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Avatar: The Last Airbender Movie Review

Updated on March 5, 2012

First off. I'm not a critic. I like to review movies, but I don't enjoy ripping them to shreds. If you're looking for someone to hate with, keep on truckin'. That's not how I roll. I've read and heard a lot of criticism for M. Knight Shyamalan's The Last Airbender, but truthfully I really loved it. I love the fact that he sat down and watched all the episodes, fell in love with the cartoon like I did, and said "I'm gonna make this a movie." I mean, how many times do they create cartoons that both parents and kids enjoy? Who cares if it isn't one of his crazy, psycho-thriller movies? Not me.

Plot: Aang wakes up after one-hundred years in an ice sphere by a brother and sister, Sokka and Katara, from the southern water tribe. The world is soon alerted that the Avatar is back as Aang, Sokka, and Katara start to help groups of people take back control from the oppression of the Fire Nation. The trio finally end on in the Northern water tribe so that Aang can master water bending. As the Avatar he can speak to spirits and visit their world as well as master the four bending elements, Fire, Water, Earth, and Air. His job is to help bring balance and peace to the world the Fire Nation is now seeking to dominate. The Fire Lord's move is to destroy the northern water tribe by killing the moon spirits that give the tribe their water bending power. Aang and the crew are there to foil their evil plans and save the day. The movie ends with a set up up for multiple sequels as Aang has 3 years to develop all of his bending abilities (a lot longer time period than the series) at the end of which will be the big show down with the fire lord...and the plot thickens.


At first I was concerned with some of the cast. I didn't think Noah Ringer looked like Aang. He does have a cool name though, Noah. Same as my first son so it must be cool. I have to say that I ended up loving that boy though. I know there is controversy because he isn't Asian, but out of everyone in the series I always pictured the Fire Lord's family as Asian. Maybe that's just me. My main issues were actually with Sokka and Uncle. They are supposed to be funny, two of my favorite characters in fact, but neither of them made me laugh. My husband pointed out that the first book they are both more serious. He's more of a fan than I am so I'll take his word for it. The story line is very close to the show. Although Sokka wasn't funny, I think Rathbone did a great job as the big brother. I also thought the siblings looked very believable, not exactly like the cartoon, but exactly like siblings. Katara looked younger than I imagined her to be, but I actually like her that way. It makes her connection with Aang more realistic to me. I wasn't a fan of Prince Zuko's physical appearance. His acting wasn't too bad so I guess I could live with it. Where's his princely little pony tail? He had a small one in the back, but the rest of his hair was more like a chili bowl? I like small details like that. I wanted uncle to be fat and jolly, but again, I really enjoyed his acting so yet another detail I'll let slide. They should thank me for my benevolence, I know. In all I thought the story flowed well if you've seen the cartoons. I wonder how easy it would be to follow for those who haven't? I really hope that this franchise is continued until the end, and that they are able to keep the same actors through out. If you like fantasy, go rent the first season of the show, then go see the movie. My son is 9 and he said, "I liked it 99%" so there you go.

Which element would you want to bend?

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    • MissE profile image
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      MissE 6 years ago from Texas

      Yeah, I liked Noah! I had major issures with some of the other people, but actually I think it was more of a script problem. It just wasn't funny enough. The cartoons are funny! I think they took themselves a little too seriously.

    • AlyzaLewis profile image

      AlyzaLewis 6 years ago from The Land of Narnia

      I was disappointed with the movie myself, but I'm glad that people liked it (unlike some people who might have posted in your comments.) I really liked the cast from the beginning. When people complained about Noah Ringer I was really confused... he looked pretty Asian to me! But I guess mixed isn't asian enough. lol

    • Jezant profile image

      Jezant 6 years ago from New York

      YES! That would be a smart move...I think most fans of the series would agree...sweep that dirt under the rug and pretend it never happened!!!

    • MissE profile image
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      MissE 6 years ago from Texas

      That'd be cool. I'll be sad if they just give it up. Unless......they wait 5 years and then redo the whole thing!

    • Jezant profile image

      Jezant 6 years ago from New York

      I wish! To be honest, if anyone could do this and make it his own, it's Frank Darabont. I am a huge Stephen King fan and Darabont's adaptations of (Rita Hayworth and)The Shawshank Redemption, The Green Mile and especially The Mist were on point yet still original. I do not mind having a serious tone to THE LAST AIRBENDER if it's done right because that is some heavy subject matter. To me he is the person to do it.

    • MissE profile image
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      MissE 6 years ago from Texas

      Is he doing more chapters?

    • Jezant profile image

      Jezant 6 years ago from New York

      Hmmm...do you have Frank Darabont's number? I think we should call him and see what awesome interpretation he comes up with!

    • MissE profile image
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      MissE 6 years ago from Texas

      I know. Shyamalan is a really great director. I was surprised the movie wasn't as good as it could have been. I guess I would still like someone to try to do the rest of the chapters though.

    • Jezant profile image

      Jezant 6 years ago from New York

      Yeah, I guess...but I still think they disrespected the cartoon by making the movie, or atleast by letting Shyamalan get his hands on it...he can participate in the writing party but no more directing from him!!! And I am actually a fan of most of his work so I am talking to him as a friend...LOL!

