Saturday, April 9, 2011

DVD Review: The Last Airbender

The Last AirbenderRating: PG
Running time: 1 hour 43 minutes
Release date:  November 16th, 2010
Distributor:  Paramount Pictures
Directed by: M. Night Shamalan
Written by:  M. Night Shamalan
Synopsis from Rotten Tomatoes:
Based on the hugely successful Nickelodeon animated TV series, the live-action feature film is set in a world where human civilization is divided into four nations: Water, Earth, Air and Fire.

For those of you who don't know, I'm a huge fan of the Avatar: The Last Airbender TV series.  When I heard about it being made into a movie, I was excited but worried about how good it would be.  Before going to see the movie in theaters, I had extremely low expectations, and because of that, wasn't really dissapointed because I was expecting to hate it.

My biggest complaint about this movie is how they pronounce a bunch of names wrong.  It's not based on a book series where different people could read a name and pronounce it differently.  It's based on a TV series that clearly pronounces each name a certain way.  I don't know how you can mess that up, but somehow they managed to.  They even pronounced Avatar wrong.  It made me cringe throughout the whole movie.

Watching it for a second time, I noticed a few things I didn't notice when I watched it in theaters.  I actually like the movie a little more now.  Not that much more, but my hate has gone down a bit.  It could have been worse I guess.  I did think a few of the actors did a good job (I've been a Dev Patel fan ever since Slumdog Millionare.), but I think a lot of the characters could have been cast better.  For one thing, they could have been Asian.  I have an Asian friend who was extremely annoyed that so many white actors where cast when all of the cultures of the show are based on Asian cultures.

I did think the bending looked pretty cool although I didn't like the air bending too much.  I understand that they wanted the audience to see the air, but it just looked really fake to me.  I also thought Momo and Appa looked pretty cool.

One thing that only occured to me when watching it for a second time was the difference in the relationships between the characters.  I'm mainly talking about Katara and Aang (and Sokka and Aang too really).  In the show season one (which the movie is based on) covers several months, and by the end of the season, Katara and Sokka have become extremely close to Aang.  In the movie, it's implied that this movie has actually taken place over a whole year, but at the end of the movie it still feels like Aang has just met Katara and Sokka.  They get along and have become friends, but they don't really seem that close.  I guess the actors just didn't have good chemistry or something.

(This is the first time I've ever really ranted about everything I think is wrong with the movie other than a video I filmed right after seeing it the first time, but I missed a lot then.  I left out a few minor complaints in here, but I think I mentioned all of the major ones I had.  It actually feels pretty good.)

Special features:

Origins of the Avatar:  I think this was a nice interview with Mike and Bryan (the creators of the awesome show) for people who aren't Avatar fans, but many fans will already know everything they talk about.

Deleted scenes:  I always enjoy watching deleted scenes.  I can see why all of these were cut from the film, but I enjoyed watching them.

Outtakes:  I was greatly amused by the outtakes.  Most of it was pretty funny.  I noticed that a lot of people on the set liked to randomly start dancing, and everyone seemed to fall down a lot.

I kind of wish that I could have gotten the combined Blue-Ray/DVD, so I could have the extra special features (I love special features), but we don't own a Blue-Ray player.  Oh well, I didn't like the movie much anyway, and I don't care to buy a BLue-Ray player just so I can see some special features.

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