Disclaimer: I love movies. Even bad ones. I love going to movies and eating the popcorn. Life is good.
Who knew a movie about the magical powers of air could be so dull and heavy? Kicking off in a speculative Arctic future where humanity has devolved itself into four tribal factions based on the elements, Last Airbender quickly morphs into the over-budgeted Star Trek episode should have never become. Two white kids (who are somehow Eskimos) trying to hunt a baby seal uncover a giant ice-ball where they find the messiah of their particular universe passed out next to his flying pet beaver, who also happens to be his personal airbus. Rodney kept on calling the flying beaver “the mop with a face”, but both of us felt it was a direct rip off of Falkor from the Neverending Story.
The tedium was mildly relieved by underachieving special effects, that is, until the epileptic-seizure inducing panning anomalies made us look around to ascertain whether or not we were sitting in the 3D version of the movie. We were in the 2D version, and yet every time the camera panned from angle to nauseous angle, it was like watching a 3 year old’s first attempt at a YouTube film production.
Which leads me to M. Night Shymalan. I want to like him. Sixth Sense was one of the greatest movies ever made. Unbreakable, not so much, but it wasn’t horrible. The Village was pretty good. What happened to this guy? Last Airbender is Disney pablum masquerading as sci-fi. I sense a great deal of marijuana was responsible in this movie and not in a good way.
The kids go on a quest to the opposite Arctic pole so Airbender kid –Aahn is his name and it makes me think immediately of the red bean paste in mooncakes–as they “liberate” various tribes by doing tai-chi. I’m serious, unfortunately. All element bending is preceded by entire tai-chi routines, the kind old people do every morning in mainland China to the sound of a tinny loudspeaker. There is a face-off Lord of the Rings style between the fire people who are villains and the water people. There is no character development except for the Fire Overlord who does little else besides insult people, bringing up old grievances and injuries in a whiny voice. The quasi-Japanese feng shui gave me a stomachache at every turn, but the yin and yang fishies swimming in the pond were almost cool.
Thank goddess this badly-directed, overwrought P.O.S. was edited down to 1 hour and 40 minutes, because more exposure would have likely caused some sort of brain damage.