(Not much to see here.)
Starring Noah Ringer, Dev Patel and Nicola Peltz. Directed by M. Night Shyamalan. 103 minutes. PG
You’re probably wondering what the hell an airbender is. But don’t watch the film to find out; it’ll leave you wondering a whole lot more, namely, what the point of it all is.
In The Last Airbender, races are categorized by elements: Air, Water, Earth and Fire. The film begins with brother and sister Sokka (Jackson Rathbone) and Katara (Nicola Peltz), members of the Southern Water Tribe, trekking through an icy passage. Katara is a waterbender, meaning she can manipulate water for use as a weapon. She’s practicing her “bending” when she melts a patch of ice, revealing a massive marble-like iceberg. She smashes it, it melts and inside is Aang and his six-legged flying bison. Aang is the last airbender, but since there are no more existing airbenders, he must be the reincarnation of the Avatar, able to bend all elements. There’s also Zuko (Dev Patel), a Fire Nation prince banished by his father and ordered to capture the Avatar. His father, Fire Lord Ozai (Cliff Curtis) is also out to catch the Avatar so that he does not have to redeem his son. Nothing really makes much sense or seems to have a point before the halfway mark.
Patel aside, most of the acting seems out of a low-budget, local television show, adults and children alike. Of course, it is a kids film so they probably didn’t pay any attention to it but if you aren’t nine years old, it’s unbearable at times. On the other hand, Patel plays the role of evil well. Maybe a bit too much in scenes of anger, but his anguish seems genuine. You almost want cold-hearted papa Ozai to ask for forgiveness and hug his poor, abandoned son.
The only other captivating part of this film would have to be the visuals. A glossy, floating orb of water, spilling in small lashes as Katara bends it through the air seems all too real. And creatures like Aang’s bison are interesting enough to steal the entire scene. Then again, there’s not much to steal from.
If feels as if there’s much more the story that we aren’t being told, yet at the same time, we are being told so much. Although nothing seems to fit together. It bogs the entire film down. You’re too busy trying to piece together the back story that the hollow plot floats on by. D