The Last Airbender (2010)

dir. M. Night Shyamalan

Avatar: The Last Airbender is a truly incredible TV show. It’s marketed as a kids’ show but has tons of appeal for kids and adults alike. Fascinating characters, a complex world, an engrossing story, beautiful colours and shots, an entrancing score. It’s an incredible feat of storytelling. The best way to sum up Shyamalan’s The Last Airbender is as Bizarro World Avatar: The Last Airbender. Same world, same story, same characters, yet somehow the complete and utter antithesis of everything that the show stood for. The movie manages to drain every character of their humanity, to the point where they’re pretty much speaking in monotone. The magic, wonder and imagination are completely obliterated: where in the TV show a single earthbender could command gigantic boulders enough to kill an opponent, in the film a horde of earthbenders perform an elaborate routine of moves only to result in a small pebble drifting through the air. It’s hard to find a worse adaptation than this soulless, soporific mess.

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