The story follows the adventures of Aang, a young successor to a long line of Avatars (masters of the elements), who must put his childhood ways aside and stop the nation of Fire from enslaving the nations of Water, Earth and Air.
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Critics lazily compared 'Black Swan' to 'The Red Shoes' because both feature "the dance" as a metaphor, when in reality; this is the film Powell would have made if he were still alive today. In 'Airbender', the film is the dance; every scene is an expression, capturing a mood or an emotion through colour and movement. Plot and characterisation are unnecessary when you have pure cinematic revelry as bold as this.
I'm glad that someone can say something positive about this film. I can't understand the level of hatred directed towards it. The only real issue I have is that it moves too quickly. Shyamalan's at his best when he's working just with atmosphere and mood. I wish the movie had been longer. Visually, it's lightyears beyond other special effects blockbusters like Transformers, Pirates, Harry Potter, etc.
I'm glad this movie exists. Is it a failure as an adaptation, and as a movie in its own right? It just may be, but don't hold that against it! The Last Airbender is a whiff; a grand, baroque, beleaguering swipe at brilliance whose inevitable crash back to Earth perhaps resulted in the Littlest Grand Canyon. This movie is Charlie Brown's lunge at the football.
Functioning like an extended prologue, the odd narrative style almost works as mythopoeia, offering a flavour without the meal. The drama often falls flat when the vacuous figures actually interact but Shyamalan's pet theme, the terror of filial-parental failure, proves somewhat compelling. Recognising that CGI is only good for lightshows, the film otherwise exhibits homunculi literally tossing colours at each other.