July 1, 2010, - 3:22 pm
Based on a Nickelodeon cartoon, “The Last Airbender” debuts in theaters, today, and is directed by M. Night Shyamalan. It’s aimed at kids and is a non-animated story of a young monk who saves the world from the evil fire lord. The most (unintentionally) funny part about this movie is that I thought the monk looked more like a Jewish kid than a monk. And, sure enough, it appears that my Jew-dar is functioning well, as the actor who plays the monk is 12-year-old First-Degree Taekwondo Black Belt Noah Ringer (“The Karate Kid-owitz”?).
The story: the earth is divided into four nations: air, water, fire, and earth. Each has benders, who have powers to move and transform their respective element with their minds. Two young eskimo types (played by White kids, but no biggie, since a Jewish kid is the heavily tattooed monk) are searching for food on the ice, when they discover a bulging sphere. They crack it open and out comes a kid who is an airbending monk, “Aang,” and his giant flying animal. He is the last survivor of the air nation and is the “avatar,” who can save the world. But the fire nation is looking for the monk. They want to capture him and make him theirs. The fire lord’s son, a loser who desperately seeks to prove himself to a loveless dad, is on a ship seeking the monk. He and his father kidnap the monk over and over. And he’s freed over and over. The end. Lots of epic music, but not much epic stuff in this flick to accompany it, as much as they want us to think so. Unexciting, unmoving. And just not all that interesting.
But, as a kids’ movie, it’s fine, and there’s nothing objectionable about it. It’s just that it was boring, unoriginal, and makes Will and Jada Pinkett Smith’s “The Karate Kid” remake (read my review) look like Shakespeare stuff. It wasn’t a tight story. It wasn’t well done. And it was repetitive and sort of pointless. Although the message–good versus evil–is a good one, there’s a lot of filler to get to it. And with such a large budget, so much action, and so many special effects, it was so utterly dull.
And then, there’s the 3D. Because of the success of “Avatar” (read my review), every studio wants to make its film in 3D. But in this case, there was absolutely no point to it, other than making me wear ugly glasses and giving me a pinch-nosed headache. This movie would have been fine in the conventional 2D that we’re used to. And it would have been every bit as dull and boring.
Watch the trailer . . .
Tags: Aang, air, benders, earth, fire, Jewish, M. Night Shyamalan, Monk, movie, movie review, Noah Ringer, The Last Airbender, water