The Last Air-Bender Win and Fail.

avatar-the-last-airbender-5231f2c26b1d2

The Last Air-Bender Win and Fail.

avatar-the-last-airbender-5231f2c26b1d2

As a series: unfail­ing­ly win (though grant­ed­ly annoy­ing at times, most­ly because I can’t stand male ego and super angst dis­played in some of the char­ac­ters).

As a movie by M. Night Shya­malan: unfailingly…well, fail.

I watched the movie in the­aters with a bunch of friends when it first came out, before I’d seen the series. I thought it was pret­ty awful then, although I could see that it had a good sto­ry-line basis.

Recent­ly, Michael and I got Net­flix and watched all three sea­sons of the series in about 3 weeks. I loved it. LOVED. Was addict­ed. For­feit­ed sleep. It’s rare that I come across such a good sto­ry-line, and I’m like a kid in a can­dy-store when I find a good sto­ry.

After watch­ing the whole series, I thought I’d give the movie a sec­ond shot, hop­ing that I’d like it a lit­tle bet­ter. Oh, how wrong I was. The fol­low­ing is just a rant to make me feel bet­ter.

  • As every­one in the inter­nets have already point­ed out, the pro­nun­ci­a­tions are wrong. This just shows that Shya­malan didn’t care. He had 3 sea­sons’ worth of excel­lent mate­r­i­al to draw from, com­plete with all of the char­ac­ters talk­ing to each oth­er. Aang is…Ang. Not Ong. Sok­ka is Sock­uh, not Soakuh. He’s the Avatar, not the Ahvahtar. Iroh is Eye­roh, not Eeroh. Etc. Etc. Etc.
  • The act­ing. Oh lord, the act­ing. Let’s just say that it rivals Chris­t­ian movies. (ouch­burn)
  • The bend­ing. In every form, it’s too slow and takes too many moves. At one point in a bat­tle between the earth king­dom and the fire nation, it takes 6 (seem­ing­ly) expe­ri­enced men to create…a 12-inch rock. And anoth­er to kick it at approx­i­mate­ly 5ft/hour into a fire ben­der who just stood there and wait­ed for it to take him out. Air bend­ing looks clum­sy and heavy. Fire ben­ders appar­ent­ly can only bend when fire is present, unlike in the series in which they can simply…create it from their inter­nal ener­gy. HUGE plot point.
  • The rea­son (in the movie) Aang ran away was because the Avatar wasn’t allowed to have a fam­i­ly. I’m dying to see how they’re going to explain that if they make the oth­er two movies, when Zuko dis­cov­ers that he is a descen­dent of Roku, the pre­vi­ous Avatar, who was mar­ried and had chil­dren (and there was NOTHING WRONG WITH THAT). In the series, Aang ran away because they were tak­ing him away from his men­tor and send­ing him away to anoth­er air tem­ple. He could have a fam­i­ly. In fact, he gets togeth­er with Katara in the end. His love for her is com­mend­ed, not for­bid­den.
  • Sozin’s comet was to return the fol­low­ing year, not 3 years out. And it didn’t give them the pow­er to cre­ate fire — they already had that pow­er. It just made them prac­ti­cal­ly invin­ci­ble.
  • Aging and ani­ma­tion. Katara is too young. Sok­ka and Zuko are too old (and Zuko is way too tall). Azu­la is too young. Aang is too short. Momo is too thin and clum­sy and obvi­ous­ly CG. Appa is also way too CG. Along with most of the bend­ing.
  • All. The. White­wash­ing. All good char­ac­ters are white. All bad char­ac­ters are not. THIS IS NOT OKAY.
  • Kyoshi war­riors miss­ing.
  • Sok­ka, Aang, and Katara are all com­plete­ly wrong per­son­al­i­ty wise. Aang looks per­pet­u­al­ly con­sti­pat­ed, ready to throw up, or cry. Sok­ka is a kill-joy who takes him­self waaay too seri­ous­ly. Katara is way too vanil­la with no per­son­al­i­ty what­so­ev­er. Con­trast to the series, in which Aang is very much a 12-year-old boy who likes to play pranks and joke and run around a lot — and who real­ly doesn’t start grow­ing up until most of the way through the sec­ond sea­son (none of this “I’m 12-going-on-60” crap). Sok­ka is per­pet­u­al com­ic relief who tells corny jokes, laughs all the time, and is con­stant­ly search­ing for food (threat­en­ing to eat Momo at one point). Katara is sassy, deter­mined, full-of-heart, and lov­ing all the time (with a decent sense of humor and enough female-rage now and then to make her inter­est­ing).
  • Iroh. OH MY LORD. I prob­a­bly take his bas­tardiza­tion more per­son­al­ly than any­thing else, since he’s my favourite char­ac­ter. In the movie, he is tall and thin and sage­ly — the kind of per­son you look at and think, “He’s real­ly nice and real­ly wise.” Over­all, not real­ly bad…unless you know what he’s sup­posed to be like. Short. Fat. Obsessed with tea and good food. Con­stant­ly say­ing non­sen­si­cal things that real­ly are full of wis­dom but real­ly sound like he’s a sil­ly stu­pid old man. I love him the same way and rea­son I love Dum­b­le­dore. And all non­sen­si­cal old men.
  • Zuko. Miss­ing his cool pony-tail thing sig­ni­fy­ing his roy­al­ty. Also, he has half a face more than he should. In the series, the left side of his face is SEVERELY scarred, in that he’s miss­ing an eye­brow and eye­lash­es and can’t open his eye all the way, and his face still looks raw. In the movie…let’s just say that I didn’t know he had a scar until the sec­ond time I saw it (just now), and looked real­ly close­ly.
  • Admi­ral Jiao is sup­posed to be a lot smarter and more ego­tis­ti­cal than he is in the movie. In the movie, he’s slip­pery and sleazy look­ing and also way more ner­vous than a man of his posi­tion should be. Much like the dean of men of my old uni­ver­si­ty.
  • The Blue Spir­it wasn’t that hairy.

I could go on. And on. And on. I’m nor­mal­ly not that nit-picky with movies, because usu­al­ly they’re inter­pret­ing a book…not some­thing that already has an estab­lished visu­al and ver­bal style. Just…ugh. I couldn’t be more dis­ap­point­ed with the movie.

Posted in Fat Girl,
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