While Signs was pretty good, M. Night Shyamalan’s reputation as a writer/director of renown comes from just one movie, The Sixth Sense.
The others have pretty much sucked. However, what you did get from them was a directing and storytelling style that at least made his films interesting.
Not so for The Last Airbender.
Outside of Stewart Little, it’s the one story Shyamalan has written that is not his. The Last Airbender belongs to the Nickelodeon TV network and is based on a very successful — and I’m told, very good — animated series.
I’m not a TV watcher so I have no proof. You’ll have to check that one out for yourself. The story is a bit overused, and, in Shyamalan’s version, a bit overdone.
Aang is the Avatar. His job is to keep balance between nations named after the four elements: fire, water, air and earth. Aang didn’t want the gig and ran away. He ended up in a frozen water ball for 100 years. Freed from his icy prison by a brother and sister, he finds the Fire Nation making war on the others in order to rule the world.
Even though he’s just a kid, Aang realizes being the Avatar is his destiny so he sets out with the brother and sister to stop the Fire Nation, an evil general and a shamed prince that wants to catch him and take him to his evil emperor daddy. That will restore his honor.
The awful acting by his kid cast explains Shyamalan’s use of endless scenes of the main characters doing slow, Tai Chi-looking dances to conjure up air, water, earth and fire effects. To give the actors a little bit of credit, when a script is as badly written as The Last Airbender, it’s hard to deliver a credible line.
Save yourself a couple of bucks. See The Last Airbender in two dimensions instead of three. The addition of the 3-D is obviously an afterthought, and in most scenes it’s pretty bad.
Almost as bad as the writing and the acting.
This is the first of three films in a planned series so, unfortunately, it’s not the “last” airbender.
Mr. Movie rating: 1 star
Rated PG for mature themes and some violence. It opened Thursday, July 1 at the Carmike 12 and at the Fairchild Cinemas 12.
5 stars to 4 1/2 stars: Must see on the big screen
4 stars to 3 1/2 stars: Good film, see it if it's your type of movie.
3 stars to 2 1/2 stars: Wait until it comes out on video.
2 stars to 1 star: Don't bother.
0 stars: Speaks for itself.