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July 02, 2010

"The Last Airbender"

Chris Miksanek - The Med City Movie Guy -- 'The Last Airbender' starring Noah Ringer In the new sci-fi/fantasy The Last Airbender, a young boy wrestles with the responsibilities that come with being an “Avatar” capable of controlling all four elements: air, water, earth, and fire.
    Four nations exist -- the Air Nomads, the Water Tribes, the Earth Kingdom, and the Fire Nation -- each with their own “benders” who can manipulate and control that element. In the entire world, however, only one person can dominate all four elements: an Avatar; and it is the Avatar’s duty to facilitate peace between the nations, three of which are perennially under attack from the Fire Lord. These days, things are even more chaotic than normal as the current Avatar is nowhere to be found.
    Frightened by the awesome powers he was only learning to control, the reincarnated Avatar Aang (Noah Ringer) ran away when he was just a boy 100 years ago. Frozen since then, but now "defrosted," he must first complete his training then suppress the Fire Nation’s incursion.
    Remarkably, The Last Airbender, did well in its opening weekend (though it was predictably bested by the third Twilight installment, Eclipse). That says more about the sheer number of pre-teen diehard fans of the similarly-titled Nickelodeon anime series on which this is based than it does the preposterous plot that I found as uninteresting as it was confusing.
    In fact, this was one of the most unwatchable movies I have ever endured. As evidence, I present my writer’s notebook. You see, the fewer notes I jot during a film, the more engaged, or amazed, I am. Conversely, the worse a film is, the more I tend to scribble. For average ones, scribed commentary along the lines of “Malkovich is a delicious villain” or, “the alien drinks bottled water” is pretty typical. For the real bad movies, my notes are numerous and tend to be more ridiculing than pointed. For this one, I penned things like, “I’ve seen better acting in a grade school production of ‘Glengarry Glen Ross,’” “The best defense against the water bender is a good paper towel” and something I am still trying to figure out: “How about a Civil War-era prosthetic leg.”
    What the film lacks in story and acting, it overcompensates for with special effects. Unfortunately, so much of the film is green-screened, that it takes on an eerie fake feel that further distances us. The 3D option did not enhance my viewing pleasure either, however, completely opaque glasses might have made it more tolerable.
    This one takes two spots on my list of the ten worst films.


1/2 Honk
MPAA Rating:
PG for fantasy action violence and a very cool tattoo that no 12-year-old can get in the State of Minnesota as of July 1st
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