I’m tired, so I won’t put pictures in this review, sorry!
Before I begin, let me just say one thing: I’m going to completely rip this movie because there was a lot wrong with it. I blame the producers, the director, and the editor for everything that is wrong. The movie itself is ok, I would recommend waiting for it to come out on HBO on demand or something and not spend money on it. Kids will like it, but anyone who knows anything about film will see it as a complete and utter disgrace to cinema.
AMENDMENT TO REVIEW: Apparently the flying fuzzy thing is named “Appa”. kekeke, random trivia fact: “Appa” is korean for “dad”
This is the only thing that gets full marks. The plot of the story is actually not bad. It’s about a girl who, along with her elder brother, find a boy buried beneath the ice. The girl is a water bender, someone who (with some serious Tai Chi) can make water do whatever she wants. The boy is an air bender, same principle, but he can make air do what he wants. She takes him back to her village, where he is captured by the banished son of the King of the Fire Benders. Apparently the Water, Fire, Earth, and Air people used to live in harmony because of a being called the “Avatar”. He could bend each element, not just his own, and communicate with the spirits who control each element’s power. Before the Avatar was trained in his latest reincarnation he vanished. 100 years passed and the Fire people took over the world. They knew the Avatar would eventually be born to an Air bender (since it follows a cycle) and so they exterminated all of them. The Fire prince learns this Air bender, the last of his kind left, is the Avatar. Apparently Ang (the Avatar) ran away from the Air temple before he was trained, since they told him he could never have a family. He was caught in a storm and forced to land on his big flying… thing. I don’t know what it is called, but it’s cute and fuzzy. Anyways, ice formed around them and he didn’t remember anything after that. Ang escapes the Fire prince and leaves with the two who found him on a trip to the northern Water benders who can train him in this element. The whole time he is pursued by the Fire prince, who was scarred by his father and banished on the condition he could return if he found the Avatar.
The story is great in theory, but lousy in execution.
The writing is an embarrassment. In my film class we discussed how, when writing dialogue, you NEVER have the characters just answer one another. That would be like “Hi, what is your name?” “My name is Ang”. Which is pretty much what the dialogue in the movie is. There is no depth, everything is very upfront and HORRIBLE. One prime example is when the Fire prince is fighting the girl water bender. He says “Who are you?” and she says “My name is (I don’t remember), I am the last water bender from the southern water tribe”. What the hell is that??? That is bad writing. I really can’t insult the writer enough. What the hell??? Is that even realistic??? If someone who wants to kidnap your friend asks who you are, do you seriously give them your life story???
And another thing against the writer: What the hell??? I’m saying that a lot, but seriously! The writer crammed an entire SEASON of a show into one 2 hour movie, trying not to keep anything out that happened in the book. The movie is fast-paced, but not in a good way, in a “Where is this persons Ritalin” kind of way. In the first 5 minutes of the movie they explain the back story, find Ang, and he is taken by the Fire prince. You don’t care about the characters at all, and the CRAPPY DIALOGUE is forced out in rapid pace to cover everything. It hurts to listen to it! It is find if you are taking a whole season of a show and adapting it to film, but you have to face it: you’re going to need to tweak the story. This writer is an embarrassment to all writers out there and should never be allowed to sell a screenplay ever again. They should be banned from film.
Directing: There is no rating low enough/5
M.Night.Shyamalan. Who keeps hiring this guy??? He is the worst director out there! I just finished taking two summer film classes at my university, and both of my professors used him as examples of bad directing and his movies as examples of bad ones as well. In fact, for everything we learned we used him as an example for what NOT to do. He’s complete crap. Every shot is basic and drawn out. The story is flat and has no build up or release of tension. AND WHAT THE HELL IS WITH ALL THE DROPPED SHOTS?!
That is what makes me the most angry in this film. Dropped shots. I’m defining a dropped shot as somewhere you can tell was a deleted scene (or there should have been a scene), but they were too lazy to completely remove it. Plot hole might also work, but it doesn’t look like it is in the writing but in the directing and editing. Let’s list all the dropped shots that stand out, shall we?
1) The big flying fuzzy thing
We see Ang’s pet in the ice pit with him. Next thing we see, he is no where in sight. Then, suddenly, he is in the village. Did he come with them? Did he get over there separately? Where was he when the evil Fire prince was attacking the village? How do the girl and her brother figure out how to fly him over to help Ang escape? WHERE IS HE HALF THE MOVIE?! He seriously keeps disappearing and reappearing like he was there all along. What the hell??? Sometimes you hear swooshing I think is supposed to be him arriving, but that is just crappy and cheap effects!
2) Ang in the village
How did Ang get to the village? He was too weak to stand and suddenly he’s shirtless in a tent just fine. Did a day pass somewhere in there? Did he suddenly get energy and walk back with them? The hell???
3) The earth kingdom
How did they get there? I get it was on the flying fuzzy thing, but why did they land? Why were they walking in the trees? WHERE DID THE FUZZY THING GO?!
4) Ang’s staff
Where is it half the movie? It just vanishes and reappears constantly.
5) The Fuzzy thing
Where was it when Ang and the others were imprisoned?
6) The Earth Village
There is no back to that prison, why don’t they just walk out? How did the kid escape if there are guards everywhere? Is that a boy or a girl???
7) The Earth Village 2
Where did all the fire soldiers go? Were they run out or killed?
8) The Fuzzy Thing
WHEN DID IT COME BACK???
9) The Blue Demon
Since when does the Fire prince walk like that? Like he’s some kind of animal? Where did he even get the outfit? THAT IS NOT THE SAME PERSON IN THE COSTUME AS THE PERSON PLAYING THE FIRE PRINCE!
10) The fuzzy thing
WHERE THE HELL DID IT GO AGAIN?!?!?!
10) Re-Joining the Group
When the hell does Ang re-join his friends? Were they not pissed he ran off for apparently 4 days? When did the 4 days even happen??? It looked like 1 to me! How did the Prince find his way back to the Earth village? How did Ang find his friends again???
11) The Fire Soldiers
WHEN DID THEY STOP FOLLOWING ANG?!?!?!?!
12) The Northern Water Tribe
Where is the King and Queen??? They kind of hint that the King is dead, where the hell did the queen go??? Who are half the “Important People” Ang meets???
13) The Fuzzy Thing
WHERE DID YOU GO AGAIN???
14) Attack on the Water Tribe
When the general and his group get off the ship, they immediately encounter the Fuzzy Thing. He roars at them. The next thing you see is the General walking through the Water village just fine and dandy. WHAT THE HELL HAPPENED WITH THE FUZZY THING??? We don’t see him the rest of the movie, is he dead? Was there a fight? Did he turn into a butterfly? WHAT THE HELL?!
I hate you M. Night. Please know this. You and that crappy editor. Both should be forbidden from the film industry forever.
The kid who plays Ang is ok. That was a good casting call with him looking just like the boy in the cartoon. But next time, get a lead who is consistent with the acting! He’s completely baffling. He can play sad VERY well, like award-winning well, but when he’s happy it’s overdone and awkward to watch. The monologue by the girl at the beginning is nothing short of shit. It is supposed to be slow, but it sounds like she’s just talking normally. It sounds like crap. Her acting is always forced and flat, like a 6th grade play. And her brother. This is the same actor who plays Jasper in the Twilight films, in case you didn’t notice. He can’t play anything well. He ‘s better than the sister, that’s for sure. The Fire prince should get an award for his acting, he’s completely brilliant, but everyone else is just bad~
I saw this movie twice. After all that. It still is ok, it is a good way to kill a couple of hours. But seriously, watch it and count the dropped shots!