I hate M. Night Shyamalan right now. Can’t stand the guy. The reason? The Last Airbender. Never again will I watch anything Shyamalan has touched. I never thought I’d be so pissed off after watching a movie.
To say the movie is bad is an understatement. There were times in the movie where I almost had to cover my ears, just to keep the inane dialogue from driving me insane. The acting is terrible. The characters fall as flat the crappy 3D effects. Any attempt at the humor offered by the animated series is completely lost.
In film, there is a rule: show, don’t tell. Never just have a character state facts or narrate the story; show the story. Give the viewer visual cues as to what the character is thinking and feeling, don’t just tell them. That is the exact opposite of what happens in this movie. Everything is simply narrated out or explained in the past tense.
If you haven’t seen the TV series, you will be lost. Entire episodes of content are crammed into 2 minutes, skipping straight to the climax with no context whatsoever. Even the climax of the movie fell flat because there is very little sympathy for any of the characters. It really didn’t even make sense to me, though I have watched the series.
The worst part is that the movie had so much potential. There was a ready fan base eager to enjoy the movie, the plot was already written, and the visuals were already done. All that Shyamalan had to do was successfully transmit the animated series into live action, and he didn’t. You’ve heard of infinite monkeys on infinite typewriters recreating the works of Shakespeare? One monkey could have done better than this. Flinging poop at a typewriter.
The use of bending in combat is legitimately cool; and that’s the one bright spot to the movie. Visually, the fight sequences are really impressive. The choreography is great and the effects are cool. But fights are rare in the movie, and don’t make up for the bad acting and poor narrative style. Did I mention the bad acting?
Seriously, don’t go see it. Tell your friends not to go see it. Please. You may end up causing yourself serious bodily harm.
Shyamalan, you owe me $13.50.