THE LAST AIRBENDER

http://www.thelastairbendermovie.com/

USA 2010  Directed & Written by: M. Night Shyamalan Produced by: Scott Aversano, Frank Marshall, Sam Mercer, M. Night Shyamalan  Cinematography: Andrew Lesnie  Editing: Conrad Buff IV  Music: James Newton Howard Cast: Noah Ringer, Nicola Peltz, Dev Patel, Jackson Rathbone, Shaun Toub, Aasif Mandvi, Cliff Curtis

We have seen all kinds of rip-offs of all kinds of movies in our lives. Bad me-too movies are ten-a-penny, but few are quite as insulting as THE LAST AIRBENDER. People might have a short memory, often times they even enjoy the familiar, but M. Night Shyamalan obviously thinks we’ve all had brain surgery in 2009 so that he’d get away with his pathetic piece of patchwork.

I don’t want to discuss the intentionality of Shyamalan’s theft, but it’s unforgivable, any which way. Open the juice blender and fill it with the following ingredients: THE NEVERENDING STORY, THE LORD OF THE RINGS trilogy, THE KARATE KID and every other Jackie Chan movie since CRIME STORY, the original STAR WARS trilogy, 2012 and every other Roland Emmerich film since INDEPENDENCE DAY, add on top of all that the poorest special effects and worst fight choreography possible. Then, close the lid, press start and voila, out comes THE LAST AIRBENDER – a derivative, not a tasty blend.

I do not really care much for the TV Series; in any case the movie has to stand on its own feet. I found the cast not exactly likeable, starting with that Airbender kid. Then, there’s no time for character development, so all characters feel like Mattel action figures. The dialogues are mostly quotes from other movies, or merely adaptations of those quotes. And the story is an outright jumble (surprise, given that Shyamalan is squeezing dozens of “inspirations” into the 100+ minutes of THE LAST AIRBENDER).

The TV series might appeal to kids for certain reasons, but it’s beyond me why anyone who’s passed puberty would care about a kid bending air (or water, or earth, or a spoon, or dog poo). Ultimately, the whole air-bending trick has no point. Save the world, destroy the world, father, mother, master, disciple, heir or slave, what an incredible lot of senseless information and unfinished plot threads we are supposed to deal with.

Maybe THE LAST AIRBENDER is just going with the times, following the business model of large corporations that outsource a large part of their own responsibilities to the customers (e.g. fast-food-chains, self-service franchises and DIY businesses like IKEA who effectively earn from consumers being so stupid as to think that DIY is fun when in fact it’s the responsibility of those who make you believe that it’s your job, not theirs). Consequently, THE LAST AIRBENDER leaves it to the audience to make sense out of its nonsense, outsourcing creativity and all rational efforts instead of holding the scriptwriter and director accountable.

So thanks, but no thanks. We all appreciate movies that involve and stimulate, but that doesn’t extend to this incomprehensible mess that leaves us utterly bored. THE LAST AIRBENDER is not a movie, it’s a con.

J.


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