Sunday, July 4, 2010

The Last Airbender

The previews for this movie were pretty entertaining and M. Night Shyamalan usually doesn't disappoint in his movies. And this one didn't either. Though I have to admit, I usually don't like M. Night Shyamalan movies because they're too scary/suspenseful for me. Never saw the "I can see dead people" movie (aka The Sixth Sense) and watched the "Doesn't anyone want to know what happened to the bees?" movie (aka The Happening) through my fingers. But this didn't seem as scary and I was able to get through the whole thing without that sinking feeling of waiting for something to jump out at me.

This movie is about four nations that are able to manipulate, or bend, the four elements: earth, wind, fire (not the band) and water. There is one person who is able to manipulate all four elements, communicate with the spirit world and is destined to keep peace among all the nations. He is known as the avatar and reincarnates over the years. Sound familiar? Think Dalai Lama. Many years pass and the fire nation has basically declared war on all the other nations and is determined to take over the world. And the avatar has been missing. But then he shows up after being gone for 100 years and has to learn to to embrace his calling.

With pretty high expectations for this movie, I did not walk away disappointed. It was incredibly entertaining and a fluid movie. There are a lot of spiritual undertones with the similarity of the Dalai Lama story line, the tai chi type fighting, and the nations believing in spirits. I especially liked the movement and fighting scenes. People who can bend their respective elements use tai chi type moves to manipulate their element. It's actually really beautiful to watch on screen. Of course it's intricately choreographed along with the fight scenes. And they are very martial arts heavy as well.

The boy they think is the avatar does a great job. Noah Ringer is a newbie to the acting world. According to IMDB, this is his first movie. He does a beautiful job in the fighting scenes and it seems that he's studied some sort of martial arts before doing this movie. Wasn't the best acting in the world, but he got by. I think his chubby cheeks helped.

Dev Petel is probably the most recognizable face in this movie. He plays the Fire Nation prince who has been banished and can return if he brings his father the avatar. I never saw Slumdog Millionaire, but Dev did a great job in this movie. I hear he's pretty good in Slumdog too. He adds an interesting element to the movie and his character is pretty layered. I think his character will only get more interesting in further movies. Oops, did I spoil something? Of course there will be more of these movies. After all, the avatar has a lot to learn.

For you Twilight fans, Jackson Rathbone, who plays Jasper, is also in this movie. Though he's much more tan in this movie. But I don't think anyone who reads this blog knows what I'm talking about here. And that's ok. Yes, I still have to see Eclipse, but that's another post.

This is a very different road for M. Night Shyamalan. No surprises or unexpected turns, but still incredibly entertaining and family friendly! Minimal blood, if any, no cursing, characters are all pretty well clothed, morals are still important, and the fighting is very clean. --Whatever that means. There are a lot of cartoon and kid-related previews at the beginning. This could be based of a cartoon called Avatar: The last airbender. Shyamalan is credited with writing this as well as directing. I would definitely recommend watching this movie even if you just wait to rent it. It's fun to watch and the special effects are great as well.

Can't wait for the next one to come out!

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