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Reviews Comments: A disappointing failure to live up to the potential The Last Airbender episode/issue review by hobbitguy 1420

I'll be kind and open my review with the elements I feel this movie did right. The visuals of the movie were impressive, from the sweeping landscapes to the set design to the bending visual effects. The music, while more generic than what we heard in the show, was intense and moving. Certain characters and scenes were done well. I thought Iroh, in most cases, was easily recognizable as the wise, good-natured old aesthete from the show. The rescue by the Blue Spirit was well done, for the most part. And Azula, for all that she appears for 4 seconds, struck me as being properly bat-crazy-evil.

Some of the changes the movie made were acceptable, to be put down to Pragmatic Adaptation or even (minor) Adaptation Distillation. The decision to increase the time frame of the story to 4 years will allow the romance subplot between Aang and Katara to develop at a more natural rate (and to culminate at a more natural age, something that bothered me slightly in the cartoon series). The requirement of non-Master-level Firebenders to have a source of flame didn't bother me, as it made Firebending line up more properly with the other bending disciplines. The plot compression is unavoidable, in order to present a 20-episode series in 2 hours.

The above said, the movie sadly failed to live up to the sum of its parts. The dialogue was frankly disappointing (I haven't cringed this much since the Star Wars prequel romance subplots). It seemed that everything that made the main characters unique was washed away, leaving a bland patina of vague good-guy-iness. There were far too many plot holes and Fridge Logic moments that didn't even need a trip to the fridge later. Many of these have been touched upon by previous reviews - the decision to hold Earthbenders on the ground, the reluctance of said Earthbenders to rockalanche the Fire Nation soldiers into dirt, and Iroh's "I'm going to call fire and do... nothing" moment come most readily to mind. Honestly, it was hard to see what Shymalan was going for in this movie. The pace was too slow and stretched-out to be a good action film, there wasn't nearly enough humor for a comedy, and there was too little characterization for any sort of drama. In the end, the film just fell flat.


  • Dracoblade
  • 13th Jul 10
Have to disagree with the "firebending from a source" thing, if only because it puts all Firebenders at a severe disadvantage.
  • BlackbirdMizu
  • 18th Nov 10
I have to disagree with what you said about Azula. She was in like, two scenes, and in both of them, she looked and sounded like a giggly schoolgirl who saw a cute guy. She wasn't scary and intimidating in the least, whereas Azula from the show was a very threatening character.

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