Sucky Saturdays: The Last Airbender (2010)

WHY

By Nathan Woodham

In my early teenage years, I remember having a lot of issues. Most of them are normal; they come with puberty, middle school and a struggle to be taken seriously in the transition from adolescence to adulthood.

At that age, one of the most influential aspects of my life was the media I consumed. If I could relate in any way to stories that were told to me, they would often play a part in dictating my actions and responses to situations.

During this time, I was exposed to Avatar: The Last Airbender, the Nickelodeon animated series. The series’ relatable characters and innocent comedy quickly grabbed my attention, and under the surface, I found life lessons about loss, anger, love, family and much more that stayed with me until this day. It became my favorite animated series of all time and remains close to my heart.

When I was 15, I saw the trailer for what seemed like a dream-come-true. The Last Airbender was coming out as a live action blockbuster movie, directed by M. Night Shyamalan, who, at the time, was one of my favorite directors (I had not seen The Happening or The Village, so I only knew him from The Sixth Sense and some other decent films). It felt amazing.

Until I saw the film.

The characters that I loved all had their names pronounced incorrectly. The comic relief from the series had turned into the most unlikeable scumbag ever put on screen. The acting was atrocious. Instead of being told through visuals, the story was told almost entirely through poorly acted exposition. The magic that allowed one person to build walls of stone instantaneously in the animated series now took seven people to lift a fist-sized rock off the ground. Where the animated series succeeds on every single level, the live action movie fails on every. Single. Level.

There is nothing good about The Last Airbender (2010). It made me cynical. It made me hate going to the theater for a long time. I will never, ever forgive Shyamalan for taking the series that taught me the meaning of patience, love and friendship and using it to teach me how to hate. The DVD of this movie deserves to be buried in a landfill with E.T. on the Nintendo Entertainment System.

The Last Airbender (2010) receives the rating of a haunted ventriloquist doll that captures and tortures it for decades until it dies a lonely, painful death, never truly knowing what it means to love.

So yeah, don’t see it, the acting sucks.

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