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The Last Airbender (2010)

Noah Ringer, Nicola Peltz, Jackson Rathbone, Dev Patel, Jessica Jade Andres, Aasif Mandvi, Shaun Toub, Cliff Curtis, Keong Sim
Director: M. Night Shyamalan

U.S. Opening Date: July 2nd, 2010


Live action adaptation of Nickelodeon's popular animated Avatar: The Last Airbender show which follows the adventures of the successor to a long line of Avatars who must put aside his irresponsible ways and stop the Fire Nation from enslaving the Water, Earth and Air nations. (The studios have dropped "Avatar" from the title to avoid confusion with James Cameron's upcoming Avatar, which is not related in any way.)

The Fire Nation is waging a ruthless, oppressive war against the other three nations. The film's hero, the reluctant ten-year-old successor Aang (Noah Ringer), is the "Last Airbender" - the Avatar who, according to prophecy, has the ability to manipulate all of the elements and bring all the nations together. Aided by a protective teenage Waterbender named Katara (Nicola Peltz) and her bull-headed brother Sokka, Aang proceeds on a perilous journey to restore balance to their war-torn world.

Jackson Rathbone plays Katara's brother Sokka, and Dev Patel plays Prince Zuko, prince of the Fire Nation. Mandvi is set to play the role of Commander Zhao, an ambitious and hot-tempered Fire Nation commander. Toub is cast as Uncle Iroh, the retired Fire Nation general and devoted surrogate parent to Dev Patel's character Zuko. Curtis is set to play the ruthless ruler Fire Lord Ozai. Keong Sim has been cast in the role of Earthbending Father.


Apparently Sixth Sense director M. Night Shyamalan decided to make a live action movie after he started watching the show along with his kids and fell in love with it. One is sure that the director has only the utmost respect for the material then – but the question is “can the director of duds such as Lady in the Water, The Happening, The Village and Signs pull it off?”

Last Airbender will be the director’s first big budget special effects-driven fantasy epic and the studios have so much trust in the project that they have moved its opening date to the very lucrative (and competitive) July the 4th weekend. When one considers the director’s somewhat ham-fisted fantasy tale Lady in the Water one isn’t too sure if the director will pull it off though.

And to be honest the first teaser trailer – your typical overblown Hollywood blockbuster affair – doesn’t help. After all, what made this faux American anime show so delightful was its investment in both characterization and humor, two properties Shyamalan’s self-important movies have been sorely lacking in.

Check out the show on DVD instead. Oh, and expect an open-ended ending to The Last Airbender: the show ran for a total of 61 episodes over three seasons and it is somehow doubtful whether Shyamalan can cram it all into one full-length movie . . .




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