial arts fight scenes, “The Last Airbender” IS a success.