Wednesday, September 12, 2012

My Critic Review of "The Last Airbender" - M. Night Shamalyn - July 3, 2010

So me and Kyle Kollmann went to go see "The Last Airbender" yesterday. Now, Kyle, in his infinite wisdom decided to look up the critic reviews for this film, which received a dismal D+ from the "real" critics, and a C+ from actual people who went to go see it. 

Now, you may ask..."Why should I go see this then if it got such horrible reviews?" Because, if you're a fan of Avatar: The Last Airbender, which Nickelodeon made, then you will enjoy the action-filled, breath-taking special affects which permeate this wonderful work. Shamalyn's attempt at fantasy was, in my opinion, well done. Now, like most introductions to a new world/universe, they can start somewhat slow. This movie, definitely wasn't any exception. We follow Aang along in his adventures, his own personal quest of self-acceptance of his destiny, and the growth of his companions Katara and Sokka. IGN's own review looks like it was written by an Oxford film reject, as it shows his sheer ignorance of the animated series' plots and episodes. The tragedy of Prince Zuko was greatly depicted along with his internal struggle to find a place in his disgraced world. As the sequels of this movie unfold, I'm sure we'll be graced with more character development from Prince Zuko and his uncle who is an honorable and wise general who counsels his disgraced nephew throughout the film. (who's character I LOVED because of his sense of honor and integrity). 

The adventure in the movie does move somewhat slow, some of the dialogue is somewhat cheesey. But again, its made for children and young adults, so, what an adult critic things of an adolescent film is somewhat irrelevant unless he can speak from that perspective. Aang is a young child, the voice and actor is well-placed to play that role, and furthermore, has a great message of honor, integrity, and morality that accompanies it.

A lot of the first 20 episodes were filler, character development, and travel; so of course, to move the main plot along, quite a bit was cut out. During one segment of the movie, when Aang reaches the Northern Water Kingdom, he resides there for about 3 weeks where he learns to master the Water-Bending technique. So reasonably so, the episodes which encompass this 3 weeks were cut for time reasons. 

Furthermore, as Kyle and I were walking back to my car, we discussed how so few movies exist that depict actual magical battles. IGN's analysis criticizes the excessive magical battles throughout the film asking "though how many balls of fire and wind can one really stand after a while?" Honestly, the same can be said for war films which we see people blown to pieces, or sci-fi movies/series where all they do is fight for a whole season (DS9, season 7 anyone?) So criticizing the amount of war engaged in is totally irrelevant as well, because the battles had purpose and meaning for moving the plot along. But he also forgot to mention the very cool waterbending, which there was a great deal of as well. Battles which depict two wielders of whatever element of fantasy they utilize (magic, bending, etc) are SO hard to find these days. Lord of the Rings: Return of the king was a great disappointment in this department. The Theatrical Dungeons and Dragons movies had a little bit of it, but alas, what it had in special affects it lacked in plot and story. So I was pleased to see a strong epic story with malleable characters, built on a strong introductory foundation

The musical score is of particular enjoyment, as it invokes strong epic feelings and great peaks of awe in conjunction with the film's imagery. When they approached the gates of the Northern Water Kingdom, the score plus the visual gave me goosebumps of awe. 

Finally, before you decide to listen to reviews written by IVY-league, snobbish critics, go see it for yourself and make your own judgment. I found the movie extremely enjoyable, and fun, something I would take my kid to see (if I had one that age, or at all for that matter), and don't let yourself be taken back by the drop off at the end of the movie; because they will be making more, I assure you!

Thanks, And make sure to look for Kyle Kollmann's own review which hopefully will surface around sometime this evening.

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