Friday, 17 March 2017

The Last Airbender
Dir: M. Night Shyamalan
Apart from Dev Patel's performance and the visual effects, M. Night Shyamalan's adaptation of The Last Airbender is nothing special. Was it as bad as everyone said though? The easy answer is nearly, but not quite. As well as Dev Patel, Shaun Toub and Cliff Curtis give strong performances, the set pieces are impressive, the CGI monsters and general special effects are impressive and I thought the martial arts was good. I didn't hate the story either, although I have no idea how close to the original source material it is. M. Night Shyamalan, whose career was on a sharp decline in quality, decided to make the film after watching the original cartoon with his daughter at home. He removed a lot of the cartoon's humour, made it more serious and wanted it to have a higher rating but the studio refused. The biggest complaint upon its release was the use of Caucasian actors rather than Asian ones. It is a bit of a white wash to be fair, there is no reason for it and it upset the fans. The story is okay but all through the script it is clear that they are building foundations for more sequels, sequels that would never happen. A good film should always look forward but first and foremost, deal with the 90 minutes at hand. The script is one of the worst ever written. Dev Patel for instance really got into the part. He researched, learned the character and went through several gruelling months of martial arts training, only to be met with awful dialogue, such as the now infamous line "I always knew you were a bender". Like I said, I'm unfamiliar with the source material but the story felt very familiar, the 'chosen one' story, with secret powers, clans and foreign lands, it's a bit Narnia, a bit Lord of the Rings, old school anime and very much Hollywood trying to do anime and getting it very wrong. I think M. Night Shyamalan concentrated more on what The Last Airbender meant to him, rather than what it meant to the fans, the first mistake of many. The child actors were good but they couldn't carry the film. Destined to be forgotten, but if it is remembered, chances are it will be for all the wrong reasons.

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