    • MissE profile image
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      MissE 6 years ago from Texas

      I get ya. I just appreciate the fact that they tried I guess. Yes, it would have been awesome if they had sat down and made something epic like LOTR, but this IS a cartoon. Possibly the best cartoon ever made, I know, but still a cartoon. When have they ever given a cartoon that much clout?

    • Jezant profile image

      Jezant 6 years ago from New York

      I just saw that you made a hub regarding THE LAST AIRBENDER movie.

      I think the movie was not only a slap in the face of the cartoon, but also poorly made. No character development and no cohesive thought process makes one dull movie. Just to give you an idea of how wrong this movie went, in the series the Fire Nation all had fire being drawn from within, like Iroh in the movie. At no time was fire manipulated from a source. If that was the case, there would be no way in hell they could even attempt to take over the world...they would have been taken out immediately!

      I was also disappointed in M. Night Shyamalan's attempt to prove naysayers wrong about whitewashing the movie by having their names pronounced in their Asian formats. I find it more of a disservice to go half-a** then to not attempt at all. The creators of the series made it a point to always do their research when getting the fighting styles of the protagonists and antagonists down as well as social behavior (such as types of jobs, bowing to elders, high society culture). This was a rushed job with futile results.

      In hindsight of seeing a trilogy like LORD OF THE RINGS done and done well I cannot be convinced that more time and dedication could not have been put into making this film. Fans will always stay fans of the original format and can become even bigger fans when love is put into it, and of course new fans will be made.

      Yeah, I am a huge fan of the series, and as you can see, I am still not over my disappointment in the film...LOL!

    • MissE profile image
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      MissE 7 years ago from Texas

      Actually, yes they still have the complicated hand gestures in the cartoon. You've never seen the cartoon?! It's so cool. I think you would like the movie i tiny bit more if you saw the cartoons. The water bending gets more interesting as the series progresses. Think about how many thinks (including living) contain water. Just a hint. I was kidding about you wanting the fire nation to win. I know you're on the good side. :)

    • profile image

      Vee 7 years ago

      No, I don't want the fire nation to win. That sentence could have applied to either side. I was asking you how they did it in the cartoon. I've never seen it. Do the characters still have the complicated hand motions?

    • MissE profile image
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      MissE 7 years ago from Texas

      LOL! I guess I didn't notice that. Maybe the other people are so spellbound by the water bending they just have to watch until whamo.... a face full of water! I mean really hard water! Like..... the kind without a water softener!!! Wow. You want Aang to die!?! And the Fire nation to win?! That's just wrong. So how is it done differently in the cartoon?

    • profile image

      Vee 7 years ago

      Also, I don't know how they do it in the cartoon, but the fact that you spend 5 minutes waving you arms around to make the water fly around is ridiculous! The other person could walk up and punch you in the face before you finished your last hand flick. I kept thinking, "C'mon fire people, just shoot Aang with an arrow and then you'd win the war!" Totally illogical! Why didn't Shyamalan fix that?

    • MissE profile image
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      MissE 7 years ago from Texas

      I knew this would happen. I agree about Uncle Iroh. He was a great actor. Can you see him as the Fire Lord instead of Uncle? I still like the movie. I think Rathborn does have sort of one dimensional acting right now, but I think (like Daniel Radcliff in Harry Potter) he will get better in time and with a better script. I hope they continue to make the movies! :P You hater! :D I don't mind when people give their opinions. It's just when reviews get immature and personal that it gets on my nerves.

    • profile image

      Vee 7 years ago

      I can't comment on any of this or you're going to call me a hater! =) What's the point of going to the movies if you aren't going to use your brain after and compare and contrast to other things that you've seen? I love analyzing movies! Plus I feel it helps people not waste their money. Why reward movie companies for making bad movies if you're never honest when they make a bad one, and you go anyway. And I just have to do this. I can't stand it. The only good actor in the movie was the guy who played Uncle Iroh. Forget that his part wasn't written funny and acknowledge the fact that he did a good job. The rest of the acting stunk big time, (especially Jackson Rathbone). There, I said it. Call me a hater! Hahahahaha! Once again we completely disagree on something. =)

    • MissE profile image
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      MissE 7 years ago from Texas

      Thanks for your comments. Go see this movie. It's so much fun! If you haven't watched the cartoons you should rent them with yours son(s)/daughters(s), pop some popcorn, and have a marathon! I promise it'll be great family fun! These cartoons crack me up and the story line is cool....even for us "old people"!

    • Wendy Krick profile image

      Wendy Krick 7 years ago from Maryland

      My so is dying to see this movie.

    • billyaustindillon profile image

      billyaustindillon 7 years ago

      Thanks for this my sons are right into airbender right now - the toys and I now have a clue to what it is all about.

    • My SciFi Life profile image

      My SciFi Life 7 years ago from London, UK

      Hi - thanks for the review. I'm a huge fan of the cartoon (although I tell my wife its my son's favorite show!) and am glad to see that most of the elements will be retained in the movie. I hope that there is enough of a fan base to warrant making multiple movies though as it would be very disappointing if they didn't finish the story.