Aang lives in a world divided into the elemental nations of Earth, Water, Fire, and Air with beings who can control each element living in their appropriate nation. The Fire nation however wants to rule the world and has started wars with the other nations whose only hope is to find an Avatar – the rare being who can manipulate all 4 elements. Aang learns he is an Avatar and sets out with his new friends to bring balance into the world.
Noah Ringer (Aang), Dev Patel (Zuko), Nicola Peltz (Katara), Jackson Rathbone (Sokka), Shaun Toub (Iroh), Aasif Mandvi (Zhao), Cliff Curtis (Ozai), Seychelle Gabriel (Yue), Katharine Houghton (Katara’s Grandma).
The Last Airbender jumps straight into the story, plot, and action as Katara and Sokka rescue Aang from an icy tomb. The story quickly begins to evolve with small pieces of character development and story background along the way, mainly in the form of flashbacks or dialogue. Although the setting is a bit complicated until the language is understood, the plot is fairly simple and moves along at a good pace once established. The story develops well through the end of the film which is an obvious sequel setup.
Acting was interesting but not necessarily good. Ringer did well and seemed to have good emotion but felt lost in a few scenes. Peltz and Rathbone did okay and felt like they had good chemistry. Peltz actually did better than Ringer in the scenes where they were bending elements. Patel felt a bit miscast in his part. Mandvi was an excellent protagonist and played well against both Patel and Curtis.
Camera work was good but not exciting compared to the CGI which was very nicely done. There was so much CGI the film almost felt overwhelming at times but it supported the story well. Sets and backgrounds were good but again took a back seat to CGI. It is hard to imagine the film being made without the CGI effects. Dialogue was good with a few accents being difficult. Sound and soundtrack were well done.
Overall The Last Airbender is an entertaining Sci-Fi Fantasy but the film has a hard time standing alone. Fans of the series will probably enjoy this a lot while the rest of us will feel lost and as if we only got part of the story. By itself, the film lacks the depth and detail to entertain an audience unfamiliar with the story before viewing.
With plenty of action violence being the only thing to limit audience age, this should be fine even for younger kids.
The Last Airbender is no longer showing in any Littleton Colorado movie theatres.
Official movie site.
Star rating: 3 out of 5
copyright ©2010 Dave
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